The best time to visit Austria on a Danube River cruise is during the shoulder season months of late spring or early autumn, when the weather is warm but not hot and there is noticeably less tourist crowding in the major cities. Summer can also be a great time to visit Austria if you prefer hotter weather and don’t mind dealing with the crowds. Unless you are an avid skier, then we recommend avoiding the frigid winter months in Austria.
At a Glance:
March, April and May: Good season
- High season (June-August): Warmest weather, but also most crowded
- Shoulder seasons (Spring and Fall): Fewer hours of daylight, but more comfortable, cooler temperatures and less crowded tourist areas.
- Ski season (December, January and February): Very limited selection of cruises but ideal for winter sports.
The spring season in central Europe, from March through May, marks the beginning of the cruise season on the Danube River. Travelers through Austria during the spring season will have the chance to take walking city tours, nature hikes, wine tastings, and concerts. However, it’s worth noting that due to the higher levels of rainfall and snow melt during this time of year, some rivers may flood, making it impossible for cruise ships to navigate under some of the lower bridges and through locks along the Danube. If this happens, the operator will dock the riverboat until water levels go down and use luxury motor coaches to transport travelers through their itinerary.
June, July and August: High season
If you’re planning a Danube River cruise through Austria in the summer months of June-August, keep in mind that it tends to get hot and crowded during this time of year in central Europe. The weather reaches the highest temperatures of the year and the days enjoy the longest hours of daylight. This is a great time of the year to hike as the temperatures are at their warmest. It’s a good idea to pack a small jacket and a raincoat to keep you comfortable in any weather, as it may occasionally get a little chilly, with a chance of rain. Activities such as city tours, concerts, and wine tastings are the most popular attractions during this time of the year in Austria.
September October and November: Good season
Another great time of year to travel through Austria is during the fall season from September-early November, as there is little rainfall and the water levels are generally navigable. Warm temperatures during the daytime with little rainfall make autumn a very comfortable season to travel through Austria. The activities and attractions during this season are largely the same as the summer.
December, January and February: Off season for cruising
There are very few Danube River cruises during the month of December and no cruises during the months of January of February. The vibrant Christmas markets are the major tourist attraction during the month of December, featuring traditional hot food and drinks, handmade souvenirs and cultural celebrations everywhere. Balls are also in season during winter time for those who are interested in arts. For those hoping to ski, the skiing season does go through March in Austria, but the best snow is typically during the months of January and February.