Summer is awesome, but can be a pain in the city. A great way to escape the muggy air is seeking higher elevations, which luckily aren’t far from Vienna. You don’t even need a car to reach one of the nicest trails in the Wiener Alpen, the so-called Viennese Alps and you even get to visit a UNESCO heritage. The popular Bahnwanderweg is best reached by train and the hiking trail takes you along fascinating railway structures, impressively showing how humans overcame rough, mountainous territory. As the whole track has been completed in 1854 you can imagine how rough the working conditions must’ve been without modern machines (building 14 tunnels and 16 arches!) Today the track serves as the main rail connection between Vienna and the south and the ride is very scenic. But to experience its whole beauty it’s advisable to do an easy one-day-trip from Vienna: Get off at station Semmering and follow the well marked path until one of the other stops along the train line (in my case I hiked 9 km to Breitenstein) – hop on the next train and get back to where you started!
Along the trail you’ll find lots of viewpoints overlooking the region’s most famous landmarks like the Semmeringbahn, the Rax and Schneeberg.
This famous lookout is called 20-Schilling-Blick as it was printed on the old 20-Schilling banknotes.
This trail certainly isn’t for train geeks only 😉
The starting point is about 1 hour travel time by car from Vienna, but for the scenic route it’s advisable to take the train: The fastest trains take only 1 hour 12 minutes to Semmering and run on the historic tracks. From there you can hike as long as you want to the following stations: Breitenstein (9 km), Klamm (15 km), Payerbach (21 km) or Gloggnitz (23 m) and take a local train back to Semmering. Look up schedules and tickets here.
See also the following article for more great hiking near Vienna: