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Feisty Foxes: 3 Must-Visit Castles near Vienna

A lake in the foreground with a castle in the background
Water and a Castle: The perfect late summer combination!

Late summer and autumn are ideal for short and longer excursions from Vienna. After a scorching summer, when the temperatures finally become bearable again, it's much nicer to hike up the hills and mountains of Austria to enjoy the distant views under a clear blue sky. And if the hill or mountain you climbed also has an interesting building that you can visit, all the better! A nice castle is ideal for such a visit, regardless of whether it is still complete or only a ruin: the main thing is that you can explore it! I've been an AlpineFox since childhood, because my father was a great and enthusiastic castle visitor and passed this passion on to me. I'm not just an AlpineFox, so to speak, but also a CastleFox!

Conveniently, there is a whole range of these exciting buildings to discover very close to Vienna. Ideal for a Sunday trip out of the big city. In today's article we will stay close to the city. In the second part that will soon follow, we will deal with castles that are more in the south, north and west of Austria. So stay tuned for part two! But for now let's start with castles close to Vienna:

Burg Liechtenstein:

Just a fox's hop from Vienna, on the eastern edge of the Vienna Woods, near Maria Enzersdorf, there are walls that will make every castle lover's heart beat faster. This ancestral castle of the House of Liechtenstein was built on a "light stone" (or, in German "lichter Stein", hence Liechtenstein) by a certain Mr. Hugo in the 12th century. It was destroyed during the Ottoman wars and rebuilt in the 19th century. Now this "new" version stands, really, really defiant and visible from afar on the lightly colored rock that once gave its predecessor its name. Even looking at it from the outside makes the viewer feel very dizzy.

A fortress on white hill with a tree in the foreground
Ready to explore this defiant fortress?

The interior of the castle can be visited as part of guided tours, which are quite exciting: The cistern tour in the depths of the castle, for example. Or the night tour by which you explore the castle guided only by lantern light through the dark corridors and chambers. Owl calls and the view of the Vienna Basin at night included!

And after this amazing experience: Maybe explore Heiligenkreuz abbey or Baden, an ancient Spa city as a bonus. Or go to Gumpoldskirchen to the Heurigen.

Burg Kreuzenstein:

The castle of my childhood! Oh, how often did my father and I visit it without ever getting bored walking through the armory, descending into the huge kitchen with the huge frying pans and skewers and the famous "noodle printer", a kind of medieval spaghetti machine, or of the sight of the much too short four-poster bed in the prince's room, including a blood bag to collect fleas (ugh, creepy!). In terms of history, it is a bit like the northern sister of Liechtenstein Castle: Founded in the 12th century, enlarged from time to time, it didn't fall victim to the Ottomans, but to the Swedes in the Thirty Years' War. Accordingly, in the 19th century it was rebuilt as a romantic castle and is now a museum. By the way, the rebuilding was done by the same architect as Liechtenstein Castle!

You've never been to Kreuzenstein? Lets go! The castle is situated on a wooded hill not far from Korneuburg, so it can be reached very quickly from Vienna. You can combine a tour of the castle with a short hike to get some refreshments in the "Goldenen Bründl" (Golden Well) or have lunch or a snack in the castle tavern. Sounds like a perfect day for junior knights and

-damsels, right?

The castle is open until 31.10. More information:


The third fortress in the series of romantic castles near Vienna is the Franzensburg, located on an island in the middle of the Laxenburg Palace Park and can only be reached by a small ferry or over a bridge. In contrast to Kreuzenstein and Liechtenstein, the Franzensburg was never originally a "real" knight's castle, but was built as a "garden house in the form of a Gothic castle vestment" by Emperor Franz II./I. (Yes, the one with the two ordinal numbers. I'll be happy to explain his story to you, for example during one of my legendary tours through the Capuchin Crypt!) around the year 1800. Its interior houses the chambers of a legendary knight. But who's that knight? It's one of Franz's predecessor, Maximilian I., recognizable by visitors in paintings ánd statues in the castle grounds as the "last knight".

The beautiful English-style garden was designed by the garden lover and trained gardener Emperor Franz, who even had a tournament arena laid out. True to the motto: if you're going to play knights, then do it properly! Even nowadays you'll be able to see a medieval tournament: on September 16th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. there will be a "knight's tournament on horseback". The rest of the program is also impressive! Be sure to check out the events calendar:

Well then, maybe see you soon in Laxenburg? Or would you prefer Kreuzenstein or Liechtenstein? Or will we see each other on one of my walks through Vienna?

Be sure to check out my website. Follow the Foxes into a golden autumn!

See you soon,


Claudia from the AlpineFoxes

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