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Name: Karatza Katerina

Wienerwald - Vienna Woods:

Recreational Area for Vienna

It is a bit of a cliché to call the Vienna Woods or the Wienerwald area the
"green lung of Vienna". In fact, the stretch of land is far from being Austria′s
most impressive piece of landscape - gentle hills with forests, but also densely
populated with prosperous suburbs at varying degrees of attractiveness.

The Wienerwald embraces Vienna from the North to the South-East and is
approximately 45 kilometres long and 20 to 30 kilometres wide, which sums
up to approximately 100,000 hectares. The Wienerwald area comprises of hills
that are the final "outposts" of the Alps - the Northern Calciferous Alps, to be
precise. That being said, do not expect proper mountains from the Wienerwald.
They offer walking opportunities at best.

Personally, I quite like the Wienerwald; compared to the industrialised suburbs

of Vienna in the South and East, the Vienna Woods are nice and they offer an
opportunity to enforce an illusion of wilderness upon yourself if you want to
escape from Vienna for a while. In this article, I want to give a general
introduction to the Wienerwald area and some "entry points" for walks in the
Vienna Woods for
those who approach
them from Vienna. The
hills and valleys of the
Wienerwald area range
between 300 and 900
metres of altitude; the
most popular ones are
those around the
Kahlenberg and
Leopoldsberg. These
two hills offer great
views on Vienna.

19th Century: Wienerwald Vienna Woods go Nature Reserve

The Wienerwald was supposed to be deforested in 1870; a local politician and

lobbyist called Josef Schöffel fought against these plans and became finally
famous as the "Saviour of the Vienna Woods". Thanks to Josef Schöffel, the
city of Vienna can trick the statistics and rightfully claim to comprise of about
50 percent forest - mostly due to the extension of the city limits into the
forested hills of the Wienerwald.

In 2005, the Wienerwald became a UNESCO "Biosphere Reserve", despite of

its fairly dense population. There are several parts of the Wienerwald that are
also traditional nature reserves, most notably the Eichenhain,
Sandsteinwienerwald, Lainzer Tiergarten (already part of Vienna),
Naturpark Sparbach and Föhrenberge. Of these, the Lainzer Tiergarten and
the Naturpark Föhrenberge are within easy reach from Vienna - even with
pulbic means of transport.

For proper hiking, one needs to get further away from Vienna. The highest
"mountain" of the Wienerwald area is the 893 metres high Schöpfl. South-
East of the Schöpfl you find two other relatively high hills: The Gföhlberg (885
metres) and the Hohe Lindkogel (834 metres); but also the Peilstein (716
metres). If you are up for some hillwalking within the city limits of Vienna,
watch out for the Hermannskogel (542 metres) with the "Habsburgwarte"
(Habsburg look out). This was the central reference point for maps during the
time of the Empire. Note also the Dreimarkstein (454 metres) between the
districts of Hernals and Döbling as well as the village of Weidling. The
Jubiläumswarte look-out (480 metres) on Heuberg and the Wienerblick at
Lainzer Tiergarten area are also popular look-outs that offer great views on

The valleys of the Wienerwald are called "Wienerwaldtäler" and popular for
geriatric walks as well as gently cycling. Most of the valleys are densely
populated, so nature aficionados are well-advised to look out for nature reserves
with building constraints.

The calciferous rock in the areas around Mödling and Baden contains some
interesting caves. Note especially the „Dreidärrischenhöhle" at the base of
Mount Anninger, the Elfen- and Einödhöhle between Pfaffstätten and
Gaaden, the Arnsteinhöhle near Maria Raisenmarkt and the Tropfsteinhöhle at
Alland. The most popular underground attraction of the Wienerwald, however,
is the Seegrotte Hinterbrühl near Mödling.

The Wienerwald is a "cultural landscape" and contains many monasteries -

orders were actively encouraged to settle there by the Austrian monarchs for
centuries. These monasteries and hermitages include the Stift Heiligenkreuz
and Stift Klosterneuburg; Kleinmariazell and Mauerbach. The monastery of
Lilienfeld is just outside of the Wienerwald and ideal for being inlcuded in a
Wienerwald day-trip from Vienna.
Access to the Wienerwald from Vienna

Finally, the promised entrance points: I urgently recommend tourists - even

those who spend only a few days in Vienna - to go up the Wiener Höhenstraße
to the Kahlenberg and/or Leopoldsberg. From here, many hiking paths lead
straight into the Vienna woods. You can also walk down to the city and enjoy a
combination of forest, vineyards and stunning views on Vienna. If you hop
off the bus at the Cobenzl, you can walk around in this area, too.

An alternative would be Neustift am Walde, within easy reach by bus and as a

Heurigen wine tavern area less touristy than Grinzing. Here you just walk
through a layer of vineyards and the Vienna Woods are yours. Similar things
apply to Obersievering, Neuwaldegg (with Schloss Neuwaldegg and the
Schwarzenberg Park), and Dornbach.

At the Baumgartner Höhe just behind the Kirche am Steinhof, the

Wilhelminenberg area and a neighbourhood called "Himmel" ("heaven"), you
also find the great combination of look-outs and nature. Further East, the
Hütteldorf area is primarily residential, but well-connected by subway U4 - I
find this area less attractive, though, due to some major traffic lines and loads of
loaded people who live here and made the area a (wealthy) suburb. The Roter
Berg in Hietzing is a bit packed with people who walk their dogs; further south,
the Lainzer Tiergarten is a nice nature reserve. At the very south, the suburb of
Rodaun offers direct access to nice rambling routes. That much about entrance
points directly from Vienna.

For proper day-trips, there are plenty of attractive destinations that you could
get to and use as a base for hikes. The most attractive communities in and just
by the Vienna Wood are: Klosterneuburg, Purkersdorf, Breitenfurt bei Wien,
Pressbaum, Neulengbach, Alland, Bad Vöslau, Baden, Gumpoldskirchen,
Mödling, Brunn am Gebirge and Sulz. All of them are within easy reach from
Vienna, regardless if you travel by car or public means of transport. Especially
Klosterneuburg (north of Vienna), Baden and Mödling (south of Vienna) are a
few stops with local trains and very well-connected.
Silver Lime, Silver Linden (Tilia tomentosa)

The Silver Lime is a large, expansive tree which grows to heights of 30 metres. The yellow-
white umbels are strongly scented. The leaves are covered with white felt below. If
unfavourable factors happen to coincide, the honey will cause metabolic disorders in bumble-


Noise abatement, forage for honey-bees, public areas, parks, urban areas, roadside verges, car
parks, pedestrian precincts, private parks, honeydew, snow-break, aggressive roots, pollen

Native regions

Germany, Southern Europe, Southeastern Europe, Middle East, Asia Minor

Location parameters

Light: sunny to semi-shady, temperature: warm to cool, soil: slightly dry to moist, soil
structure: firm to normal, soil depth: medium to very deep, soil quality: medium to high, pH
value: 6.0 to 8.5


Sun; tolerates heat, likes warmth, frost-hardy, occasionally damaged by late frost; moderately
dry to fresh locations, slightly acid to strongly alkaline; nutrient-rich loamy soils; resistant to
urban climates.


Height of growth: 25m to 30m, spread: 20m, rapid growth potential, growth habits: wide,
loose, upright, compact crown


Heart-shaped, stalked, 11-16cm long, 6.5-12cm wide, leaf stem 2-6cm long. Serrated edge.
Leaves are dark green above, silver-grey below, turn luminous yellow in autumn.

Flowering period VII-VIII, yellowish cymes.


Woody, slightly warty, grey-haired nut, ovate, approx. 1cm long.


Grey-green bark with shallow furrows, regular chambering when older. Branches are pale
grey-brown or yellowish-brown.


Deep-rooting, heart-rooting, fine root system, expansive root system.

Woody, slightly warty, grey-haired nut,
Flowering period VII-VIII, yellowish ovate, approx. 1cm long.