Our Austria summer bucket list

Places to visit, hotels to stay in & things to do

Standing in a poppy field in summer

Summer is approaching in lightning speed and we’re all dreaming of some kind of summer escape. Yet many of us are still undecided on where to spend our summer holidays.

Will international travel be an option? Or will we stay in our home country?

Whatever happens we’re pretty sure, that we will break up our long summer in some micro holidays, weekend getaways and 2-3 night mini vacations. Therefore we decided to collect a list of ideas for short summer holidays in our home country Austria!

Summer at lake Wörthersee in CarinthiaBoating at a lake is a must do this year in Austria – pictured here: Lake Wörthersee!

Our Austria summer bucket list:

  1. Go boating on lake Neusiedlersee
  2. Stay in a winery in the vineyards of Südsteiermark
  3. Sleep at the shores of lake Millstättersee in a bivouac
  4. Explore the apricot harvest in the Wachau in July
  5. Stay in a carbon neutral hotel at lake Weissensee (Austria’s Caribbean!)
  6. Take a city break in a tree house in the alps 
  7. Find lavender, poppy & canola fields in Austria

These are some of the things we’d love to do this year in Austria!

 

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1. Go boating on lake Neusiedlersee

Just one hour away from Vienna the reeded shores of lake Neusiedlersee invite for a weekend getaway to go boating and swimming, ride bikes in the flat grassy steppe landscapes and visit one of the many “Heurigen” – the famous wine taverns, that only open for the season!

 

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Our tips:

  • Stay in Bliem’s Wohnreich – a small boutique hotel with minimalistic rooms and a unique selection of local delicacies (try the pickled lily!).
  • Visit Schloss Halbthurn and stroll through the exquisite pastel coloured rooms.
  • Enjoy lunch at “Heuriger zur Hölle” – a wine tavern with a beautiful deck and views of the lake.

 

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2. Stay in a winery in the vineyards of Südsteiermark

Speaking of wine – there’s one region in Austria, that’s famous for it’s vineyards and wine hotels and it’s the South of Styria. Also dubbed the “Tuscany of Austria” you’ll find green rolling hills dotted with vineyards and cypress trees here. The climate and soil makes for the perfect breeding ground for some of Austria’s most famous wines, but there’s much more to discover!

 

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Our tips:

  • Book a stay at one of the chalets or wine houses of “Pures Leben“.
  • Have a picnic in the vineyards with a customised picnic basket by “Weingut Tinnauer“.
  • Discover the famous “Herzerlstraße” (a heart-shaped street amidst the vineyards) just across the border to Slovenia!

 

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3. Sleep at the shores of lake Millstättersee in a bivouac

Since we saw a photo of those bivouacs at the Carinthian lake Millstättersee we knew we had to visit those one day! We love special accommodations at iconic locations anyhow – and this promises to be one of a kind in Austria.

 

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Our tips:

  • Book a package deal at “Biwak unter Sternen” that includes a stay in one of the bivouacs, a gourmet picnic basket and a dinner or breakfast in a restaurant in the vicinity!
  • Rent a traditional rowing boat – equipped with yet another deliciously packed picnic basket – and enjoy the solitude at the lake! (Yes, we’re a sucker for a good picnic! 😉 )
  • Lastly you can enjoy the best sunset views from the so called “Balcony of stars” overlooking the lake Millstättersee! (Should we mention you can also get a picnic basket for this? 🙂 )

 

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4. Explore the apricot harvest in the Wachau in July

Childhood memories are simply the best! I have one of those memories of visiting the apricot harvest festival in the Wachau region and they served the most juicy and delicious apricot dumplings directly from the street stalls. This year most of the traditional festivities are cancelled due to Corona, but that doesn’t mean there’s no chance to visit the region during the apricot harvesting season!

There’s even a live apricot webcam where you can check if they’re ready to be harvested.

 

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Our tips:

  • Stay in the historical art nouveau “Villa Schönthal” in Dürnstein – overlooking the Danube river from the romantic gardens and rooms.
  • Rumor has it that you can get really good apricot dumplings at “Restaurant Kirchenwirt“, “Restaurant Hofmeisterei Hirtzberger“, “Restaurant Heinzle“, “Landgasthaus Essl” and “Gasthof Prankl“. Seems like we have to taste our way through all of them 😉
  • Since the so called “Wachau apricot” is a registered trademark there’s also many attractions and experiences around the speciality. From apricot hiking trails to a visit in an apricot distillery – or an apricot cooking class with 4 dishes, that all include something made from apricots! Find out more here.

 

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5. Stay in a carbon neutral hotel at lake Weissensee (Austria’s Caribbean!)

Since we visited lake Weissensee last year in autumn we swore to return in summer to jump into the turquoise water (as soon as it’s warm enough!) 🙂 We started researching where to stay in the region and discovered a very intriguing CO2 neutral, organic hotel right at the lakeshore!

Weissensee Carinthia Austria

Our tips:

  • Stay at the “Bio Hotel Gralhof” at the lakeshore – a completely carbon neutral hotel dedicated to organic food and sustainability.
  • If you visit in August you can enjoy classical music on a ship, or you opt for a Yoga retreat or the farm-to-table weekend in October. The hotel offers many experiences that make a stay even more memorable.
  • The region Weissensee is also part of the so called “Alpine Pearls” – a tourism initiative that promotes sustainable traveling. One part of the concept is to travel all the way to the hotel with public transport. There’s a train shuttle that picks you up from the station and brings you directly to your accommodation!

 

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6. Take a city break in a tree house in the alps

I can’t really remember when I slept in a tree house the last time (unless you count the starbed, that we stayed in during our Zambia trip last year) 😉 Luckily Austria has a few very luxurious options, so that we can consider this again – even at our age 😉

 

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Our tips:

  • Choose the tree houses of “Almdorf Seinerzeit” in Carinthia if you’re up for true fairy tale magic. The so called “Nuptial cottage” sits intimately atop of Swiss stone pines and can only be reached via a drawbridge!
  • A more modern option would be the triangular shaped tree lofts at Hochleger by Ziller Seasons in Tyrol.
  • Last but not least you could opt for the tree house at “Hotel Gassner”, which is more of a tree luxury lodge in the mountains of Salzburg. The freestanding bathtub speaks for itself!

 

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7. Find lavender, poppy & canola fields in Austria

There’s one thing that can be found in Austria as well as the Provence or Tuscany – rolling fields of blooming flowers. This year we make it our mission to find some mediterranean flair in Austria. While the poppies are already in bloom right now (mid of May), the lavender and canola fields will take a bit longer to get ready!

 

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Our tips:

  • In the very South of Styria you can find lavender fields, that remind us very much of the Provence in France. Mark your calendars for July and set out to visit the region of Kitzeck!
  • If you made it to this part of Styria make sure to also visit the lavender manufacturers of “Wunsum”, where you can book guided tours of the largest lavender fields of Styria!

This was our personal Austria summer bucket list – let’s see how far we get this year 🙂 We hope you found some ideas for your summer plans!

What’s on your personal bucket list for this summer?

The ultimate Austria Summer Bucket List