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Austria, a country renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and impeccable music and art scene, stands as a year-round destination for travelers worldwide. Yet, knowing when to visit can transform a typical holiday into an unforgettable journey. This guide is dedicated to travelers who prioritize value for money, crave authentic experiences, and prefer to sidestep the bustling tourist crowds.

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Why Timing Matters

The allure of Austria varies with its seasons, offering distinct experiences from skiing the Alpine slopes to summer music festivals. However, timing your visit can significantly affect not only your budget but also your overall experience. Understanding Austria’s peak, shoulder, and off-peak seasons can help you unlock the country’s full potential without breaking the bank or navigating through throngs of tourists.

Austria’s Seasons Explained

Winter Wonderland (December to March)

  • Peak Season for ski resorts, Christmas markets, and New Year festivities.
  • Tips: Book well in advance for the best deals in ski areas. For Christmas markets, visiting on weekdays can help avoid the largest crowds.

Spring Bloom (April to June)

  • Shoulder Season: Nature awakens, offering ideal conditions for hiking, cycling, and enjoying the blooming landscapes.
  • Advantages: Fewer tourists and generally lower prices, especially in April and early May.

Summer Splendor (July to August)

  • Peak Season: Warm weather invites outdoor adventures and cultural festivals.
  • Smart Travel Tip: While cities can be crowded, exploring rural areas like the Salzkammergut offers a tranquil escape with equally rich experiences.

Autumn’s Palette (September to November)

  • Shoulder Season: The countryside dazzles with autumn colors, and harvest festivals abound.
  • Why It’s Ideal: Cooler, yet comfortable weather and reduced tourist numbers make for a peaceful exploration of vineyards, forests, and historic towns.

Best Times for Value and Authentic Experiences

  • Late Spring (May to early June): Enjoy the outdoors before the summer rush, with more affordable accommodations.
  • Autumn (September to October): Experience wine harvest festivals and stunning foliage minus the summer crowds, often with better deals on hotels.

Traveling Smart: Tips and Tricks

  • Accommodations: Consider staying in family-run guesthouses (Gasthöfe) for a more authentic and often more affordable experience.
  • Transportation: The ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) offers discounts for early bookings and passes that can save money for extensive travel within Austria.

Avoiding the Touristic Crowds

Overlooked Gems

  • Vorarlberg: This westernmost state offers incredible architecture, hiking, and skiing without the Tyrol crowds.
  • Southern Styria: Known as the “Tuscany of Austria,” it’s perfect for wine lovers and those seeking serene landscapes.

Timing is Everything

  • Visit popular sites like Salzburg and Hallstatt during early morning or late afternoon hours to avoid peak tourist times.
  • Explore Vienna’s museums on weekday evenings when they often extend their hours.

The Best time to visit Austria: Month-by-Month

MonthWeatherCrowd LevelsPrices
JanuaryCold and snowy. Ideal for winter sports.High. Ski season peak.High. Peak prices in ski resorts.
FebruaryStill cold with plenty of snow for skiing.High. Continuation of ski season.High. Ski resort areas remain pricey.
MarchTransition to spring. Snow begins to melt in lower altitudes.Moderate. End of ski season in many areas.Moderate. Prices start to decrease.
AprilMild temperatures. Nature begins to bloom.Low. Shoulder season, fewer tourists.Moderate to low. Good time for deals.
MayPleasantly warm. Perfect for outdoor activities.Moderate. Start of the tourist season.Moderate. Prices begin to rise with demand.
JuneWarm, longer days. Great for sightseeing and festivals.High. Beginning of peak tourist season.High. Accommodation and flight prices increase.
JulyHot, peak summer. Ideal for all outdoor activities.Very high. Summer vacations bring in tourists.Very high. Peak season rates apply everywhere.
AugustSimilar to July. Warm and suitable for festivals and hiking.Very high. Continuation of peak tourist season.High. Prices remain high due to ongoing demand.
SeptemberMild and less crowded. Start of the fall season.Moderate. Decrease in tourist numbers.Moderate. Good time for deals as peak season ends.
OctoberCooling down. Beautiful fall landscapes.Low to moderate. Fewer tourists, quiet period.Low to moderate. Attractive prices for travelers.
NovemberCold begins to set in. Late fall moving into early winter.Low. Quiet before the start of the winter season.Moderate. Early winter deals can be found.
DecemberCold and potentially snowy, especially in alpine regions.High. Christmas markets and winter sports attract many visitors.High. Holiday and ski season peak prices.

January - Good for winter sports

Although January is the slowest travel month globally when people prefer to stay at home after the Christmas holidays and with adverse weather in the Northern Hemisphere, this doesn’t apply to travels to Austria. While January is a slow month in the nation’s capital, it is mid-season in the mountains. January is perfect for a ski trip in the Austrian Alps, as the biggest crowds will be staying away until February. January weather in Austria is ideal for skiing but horrible for a city trip: cold and wet. January weather in Austria is diverse, but snow and freezing temperatures can be expected in the mountains. In Vienna, the average maximum temperature is 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit), and it rains eight days per month on average.

Winter sports: January is a perfect month for winter sports.

City trip (Vienna/Salzburg): Low crowds but adverse weather make January not great for an Austrian city trip.

Summer mountain activities: Nope. It is not happening. It is winter.

February - Busy in the mountains

February is a slow month in Austria, but it is the peak season for winter sports. Hotels are packed in ski resorts, but most rooms remain empty when you get away from the snow. February is an excellent month to ski in Austria, but we recommend postponing a city trip until the weather improves in late March. In February, the average maximum temperature in Vienna is about 6 degrees Celsius (43 Fahrenheit), and it rains on 7 of 28 days.

Winter sports: Busy month for winter sports.

City trip: Expect bad weather & low crowds in Vienna.

Summer mountain activities: Still not happening.

March - Great deals!

As the snow melts, Austria witnesses a shift in tourism. While the ski resorts get emptier, the cities fill up with tourists seeking cultural experiences. In Vienna, the weather improves quickly in March. Although it can still be cold and rainy, March brings spring joy, and the city comes to life. It would be best if you were lucky with the weather on the slopes or in the city. That means you need cold weather in the Alps or warm weather in the city to make your stay truly enjoyable. The temperature is slowly rising, but the rain is not going away. In March, the average maximum temperature in Vienna is 11 degrees Celsius (52 Fahrenheit), while it rains on about eight days that month.

Winter sports: March is a perfect month with relatively low crowds, good snow conditions higher in the mountains, and great travel bargains.

City trip: March allows for a city trip in Austria, but you must be lucky with the weather.

Summer mountain activities: Although ski lifts are still operational and paths have not been cleared, you can start hiking in March.

April - Busy around Easter breaks

April is the last month when you can enjoy the slopes. Although some areas, like the glacier in Kaprun, remain operational well into summer, most of the 400+ ski resorts close in mid-April. The weather in Austria is still unpredictable, but it gets warmer as the summer nears. April is an excellent month to visit Vienna or Salzburg because the bigger crowds have not yet arrived. You do have to be lucky with the weather as rain can ruin your day.

It can get busy around Easter. Easter is one of the busiest weekends for most of Europe’s major destinations. Easter takes place on a different date each year; in 2023, the Christian holiday happens early April.

Zell am See Grossglockner 5

In April, the weather in Austria starts to improve quickly. As the month progresses, the temperature rises. The average maximum temperature is 17 degrees Celsius (45 Fahrenheit), with rain about seven days this month.

Winter sports: Most ski areas close halfway through April. Higher-situated ski resorts stay open throughout the month.

City trip: With quickly improving weather, April is a good month for a city trip in Austria but stay clear of the crowded Easter weekend.

Summer mountain activities: With improving weather, April can be an exciting month to hike in the Alps as long as you are lucky with the weather.

Austria best time to visit

Best time to visit Austria in 2024

Austria, a country renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and impeccable music and art scene, stands as a year-round destination for travelers worldwide.

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May - Good pre-season month

May is a pre-season month, bringing warmer weather and more tourists to Salzburg, Vienna, and other major summer destinations. Austria has many public holidays, most of which are spread over May and early June. During those holidays, domestic tourism briefly peaks, while international arrivals also start to increase. May is most definitely not peak season (yet).

Overall, May is an excellent month to visit Austria. The weather is improving, and it is not too busy yet. It gets warmer at the end of the month. The average maximum temperature throughout the month is 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit), while it rains on eight days in the country’s capital.

Winter sports: Except for some glaciers, May brings an end to the winter fun.

City trip: If you stay clear from the public holidays in Austria, May is a perfect month for a city trip.

Summer mountain activities: The first hiking huts reopen in May, and the weather improves quickly but is aware of possible bad weather days.

June - our favorite month to visit Austria.

The Austrian summer kicks off in June when the weather improves daily. Unlike the other summer months, June is relatively quiet. Most schools in Europe are still in session, and the school vacations in Austria have not started either. The average maximum temperature in Vienna will climb to about 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) in June with some hot days. It rains slightly more in the summer in Austria than in the winter, with about nine days in June.

We believe June is a perfect month to visit any region in Austria. The cities can get hot but most of the days are very pleasant.

Winter sports: It is summer, no winter sports.

City trip: Without the craziness of peak season but with good weather, June is a good month for a city trip to Vienna or any other major city.

Summer mountain activities: June is a perfect month to spend in Austria’s mountains with great weather and almost no crowds.

July - Peak season starts in Austria.

Crowds start to increase rapidly as the summer gets into full swing. Austrian schools are out for the summer, and Europeans have begun to travel massively. July brings out the best of the cities and the Alps. You can enjoy great weather with very few rainy days, and there are endless opportunities to explore Austria’s diverse nature in July. Outside the cities and some hotspots, you can quickly escape crowds. Although the Liechtensteinklamm, Zell am See, or the Krimml waterfalls can get busy, any nearby operational ski lift will bring you to mostly deserted mountains. The only crowd that will bother you on top of those mountains are herds of grass-grazing cows.

Austria Zell am See

July weather in Austria is close to perfect, which makes it the ideal month to visit. We recommend skipping the cities and significant hotspots if you want to avoid crowds. However, since travel might still be slow in 2021 due to COVID-19, it might be the perfect year to travel to Austria in the peak season. The average maximum temperature is 27 degrees Celsius while it rains on about nine days.

Winter sports: No winter sports in July.

City trip: It can get (too) busy in July. The start of the month is better than towards August.

Summer mountain activities: July is perfect for summer activities in Austria.

August - Peak season!

Like most other major tourist destinations in Europe, the peak season in Vienna reaches its ultimate hights August. August is simply the busiest month of the year for summer tourism in Austria. There are no winter sports in the middle of summer. Although it can always rain in Austria, the weather is perfect, with sunny day temperatures quickly going up to 30+ degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). The average maximum temperature in Vienna is 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit), with rain on about eight days.

When you travel to Austria in August, it is best to plan. Crowds can be significant at popular tourist destinations such as Schönbrunn Palace. An intelligent way of planning is booking timed entry to tourist attractions or visiting them in the morning.

Winter sports: Unless princess Elsa changes the weather, there are no winter activities in the middle of summer.

City trip: August can get too crowded for a city trip in Austria.

Summer mountain activities: The mountains show themselves from their best side in summer, with all huts open and lifts operational for summer activities.

September in Austria

The late season in Austria starts in September when most tourists are back at work. September usually brings excellent weather to Austria, but it becomes more unpredictable. Bad September weather means that torrential showers show up to ruin your day, but this rarely happens. If you can change your plans on short notice, we recommend keeping an eye on weather conditions and planning your day according to the weather. The average maximum temperature will drop to 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) while it rains for seven days in Vienna.

Winter sports: No winter sports in September.

City trip: If you are lucky with the weather, September is a good month for a city trip to Austria.

Summer mountain activities: One of the last good months is hiking or biking in the Alps.

October - Slow month

October is a slow travel month in Austria. Although autumn in the lower regions of the Alps brings beautifully colored forests, weather conditions are highly unpredictable. October is an excellent month to travel to Austria if you are preparing for rain and wish for the sun. The first glaciers, including Kaprun, will open for winter sports operations halfway through the month. However, even in the higher areas, most hotels and bars will remain shut until early December. The average temperature will drop to about 15 degrees Celsius (59 Fahrenheit) with rain on six days.

Winter sports: The first glaciers will open for winter sports halfway through the month. Most areas remain closed.

City trip: The weather is unpredictable in October, but October can be a great month to travel in Austria with relatively low crowds if you are lucky.

Summer mountain activities: The weather can be bad, and most huts are closed. Lifts are usually not operational.

November - Quiet month to visit Austria but it can be cold

Visiting Austria in November is not the best time. Although the crowds are relatively low, there is an apparent reason: the weather. November weather in Austria can be cold, wet, and highly unpredictable. The winter sports season hasn’t started yet, and rain will ruin most city trips. However, if you are lucky with the weather or only indoor plan events, November can be an excellent month to visit, for example, Vienna, as the crowds will be extremely low. It will rain for about eight days while the average maximum temperature drops to 9 degrees Celsius (48 Fahrenheit).

Skiing during the 3rd COVID lockdown in Austria

Winter sports: Some ski areas are operational with artificial snow. Some places open early if you are lucky with the weather and get snow.

City trip: With bad weather, November is not a great month for an Austrian city trip.

Summer mountain activities: Not happening.

December - Christmas holidays bring big crowds

The Christmas Holidays bring lots of tourists to Austria’s ski resorts. Vienna sees some Christmas shopping tourists, but international arrivals don’t peak like in summer. Overall, December is the busiest winter month as people worldwide have holidays. Around Christmas and New Year’s Evening, you’ll find the priciest hotel rooms and a surge in ticket prices. Meanwhile, in the mountains, the ski season kicks off. Although most significant resorts can produce snow, there may be no natural snowfall until January. During the holidays, it is jam-packed in ski resorts. With good weather, you’ll experience some of the busiest winter sports days of the year. The average maximum temperature is 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit). In December, you can find famous Christmas markets throughout the country.

Winter sports: Lower areas are often still without snow and get incredibly crowded during the Christmas holidays.

City trip: It can get busy around the holidays, and the weather is not so great.

Summer mountain activities: Not happening in winter.

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