Since the Alps mostly dominate Austria, it’s no surprise that stunning views are abundant. Fantastic viewpoints come in all kinds of shapes, locations, and altitudes.
The Alps dominate Austria, with almost 70 % of the country above 500 metres (1,640 ft). However, except for some flat areas in the easternmost state of Burgenland, even the regions not directly in the Alps are not flat. For example, I’ve found some stunning views in the gently rolling hills of southeast Styria, in the wine districts of Burgenland and Lower Austria, east of Vienna.
Fantastic viewpoints everywhere
The Austrians are obsessed with good views, and despite the superabundant range of natural viewpoints, they have added towers, platforms and skywalks to the selection. Some viewpoints are challenging to get to, others require effort, and some are accessible to anyone. A great view doesn’t necessarily have to be a mountain peak or spectacular tower. Sometimes stunning views are also found in less obvious places. These are some of my favourites:
1. Speiereck (SalzburgerLand)
This is a mountain peak in Lungau, Salzburgerland, above the village of Mauterndorf. A 3-4 hour hike from the nearest cable car station at Grosseck brings you to the peak. It’s a medium to easy hike along well-marked (trodden) paths. The views of the surrounding mountains and valleys from Speiereck (2411 metres above sea level) are second to none. If the weather is really clear, you can see about 100 km.
2. Pyramidenkogel (Carinthia)
The Austrians thought it would be a great idea to put a 75-metre tower on top of 847m hill. They were right. The 360° views of the entire 16 km long Lake Wörth (Wörthersee) and the Karawanks limestone Alps in the south are worth every cent of the admission fee. The photo shows the view towards the northeast and Klagenfurt at the far end of the lake.
3. Schafberg (SalzburgerLand)
One of the main attractions of this 1,783 m mountain in Salzburgerland is the trip to (almost) the top with the rack railway that opened in 1893. After spending about 35 minutes on the train ride to nearly 1700 metres, you’re only a 10-minute walk from the top at 1758 m. Your award? The peak offers a panoramic view of the Salzkammergut mountains and their lakes, Wolfgangsee, Mondsee and Attersee.
4. Vienna Danube Tower (Donaturm)
The 252 metres (827 ft.) communication tower on the north bank of the Danube River in Vienna has an observation deck at 150 metres (490 ft.). If that doesn’t satisfy your need for a view, there is also a revolving restaurant above. The quickest way down is bungee jumping from the observation deck. For more info, check out their website.
5. Bürgeralpe – Mariazell (Styria)
The view from the tower at Bürgeralpe makes you forget the more than 100 steps to the top. The 1287-meter-high mountain Bürgeralpe is located directly above Mariazell. You can get there by cable car or a chair lift from the town centre. A viewing tower was built here in 1906 to enjoy the beautiful view. Erzherzog-Johann-Aussichtswarte is free to visit. Embedded between the hills, you can see the small lake Erlaufsee, which has a lovely beach.
6. Weinblick (Burgenland)
Central Burgenland is known for its wine region. Most of the wine is cultivated on small hills near the border of Hungary. At Eisenberg, you have a view that disappears into the horizon. In the middle of the vineyards, they have built a viewing platform easily accessible by car. Use the 15 minutes you need to venture off the main road, even just passing by, to enjoy one of Burgenland’s fantastic viewpoints. The plain at the foot of the hills extends well into Hungary. For more info: Weinblick am Eisenberg and location on Google Maps.
7. Steiner Felsen (Upper Austria)
Not the easiest place to find, but well worth the hassle when you get there. Accessible by car and a 10-minute walk through the forest. This viewpoint gives you a sensational view of the Danube River. Moreover, you will see one of the most striking features of the mighty river, as it makes an S-shaped bend through the hills. It’s a lovely spot in the forest with picnic tables. Thus, bring your lunch and enjoy the stunning views. See where to find it on Google Maps.
8. Jakobskreuz (Tyrol)
With 1456 metres above sea level, this viewpoint is not at a very high altitude compared to other astonishing viewpoints in Austria. Nonetheless, the 30-meter-tall cross-shaped tower gives you fantastic 360° views. Check out their website for more info.
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