We traditionally celebrated my birthdays in another country. I dreamed of mountains, a fireplace and nature, and so we went to Austria with our four-legged partner Balu.
Lower Austria is an ideal destination if you want to spend time in dense forests and mountains, but don’t want to travel too far from Vienna. Only an hour from Vienna you will find the Vienna Alps, which are nicknamed the “Paradise of views” due to their wonderful alpine panorama and are a popular skiing destination in winter. We went here in autumn, but we will definitely come back here at another time of the year.
The Vienna Alps
Only a two-hour drive from Bratislava, vineyards disappear and high hills begin, offering beautiful views and alpine terrain. The Viennese Alps in Lower Austria are visited by tourists all year round. In winter, skiing or cross-country skiing is mainly done here on the 100 kilometer long Wechsel – Semmering panoramic track. In the summer, you can go on many hiking or cycling routes. We went in the fall, when the music festival season is over and we can enjoy the weekend together.
In the Viennese Alps, get ready for hills, roads full of twists and turns, but also for beautiful views and lots of grazing with animals. The most famous tourist spot is Semmering, but you can also find accommodation in small villages and towns in the vicinity. We stayed in the village of Trattenbach with very nice people who even baked us a welcome cake.
Tip for dog friendly accomodation
We stayed in the Ferienhaus Bauer in the village of Trattenbach, under the forest and next to a gurgling stream. If you are looking for peace, a fireplace, a terrace with a view of the mountains and good internet, this is the right place. We loved it there, we even had a small yard where the dog could run in the morning while we enjoyed breakfast on the terrace. To welcome us, the lady of the house baked a cake and lit a fire in the fireplace.
There are also many other places where you can stay with your dog and these are our top pick:
- Hotel near Rax with breakfast and cosy rooms – Hotel Kaiserhof.
- Budget friendly BB Landhaus Semmering with horses, cows around.
The Rax mountain range is a popular excursion destination near Semmering. Raxalpe with its highest peak Heukuppe (2,007 m) is located approximately 150-180 km from Bratislava. The peak provides beautiful views of the rest of the Viennese Alps, the peaks of Schneealpe, Hochschwab and Schneeberg can be seen in the distance. A cable car will take you to the top of the Rax mountain range.
How to travel to Rax
How do you get to Rax?
The Rax cable car leaves from the Hirschwang district in Reichenau an der Rax and takes you to the mountain station at an altitude of 1600 m in just 8 minutes. A number of diverse hikes with unique views lead from here. There is a parking lot right next to the cable car station where you can park your car for free.
If you decide to travel by train, you will have to change trains. From Vienna, the train goes to the station Payerbach-Reichenau and from there the regional bus 341 takes about 15 minutes to the Hirschwang Raxseilbahn stop. The journey from Vienna takes about 2 hours.
The journey on the oldest cable car in Austria will take you only 8 minutes and you will reach a height of 1600m. The cable car runs every day, you can go here for both summer and winter hiking. Take a look on the current timetable before your trip.
You may be surprised by the price of this short ride, but you will be driving very quickly to a great height. In September 2022, we paid 29€ for the cable car for a return trip. You can choose just one route and go to the top on your own. Tickets can be bought online so you know exactly when the cable car will take you up. During the summer/winter season, this will ensure that you get to the cable car, as it is quite a busy place.
If you decide to walk to Rax and not use the cable car, park at the Preiner Gscheid parking lot and the route leads to the top from there.
If you buy cable car tickets online, don’t forget to exchange them for physical tickets at the checkout. You will not be allowed in the cable car without tickets from the ticket office.
Cable car to Rax with a dog
If we go out into nature, we almost always take our dog with us. Dogs are welcome on the Rax cable car and in the national park.
The dog also needs a ticket. We paid 9€ for the ride, it doesn’t matter how big your dog is. Every dog must be muzzled and on a lead. If you forgot your muzzle, they have many sizes to rent right in the building from where the cable car departs. The spaces of the cable car are quite cramped, you all stand there together and the dog will not have much space for himself. Rax is a popular trip for many dog walkers, so think about whether your dog can handle this side of the trip.
Take a look on our trips around Europe
Routes on the Rax mountain range
After arriving at the top, snowy or green alpine meadows, magical views and healthy mountain air will await you. The interesting thing about this trip to Rax is, that the road leads from past the mountain huts. In the cottages there are restaurants with traditional Austrian food, they tap you beer, have a toilet and you can also sleep there. They even have buffets for dogs with water and small snacks (free).
Along with the ticket, you will also receive a map on which all the huts and the routes to them are marked. You can choose which way to go and how far. The Ottohaus Hut is the first hut right after the mountain station. You can enjoy the view of the Schneeberg mountain all the way.
Next, you can determine your own route. You can choose just an easy 10 km walk, or you can go all the way to the top to the Karl Ludwig Haus. Don’t forget that the weather here changes very quickly, one moment we were here in t-shirts and the next in a winter jacket.
If you want to end your trip before you have a cable car ticket, you can simply rebook it at the machine at the mountain station. If there are no free seats, just simply wait, the cable car employees announce before each boarding how many free seats there are, so you can get down earlier.
All routes are clearly marked. You can use a paper map or the Am Wiener Alpenbogen app. or Mapy.cz also works here, just don’t forget the offline version, because we didn’t have a signal on the hills almost the entire time.
With the dog on top of the hill
Most of the routes are completely manageable even with a dog. You will mostly walk along gravel roads or meadows. But there are also sections with chains, or those that are very close to the cliff. Our dog Baloo is not scared of heights and is really curios , so we avoid such sections.
On the way from one mountain hut to another, we found almost no trash cans. In national parks, it is forbidden to leave dog excrement in nature, so you have to take it with you. Don’t forget to pack a box in addition to dog excrement bags, so that your whole backpack doesn’t stink. When you get to the cottage, you can throw it there.
It is also forbidden to walk in national park with an unleashed dog. The fine is up to 5 thousand Euros, if the dog is not on a leash. Therefore, don’t forget a leash with which you and your four-legged friend can go comfortably.
The trip with the dog to Rax was a very good idea and we really enjoyed it here. We will definitely return to the area, there are many beautiful places. You can follow this and many other trips on my Instagram.
I hope we have inspired you to choose to explore the Viennese Alps with your four-legged companion. See you somewhere on the roads.
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