Although Austria is full of fantastic hiking places, only six national parks exist. 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. Three national parks protect the alpine region, while the rest preserve wetlands.

The parks collectively encompass many ecosystems, from high alpine regions with glaciers to lowland wetlands along significant rivers like the Danube. This diversity of landscapes supports a rich variety of flora and fauna.

The total area covered by Austria's national parks is approximately 2,476 square kilometres. They are home to many rare and endangered species of plants and animals. Conservation efforts within the national parks help protect and preserve this biodiversity.

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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
Did you know? The largest park is the High Tauern (Hohe Tauern), the largest national park in Central Europe.


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 vast 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: Grossglockner, Ankogel, Krimml waterfall (Austria's largest waterfall), Kaprun, and the Sigmund Thun Gorge.

Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria

#2 Kalkalpen National Park

Kalkalpen is a real gem for those not interested in anything other than hiking, nature and silence. The park is spared from the famous attractions; hence, many do not know it. 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.

Kalkalpen National Park, Austria

#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 centre: City of Admont (Hauptstraße 35, 8911 Admont)

About 52% of the park is forest, and 23.6% is mountainous. Its wild beauty makes Gesause magical, especially for those hungry for adventure. Whether hiking, climbing, water sports, or ski tours, Austria's youngest national park is where you can enjoy nature's possibilities.

Gesause National Park, Austria

#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 Central Europe's most extensive untouched floodplains. If you like wild, unspoilt scenery and aren't afraid of a few mosquitos, this is the place for you.

Donau Auen National Park, Austria

#5 Neusiedler See - Seewinkel

The national park is 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
Neusiedler See National Park, Austria

#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 mountain slopes' microclimate.

Thayatal National Park, Austria

What is 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 or the Blockheide Nature Park in Lower Austria.

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