Everyone knows that Vienna, Austria, is beautiful, clean, organized, and that things work here. Trams run on time, flights are rarely late, and public transport around the architecturally awesome city of Vienna, is simple, inexpensive and practical. The Vienna that most visitors do not know is literally on the doorstep. – the stunning Wienerwald. This pre-alpine forest (literally Vienna Forest) snuggles up close to the city of Vienna, has plenty of places of interest, both historical and natural, and is a spectacular sight, especially in autumn. If you think New England is impressive, Wienerwald will knock your socks off.
Sounding more like the latest Disney attraction, than a huge forest, Wienerwald is incredible. It offers plenty of scenic open spaces, as well as four different types of forest. Whether you are in Vienna for 48 hours or 72 hours, a side trip to this nature lover’s paradise is well worth the effort. After a trip to Wienerwald, you will never view Vienna in the same way again. Why not take advantage of the off-season hotel/pension rates, and come visit during the fall? The show is free, and you can capture it in all it’s glory on film to show the folks back home.
Located west of Vienna, and bounded by the Danube, Traisen and Triesting rivers, Wienerwald is a relaxing and tranquil place, with many different types of trees, including pines, firs, oaks and beeches. There is plenty of wildlife, much of it having disappeared from other parts of Europe, where civilization encroaches upon the natural environment all too frequently. Wienerwald acts as the ‘lungs’ of Austria’s capital city of Vienna. Hiking through Wienerwald, one comes upon cute ‘lumberjack’ villages, ideal spots to stop and enjoy the local food and hospitality of the friendly local people.
The Vienna woods have very unique flora and fauna. Many leisure pursuits are available, including fishing, trekking, biking, horse riding and climbing. One of the most popular leisure pursuits in Wienerwald is mountain biking. It is paradise for those who enjoy this activity, with more than 250 kilometers of very well signposted mountain bike trails, offering trails to suit all levels of competence.
It is easy to forget you are just a stone’s throw from Vienna. Just when you are thinking that you are lost in the back end of beyond, you are bound to stumble upon one of the Austrian Gasthäuser and Pensionen, offering an authentic taste of Austrian food. There are plenty of mountain bike hire companies in Vienna, and if you want more information, the concierge at your hotel, or hotel reception, are sure to have details.
The Vienna forest was designated a Biosphere Reserve in 2005 and includes the area between the Northern Alps, and the Pannonic Basin. The eastern slopes of Wienerwald offers hot springs and marine terraces of what used to be a sea, thanks to a geological ‘rupture zone’. Part of the forest is limestone, and it has the typical formations of rock, with sharply defined gullies. For flora and fauna spotters, the geological differences and various climatic areas have resulted in an unusual variety of habitats. A very important beech forest and the largest European area of ‘downy oak forest’ plus sub-Mediterranean pine forests, along with endemic Austrian pines, all co-habit peacefully in this rural forest idyll.
The central part of the Vienna woods has many large meadows, and plenty of extensively farmed open land, formed by traditional farming practices extending back over the last hundred years.
The Wienerwald Biosphere Reserve has 36 areas; a total area of almost 6000 hectares and the coveted status of Biosphere Reserve guarantees the area long-term protection from development. But don’t think that because this area is a nature reserve that it is uninhabited. There are more than 100,000 people who live permanently in the Biosphere Reserve zone, which includes many rural communities, and even parts of the Western Viennese districts. Needless to say, these communities enjoy an extremely high quality of life. The woods are considered to be one of the most important local recreation areas for the Viennese, particularly as an escape from the often congested urban parts of Vienna.
So next time you take a trip to Austria, and stay in Vienna, make sure you take advantage of what is without a doubt one of the most splendid natural areas left in Europe.
Hotels in the Vienna forest available on venere.com:
Located in the peaceful and picturesque Wienerwald area, about 7 miles from Vienna’s city center, the Hotel Sophienalpe is the perfect place for a relaxing family holiday in Austria. Hotel amenities include a restaurant serving both delicious local specialties and international cuisine, a bar, an indoor swimming pool, and a conference room. An abudant breakfast is served in the morning to get you started on a beautiful day in the Viena forest.
Set in a quiet residential area next to Wienerwald, the Hotel Schild enjoys an outstanding location, 25 minutes away from the hustle and the bustle of Vienna. This comfortable 4-star hotel offers an Internet point, a cafeteria, a bar, a breakfast room, as well as wellness and spa amenities including steam baths, sauna and relaxation room.
Photo of Wienerwald originally posted by xell42