Sara and John say...
The hills are alive! Helped by a vibrant mix of elements - from summer heat and thunderstorms to winter cold and snow, and plenty of sunshine in between - the climate of Austria should meet most tastes.
We can divide the country into three broad regions. Vienna, the capital, lies within the low-lying plain, within which the Danube twists and turns through central Europe. Summers are warm, with daytime temperatures typically in the mid-20s Celsius. Sunshine is punctuated by occasional showers and thunderstorms, which help to keep the air fresh. It’s the wettest time of year, but the downpours often don’t last long. However, summer heatwaves can bring stifling heat and humidity.
The more mild and mellow changeover seasons of autumn and spring are very popular for visitors, before winter arrives. From November to March, daytime temperatures are often not much above freezing, with overnight frost commonplace. The plains can also see persistent winter fogs that can last several days.
At higher altitudes, and within easy reach of the Alpine slopes, lie the cities of Salzburg, Linz, Graz and Innsbruck. Here, summers are cooler and the heat less intense. Rainfall through the year is more frequent, but with daytime temperatures hovering close to or below freezing, snowfall is more common in winter.
Heading further up the mountains, we arrive at a truly Alpine climate, where snow lies on the ground throughout the winter and frost is severe. However sunshine prevails through the winter months, making this a winter-sports playground. Indeed, thanks to lower temperatures, Austrian resorts often enjoy more reliable snow-cover than their neighbouring Swiss counterparts.
But in spring the thaw reveals a verdant landscape of green meadows and pure mountain streams. Occasional summer thunderstorms interrupt the blue skies - a good excuse to take a break from your exertions and enjoy a schnapps!