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What is it that makes a winter holiday in Austria so unique? It's the Austrian way of life. Blissful moments in the snow, experienced and enjoyed together with family and friends. The ones you brought along, and the ones you just met!
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Ball Season in Austria
Austria's ball season is sometimes called the "fifth season" and stretches between November and February. In a country that knows how to enjoy life with all senses, these events are truly magical.
Discover the Country
With these compact itineraries, we invite you to experience Austria at its best. From top sights to hidden treasures, culinary highlights to art and culture – here's how to make the most of your stay.
Vienna in 3 Days
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Looking for a charming, family-run hotel in Austria? Here is our curated list featuring great hotels in Austria's cities and countryside.
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Austria's ski regions can't wait to start into the new winter season - and thousands of skiing enthusiasts are just as eagerly awaiting the opening dates.
Editor's Picks: Winter
Kayaking and canoeing in winter.
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The winter landscape shimmers in a new light by the glow of a torch. We set off to explore the wonderful effects of winter torchlight hiking.
The Sunny Side of Winter in Austria
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The Joy of Freeride
More and more skiers and boarders head off the groomed slopes and float down the mountains on perfect powder instead. Read more about the appeal of off-piste skiing.
Ice, Ice Bathing – Not for the Faint-Hearted
Diving into a frozen lake in winter may sound insane to many. For Patricia Schuhmacher, however, it’s the perfect remedy against the winter blues. We spoke to her and water rescuer Hansjörg Ransmayr about ice bathing.
Cross-Country Skiing for the First Time
Anybody donning cross-country skis for the first time needs to learn how to transition from walking to running. If you adopt the right technique, you don't necessarily have to lurch across the track at breakneck speed. However, this can't be ruled out completely …
Husky Toni – a Life with Sled Dogs
Anton Kuttner, better known as Husky Toni, fulfilled his childhood dream in the picturesque Brandnertal valley. He lives there in a very large and unusual family unit - consisting of his human family and 18 sled dogs!
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Culinary discovery trip through Austria
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From palace to peak: the 10 best things to do in Austria
Nov 1, 2021 • 9 min read
Cruise the Grossglockner Road for one of the best experiences in Austria © Shutterstock / ktm-zu
Ask someone to rattle off Austria’s unmissables and they’ll most probably rave about Vienna and its lavish feast of palaces, coffee houses, concert halls and galleries, and the heart-racing trails and slopes that traverse the snow-dusted Alps that ripple across half of the country.
Worthy though these are, this pocket-sized alpine fantasy of a country has lesser-known surprises up its sleeve: from waterfalls and ice caves to sky-high mountain drives and the quiet beauty of the Danube, where abbeys, vineyards and ruined castles guide the eye around each romantic bend.
We’ve combed the country to pick the experiences you really shouldn’t overlook. Read on for our take on the 10 best things to do in Austria.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Tossing you in at the deep end of the Austrian Alps and slated for Unesco World Heritage status, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Hohe Tauern National Park is one drive where the wow never leaves your lips (and your foot rarely leaves the break). Twisting from Bruck in Salzburgerland to Heiligenblut in Carinthia and with an average gradient of 9%, this rollercoaster road is 48km (30mi) of stomach-flipping hairpin bends and whoa-look-at-that-mountain moments.
Tear your gaze fleetingly away from the road and you’ll be gobsmacked by waterfalls, jewel-colored lakes and, from the highest viewpoint, Edelweiss Spitze (2571m, 8435ft), a sea of snow-capped summits punching high above the 3000m mark. All of this is the drumroll to Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, where you can eyeball mighty Grossglockner (3798m, 12460ft), Austria’s highest peak, and the Pasterze Glacier.
Get an early start to beat the crowds, as the road is often bumper-to-bumper by noon, especially in July and August. Check forecasts, too, as the drive isn’t fun in snow or storms.
When the snows melt, falls spill down many a rugged cliff face in the Austrian Alps, but none prepare you for the crash-bang spectacle of the 380m-high, mist-dashed Krimmler Wasserfälle in the remote, mountainous Pinzgau Valley in Salzburgerland. Often kissed by a rainbow, Europe’s highest falls drop over thickly forested slopes and boulders with a thunderous roar.
You’ll feel like a tiny, insignificant speck on the face of the earth confronted with the grand force and scale of these falls (rather a pleasant sensation, as it happens). They are best seen from certain angles, notably the Wasserfallweg (Waterfall Trail), a path zigzagging up through woods to viewpoints commanding photogenic close-ups of the three-tiered falls. Factor in around two hours for the return walk.
Palaces of Vienna
During their 640-year reign, the Habsburg royals collected bombastic palaces the way others collect stamps, enlisting the finest architects of the age to give full flight to their opulent fantasies and stuffing their splendid chambers with beautiful things (treasures, antique porcelain, prancing horses, flattering portraits of themselves - you name it). If you like nothing better than a good romp around a palace, you’ll find a whirl of them in Vienna .
Top of any itinerary is the vast, exuberant Hofburg , Vienna’s Imperial Palace, where you can spend an entire day gawping at imperial jewels in the treasury , listening to choir boys sing angelically at the chapel (every Sunday from September to June), swanning around chandelier-lit apartments designed for Empress Elisabeth, and marveling at the grace of the snow-white Lipizzaner stallions that dance at the Spanish Riding School .
The Hofburg is rivaled in grandeur by the 1441-room Schloss Schönbrunn , a Unesco World Heritage site and summer palace like no other, and baroque-gone-mad Schloss Belvedere , where you can get a glimpse of Klimt’s Kiss both set in exquisitely landscaped gardens.
Visiting the frozen underworld of Eisriesenwelt , the world’s largest accessible ice cave, is like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia. A maze of wondrously sparkling ice passageways, vaults, chambers high as cathedrals and lakes, sculpted over millennia, awaits beneath the limestone spires and turrets of the Tennengebirge range in Salzburgerland. The highlight is the ethereal blue Eispalast (ice palace), where frost crystals glitter when a magnesium flare illuminates them.
You’ll see all of this by grabbing a carbide lamp and hooking onto one of the regular guided tours leading deep into the heart of the mountain, which run roughly from May to October. The insanely pretty, fortress-topped town of Werfen is the starting point for hitting the ice caves, with minibuses linking up to cable cars that swing you up to the trail to the entrance. Make sure you bring thermals, as temperatures dip below zero even in summer.
Best for autumn
With wooded peaks rising sheer and rugged, and a storybook cluster of chalets peering vainly into a looking-glass lake, Hallstatt is an absolute knockout. This obscenely lovely village is one of the fairest in Salzkammergut lakes. Its looks haven’t gone unnoticed, however: the village gets swamped by day-trippers in summer, so time your visit wisely for greater peace. Spring and autumn are glorious. The anticipation mounts the moment you arrive, with boats gliding across the lake from the train station to the village, prettily plonked on a narrow stretch of land between mountain and shore.
The lake makes for compulsive viewing, but venture further and you’ll be glad you did. A funicular lifts you up to Salzwelten , where you can race into the depths of the world’s oldest salt mine on miners’ slides. While you’re up here, brave a stroll on the Skywalk platform, jutting out lake and mountain, with views that leave you speechless.
Outdoor adventure in Tyrol
Best for skiing.
While you can find pulse-quickening outdoor pursuits in any given corner of the Austrian Alps, Tyrol has the year-round edge – whether you want to glacier ski or hike above the treeline from hut to Alpine hut. Innsbruck is a cracking base for striking out into the wilds, with funiculars winging you from city to the slopes of the ragged Nordkette range in mere minutes.
In summer, you can throw yourself down foaming turquoise rivers – like the Inn and Sanna – whitewater rafting, if you dare. Or find thermals as you float above the Alps paragliding in the Zillertal . The region offers boundless possibilities for hikers, too, whether you want a no-sweat stroll with glacier views or a tough, peak-bagging multi-day trek heading properly off the beaten track. Cable cars give mountain bikers a head-start to high-altitude and downhill routes. Ischgl’s Silvretta Mountain Bike Academy is a particular favorite.
When winter brings a seasonal dump of snow, the focus switches to skiing. St Anton am Arlberg is the dream for many, with tough slopes, tremendous off-piste and a party-hard après-ski scene. Mayrhofen thrills with freestyle boarding and leap-into-the-void black runs like the Harakiri, while ritzy Kitzbühel delivers the perfect mix of cruisy runs and a snowpark.
With its high-on-a-hill fortress, dome-encrusted baroque Old Town, cliffs dropping to the river like a theatre curtain and phenomenal Alpine backdrop, the city of Salzburg looks perfectly orchestrated – and this is no coincidence.
Music is in Salzburg’s blood, whether you’re into warbling nuns hitting the high notes on their way to mass (cue The Sound of Music, filmed here in the 1960s) or Mozart concertos (Austria’s superstar composer was born here in 1756 and his music still rocks many venues today). Then there is the big one: summer’s Salzburg Festival, first staged in 1920, is now a classical music fest of epic proportions, with a high-calibre line-up of opera, concerts and drama, held at grand concert halls and plazas all over the city.
There are many ways to get your groove on in Salzburg, from singing your heart out to The Sound of Music classics as you whizz around film locations with Fräulein Maria's Bicycle Tours to intimate chamber chamber music concerts in the baroque marble hall of Schloss Mirabell .
Danube Cycle Path
You can hike, drive, take a boat or train, but there’s no finer way to see the Danube Valley than with your bum in a saddle. Weaving 236 miles (380km) from Passau to Bratislava , the long-distance Danube Cycle Path is ideal for freewheeling, opening up the riverscapes in the most delightful fashion: Baroque abbeys and castles sit high and mighty on rocky outcrops, woodlands sweep down to deep valleys and orchards, and vineyards stagger down to villages that break up the ride nicely with some of the country’s best food and wine.
The icing on the cake is The Wachau , a stretch of the river so darned lovely it has been awarded Unesco World Heritage status. Allow ample time here to glimpse such treasures as riotously baroque Stift Melk , an abbey complex of epic proportions, and the romantic ruins of Dürnstein’s medieval castle , where Richard the Lionheart was once incarcerated.
Coffeehouse culture in Vienna
Spending a lazy afternoon in one of Vienna’s coffeehouses is your fast-track ticket to the city’s soul. Nowhere captures the nostalgic warmth of Gemütlichkeit better than the Kaffeehaus. They come in all shapes and styles: from grungy and poster plastered to grand but faded and full-on palatial, with vaulted marble interiors, highly polished silver and pianists.
Step into one today and the clock rewinds to the 19th century, when great artists, poets, philosophers and painters played chess, plotted career moves and set the world to rights over coffee and cake (Trotsky, Freud and Klimt among them).
Austria has been obsessed with coffee ever since Turks left behind sacks of coffee beans (then believed to be camel fodder) at the city gates when they fled during the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Roasting the beans and adding a dash of milk, cream and sugar, the Viennese began to create their own mini world and lexicon of coffees: Verlängerter (Americano), Melange (cappuccino) and Brauner (espresso).
Chandelier-lit Café Sacher does the best chocolate cake, Café Central is terribly posh and Café Sperl is nicely bohemian, but you’re bound to find your own personal favorite.
Hohe Tauern National Park
You’ll never get higher in Austria than in Hohe Tauern National Park . Mother Nature really excelled herself when she let rip on one of Europe’s biggest nature reserves, spreading across a whopping 1856 sq km (716 sq mi) and straddling three states (Tyrol, Carinthia and Salzburgerland).
No amount of waxing lyrical about glinting glaciers, eternally ice-capped peaks, bluer-than-blue lakes and roaring falls can ever match the reality. With Grossglockner lording it over the lot, these are landscapes that beggar belief, which you can only really see by striking out on foot: hiking and climbing in summer, or ski touring through the vast, snowy backcountry in winter.
To ramp up the adventure in the park in the company of a well-informed pro, sign up for one of the park’s guided ranger hikes from July to September, many of which are free with the local guest card. These swing from herb-discovery trails to around-the-glacier tours. Or for more serious action, check out Bergführer Kals ’ activities, which include Alpine ascents, ski touring and ice climbing. For everything else, try the park visitor center in Mittersill.
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- 34 Best Places To Visit In Austria In 2023 That Look Straight Out Of A Picture Book
23 Mar 2023
Tucked in between the soaring Alps, Austria is an enchanting country with dream-like landscapes, picture-perfect meadows and grasslands, stunning baroque architecture and music flowing through its veins.
From pretty villages to magnificent cities, from the best operas to the most lavish desserts Austria has the perfect ingredients to intoxicate your senses. Let us guide you through the picturesque landscapes and stunning cities to find out the best places to visit in Austria , including the usual suspects like Vienna and Salzburg and some hidden unexplored Austria tourist places like Bregenz and Wachau. Be sure that you will have a wonderful time relishing the culture and exploring the Alpine landscapes. Make sure you include all these places to your itinerary and indulge in the experiences they offer for a vacation you will remember forever.
34 Top Places To Visit In Austria
And now for an unforgettable experience on your next vacation, make sure you include some of these places to visit in Austria in your itinerary, if not all. And don’t worry. You’ll find plenty of accommodation as well as transport options near all these charming Austria tourist places to make your vacation an enjoyable one!
- Vienna – Walk Down The Glorious Past
- Salzburg – A Date With Mozart
- Innsbruck – The Picture-Postcard Town
- Salzkammergut – Relax And Rejuvenate
- Graz – Immerse In History, Culture, And Food
- Worthersee – A Summer To Remember
- Bad Gastein – A Refreshing Treat For Body And Soul
- Bregenz – Tranquil Days By The Lake
- Wachau – Best Wines And A Dose Of History
- Zell Am See – Pristine Alpine Wonders
- Hoher Dachstein – The Three-State Mountain
- Krimml Waterfalls – Austria’s Famous Paradise
- Vorarlberg – Land Of Mountains
- Tyrol – Heaven In The Alps
- Carinthia – Lakes And Forests
- Styria – Witness The Wildlife
- Burgenland – Taste The Fine Wines
- Hallstatt – Scenic Lake Views
- Mostviertel – Old World Charm
- Alpbach – Skiing And Sledding
- Eisenstadt – Postcard Perfect Sceneries
- Grossglockner High Alpine Road – Best Road Trip Ever
- Lake Constance – Third Largest Lake In Europe
- National Park Donau Auen – Into The Wild
- National Park Gesause – A Rock Climber’s Paradise
- National Park Hohe Tauern – The Land Of Austria’s Superlatives
- Seewinkel National Park – For Birdwatching
- St Anton am Arlberg – Best Ski Village
- Vienna Woods – UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
- Krems – Explore Nature And History
- Linz – Creative Capital
- Schonbrunn Palace – Heritage Of Austria
- Vienna State Opera – Rendezvous With The Culture
- Eisriesenwelt Cave – A Unique Attraction
1. Vienna – Walk Down The Glorious Past
The city of grand palaces and museums, the home of Opera and Beethoven, Vienna is a city steeped in culture and grandeur. A walk down the city’s beautiful Ringstrasse Boulevard, lined with royal buildings like the Hofburg Imperial Palace and many beautiful parks, is a great way to let the magic of Vienna grow on you. Vienna is one of the best cities in Austria . You can also enjoy lovely coffee at the cafes in Vienna for a chilled-out evening.
The opulent Schonbrunn & Belvedere Palaces and the ornate St Stephen’s Cathedral are architectural marvels and a must-visit for art and history enthusiasts. Don’t forget to sip the famous Viennese coffee at one of many cozy coffee houses and gaze in wonder at the world-famous Vienna Opera House before you bid adieu to one of the best places to visit in Vienna, Austria .
Ideal for: History, Architecture, Culture Places To Visit in Vienna : Hofburg Imperial Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Schönbrunn Palace Places To Stay : Hotel Ambassador, Vienna Marriott Hotel Best Restaurants : Ariston Hellenic Restaurant, Restaurant Rote Bar Best Time To Visit: April-May, September-October How To Reach: You can arrive in Vienna via flights from New Delhi and other major international cities.
Must Read: The 10 Most Beautiful Lakes In Austria For An Exotic Europe Getaway
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2. Salzburg – A Date With Mozart
One of the must-see places in Austria is Salzburg that brings to mind a charming city surrounded by rolling green meadows, majestic historical buildings and Mozart. The birthplace of the genius composer and the place where the iconic movie Sound of music was shot, Salzburg tops the list of top places to visit in Austria .
The old town Aldsten with its stunning baroque buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the imposing Hohensalzburg fortress boasts of being Europe’s last preserved castle. The grand extravaganza of culture, music and the arts, the Salzburger Festspiele during summers is an experience to remember. So if you are seeking best places to visit in Austria in summer, add Salzburg to your itinerary.
Ideal for: Architecture, Nature, Photography, Music Places To Visit: Hellbrunn Palace, Nonnberg Abbey, Salzburg Cathedral, Salzburg Castles Places To Stay : Radisson Blu Hotel Altstadt, Sheraton Grand Salzburg, and Salzburg villas Best Restaurants : Indian Restaurant Taj Mahal, Das Restaurant Wasserfall Best Time To Visit: September-October How To Reach: There are number of direct trains between Salzburg and Vienna making rail journey one of the best ways to reach.
3. Innsbruck – The Picture-Postcard Town
The idyllic alpine town surrounded by high mountains has plenty of options that make your stay worthwhile. You could enjoy a leisurely walk through the old town and marvel at the glittering Goldenes Dachl adorned with more than 2500 shiny tiles or get a peek into the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, one of the finest museum for regional heritage in Europe.
A destination for all seasons and one of the most magical places to visit in Austria in winter , Innsbruck has world renowned ski resorts which can be enjoyed in the winter months. Adventure enthusiasts can go hiking up the gorgeous meadows, bungee jumping at Europa Bridge, take the thrilling funicular ride up the Nordkette mountain range, and even check out the Innsbruck nightlife .
Ideal for: Adventure, Architecture, Culture Places To Visit in Innsbruck : Goldenes Dachl, Hofburg, Triumphal Arch Places To Stay : Hotel Grauer Bär, Hotel Central Best Restaurants : Himal Nepali Kitchen Restaurant, Restaurant Lichtblick Best Time To Visit: December-April How To Reach: The best way to reach Innsbruck from Vienna is via train that takes about 4-5 hours.
Suggested Read: 10 Best Churches In Austria For Adding A Touch Of Bliss To Your EuroTrip!
4. Salzkammergut – Relax And Rejuvenate
This picturesque resort area near Salzburg offers the quintessential Austrian experience, with shimmering blue lakes (76 lakes in all!), stunning alpine ranges, charming villages, and luxurious spa towns. Situated by the Lake Hallstatt and included on UNESCO’s world heritage sites list is the fairy tale village Hallstatt which happens to be amongst the most beautiful places to visit in Austria .
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to go in Austria , Halstatt’s stunning pastel colored houses, underground salt lake Salzwelten and Ice Cave on Dachstein Mountain will take your breath away. The spa town of Bad Ischl and the romantic St Wolfgang are other tourist favorites.
Ideal for: Nature, Culture, Spas, Adventure Places To Visit: Mirabell Palace, Fortress Hohenzsalzburg Places To Stay : Mühlradl Apartments, Hotel Gasthof Weißer Bär Best Restaurants : Restaurant Hubertuskeller, Ledererhaus Best Time To Visit: September-October How To Reach: There is a guided bus tour that will take you to the most interesting points in Salzkammergut.
5. Graz – Immerse In History, Culture, And Food
Austria’s second-largest city with six universities and one of Europe’s best preserved Old town areas, Graz has so much to satiate your traveller soul. Throw in the numerous museums, impressive baroque & renaissance-style buildings and a unique forested hill in the centre of the city offering panoramic views and you have the recipe for a perfect vacation.
Literally too, because Graz will also entice you with its many culinary delights. Cooking enthusiasts can carry home some pumpkin seed oil to pep up their dishes back home. Counted amongst the most offbeat places to visit in Austria , Graz is a must-visit!
Ideal for: History, Food, Education Places To Visit: Eggenberg Palace, Kunsthaus, Altstadt von Graz Places To Stay : NH Graz City, Hotel Weitzer Graz Best Restaurants : Caylend Restaurant, Vina Best Time To Visit: April-September How To Reach: There are direct trains from Vienna to Graz. It takes about 2 hours to get here by train.
Suggested Read: 10 Best Water Parks In Austria For A Soul-Stirring Holiday Experience!
6. Worthersee – A Summer To Remember
Canoeing, spelunking, pretty churches and the hometown of Porsche are reason enough to spend a few days at Austria’s favoured summer destination. The beautiful Worthersee Lake offers ample opportunities for swimming, boating and canoeing in the summer months.
You can head to the colourful Griffen Stalactite cave for some thrill and exploration. Admiring the 12th century ancient Cathedral of Gurk and a visit to Gmund the birthplace of Porsche complete your list of must-do experiences in one of the best places to go in Austria.
Ideal for: Adventure, Nature Places To Visit: Wörthersee Lake, Casino Velden Places To Stay : Seepark Hotel – Congress & Spa, Hotel Sandwirth Best Restaurants : Restaurant Maria Loretto, Seerestaurant Rosé Best Time To Visit: April, November-December How To Reach: The train journey from Vienna to Worthersee takes about 5 hours.
7. Bad Gastein – A Refreshing Treat For Body And Soul
Head to the spa town of Bad Gastein to take a dip in the healing hot spring waters and breathe in the pure mountain air. Perched on the High Tauern Mountain, this splendid hill town also attracts skiing enthusiasts during the winter, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Austria .
Famous for its Belle Epoque-style hotels and villas, Bad Gastein has some thrilling hiking trails around and ample outdoor opportunities like biking and hiking. The spectacular Gastein waterfall in the heart of the town is an impressive site. Open studios, creative workshops, jazz shows, culinary delights and a buzzing nightlife are more reasons to book your holiday right away!
Ideal for: Relaxation, History, Skiing Places To Visit: Molltaler Gletscher, Stubnerkogel Places To Stay : Johannesbad Hotel Palace, Johannesbad Hotel St. Georg Best Restaurants : Gasteiner Wirtshaus, Ginger n’Gin Best Time To Visit: December-March How To Reach: There are direct trains from Salzburg to Bad Gastein that run every three hours in a day.
Suggested Read: World’s First Beer Pool In Austria – Because There’s Nothing Like Too Much Beer
8. Bregenz – Tranquil Days By The Lake
Located on the Eastern edge of Lake Constance, Bregenz offers sweeping views of the Swiss and German Alps. it is one of the best places to visit in Austria . Stroll around the beautiful promenade by the lake or take a cable car up the Pfander Mountain for breathtaking vistas of Lake Constance.
The mountain top is also a great place to relish a lunch with spectacular views or meander along a hiking trail. Get bowled over by the opera and orchestras at the annual Bregenz festival(July-August) performed at the floating lakeside platform. The architecture, history and art legacy of the city can be admired in museums and beautiful buildings across the town.
Ideal for: Nature, Culture Places To Visit: Kunsthaus Bregenz, Pfänder Mountain Places To Stay : Hotel Weißes Kreuz, Hotel Schwärzler Best Restaurants : Wirtshaus am See, Gasthaus Kornmesser Best Time To Visit: July-August How To Reach: There are about 20 trains a day between Innsbruck and Bregenz. The train journey takes 2 hours and 37 minutes.
9. Wachau – Best Wines And A Dose Of History
Flanking the beautiful Danube River, this rich valley is one of the best South Austria tourist attractions. A UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural significance and unmatched natural splendour, Wachau Valley is popular among wine connoisseurs for some of the best white wines in the world.
Studded with some magnificent monasteries (like the baroque Melk monastery) castles and fortresses Wachau Valley offers lots of history and architectural delights too, this spot deserves to be one on the list of the most famous places to visit in Austria.
Ideal for: Wines, Architecture, History Places To Visit: Aggstein Castle Places To Stay : Hotel Klinglhuber, Gartenhotel & Weingut Pfeffel Dürnstein Best Restaurants : Hotel Restaurant Donauwirt, Restaurant Heinzle Best Time To Visit: March-June How To Reach: Take a train from Vienna to Melk and then a bus from here to Wachau.
Suggested Read: 8 Magical Castles In Austria That Will Blow Your Mind In No Time!
10. Zell Am See – Pristine Alpine Wonders
International-level ski slopes, the pristine blue waters of Zell Am See Lake and the picturesque Salzburg mountains make Zell Am See one of the most beautiful places in Austria for natural beauty and relaxation. Add this place to your itinerary if you are visiting Austria in March .
Cycling along the dreamy lake or swimming in the impossibly blue water of the lake are some of the most invigorating experiences in this enchanting alpine town. You can soak in the scenic beauty while sipping coffee at one of the many cafes in the city centre or walk the elevated walkway at St Hippolyte’s Church for some of the best views.
Ideal for: Nature Places To Visit: Lake Zell Places To Stay : Superior Hotel Tirolerhof, Hotel Latini Best Restaurants : Seewirt Das Restaurant, The Burger Factory Best Time To Visit: June-August How To Reach: The train from Salzburg is the best way to reach Zell Am See and takes not more than two hours.
11. Hoher Dachstein – The Three-State Mountain
Located at the border of Upper Austria, Styria, and Salzburg, Hoher Dachstein is the second highest mountain in the Northern Alps. The top of the mountain offers gorgeous views that are to die for. The suspension bridge, skywalk, rock climbing, and the ice palace are a few things to see in Austria .
Ideal for: Adventure and Nature Places To Visit: Dachstein Hängebrücke, Alpine Club Austria Places To Stay : Falkensteiner Hotel Schladming, Dormio Resort Obertraun Best Restaurants : Restaurant Bergstation, Dachstein Ruhe Best Time To Visit: June-August
Suggested Read: 7 Incredible Tourist Places To Visit For Day Trips In Austria
12. Krimml Waterfalls – Austria’s Famous Paradise
Famous for being the highest waterfall in Austria, Krimml Waterfalls is a great place to visit and witness with your loved ones. To reach this fall, you’d have to hike a 4 km trail that would take you through multiple observation platforms and around 1.5 hours to reach the highest tier of the waterfall. The place is home to numerous Austria’s best places to visit.
Ideal for: Nature and Adventure Places To Visit: Krimml Waterfalls, Water Worlds Krimml museum Places To Stay : Villa Deningfeld, Chalet Eva Best Restaurants : Pizzeria Cascata, Reinis Pizzeria Best Time To Visit: Early mornings How To Reach: It’s best to reach falls from Innsbruck since Zilertall where the falls are located, is only 50 km from Innsbruck.
13. Vorarlberg – Land Of Mountains
Image Credit: gsibergerin by Pixabay
Located in Western Austria, Vorarlberg is a state that shares its borders with Germany. This region is characterized by mountainous terrain. It is known for its gorgeous alpine landscapes and adventure ski resorts that make it one of the most famous places to go in Austria . Vorarlberg houses Central Europe’s third-largest lake called Lake Constance, on which the capital of this state – Bregenz sits. Stop by at one of Austria’s best places to visit to be breath-taken by the sight of the magnificent mountains.
The mountain landscape of Vorarlberg makes it a hotspot for hiking and trekking activities. Hiking through the forested trail routes will give you a feeling of coming close to nature. And if not trekking, you can enjoy a cable car ride to witness the splendid views of the valleys. Vorarlberg has some really interesting museums in Austria that attract a lot of tourists.
Ideal for: Austria sightseeing , hiking Places To Visit: Lake Constance, Vorarlberg Museum, Pfänder Mountain, Pfänderbahn, Rolls-Royce Museum, Rappenloch Gorge, Bürserschlucht Gorge Places To Stay : Landhaus Am Walde, Hotel Sonnenburg Best Restaurants : Restaurant Guth, Mangold Best Time To Visit: All round the year How To Reach: Board a train from Innsbruck heading to Bludenz and get down at Vorarlberg.
Suggested Read: 10 Hostels In Austria To Explore The Best Of The Country’s Mountains And Cities
14. Tyrol – Heaven In The Alps
Image Credit: kordi vahle by Pixabay
Tyrol is a wonderful state located in Western Austria. Resting in the Alps, this place is a popular ski resort destination. There are also many historic sites including Ambras Castle, Ehrenberg Castle and Kufstein Fortress. You will also find some of the most exciting museums in Tyrol. Other than this, Tyrol is the hub of many famous winter festivals in Europe that you must attend. Count it in your list of the best places to visit in Austria in Sepember .
The popular city of Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol. This place features ancient gothic churches and traditional baroque-style buildings and palaces. Tyrol is one of the best places to visit in Austria for anyone who is looking forward to exploring a place with natural beauty and historical relevance.
Ideal for: Historical places, sightseeing Places To Visit: Zugspitze, Hofburg, Bergiselschanze, Triumphal Arch, AREA 47, Zillertal Arena, Alpenzoo, Goldenes Dachl Places To Stay : Grandhotel Lienz, Hotel Trofana Royal Best Restaurants : Restaurant Kupfer Stub’n, Waldgasthaus Triendlsäge Best Time To Visit: April-May, September-October How To Reach: Innsbruck is the nearest to Tyrol from where you can arrange your transport.
15. Carinthia – Lakes And Forests
Image Credit: ignazmerz by Pixabay
Carinthia is a region in Austria that surrounds the highest mountain in the country, Grossglockner. Located in the Southern part of Austria, it falls in the Eastern Alps and is one of the most surreal places to visit in Austria . With so many mountains in its pocket, this region has incomparable natural beauty and charm.
Find yourself surrounded by serene lakes and alpine forests, amidst which sit the beautiful medieval structure, the Hochosterwitz Castle. Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia is an important wine-producing region. The many Renaissance buildings located in the region make it one of Austria best places to visit for history buffs.
Ideal for: Sightseeing, wine-tasting Places To Visit: Minimundus, Weissensee, Casino Velden, Affenberg Landskron, Church of Maria Saal, Klagenfurt Cathedral, Dragon Fountain Places To Stay : Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden, Das Ronacher Therme & Spa Resort Best Restaurants : Restaurant Ofenloch, Kutsche Landhaus Restaurant Best Time To Visit: June-August How To Reach: There are direct trains between Graz and Neuhaus in Carinthia.
Suggested Read: Snowbombing In Austria: Your Complete Guide To Attending Europe’s Biggest Fiesta!
16. Styria – Witness The Wildlife
Image Credit: 12019 by Pixabay
Styria is a Southern state in Austria, popular for its wines and castles. This is a picturesque highly forested mountain region in Austria that has a very dramatic landscape. There are endless snow-capped mountains in the region that characterize the landscape of this place.
The Gesäuse National Park and the Herberstein Zoo are home to some of the indigenous and rare wildlife species in the region. The Baroque structure buildings in the region are also a highlight of Styria and are even more awesome during summer in Austria .
Ideal for: Sightseeing, wildlife Places To Visit: Kunsthaus Graz, Hauser Kaibling, Altstadt von Graz, Hochwurzen, Treppe ins Nichts, Gesäuse National Park, Styrassic Park Places To Stay : Schloss Pichlarn, Naturchalet Höflehner Best Restaurants : Pizzeria Roberts, K.U.K. Wirtshaus Best Time To Visit: June-August, September and October How To Reach: There are direct trains between Graz and Vienna. Graz is the capital of Styria.
17. Burgenland – Taste The Fine Wines
Image Credit: oe4yla by Pixabay
Falling in Eastern Austria, Burgenland is one of the major wine-producing regions in the country. A highlight of this region is its lavish castles and other building structures from the 18th century. Go on a Vineyard tour or visit the village museum or explore Seewinkel National Park. Add this to your itinerary’s section of Austria best places to visit.
Ideal for: Sightseeing, wildlife, wine-tasting Places To Visit: Familypark Neusiedlersee, Dorfmuseum Mönchhof, Schloss Esterházy, Sonnentherme Lutzmannsburg Places To Stay : Falkensteiner Balance Resort Stegersbach, Country Lake Villa Best Restaurants : Weinek ́s Schenkhaus, Heuriger – Restaurant Gruber – Hofleitner Best Time To Visit: All round the year How To Reach: There are direct buses between Vienna and Burgenland with decent frequency.
Suggested Read: 31 Festivals In Europe That Will Up The Fun Factor Of Your Euro Tour
18. Hallstatt – Scenic Lake Views
This is one of the most beautiful Austria tourist attractions as well as one of the most scenic places to visit in all of Europe. It’s essentially a small yet scenic town that sits near the Hallstatt lake overlooking its serene and clear blue waters. When you’re here, scenic beauty isn’t the only thing you’ll get. You can also indulge in some adventurous things to do in Hallstatt like rock climbing, hiking, boating, and see the charming attractions around the town like the Beinhaus (bone house) as well as the ice caves and salt caves.
Ideal for: History, architecture, adventure seekers Places To Visit: Hoher Dachstein, Salzkammergut, Salt Mine Hallstatt, Treppe ins Nichts Places To Stay : Heritage Hotel Hallstatt, Hallstatt Hideaway, Seehotel Grüner Baum Best Restaurants : Bräugasthof, Rudolfsturm, Seecafé Frundsberg Best Time To Visit: March-May, October-November How To Reach: Take a train from Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim and then transfer to a local train heading towards Hallstatt.
19. Mostviertel – Old World Charm
Mostviertel is located in the lower regions of Austria and is among the most captivating cities to visit in Austria. It has everything to make your holiday a scenic and beautiful affair with rolling meadows, snow-laced rugged peaks, and Europe’s largest stretches of pear orchards. It’s mix of diverse landscapes is mind-blowing and it’s this chocolate box scenery that makes it an unmissable part of any Austria tour. So, if you wish to visit the Austria mountains as well as museums and monuments at the same time, then this is the place to be.
Ideal for: Skiing enthusiasts, history lovers Places To Visit: Donauradweg, Hagenbachklamm, Tulln Places To Stay : Hotel Kartause Gaming, Zur Linde Best Restaurants : Souvlaki Bar, Kastner Restaurant & Weinbar, Gasthaus zur Palme Best Time To Visit: May-October How To Reach: There are direct buses running between the two places.
Suggested Read: 10 Rivers In Austria That Will Bowl You Over With Their Beauty
20. Alpbach – Skiing And Sledding
Alpbach has been voted one of the most beautiful places to visit in Austria in winter and there’s no doubt as to why. This is among the most scenic European villages tucked in the midst of majestic snow-capped Austrian Alps and offers the best places to go in Austria for skiing and sledging. Other than skiing, this town is also known for its unwavering Alpine tradition that can be experienced in its many picturesque wooden farmhouses, scenic cattle fields, and the skilled craftsmanship of the locals.
Ideal for: History, architecture, adventure seekers Places To Visit: Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau, Church Alpbachtal, Alpbacher Talstation Wiedersbergerhornbahn, Lauserland Places To Stay : Bikepension Gästehaus Larch Alpbach, Alphof Hotel Alpbach Best Restaurants : Zirmalm, Gasthaus Jakober, Jausenstation Zottahof Best Time To Visit: August-September, February How To Reach: It is only 50 km from Innsbruck. You could arrange private or public transport from Innsbruck.
21. Eisenstadt – Postcard Perfect Sceneries
The capital of Burgenland, Eisenstadt is one of the most beautiful places to go in Austria since it is known for its rich history. The city was once home to the renowned 18th-century composer Joseph Haydn. Its baroque castles, manicured gardens, and historical museums make it a tourist-worthy destination in Austria. The cobbled streets, charming cafes and downtown areas will make an interesting feed for Instagram
Ideal For: History, Quaint cafes Places To Visit: Esterhazy Castle, Bergkirche, Schlosspark Eisenstadt, Franziskaner Kirche Places To Stay: Hotel Vicedom, Parkhotel Eisenstadt, Hotel Burgenland Eisenstadt Best Restaurants: Restaurant Villa-Antica, Haydnbrau, Ethno Best Time To Visit: September-November How To Reach: The best way to reach Eisenstadt from Vienna is by train or bus. It’s only 62 km from Vienna.
Suggested Read: Austria In December: Welcome The New Year Amidst Snow, Wine, And Unlimited Fun!
22. Grossglockner High Alpine Road – Best Road Trip Ever
Image Credit: GeorgSchober by PIxabay
If you are fond of road trips, then put Grossglockner High Alpine Road on your bucket list. It is one of the must visit places in Austria for nature and adventure lovers. The hairpin road passes through lush alpine meadows, snowfields, and daunting cliffs. The road is literally your gateway to escape into nature. You will find a number of vantage points along the road to admire the raw and breathtaking beauty of Austria.
Ideal For: Road trip, Nature lovers Places To Visit: Grossglockner National Park Places To Stay: Hotel Kasiervilla, Berghotel Hois, Hotel Romerhof Best Restaurants: Rossbach Alm – die Apres Skibar, Hotel-Restaurant Senger, Cafe Bar Laterndl Best Time To Visit: Closed between November-May How To Reach: You culd take a train from Vienna to Grossglockner and then rent a car or an automobile to enjoy a road trip.
23. Lake Constance – Third Largest Lake In Europe
One of the best places in Austria, the ethereal beauty of Lake Constance will blow your mind away. The lake straddles in three countries; Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Not only is it the third largest lake in Europe but also one of the most picturesque sites on the continent. One can enjoy a day picnic relaxing and soaking in the beautiful views around. In winter, this place becomes famous for thermal baths. You could also go boating in the lake. So, if you want to explore major tourist places to visit in Austria in June, this Lake Constance should definitely come to your mind.
Ideal For: Picnic, Boating Places To Visit: Mainau, Konstanz Minster, Lindau Places To Stay: Hotel Maier, Seehaus Wellenhof, Hotel Seehof Best Restaurants: Papageno, Meera, Heinzler am See, Biohotel Mohren Best Time To Visit: All months except August How To Reach: You could take a direct flight from Vienna to Fredreichshafen to get to the lake.
Suggested Read: 10 Best Villas In Austria That Are Perfect For The Luxury Seeker In You
24. National Park Donau Auen – Into The Wild
Recognized in 1996, National Park Donau Auen is home to a variety of species of animals and plants. The park is sprawling across an area of 93 square kilometer where you can enjoy activities like bird watching, kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking. The serene lake in the heart of the national park looks inviting and appealing to the eyes. Explore the best of Austria in this beautiful national park.
Ideal For: Birdwatching, Wildlife Photography Places To Visit: Josefstag, Napoleons Hauptquartier Lobau Places To Stay: Hotel Marc Aurel, Hotel Altes Kloster, Airport Hotel Deininger Best Restaurants: Gasthaus Binder, Haslauerhof, Jamie’s Deli Best Time To Visit: Throughout the year How To Reach: The park can be reached from Vienna by local buses.
25. National Park Gesause – A Rock Climber’s Paradise
Are you a rock climber? If yes, then you would like to visit the National Park Gesause which is home to six mountains higher than 2000 m. it becomes a paradise for skiers in winter offering skiing slopes. As far as hiking is concerned, you will find more than 100 km of hiking trails in the park. The stunning scenery is bewildering to the senses. Enjoy rafting in the mighty Enns River that flows through the park. It is indeed one of the best places to visit in Austria in September.
Ideal For: Hiking, skiing, rock climbing Places to Visit : NA Places To Stay: Gesäuse-Lodge, Landgasthof Buchner, JUFA Hotel Schloss Röthelstein/Admont Best Restaurants: Genuss Region Gesäuse Edelwild Best Time To Visit: June to September How To Reach: The park offers soft mobility options. Check the official website for additional information.
Suggested Read: Visit These Beautiful Mosques In Austria To Understand Its History And Heritage
26. National Park Hohe Tauern – The Land Of Austria’s Superlatives
National Park Hohe Tauren is one Austria’s tourist attractions since it is the oldest and largest national park in Austria. A land of Australia’s superlatives, find the country’s largest mountains, glaciers, and forests in this national park. Spot beautiful and unique animal species. You could either explore the park on your own or join a tour guided by the park ranger.
Ideal For: Hiking, Mountaineering Places to Visit : NA Places To Stay: Heimat – Das Natur Resort, Gradonna Mountain Resort Chalets & Hotel, Natur Und Wanderhotel Outside Best Restaurants: Glocknerhaus, Edelweiss Hutte, Restaurant Kirchenwirt Best Time To Visit: Summer season i.e. June-August How To Reach: The best way to reach is by driving down here from Salzburg.
27. Seewinkel National Park – For Birdwatching
Discover the best of Austria and its nature at Seewinkel National Park. located between the Alps and Little Hungarian Plain, Seewinkel consists of a diversity of animal and plants species and landscapes. There are 340 types of bird species that you can spot on your birdwatching tour. It is one of the top places to visit in Austria with family.
Ideal For: Birdwatching, nature walk Places to Visit : NA Places To Stay: Hotel Weingut Rosenhof, Weingut Sekt & Wein – Walter Klein, Bliem’s Wohnreich Best Restaurants: Radlerkeller, Presshaus Ilmitz, Fasslkeller Fam Kroiss Best Time To Visit: Summer season i.e. June-July How To Reach: The best way is to drive here from Vienna. You could either rent a car or taxi. There are bus stops in Weiden/See and Podersdorf/See if you wish to take public transport.
Suggested Read: In Pictures: A Breathtaking Kaleidoscope Of Austria’s Most Beautiful Spots
28. St Anton am Arlberg – Best Ski Village
If you are wondering where to go in Austria , then consider putting St Anton am Arlberg on your itinerary. The Austrian village is famous for having one of the best ski resorts in Austria where you can enjoy skiing on the fresh slopes. There are about 100 chairlifts at the resort along with a luxurious spa, indoor rock-climbing centre, and plenty of restaurants. The place boasts of amazing nightlife.
Ideal For: Skiing, nightlife Places To Visit: Valluga, Galzig, Sonnenkopf Places To Stay: Sporthotel St. Anton, Skihotel Galzig, Hotel Garni Ernst Falch Best Restaurants: Endlich, Galzig Bistrobar, The Museum Restaurant Best Time To Visit: December-March How To Reach: Request an airport transfer from Innsbruck or Zurich airport via car, bus or shuttle to your resort in the village. It’s only 75 minute-drive from Innsbruck Airport and two-hours away from Zurich Airport.
29. Vienna Woods – UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Image Credit: Wildfaces by Pixabay
What makes Vienna Woods one of the best places in Austria is its abundance of flora-fauna and proximity to the city. When locals want to get away from it all, they drive to Vienna Woods to spend some time in the lap of nature. It is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with home to 150 species of birds, 2000 animals, and various plants. The best part is that it is accessible from Vienna via public transport.
Ideal For: Nature getaway Places to Visit : NA Places To Stay: Ferienwohnung Vonwald, Hotel Ekazent Schönbrunn, Eventhotel Pyramide Best Restaurants: NA Best Time To Visit: April-May, September-October How To Reach: Vienna Woods is large consisting of multiple areas under its belt. You could take a train or bus to these respective point. Get on the bus 566 from Vienna central station to get to Laxenburg Castle Gardens.
Suggested Read: This Winter, Escape To The Best Honeymoon Destinations In Europe!
30. Krems – Explore Nature And History
One of the top places to see in Austria is Krems, one of the oldest cities dating back to 995 AD. You can explore a millennium of history in the form of old churches, monasteries, streets and squares. Another great thing to admire in Krems is the fortification structures and burgher houses. A stroll through the streets is going to be such a refreshing experience for you, eating at one of the finest Austrian restaurants , and cafes, and exploring attractions.
Ideal for : Sightseeing, exploring historical sites Places To Visit : Kunsthalle Krems, State Gallery of Lower Austria, Göttweig Abbey, Karikaturmuseum Krems, Steiner Tor Places To Stay : Orange Wings Hotel Krems, Gasthof Klinglhuber Best Restaurants : Gasthaus Jell, Schwarze Kuchl, 2Stein Best Time To Visit : All year round How To Reach : The average journey time to travel between Vienna and Krems an der Donau is 1 hour and 10 minutes, via train. There are approximately 50 trains that run on a daily basis, so the travelling part is easy here.
31. Linz – Creative Capital
Linz is the international creative capital of culture arts and one of the best places in Austria . A contemporary city located on the banks of river Danube. A nice walk along the river with a range of cultural attractions and events will keep you entertained and energized in this beautiful city in Austria. With a great number of stunning architecture and historical buildings, Linz has over the time, been ignored and is usually not the first place that comes to mind when visiting Austria. It’s a modern city which is also the third largest in Vienna and housing some of the best hotels in Austria .
Ideal for : Sightseeing, exploring the culture Places To Visit : Linz’s main square, Schlossmuseum Linz, Pöstlingbergbahn, Ars Electronica Center, The New Cathedral, Grottenbahn Places To Stay : Jugendgästehaus Linz, Courtyard by Marriott Linz, Harry’s Home Linz Best Restaurants : Gościnna Chata, Verdi-Restaurant-Einkehr, Restaurant Rauner Best Time To Visit : May to September How To Reach : Plenty of trains from the capital city, Vienna, ply on a regular basis to Linz. In case you are looking for more exploration, then a ferry ride is also feasible when visiting the city of Linz.
Suggested Read: Austria In May: For Evenings Spent Around Renaissance Architecture And Icy Hollows
32. Schonbrunn Palace – Heritage Of Austria
Thinking where to go in Austria ? Well, if you are into palaces and all, then this is for you. It is one of the most royal places to visit in Vienna. The palace is a UNESCO World heritage site, so it should be on your bucket list. As you walk into the palace, you will feel the vibes of its royalty. The palace also offers heartwarming attractions like Privy Garden which is full of lush greenery.
Ideal for: History, Architecture Best Time To Visit: April to May, September to October How To Reach: There are many trams and buses that go till Schonbrun palace.
33. Vienna State Opera – Rendezvous With The Culture
Vienna state opera is one of the top places in Austria for the culture vultures. If you are interested in art and culture, then this will definitely fascinate you. Firstly, the very structure of the museum will grab your attention. You can take a tour of the museum and learn about the culture of the city in detail here.
Ideal for: Culture, Architecture Best Time To Visit: April to May, September to October How To Reach: There are many trams till Vienna State Opera
Suggested Read: Austria In November: A Guide To Satiate Your Wanderlust In This Gorgeous Country
34. Eisriesenwelt Cave – A Unique Attraction
There are many places in Austria to visit while you are holidaying there. One of them is Eisriesenwelt Cave. It is one of the most outlandish and mysterious attractions in the country. You will have to go several steps down in order to reach the cave. The cave is surrounded by ice all over and will give you a thrilling experience like never before. If you wish to explore unique places to visit in Austria, don’t forget to visit Eisriesenwelt Cave.
Ideal for: Adventure, Nature Best Time To Visit: September to October, April to May How To Reach: There are many buses to go to the cave
Further Read: 8 Salzburg Hotels That Let You Experience The City’s Fine Hospitality On Your Trip
Though we’ve included the must-see places to visit in Austria, there is so much more to experience in this beautiful country and in Europe too! To help you plan your perfect vacation, we would recommend you plan a Austria trip with TravelTriangle and enjoy a customized holiday just like you have always desired or dreamt of. Happy traveling!
Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Austria
Is it safe to visit Austria given the current situation of Covid-19?
You need to follow all the mandatory guidelines mentioned by the government such as wearing a mask at public places, keeping a sanitizer handy, sanitizing your hands regularly, etc. It is important to stay away from crowded places and maintain social distancing at all times.
Which are some of the safest places to visit in Austria for families with kids?
Austria encompasses a multitude of awe-inspiring places which one can visit with family. Some of the most picturesque and safe places to visit in Austria for families with little ones are: 1. Graz 2. Bregenz 3. Vienna 4. Innsbruck 5. Klagenfurt
Which are some of the must-visit places in Austria for couples?
Austria is home to majestic landmarks, fascinating cities, and charming towns. Amid the plethora of captivating places to visit in Austria, some of the must-visit attractions for couples are: 1. Vienna 2. Salzburg 3. Bad Gastein 4. Feldkirch 5. Hallstatt 6. Innsbruck
Which are the best places to visit in Austria?
There are various places in Austria that you must visit for a memorable vacation in this European country: 1. Innsbruck 2. Salzkammergut 3. Salzburg 4. Vienna 5. Zell am See
Which is the most beautiful city in Austria?
You won’t find one but many towns in the country of Austria that are a true beauty like: 1. Hallstatt Village 2. Innsbruck 3. Bad Gastein 4. Alpbach 5. Durnstein
What is the best way to travel around in Austria?
For a hassle-free travel experience, you should travel around Austria in a train. The Austrian Federal Railways operate the trains in this country.
What is a typical Austrian breakfast?
A typical Austrian breakfast is high in nutrients and the most popular Austrian food includes cooked eggs, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, smoked bacon, sausages, beans, and hash browns.
Is Austria safe for tourists?
Yes, Austria is among the places with the lowest levels of serious crimes. The levels of street crimes are also very low in the country.
Which is the best time to visit Austria?
April, May, September & October are the best months to visit Austria.
What should I buy in Austria?
Some of the best souvenirs to get back from Austria are the Mozart Balls and Austrian Beer Glasses.
Is Vienna easy to walk around?
Yes, if you like walking, then you can cover a major part of Vienna on foot. So, do not forget to pack a pair of comfortable shoes.
When does it snow in Austria?
One can expect snow in Vienna from late December till March.
What is Austria famous for?
Austria is known for castles, palaces, historical buildings and unique structures that speak of its glorious history.
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18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Austria
Written by Bryan Dearsley Updated Nov 26, 2021
Austria, one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations, attracts tourists year-round with places to visit in both summer and winter. In fact, with some of Europe's finest skiing , winter is almost as busy as summer in the country's spectacular mountain regions.
Visitors are drawn as much for the scenic beauty of this Alpine republic's provinces as they are for splendid cities like Vienna (Wien), the historic capital, and beautiful Salzburg , birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
One of Europe's smallest countries, Austria is predominantly a nation of upland areas and high mountains, with the Eastern Alps occupying a good 60 percent of its territory. The River Danube flows for about 350 kilometers from west to east through the northern part of the country, adding to its allure as a tourist destination.
Find the best sightseeing opportunities and things to do with this list of the top tourist attractions in Austria.
1. The Vienna Hofburg: Austria's Imperial Palace
2. salzburg altstadt, a unesco world heritage site, 3. the spanish riding school, vienna, 4. schönbrunn palace, vienna, 5. innsbruck's hofburg and hofkirche, 6. melk benedictine abbey, 7. hallstatt and the dachstein salzkammergut, 8. skiing at kitzbühel and kitzbüheler horn, 9. belvedere palace, vienna, 10. medieval burg hochosterwitz, 11. the grossglockner road to franz-josefs-höhe, 12. st. stephen's cathedral in vienna, 13. klosterneuburg abbey and the verdun altar, 14. maria saal cathedral, 15. krimmler ache: austria's tallest waterfalls, 16. eisriesenwelt: the world of the ice giants, 17. the styrian armoury (landeszeughaus), 18. old town innsbruck & the golden roof, map of tourist attractions in austria.
The spectacular Hofburg Palace in Vienna was for centuries the seat of Austria's monarchy, the powerful Habsburgs. Visiting this palace is one of the top things to do in Austria .
Now the President conducts state business in the same rooms that once belonged to Emperor Joseph II. Nearly every Austrian ruler since 1275 ordered additions or alterations, resulting in many different architectural influences, including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Classicism.
Together with its many attractive squares and gardens, the entire Hofburg complex occupies 59 acres encompassing 19 courtyards and 2,600 rooms. Highlights of a visit include the Imperial Silver Collection and an array of dining services giving a taste of the lavish imperial banquets that once took place here.
Also worth seeing are the Sisi Museum , focusing on the life and times of Empress Elisabeth, and the Imperial Apartments , a series of 19 rooms once occupied by Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife.
Address: Michaelerkuppel, 1010 Vienna
As the residence of Prince Archbishops, Salzburg was a spiritual center from the earliest days of Christianity in Europe. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter, in the heart of the Altstadt (Old Town) was founded by St. Rupert in AD 690 and served as the residence of the Archbishops until the early 1100s.
The Prince Archbishops employed some of the finest artists and architects of their times to build and decorate their churches, residences, and monasteries, and although these have been "updated" in the tastes of successive centuries, the medieval and Baroque buildings combine to form a beautiful old quarter to explore.
Highlights are St. Peter's Abbey and its church, along with the beautiful cemetery and its catacombs, instantly recognizable as a filming site for The Sound of Music .
Nearby is the cathedral, and wandering among its colorful Baroque burgher houses, you'll find charming squares and attractions that include the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, now a museum. Above the beautiful spires and cupolas soars Salzburg's castle of Hohensalzburg, which you can reach by a funicular.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Salzburg: Best Areas & Hotels
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Salzburg
The Spanish Riding School dates back to the time of Emperor Maximilian II, the man responsible for introducing the famous Lipizzaner horses into Austria in 1562.
Today, it's one of the only places where the classical style of riding preferred by aristocracy is still practiced. Viewing the famous equestrian displays in the Baroque Winter Riding School – held here since the time of Charles VI – is one of the top things to do in Vienna .
Built in 1735, the magnificent hall was designed for the nobility to demonstrate their riding skills. Tickets to watch these magnificent animals perform their ballet are highly sought after, so book online as far in advance as possible.
Address: Michaelerplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Located on Vienna's outskirts, the Baroque Schönbrunn Palace was completed in the early 1700s and was later converted into a summer residence by Empress Maria Theresa.
Highlights of a tour through the 40 rooms of the palace that are open to the public are the Royal apartments, the Great Gallery with its ornate ceiling paintings, the Million Room, and Maria Theresa's salon with its carved and gilded rosewood panels. You'll also see the spectacular Hall of Mirrors, with its gold Rococo-framed mirrors. Behind the 1,441-room palace stretch 500 acres of parks and gardens, also in the 18th-century Baroque style.
Your visit to Schönbrunn should include the many attractions spread throughout these grounds: formal gardens; a labyrinth; the Palm House, filled with tropical and exotic plants and butterflies; an Alpine garden with a farmhouse; Europe's oldest zoo; and the Classical Gloriette, a grand marble structure crowning a hill above the gardens.
A carriage museum in the former Winter Riding School displays dozens of historical state coaches and sleighs. The entire palace and gardens complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Vienna
The Emperor Maximilian I, who reigned in the late 1400s and early 1500s, made Innsbruck the main residence and the seat of the Hapsburg government and, as a result, a focal point of Europe. His palace, the Hofburg, was remodeled by Empress Maria Theresa in 18th-century Baroque and Rococo styles. Highlights of a tour are the chance to view the sumptuous royal apartments, the marble Giant Hall (Riesensaal), and the painted ceilings throughout.
The highlight of the Hofkirche, or Court Church, is the spectacular Tomb of Emperor Maximilian I, who died in 1519. Widely considered the finest work of German Renaissance sculpture, the monument's central feature is the massive black marble sarcophagus with a bronze figure of the Emperor. On the sides of the sarcophagus are 24 marble reliefs depicting events in the Emperor's life, and around it stand 28 larger-than-life-size bronze statues of the Emperor's ancestors and contemporaries (look out for King Arthur).
Other pieces of sculpture include 23 bronze statues of saints from the Habsburg family and 20 bronze busts of Roman emperors.
Address: Rennweg 1/3, 6020 Innsbruck
- Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Innsbruck & Easy Day Trips
Melk Abbey is one of the world's most famous monastic sites, and its spectacular buildings are laid out around seven courtyards. The most prominent part of this massive 325-meter-long complex is the west end and its twin-towered church rising above a semicircular terrace range.
Perched on a rocky outcrop high above the town of Melk and overlooking the Danube, the abbey contains numerous other great reasons to spend a few hours touring it. These include the tomb of Saint Coloman of Stockerau; the remains of Austria's first ruling family; the House of Babenberg; and the superb 196-meter-long Imperial Corridor with its portraits of Austria's rulers, including one of the Empress Maria Theresa.
Along the way, you'll also see the Imperial Rooms with their displays relating to the abbey's history, along with statues and paintings.
Address: Abt-Berthold-Dietmayr-Straße 1, 3390 Melk
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Melk
Hallstatt is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque small towns in Austria, if not Europe. It's also a good place from which to explore the spectacular Dachstein Salzkammergut region, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The beautiful Baroque architecture testifies to Hallstatt's wealth, which is based on its long history of salt production from prehistoric times.
You can also visit the underground salt lake in the nearby Hörnerwerk cavern, or explore the Dachstein Caves , one of Europe's most impressive cavern networks, which are, in places, up to 1,174 meters deep. Highlights include the Giant Ice Cave , with its sub-zero summer temperatures and huge caverns with magnificent frozen waterfalls, and the Mammoth Cave , with its huge pipe-shaped galleries formed by an ancient underground river.
Above ground, visitors can tackle the superb 5 Fingers viewing platform, an incredible metal structure hanging over a 400-meter sheer drop with excellent views of the surrounding Alps.
- Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Hallstatt and along the Hallstätter See
One of the best places to ski in Austria , the famed resort town of Kitzbühel spoils snow lovers with its 170 kilometers of skiable pistes and slopes dotted with little mountain huts, where they can stop for traditional Alpine snacks and warming drinks.
Although it's the site of the annual Hahnenkamm, the toughest of all downhill ski races, Kitzbühel has plenty of terrain for all skill levels in its three skiing areas, and the smallest of these, Bichlalm, is dedicated to freeriders.
But Kitzbühel is not just for skiers. With its walls and frescoed houses, and snow-covered Alps for a backdrop, the town is as pretty as Alpine villages get.
The 1,998-meter Kitzbüheler Horn that delights skiers in the winter is a favorite for mountain hikers in the summer, and you can also reach the summit by cable car via the Pletzeralm. It's considered one of the finest summit views in the Tyrol: to the south from the Radstädter Tauern to the Ötztal Alps; to the north, the nearby Kaisergebirge; to the west, the Lechtal Alps; and to the east, the Hochkönig.
To the south of the Kitzbüheler Horn rises the 1,772-meter-high Hornköpfli, also reached by cableway. In addition to the great views, on the summit, you'll find the Gipfelhaus, a unique mountaintop home; a chapel; a restaurant; and an Alpine garden.
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Kitzbühel & Easy Day Trips
Another of Austria's most-visited palaces – and one that should definitely be included on your Vienna travel itinerary – is the spectacular Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere). Referred to most often simply as "The Belvedere," this important historic site is split into two major sections: the Upper (Oberes) and Lower (Unteres) Palaces.
If you've only got time to explore one, make it the Upper Palace . Here, you'll find the largest portion of the attraction's impressive collection of artworks, as well as have the chance to view one of the country's best preserved architectural gems. Highlights include Sala Terrena, the main hall, notable for its statues and stucco vaulted ceiling; the Carlone Hall, with its ceiling fresco; the two-story Marble Hall, with its many sculptures and paintings; and the impressive Ceremonial Staircase.
The Lower Palace is no less worthy of a visit. Highlights include the Marble Gallery, with its collection of statues; the Grotesque Hall, with its numerous fine wall paintings; and a second Marble Hall, this one known for its fascinating ceiling fresco.
If you're here for the day (you should plan on it!), the palace boasts a great café and restaurant, three shops, and a great Christmas Market for those traveling in the winter months.
Address: Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Vienna
- Read More: Exploring Vienna's Belvedere Palace: A Visitor's Guide
To the east of St. Veit , on a crag rising some 160-meters above the valley, sprawls the imposing Burg Hochosterwitz, Austria's most important medieval castle. After a turbulent history, the castle-first mentioned in 860 AD-was captured by the Khevenhüllers, and was enlarged in 1570 in the face of Turkish invaders. Never captured by a foe, the castle has remained in the Khevenhüller family since.
The steep access road to the castle, the Burgweg, winds its way up through the 14 defensive gates to the beautiful arcaded courtyard where you'll find the little chapel with its wall and ceiling paintings from 1570 and the church at the southwestern end of the castle with its high altar dating from 1729.
Address: Hochosterwitz 1, 9314 Launsdorf
The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse from Bruck, in the Pinzgau, to Heiligenblut, at the foot of the Grossglockner, was constructed between 1930 and 1935. Following the route of an old Roman road, it is one of the most magnificent mountain roads in Europe .
Although its importance as a route through the Alps has declined, it's still a splendid highway through the Hohe Tauern, Austria's highest mountain massif and one of the country's outstanding attractions. Running for 22 kilometers through the mountains at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters, the road consists of a long succession of turns leading up to the summit tunnel on the Hochtor at 2,506 meters and then down into the valley on the far side.
The road is the access to the massive Hohe Tauern mountain range, where Franz-Josefs-Höhe is famous across Europe for its spectacular views. Named after a visit paid by Kaiser Franz-Josef in 1856, this wonderful vantage point stands 2,422 meters above sea level and offers incredible vistas of the surrounding country. Prominent in the view is the Grossglockner which, at 3,798 meters, is Austria's highest mountain.
Be sure to stop at the visitor center for its detailed displays relating to the area's history, as well as exhibits focusing on its glaciers and general tourist information.
Official site: www.grossglockner.at/gg/en/index
The imposing Gothic cathedral of St. Stephen's (Stephansdom) is a landmark inside Vienna's old city center. The original 12th-century Romanesque church was replaced in the 13th century by a Late Romanesque church, of which the massive gate and the Heathen Towers (Heidentürme) survive.
The later Gothic reconstruction in the 14th century added the choir and the Chapels of St. Eligius, St. Tirna, and St. Catherine, and in the following century, the famous 137-meter-high South Tower (Steffl) was constructed. After significant damage in World War II, the church was rebuilt.
The views from the Watch Room at the top of the Steffl are worth climbing its 343 steps, but you can take an elevator to a viewing platform on the North Tower, home to the massive Pummerin Bell. You won't want to miss the 14th-century catacombs and the cathedral treasury, where some of the cathedral's most important objects are displayed.
Address: Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Vienna
- Read More: Exploring St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
A flight of steps in lovely Klosterneuburg Abbey leads down to the 12th-century St. Leopold's Chapel where Leopold III is buried. It's also where you'll find the famous Verdun Altar. Perhaps the finest existing example of medieval enamel work, the altar consists of 51 panels of champlevé work on gilded copper depicting Biblical scenes by Nicholas of Verdun from around 1181.
Originally on the reading pulpit of the former Romanesque church, the panels were put together to form the present winged altarpiece after a fire in 1329. Four painted panels affixed to the altar in 1331 and the oldest in Austria-they were painted in Vienna before 1329-are now in the Abbey Museum.
Address: Stiftsplatz 1, 3400 Klosterneuburg
The Church of Maria Saal-more often than not referred to as Maria Saal Cathedral-is perched on a hill high above the Zollfeld and is one of the leading places of pilgrimage in the state of Carinthia in southern Austria. It was here around 750 AD that Bishop Modestus consecrated a church from which the surrounding area was Christianized.
The present twin-towered church was built in Gothic style in the first half of the 15th century on the foundations of a Roman basilica and was remodeled during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Highlights include the west facade with twin towers and its fine old gravestones. Particularly interesting are the 16th-century Keutschach Epitaph depicting the Coronation of Our Lady, and a Roman stone relief from around AD 300.
- Read More: Top-Rated Attractions in Klagenfurt & Easy Day Trips
The Krimmler Ache plunges 380 meters in three tremendous cascades and makes for an excellent excursion from the nearby village of Krimml. At an altitude of 1,076 meters, Krimml-perched high above the Salzachtal in a wooded valley-is a wonderful place to stop for a few days if you're into hiking.
In addition to various excellent walks to the waterfalls, there's a rewarding climb to the Schettbrücke and continuing to the spectacular Krimmler Tauernhaus. From here, expert climbers can tackle the 2,911-meter-high Glockenkarkopf on the Italian frontier.
Found on the western edge of the Tennengebirge, the spectacular World of the Ice Giants is the largest system of ice caves in the world. Covering some 30,000 square meters, the caves were carved by an underground river in the Tertiary period. Discovered in 1879, they were opened to the public in 1912, and to date, an amazing 45 kilometers of the network has been explored.
After winding along the Great Ice Wall, you'll be confronted by the massive Hymir Hall with its impressive ice formations and icicles. Stone steps lead to the Eistor, or Ice Gate, a spectacular 1,775-meter-high wall of ice, and the great Ice Palace. Conducted tours last two hours, and the trip to and from the caves takes a few hours, so expect to spend the best part of a day exploring the area.
In the heart of Graz is the Landeszeughaus, the Styrian Arsenal. Built in 1644, the building houses a spectacular collection of completely preserved 17th-century arms and armor-enough, in fact, to arm 32,000 men, including helmets and weaponry.
While in Graz, you should also visit the Landhaus . Built in Renaissance style in 1557-65, its main facade is dominated by rounded windows and a veranda. The lovely arcaded courtyard has three-storied pergolas on two sides and a Renaissance fountain, while in the Knights' Hall there's a splendid stucco ceiling from 1746.
Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Graz & Easy Day Trips
The beautiful Austrian city of Innsbruck is not only home to some of the country's best preserved architecture, it's also home to some of the most unusual and unique historic buildings. Perhaps the best known of Innsbruck's points of interest is the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl).
This relic from the city's rich Hapsburg past is located in the heart of Innsbruck Old Town (Altstadt), and adorns a Late Gothic oriel window of a former palace, the Neuer Hof, which was used by royalty. You can't miss this perfect selfie spot as you wander along the arcaded Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse. If you time it right (when the sun shines), the roof really does appear to glow.
Consisting of no less than 2,657 gilded copper tiles, the Golden Roof dates back to 1496, when it was added to the building to mark the marriage of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and served as a royal box, so the couple could enjoy the celebrations in the square to mark the occasion. After taking some pics, be sure to visit the Golden Roof Museum that deals with the Emperor's lasting legacy.
Be sure to spend some time wandering the winding, narrow, streets and alleys around this iconic Innsbruck attraction. In addition to the many fine old buildings here, you'll also enjoy great vistas of the many mountains that surround this beautiful Austrian city.
Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 15, 6020 Innsbruck
More on Austria
'Stand your butt up': Fistfight nearly breaks out during Senate hearing until Bernie Sanders steps in
WASHINGTON — Tensions erupted on Capitol Hill on Tuesday after a fistfight nearly broke out in a Senate hearing and a Republican congressman accused former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of assaulting him.
At a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, an argument almost turned into a fistfight between GOP Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and the president of the Teamsters union, Sean O'Brien.
The exchange occurred when Mullin, a former MMA fighter, recalled an interaction he had with O'Brien in June on Twitter, now known as X.
At the time, they discussed engaging in an MMA fight for charity after they had gotten into a heated back-and-forth at a previous congressional hearing.
Mullin read aloud O'Brien's original tweet at the hearing Tuesday: "Greedy CEO who pretends like he’s self made. In reality, just a clown & fraud. Always has been, always will be. Quit the tough guy act in these senate hearings. You know where to find me. Anyplace, Anytime cowboy."
The tweet also said "#LittleManSyndrome" and showed a photo of Mullin at a debate where he was standing on a pedestal at a podium.
Mullin then said at the hearing: "Sir, this is a time; this is a place. You want to run your mouth? We can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here."
"OK, that’s fine, perfect," O'Brien said.
"You want to do it now?" Mullin replied.
"I'd love to do it right now," O'Brien said.
"Then stand your butt up then," said Mullin.
"You stand your butt up," said O'Brien.
Mullin then stood up and the committee’s chairman, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stopped the altercation from happening, yelling at Mullin: “Stop it! No, no, sit down! You know, you’re a United States senator."
The entire episode devolved, with Mullin and O'Brien calling each other names not normally heard in committee hearings, but they did not get physical. The two appeared to conclude their exchange by agreeing to have coffee together.
On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., who voted to oust McCarthy, R-Calif., as speaker last month, said that McCarthy had elbowed him in the kidneys while Burchett was speaking to reporters in a hallway.
Burchett said he believes it was intentional, telling reporters: "Oh, it was 100% on purpose, ma’am, what are the chances ... 435 members of Congress, eight of us voted against him. I’m the one who did it, one of them who did it. He publicly called me out."
Burchett said that he chased after McCarthy to confront him and that the former speaker didn't know what Burchett was talking about.
McCarthy denied that he attacked Burchett, telling reporters, "If I’d kidney-punched him, he’d be on the ground."
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who spearheaded the push to oust McCarthy, filed a complaint to the House Ethics Committee about the incident. Gaetz did not witness the incident himself, but anyone can file a complaint. Asked about the ethics complaint, McCarthy said, “I think Ethics is a good place for Gaetz to be.”
A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seemed to react to both incidents on X . "Today is another example of why Congress shouldn’t be in session for 5 weeks straight. Weird things happen."
McConnell told reporters he hadn't heard about the incidents but said it is "very difficult to control the behavior of everybody who’s in the building. I don’t view that as my responsibility. That’s something that the Capitol Police have to deal with.”
Frank Thorp V is a producer and off-air reporter covering Congress for NBC News, managing coverage of the Senate.
Rebecca Shabad is a politics reporter for NBC News based in Washington.
Kyle Stewart is an associate producer covering Congress for NBC News.
Rebecca is a producer and off-air reporter covering Congress for NBC News, managing coverage of the House.