Although Austria is full of amazing hiking places, there are only 6 national parks in the country. This fact is surprising, given that the country is the "emperor" of active rest. There are many green areas but not so many highly protected locations.

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Of the six national parks, three protect the alpine region, while the rest preserve wetlands.

Overview

National Parks of Austria Area (km2) Distance from Vienna Province(s) Foundation Top attractions
Hohe Tauern National Park 1856 400 km Salzburg, Tyrol, Carinthia 1981 Grossglockner, Ankogel, Krimml waterfall, Kaprun
Kalkalpen National Park 208 220 km Upper Austria 1997 Kalkalpenweg
Gesause National Park 111 220 km Styria 2002 Enns river, Johnsbach river, Hochtor
Neusiedler See National Park 97 70 km Burgenland 1993 Neusiedler See
Donau-Auen National Park 93 40 km Upper Austria, Vienna 1996 Danube, Orth Castle
Thayatal National Park 13 100 km Lower Austria 2000 Thaya river, Hardegg Castle
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Did you know? The largest park is the High Tauern (Hohe Tauern), which is also the largest national park in Central Europe.

Maps

National Parks of Austria map
Map of the National Parks of Austria

#1 Hohe Tauern National Park

The park gets its name from its largest high mountain, the Hohe Tauern (High Tauern). The huge area is the destination of many hikers every year. The mountainsides are steep. The deep valleys are cascading, made even more beautiful by many waterfalls.

The Hohe Tauern is a real paradise for climbers, as the Grossglockner and the Ankogel are located here. But don't be sad for those who prefer to stay close to the ground, as most of Austria's gorges are located in the area, the most famous of which is the Sigmund Thun Gorge. The park is also home to several via Ferrata routes. Kaprun is a real treat in every season.

Top attractions

#2 Kalkalpen National Park

Kalkalpen is a real gem for those not interested in anything other than hiking, nature and silence. The park, spared from the famous attractions, hence it is not known by many. It is not as popular as the Hohe Tauern or the Gesause. Still, we are talking about a charming, unspoilt region guaranteed to recharge your energy level.

The exciting and wild Kalkalpen National Park near the Styrian border includes the Sengsengebirge (alpine habitats) and the Reichraminger Hintergebirge (Austria's largest contiguous forest area and the longest stream system in the Eastern Alps).

The park's biggest attraction is the 150 km Kalkalpenweg, a multi-day hiking trail. The route, which consists of 11 sections, can be shortened, so even a week can be enough for a comprehensive park hike.

#3 Gesause National Park

The park is located in the northern part of Styria. The area is Austria's youngest national park, named after the river Enns, as Gesause means "roaring". In terms of size, it is the third-largest national park in the country. The core of the protected area is the river valley itself.

  • Province: Styria
  • Area: 111 km2
  • Tourist center: City of Admont (Hauptstraße 35, 8911 Admont)

About 52% of the park is covered by forest, and 23.6% is mountainous. Its wild beauty makes Gesause magical, especially for those hungry for adventure.

Whether it's hiking, climbing, water sports, or ski tours, Austria's youngest national park is where you can enjoy the possibilities that nature offers.

#4 Donau Auen National Park

The park stretches along the Danube from Vienna to the Slovak border, to the mouth of the Moravian River, which is adjacent to the Dunajské luhy Protected Landscape Area.

The 38 km long national park covers one of the largest, untouched floodplains in Central Europe. If you like wild, unspoilt scenery and aren't afraid of a few mosquitos, this is the place for you.

#5 Neusiedler See - Seewinkel

The national park is located around Lake Neusiedl (also called Lake Fertő in Hungarian). Together with the neighbouring Hungarian Fertő-Hanság National Park, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.

The area rich in birdlife is a real treat for families, as the terrain is easy, and a series of thrills await you if you love animals.

  • Province: Burgenland
  • Area: 97 km2

#6 Thayatal National Park

In the northern part of Austria, there is a divided park. The other part of the protected area lies in the Czech Republic, where you can find it under the name Podyjí National Park.

The region formed in the valley of the Thaya river. This is the smallest Austrian national park, and stretches 26 km along the border formed.

The region is famous for its exceptionally rich flora. Half of Austria's flora can be found in this small area. The rich flora was created thanks to the river's bends, the diverse soil composition and the microclimate of the mountain slopes.

You can find the home of Austria's national parks here.

What do we call a national park?

Areas of great ecological importance are called national parks, so the uniformity of the living space must be protected for present and future generations. In this way, the relationship between the organisms living here and their environment can be studied. The area must be suitable for leisure activities (e.g. hiking, cycling).

It is forbidden to do any agricultural or industrial activity.

In addition to the parks, there are several reserves, protected areas and nature parks in Austria. An example is the Almendland Nature Park in Styria, where Austria's most famous gorge - the Bärenschützklamm; is located.

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