Hidden spots around Vienna: a walk in the woods

The Wienerwald, or “Viennese Forest”, covers the foothills that separate the Viennese basin from the eastern fringes of the Alps proper. It transitions smoothly into Vienna’s northwestern vineyard and Heurigen districts, which I’m fortunate enough to have grown up near – unsurprisingly, these are some of the city’s greenest parts.

The woods loom large in the Viennese collective consciousness – Johann Strauss, one of the city’s best-known and most iconic composers, named one of his most beautiful waltzes after it.

As the first snows of the year laid a soft white blanket on the city, therefore, I headed out to the woods with a few friends – they’re barely 10-15 minutes’ drive from my doorstep. As the roads snake higher into the foothills, increasingly scenic views of Vienna can be glimpsed from the many meadows and clearings in the forest. This time, though, the sky was still heavy with clouds from the recent snowfall and visibility was low, so I focused on nearby subjects instead.

Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), Austria, in winter with snow.

Bits of snow cling to the tiniest things.

Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), Austria, in winter with snow.

As darkness fell, it quickly got every bit as chilly as it looks.

Without my hiking boots, I had to rely on old, wrecked street shoes that very quickly became waterlogged – our walk in the woods was therefore a short one out of necessity. But days like this one don’t come about too often and I wasn’t keen on heading home just yet, so I went for a little walk around Türkenschanzpark, my local park.

Sunset at Türkenschanzpark, Vienna, Austria

An impressive sunset frames trees drooping with the fresh snow.

Sunset at Türkenschanzpark, Vienna, Austria

For some reason, this one brought to mind the white walkers from A Song of Ice and Fire…

Snow makes for tricky shooting, very different due to the lack of contrast in white-on-white areas – but there’s just so much opportunity to discover beauty elsewhere, and to be outside when few others are. Of course, a vibrant sunset helped, too…

Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), Austria, in winter with snow.

Entmoot in the Vienna Woods.

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