Discover the most beautiful forests in Austria


Forests have a wonderful effect. Enjoying the nature around you you can completely relax. But where do you find the most beautiful forests in Austria?

Almost half of the surface of Austria is overgrown with deciduous and coniferous trees, in all federal states, as far as the eye can see. Styria, Carinthia and Salzburg lead the top 10 of the greenest federal states, but even more than 20% of Vienna is forest.

In the forest an appeal is made to your senses. That way you come back to yourself, with both feet on the ground. First you notice the wonderful peace. As you breathe in the healthy forest air deep, the slowing starts, releasing the daily grind. And then…. real relaxation. During a walk through the forest you can fully recharge yourself.

As one of the most forested countries in Europe, Austria protects its precious natural treasures in various ways:

From glacier areas, mountain forests and river valleys in the west to steppe lakes in the east: the 6 national parks represent the most important, different types of landscapes of Austria. In these areas, the habitats for the re-introduction of extinct animal and plant species are protected. Because only in this way is it possible to preserve the absolutely necessary ecological treasures of nature. Clean water and clean air are precious resources, which Austria owes to the careful management of the nature reserves.

A spider with pink eggs, a flying ‘scorpion’ and a snail that eats the harmful Spanish snail: these are the ‘flora and fauna species of the year 2018’ that the Austrian association for nature conservation has chosen. This puts certain endangered species or habitats at the center.

Danube-Auen National Park

Rescued at the very last moment for setting up a hydroelectric power station. The Danube rivers between Vienna and Bratislava are one of the last preserved river meadow landscapes in Central Europe. Here the river forms the landscape. It is home to a large number of plants and animals: more than 60 species of fish, kingfishers, sea eagles, beavers, terrapins, rare orchids and all kinds of insects. In the summer, it is therefore advisable to protect yourself against insects. The area is 38 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide. Experience nature, which you can discover not only on foot, but also on the bike on the Danube road or by boat. Info: www.donauauen.at

From glacier areas, mountain forests and river valleys in the west to steppe lakes in the east: the 6 national parks represent the most important, different types of landscapes of Austria. In these areas, the habitats for the re-introduction of extinct animal and plant species are protected. Because only in this way is it possible to preserve the absolutely necessary ecological treasures of nature. Clean water and clean air are precious resources, which Austria owes to the careful management of the nature reserves. Rescued at the very last moment for setting up a hydroelectric power station. The Danube rivers between Vienna and Bratislava are one of the last preserved river meadow landscapes in Central Europe. Here the river forms the landscape. It is home to a large number of plants and animals: more than 60 species of fish, kingfishers, sea eagles, beavers, terrapins, rare orchids and all kinds of insects. In the summer, it is therefore advisable to protect yourself against insects. The area is 38 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide. Experience nature, which you can discover not only on foot, but also on the bike on the Danube road or by boat. Info: www.donauauen.at

National park Thayatal

As a result of the ‘Iron Curtain’, this valley on the border with the Czech Republic remained virtually untouched. Because of the location, but also because of their inaccessibility, a large part of the national park Thayatal and the valley remained cleared of forestry interventions.
Here almost half of all plants native to Austria grow on a relatively small surface. In other parts of Austria you often have to travel a great distance to see another type of forest. In the Thayatal it is often enough, just follow the bend of the river, after which the environment looks very different again.

A number of overgrown ruins and castles reminds us that times have not always been so peaceful. What was unthinkable a few years ago is now very easy. During a walk or a bike ride the part of the park can be explored across the border in the Czech Republic.

Wild cats in Thayatal national park

And then suddenly: something in the undergrowth crackles, something rustling through the leaves on the ground – that was … – was that perhaps …? More than 10 years ago, nature lovers were positively surprised. Wild cats had settled in the forests of Thayatal National Park. It is worthwhile to walk through the forest with attention and open eyes, because you only have a very small chance of encountering one of the shy animals in the wild. The two wild cats Frieda and Carlo can certainly be seen in a generously enclosed area near the Nationalparkhaus. And who knows what surprises will appear in the unfenced area: sea eagles, cormorants, otters, beavers … Everything is possible in the Waldviertel. Info: www.np-thayatal.at

National park Limestone Alps

The largest contiguous forest area in Austria lies in the national park Kalkalpen. Four-fifths of the surface is covered with spruce, pine and beech trees, which grow naturally here, grow old and die. The dead trees form an important habitat for beetles and woodpeckers. As the next generation of trees grow out of the decaying stems, insects and micro-organisms convert the remains into fertile humus. This cycle of nature can be clearly observed in the national park Kalkalpen. The gorges, ravines, waterfalls and lakes are also impressive.

Explore the national park with the whole family. The many alpine meadows are very suitable for walks. Or, under the guidance of a forester, make a discovery trip to experience the deer brewing.

The demanding hiker is at the right place on the Ebenforst alm. The treeless plateaus are a suitable starting point for climbing the surrounding mountains. It is really adventurous to cross the Hohe Nock in the Sengsen Mountains (1953 meters) in two days.

If you want to know more about the national park, you should definitely visit the visitor center ‘Ennstal’. This is located between Reichraming and Großraming and is an ideal starting point for all kinds of activities in the Kalkalpen National Park. Info: www.kalkalpen.at

Hiking in the Waldviertel

Drosendorf im Waldviertel is an ideal starting point for a trip to one of the tranquil forests that surround the medieval town on the Thaya. The gentle forest walk in the rugged northern part of Austria begins with a tour along the ramparts. From the steep, protruding rock on which Drosendorf is built, you can look far over the area. In the fall the whole environment turns into a splashing color sea. And that is not so obvious, because in the Waldviertel the pines grow the hardest, as in most other Austrian regions.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and enjoy the smell of forest soil and damp moss. The sunlight falls through the leaves and creates a beautiful shadow play on the ground. Around you buzzes and chirps, the treetops are full of whistling birds. Being in contact with nature, getting as close as possible. And maybe also yourself? Everything is possible. In the forest, time suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.