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Austria – Lebensgefühl. Experience the Joy of Life in The Heart of Europe

Feel the ease, the serenity, the love for great food and art and culture, the charming wit, the welcoming atmosphere – feel the Austrian Lebensgefühl

Discover the Entire Country

Discover austria.

Explore Austria at its best with these concise itineraries. Whether it's iconic landmarks or hidden gems, culinary delights or art and culture, discover how to make the most out of your stay.

Vienna in 3 Days

Salzburg in 48 hours, innsbruck in 3 days, graz in 3 days, our hotel reccomendations, austria hotel collection.

Looking for a charming family-run hotel, a luxury spa resort, or a cosy private apartment? Here is our curated list featuring great hotels in Austria's cities and on the countryside.

A Summer in Austria - Your Daily Dose of 'Lebensgefühl'

Nature, mountains and lakes, cultural treasures and thousands of moments of indulgence are the setting for a very special attitude you'll experience during a summer holiday in Austria: A light-hearted feeling, that comes to life beautifully when connecting to the locals.

Lebensgefühl Austria - hiking with the family Austrian National Tourist Office / Marko Mestrovic media_content.tooltip.skipped

A Holiday in Austria puts a Smile on your Face

An experience, an encounter, sometimes just a moment - and the new somehow feels familiar. In Austria, this atmosphere is literally in the air: A sensation that, in nature, feels light and free, full of fun and joie de vivre. A feeling that, while connecting with the people who live here, feels genuine.

Mountains, water, energetic places, cultural treasures - that is Austria for you. As well as cooling off in a crystal-clear lake, the gratifying feeling when conquering a summit, and a snack at a mountain hut. Austria is the freedom of an open-air festival, and the cosiness of a wine tavern. All places and moments, that make it easy to clear your head, to be amazed, to feel the vitality. The spark is quickly ignited. Anyone who is a guest here becomes part of this very special attitude to life.

Experience Austria's Nature

These boots are made for walking, the most beautiful swimming lakes, i want to ride my bicycle, we are family, hiking with children.

Exploring mosses, watching butterflies, feeding goats ... Children are curious. Austria's hiking routes are just right for an unforgettable hiking day.

Moments of Cultural Pleasure

Museums and galleries, embrace austria's guilty pleasures, wine culture in austria, culinary pit-stops in austria, time for easter egg hunting, easter in austria.

Experience Austria's unique traditions and visit one (or more!) of our colourful Easter markets.

Which Summer Activity do you Fancy?

Walking and hiking in austria, cycling and biking in austria, lakes and nature in austria, trailrunning: a wonderful family experience, discover city life, city breaks in summer - your cultural 'lebensgefühl'.

City trips in Austrias cultural summer hit right at the heart. Because Austrias cities surprise, make curious – and sometimes even are addictive. #feelAustria

Austria is a country rich with history, beautiful regions, imperial cities and year long activities.

In Harmony with Austria

When you spend your holiday in Austria, you will experience that one moment – the moment that you’ll remember for years to come, the moment you’ll return to in your head when life gets stressful.

Active in the Outdoors

It's the small moments that make us happy: The pride on our best friend's face when finally reaching the summit. Or at night, falling asleep with achy legs but a smile on our face. That's what life in the outdoors is all about.

Wellbeing & Relaxation in Austria's Nature

Nature soothes our minds and bodies. From the healing effect of waterfalls and trees to the beauty of cultural landscapes, mountains, and waters, Austria is filled with natural gems.

Why Forest Bathing Can Make You Healthier and Happier, According to Science

Why spas and thermal baths are so good for us, culinary discovery trip through austria.

Austria owes its culinary identity to both its location in the heart of Europe and its remarkable history. Austria stands for openness to varied influences and a love for refining existing traditions at the highest level.

9 restaurants and mountain huts with a view

Dream career: organic farmer, austrian culture, artists & masterpieces.

Let us dive into Austria’s arts and culture sphere and discover fascinating stories of the masters and personae that led the way.

Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood Goddess and Lady Bluetooth

Gustav klimt loved art, women and lake attersee, our hotel recommendations, find a city hotel, find an alpine stay, share feedback for a chance to win a special holiday experience.

We value your feedback! Take part in our brief survey to be in with the chance of winning one of five very special holiday experiences in Austria. Click here to take part.

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Insiders' Tips

Austria's quirkiest city tours, austria’s prettiest places, according to austrians, top 5 austrian dishes you need to try, austria’s top sights, events in austria, practical travel information, about austria, brexit and travelling to austria, how to get to and around austria, what are you interested in, family fun in austria, round trips in austria, cities and culture in austria, skiing and winter in austria, austrian cultural stories, famous austrians.

From Mozart and Sisi to Hedy Lamarr – Austria's sons and daughters have left their mark across music, art, science, politics, and sport. Find out which famous personalities originate from or lived in Austria and follow in their footsteps.

Passport & Visa for Austria

Vienna pass: your personal key to the city, travel experiences designed by experts, austrian – the charming way to fly.

Enjoy Austrian hospitality and multi-awarded service already on board, with Austrian Airlines from 130 cities around the world direct to Vienna and other Austrian cities.

Explore Austria By Train

Travelling through Austria by train is reliable, comfortable, and convenient. Relax, sit back, and enjoy your vacation, the Austrian Railways takes you to Austria’s most beautiful places.

Have a Taste of Austria

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Craving a taste of Austria? Why not don your apron and recreate your favourite regional specialities at home? Here is a list of some of Austria's most delicious all-time classics.

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  • 34 Best Places To Visit In Austria In 2024 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 In 2024

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

imperial place and beautiful parks in Vienna, one of the top places to visit in Austria

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

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2. Salzburg – A Date With Mozart

charmig city surrounded by greenery

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

Innsbruck is one of the best places to visit in Austria

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

4. Salzkammergut – Relax And Rejuvenate

stunningly beautiful

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

renaissance style buildings in Graz, one of the top places to visit in Austria

The second largest and cheapest city in Austria 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

6. Worthersee – A Summer To Remember

beautiful worthersee lake

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

Bad Gastein is one of the popular places to visit in Austria

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

8. Bregenz – Tranquil Days By The Lake

beautiful sightseeing in Bregenz, one of the best places to visit in Austria

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

UNESCO world heritage site Wachau, one of the top places to visit in Austria

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

10. Zell Am See – Pristine Alpine Wonders

naturally beautiful Zell Am See is one of the top places to visit in Austria

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

highest mountain in austrian alps

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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: Day Trips In Austria

12. Krimml Waterfalls – Austria’s Famous Paradise

Krimml Waterfalls is one of the best places to visit in Austria

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

Vorarlberg is one of the scenic places to visit in Austria

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

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

Carinthia is one of the serene places to visit in Austria

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

16. Styria – Witness The Wildlife

Styria is one of the popular places to visit in Austria

Image Credit: 12019 by Pixabay

Wondering what to see in Austria in 7 days? Styria can be one of the options. It 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

18. Hallstatt – Scenic Lake Views

The iconic mountains and a tiny village by Lake Hallstatt

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

austria travel

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

20. Alpbach – Skiing And Sledding

gentle slopes

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

Eisenstadt austria

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

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

lake constance austria

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

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

Gesäuse National Park austria

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: Mosques In Austria

26. National Park Hohe Tauern – The Land Of Austria’s Superlatives

National Park Hohe Tauern

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

Seewinkel national park austria

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: Austria’s Most Beautiful Spots

28. St Anton am Arlberg – Best Ski Village

ski village in austria

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

castle in vienna woods

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: Best Honeymoon Destinations In Europe In Winter

30. Krems – Explore Nature And History

austrian scenery

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

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

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

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 trip to Austria with TravelTriangle and enjoy a customized holiday just like you have always desired or dreamt of. Happy traveling!

For our editorial codes of conduct and copyright disclaimer, please click here .

Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Austria

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.

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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Danube deep, mountain high: The 12 best places to visit in Austria

Kerry Walker

Nov 2, 2021 • 12 min read

Hallstatt Village and Hallstatter See lake in Austria

From mountain-rimmed Hallstatt to culture-packed Vienna, here are the best places to visit in Austria © zhuyufang / Getty Images

Imagine Austria and your mind might well drift to the lavish palaces and coffeehouses of Vienna , the snow-white peaks of the Tyrolean Alps, the serpentine romance of the Danube and Mozart symphonies ringing out in the baroque concert halls of Salzburg. And if this is your first visit, you’ll undoubtedly want to see all the whole darned lot and more besides. But there is far more to this pocked-sized, landlocked country than at first meets the eye. 

Whether you are heading gleefully high into the glaciated mountains of Hohe Tauern National Park, tuning into the latest tech wizardry in future-focused Graz, hiding away in the little-visited wilds of the Bregenzerwald, or tripping along the vineyard-draped wine roads of southern Styria, which have more than a whisper of Tuscany about them, Austria richly rewards those who dare to deviate from the well-trodden track. Here's our take on the 12 best places to visit in Austria.

Few cities move so effortlessly between past and present as Vienna , where Hapsburg emperors ruled the roost for 600 years. The pomp and splendor can be almost overwhelming, as you waltz through vast, exuberantly gilded palaces like the Hofburg and Schönbrunn , tour Klimt-filled galleries like the Upper Belvedere , stroll grand baroque streets, and saunter past follies and Greek gods in landscaped gardens that gaze down upon the city with a kindly eye.

The music of Mozart, Beethoven and that old romantic devil Strauss reverberates in some of the world’s most feted and opulent concert halls: the Musikverein and Staatsoper . And even going for a coffee can be a regal affair at the likes of chandelier-lit Café Central , where all the 19th-century bigwigs once hung out. 

But Vienna isn’t all about show. Venture beyond the big-hitters of the Innere Stadt and the Gothic whack of Stephansdom and you’ll find a liveable, loveable capital that moves to its own urban, edgy beat: in parks sprawling along the banks of the Danube, at the MuseumsQuartier , delivering a serious hit of culture in the former baroque imperial stables, and at food markets like Naschmarkt , where Vienna embraces the world in street food and spice. 

Two kids leap into the water of a lake on a sunny day, surrounded by lush mountain scenery

Zell am See

Perfect for dipping into the ravishingly mountainous Hohe Tauern National Park , the cheerful Alpine resort of Zell am See sits smugly on the shores of a bluest-blue lake, buttressed by lofty peaks, including the glacier-capped 10,509ft (3203m) Kitzsteinhorn , where you can embark on a glacier trail, kick back on a snow beach, spend the night in an igloo, and ski well into summer. 

The resort has a real outdoor buzz in summer, with people rocking up to swim, boat, windsurf and stand-up paddleboard on the lake, cycle around or paraglide above it. If you’re a hiker, you’re in for a treat, too: A cable-car zips up to Schmittenhöhe to hook onto the Pinzgauer Spaziergang , one of Austria’s most memorable day hikes, with exhilarating views of the country’s highest peak, 12,461ft (3798m) Grossglockner. The resort also makes a terrific springboard for the Grossglockner High Alpine Road , a head-spinning, helter-skelter drive, with on-high views of waterfalls, lakes, glaciers and a sea of snowy Alps. 

Other Austrian cities flick on the fairy-tale charm, but not Linz . This is where Austria leaps headfirst into the 21st century. With its gaze fixed firmly on the future, this tech-mad trailblazer has an ever-evolving cultural scene, and is making pioneering waves in avant-garde art and architecture, with a flurry of galleries and buildings at the cutting edge of design; all of which helped it snag Unesco City of Media Arts status back in 2014. 

At the top of any itinerary is Ars Electronica Center , zooming in on technology, science and digital media. Here you can interact with robots, animate digital objects, print 3D structures, turn your body into musical instruments and (virtually) travel to outer space. Its over-the-Danube rival is the rectangular glass-and-steel Lentos , a vast repository of modern art, with a stash of Warhol, Schiele, Klimt and Kokoschka originals. Both museums have a face-off of illuminations when they strikingly change color by night.

A person in full ski gear snowshoes her way through thick snow in a mountain region as the sun sets


Everyone raves about the mountains of Tyrol and Salzburgerland, but there’s a lesser-known region that deserves a look-in. Huge swathes of Austria's far west, Vorarlberg , remain deliciously off-the-radar, with narrow, silent valleys carving up mighty peaks and forests. It is here that the Alpine heights of the Silvretta-Montafon give way to the wavy hills and lush dairy country of the Bregenzerwald, which in turn fall to the Bodensee (Lake Constance), where Austria rolls into Germany and Switzerland. 

The Bregenzerwald, in particular, is an incredibly peaceful and deeply rural corner of the country to slip off the map for a few days, whether hiking, cycling or cross-country skiing. Roads here unzip through cow-nibbled pastures, passing limestone peaks and one ludicrously pretty timber chalet-lined village after the next. 

The dream is Schwarzenberg, where you can visit the Angelika Kauffmann Museum before lunch in the wood-panelled parlor at Gasthof Hirschen . The village is a highlight on the region’s KäseStrasse (cheese road), linking up cheese-makers, farm shops and Schoppernau’s show dairy .

Bad Gastein

Smuggled away in a wildly romantic valley in the glacier-capped Hohe Tauern mountains, Bad Gastein is an instant heart-stealer, with belle époque villas that evoke the grace of a bygone age clinging to sheer, forested slopes, and a 1119ft (341m) waterfall plummeting over cliffs. Over the centuries the town has beguiled everyone – from beauty-conscious Romans to romantic souls such as Schubert and Klimt and royals like Empress Elisabeth – for the miraculous healing powers of its radon-laced thermal hot springs. 

Today you can take these same waters at the grotto-filled Felsentherme and architecturally innovative Alpentherme baths. Or, for greater impact, go deep into the bowels of the Gasteiner Heilstollen , a medieval gold mine turned health center, to absorb the radon (taster sessions are available), said to cure all manner of ills from arthritis to fibromyalgia. 

One look at the mountains that fling up above the valley and you’ll be itching to head higher. A gondola swings up to 7218ft (2200m) Stubnerkogel , where you can hike across a 459ft-long (140m) suspension bridge for out-of-this-world views deep into the snowy Hohe Tauern peaks, or ski in winter.

The jagged Nordkette Alps rise like a theater curtain above Innsbruck , Tyrol’s knockout of a capital. Here mountains whoosh up above the turquoise Inn River and seem to sneak into every picture. Can’t decide between city and slopes? Here you get the best of both, with a space-age funicular designed by Zaha Hadid winging you up to the Alpine heights of 7657ft (2334m) Hafelekar in mere minutes. 

Innsbruck is perhaps unique in the fact you can spend the morning carving powder, hiking or dashing downhill on a mountain bike, and the afternoon with a serious hit of culture. Begin by wafting around the swanky imperial state apartments of the cupola-topped Hofburg palace. Nearby the Goldenes Dachl catches your eye, a late-Gothic oriel shimmering with 2657 fire-gilded copper tiles. But all that glitters here is not gold: just a quick bus hop from of town, Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens delivers some serious crystal sparkle.

To ramp up the adventure, head to the neighboring village of Igls for a pulse-quickening ride on the Olympiabobbahn , where you’ll pick up speeds of 68mph (110km/h) as you pinball around 10 curves.

A horse-drawn carriage in the central square of a city. A fortress-like building looms above on a clifftop

Salzburg looks freshly minted for Hollywood. From the moment you arrive, you’re forced to gaze up in wide-eyed wonder: at the soaring spires of its brilliantly baroque Altstadt, home to the Residenz palace , where prince-archbishops once held court, and the copper-domed cathedral ; at its high-on-a-hill, 900-year-old fortress, Festung Hohensalzburg ; at the cliffs of 1772ft-high (540m) Mönchsberg flinging up above the city; and at the white-wisped peaks of the Alps that pucker up on the horizon. Walking along the banks of the fast-flowing, turquoise Salzach River, it’s hard to fathom a more perfect city.

Salzburg has churned out many a legend, most notably Mozart, who was born in a bright-yellow townhouse on Getreidegasse, which now harbors a museum that’s an ode to the virtuoso. His high-note-hitting rival is Maria of The Sound of Music  (1965) fame. Boundless tours and bike rides whizz around the film locations, or devise your own self-guided spin of them. 

There’s no avoiding the fact that Salzburg gets swamped in peak season. Give the selfie stick-wielding crowds the slip by taking a spirit-lifting hike along the wooded cliffs of Mönchsberg to Augustiner Bräustübl , a 400-year-old, monk-founded brewery, with Oktoberfest flavor, vaulted parlors, and a 1000-seat beer garden for quaffing foaming beers under the chestnut trees. Or for a breath of fresh Alpine air and trails weaving deep into the mountains, take the cable car up to 6079ft-high (1853m) Untersberg on the border with Bavaria.

There is a certain poetry to the way the Wachau opens up, with orchards and vineyards ribbing terraced slopes staggering down to the meandering River Danube, and trails waltzing through field and forest to medieval castles romantically poised on hillsides. With an exciting food and wine scene, paths that are a joy to explore on foot or by bike, and landscapes that unravel as harmoniously as a Strauss symphony, this stretch of the Danube Valley is so darned scenic that it has been granted Unesco World Heritage status.

The big-hitter culturally is Stift Melk , a twin-spired, onion-domed baroque stunner of an abbey, with a sunny yellow facade and flamboyantly frescoed monastery church. Beyond this, you’ll want to see the fairy-tale that is Dürnstein’s ruined castle , where Richard the Lionheart was locked up in the late 12th century for insulting Leopold V, and the low-key village of Spitz, topped off by the 1000-Eimer-Berg, so-named for its ability to fill 1000 buckets of wine each season. 

Graz and the Styrian Wine Roads

With a castle high on a bluff, an Altstadt that’s a jumble of Renaissance courtyards and baroque palaces hinting at nearby Italy, and some strikingly avant-garde galleries, Graz is an endearingly laid-back, cultured city for dipping deeper into the oft-overlooked region of Styria in southern Austria. 

Using the city as a base, you can easily strike out onto the Weinstrassen (wine roads) that vein the gently rolling hills, flower-stippled meadows, forests and vineyards that carpet the south of the province. With vineyards marching up steep hillsides and even the odd poppy and cypress tree, this is Austria’s answer to Tuscany (minus the crowds) and perfect road trip territory . As you make your way through towns like Leutschach, Ehrenhausen, Gamlitz and Berghausen, you’ll find wineries opening their doors for tastings and farmhouses offering rustic respite. On the last weekend in September, the region pops many a cork at its Weinlesefest (wine harvest festival).

Salzkammergut Lakes

If you’ve ever swooned over a lake scene in The Sound of Music it was probably filmed in the Salzkammergut , a fantasy region of jewel-colored Alpine lakes, wildflower-strewn valleys and peaks topping out near the 9845ft (3000m) mark. Should you only have time to see one lake, make it the sublimely gorgeous one in mountain-rimmed Hallstatt , whose Unesco World Heritage salt mines look back on 7000 years of history and once produced the region’s "white gold". 

But you would be wise to allow longer so you can soak in thermal baths in spa town Bad Ischl, bathe in the warm waters of crescent-shaped Mondsee , follow in pilgrim’s footsteps to Wolfgangsee, and explore the icy underworld of the Dachstein Caves in Obertraun.

While July to early September are ideal for lake swimming (the water can get mighty chilly at other times of the year), you might prefer to visit in the shoulder seasons – spring and autumn are glorious – to escape the throngs and enjoy the lakes at their peaceful best. 

Steyr and Nationalpark Kalkalpen 

So you want to go properly off piste? Upper Austria is the place to do just that. Somehow this region has managed to slip under the tourist radar – and what a shame that is. This province has its own quiet, lingering beauty, with golden wheat fields giving way to patchwork fields and apple orchards that in turn rise to mountains rolling to the Czech border. It’s a joy to explore on foot or by bike, with cycle paths hugging river banks, rambling farms selling homegrown Most (cider) and mellow autumn mists. 

The fairest town by far is Steyr, which composer Franz Schubert called "inconceivably lovely" and used as the inspiration for his sprightly Trout Quintet . At the confluence of the swiftly flowing Enns and Steyr rivers, this pretty town of cobblestones and pastel-hued baroque houses makes a brilliant base for diving into the rest of the region. For hiking, mountain-biking and rock climbing action, the Nationalpark Kalkalpen ’s limestone peaks, gorges, and high moors are within easy striking distance. 

St Anton am Arlberg

In the beginning there was St Anton am Arlberg... In the place where the country’s first ski club was founded in 1901 and downhill skiing was born, the Austrian Alps take a huge leap into wilder heights. Overshadowed by a real beast of a mountain called Valluga (9216ft/2809m), this resort makes even veteran skiers quiver in their boots with some of Austria’s steepest on- and off-piste skiing . The ultimate challenge is the Run of Fame. One of the longest circuits in the Alps, this 53-mile (85km) marathon ski wraps up the entire Arlberg arena and covers 11 vertical miles (18km). With 190 miles (305km) of slopes to pound , the skiing here is the stuff of legend. And the après-ski scene is bonkers – people here like to party as hard as they play.

While winter is the big deal for most, there’s plenty of action in summer too, with hiking trails heading from peak to glorious peak, and adventure pros H2O taking you white water rafting on the fast-flowing Inn River, canyoning in the surrounding gorges, tubing, and mountain biking.

You might also like: From palace to peak: the 10 best things to do in Austria    Austria's national parks are an Alpine playground    18 top things to do in Vienna   

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Happy to Wander

20+ Austria Travel Tips for First Timers & Must Knows Before You Go

Last Updated: July 6, 2023

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Despite its relatively small size, Austria is a country packed to the brim with sights – from majestic mountains and opulent palaces to elegant cities and more stunning cakes than you could ever eat in one lifetime.

… it’s also full of potential culture shocks and silly travel mistakes.

I used to live just across the border in Munich, so over the years I’ve gotten to know Austria fairly well… the hard way! Namely by bumbling around, committing the faux pas and embarrassing myself in the name of research.

But luckily, you’re here just in time to prepare for Austria the easy way – by reading my full list of Austria travel tips, collected over years of first hand experience (and many a starry-eyed day trip from Munich to Salzburg ).

So, from avoiding saucy schnitzels to preparing for naked saunas, here are a few weirdly specific must-knows before you visit Austria. I hope you find it helpful!

austria travel

Save this list of Austria Travel Tips for later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

1. Remember: Austria ≠ Australia

We’ll start with a silly Austria tip, and one that I (frankly) cannot believe needs saying.

But from US presidents to famous news outlets , it’s a gaffe that pops up time and time again, so, just to make sure we’re all on the same page… Austria is a country in Central Europe, and completely different to Australia, the Southern Hemisphere country famed for its kangaroos and koalas.

Walk around Austria for even a few minutes and you’ll come across silly souvenirs mocking this confusion, and probably a tour guide or two telling a joke about it.

So, again, before you start planning that Austria trip, make sure it’s mountains, schnitzel and Sound of Music you’re looking for, not the Outback, Didgeridoos, and giant spiders that hide in your shoes.

austria travel

2. Never mistake Austrians for Germans

Just as Austria and Australia are (shockingly) not the same country, the same goes for Austria and its neighbour, Germany.

A very important Austrian etiquette tip I must shout from the rooftops is simply this: Austrians don’t take kindly to being mistaken for German.

So, remember to never say that Germany and Austria are the same, or make jokes about Germans and Austrians being the same. At best, they’ll laugh it off, at worst, you’ll cause legitimate offense.

Sure the two countries share a language and there are (admittedly) similarities, but Austrians are really proud of their country and don’t love it when people just dismiss them as the exact same as Germany, so keep that in mind.

As a Canadian who’s frequently mistaken for American, I totally get it.

austria travel

3. Be sure to add Austria’s nature spots to your itinerary

Now in terms of where to go in Austria, I find that overseas visitors often gravitate towards the country’s most famous cities, Vienna and Salzburg.

But there is SO much more to explore beyond that, especially Austria’s natural marvels, which many overseas visitors miss. In fact, it’s often Austria that Europeans choose for their nature-forward holidays (whether it be for skiing or hiking), so don’t miss out!

Filled with soaring mountains, glimmering lakes, and charming swathes of countryside, Austria is (in many ways) a more budget-friendly version of Switzerland, so I highly recommend extending your time and expanding your itinerary to include at least a day trip or two to take in some of these incredible natural landscapes.

There’s the valleys and waterfalls of Salzburgerland, the alpine majesty of Tyrol’s nature parks, the beautiful lakes of Carinthia, along with more under-the-radar picks like the Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg (which offers amazing mountains and cute alpine towns).

All that to say – there’s plenty of amazing nature to be enjoyed in Austria, so don’t just limit yourself to cities.

austria travel

4. Seek out new destinations by reading Austrian websites

On that note, if you are open to visiting more offbeat places during your Austria trip, one thing I can highly recommend is doing your research on local Austrian websites.

In my opinion, there’s quite a big difference between the Austrian destinations that international tourists visit and the destinations that domestic tourists visit.

Both are great, but if you want to explore beyond the most famous sights, then reading Austrian blogs to see where locals vacation is a good starting point.

NOTE: This is also a great way to discover more offbeat things to do in individual cities as well. For instance, if I wanted to find more alternative things to do in Graz , I might browse local blogs/event websites to find pop-up events or unique festivals.

austria travel

5. Don’t miss Austria’s Christmas markets

I know that neighbouring Germany is probably the best known country in the world for Christmas markets, but Austria has a fair few incredible gems too, often with far thinner international crowds.

So, if you’re looking for a magical winter destination in Europe, consider pencilling in some Austrian Christmas Markets between mid November to Christmas.

austria travel

6. Learn the basics in German

In terms of which language to panic-learn before your trip, German is the official language of Austria, so that’s what everyone will speak.

In larger cities, it won’t be tough to get by with English, but it may be more difficult in the countryside.

In any case, it’s good to at least know the basics, like…

  • Hello – Hallo (Ha-low!) or Grüß Gott (Grewss-got!)
  • Thank you – Danke (Dahn-keh)

NOTE: The German spoken in Austria can sound very different depending on where you are because there’s a lot of different regional dialects, so don’t be surprised if you have trouble understanding locals (or vice versa). It’s all part of the fun!

austria travel

7. Only rent a car if you plan to do nature trips

If your trip mainly consists of city to city travel, then I’d advise relying on public transport to save yourself the headache of driving.

Public transport is amazing in Austria, so you’ll have no trouble getting around, both from place to place and also within cities themselves.

But, if you plan to do a lot of more offbeat nature spots to see mountains, lakes and national parks, then having a car would be ideal. Be sure to check out my considerations before renting a car in Europe if that’s the case.

Of course, a more convenient alternative would be to book day tours to nature spots from the city you’re staying in – that way you can simply drool in the back seat while you see all the landscapes, without the stress of navigating.

austria travel

8. Get a vignette if you’re driving

If you do plan to rent a car however, one important Austria must-know is you’ll need a vignette.

This is a sticker that you must buy for your car in order to use the country’s motorways. Failure to procure one means an aggressive fine in the mail weeks after the fact. (Ask me how I know that).

IMPORTANT: Make sure this sticker is purchased and adhered to the car before you enter the country because there are automatic scanners that look for them at the border… so you may get fined even if you buy one upon entry. (Again, ask me how I know that)

austria travel

9. Understand that public transport is on an honour system

Unlike other countries which have fare gates and other measures in place to ensure you pay, public transport in Austria works on a very trusting honour system where you are responsible for buying your own ticket, and only need to show it if you are asked to (via random controls).

So, make sure you always buy the right ticket and validate it properly in case you get checked!

austria travel

10. Learn the tricks to saving money on Austrian trains

Train travel is one of my personal favourite ways of getting around Austria. If you are new to train travel in Europe, then be sure to read my step by step guide to get acquainted, and scope out my favourite scenic train rides while you’re at it.

After you’ve decided that you do want to glide elegantly across the country by rail, then there are a few different ways to save money on tickets:

  • Einfach-Raus-Ticket: A group ticket that gives you unlimited travel for a day on all local/regional trains across Austria. The more people you have, the cheaper it works out to be per person. Great for group day trips!
  • Regional Tickets/Offers: Special passes that give you unlimited travel for a day on local/regional trains for a particular region/area. Great for day trips in a smaller area!
  • Eurail: A rail pass that covers train travel across most European countries. Great only in certain instances, i.e. when you are visiting many countries and want flexibility/spontaneity. I explain more in my full Eurail review.

austria travel

11. Sorry – Austrians do not know the Sound of Music

I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

And trust me – as someone who grew up watching the Sound of Music religiously every Christmas, this fact is definitely not one of my favourite things, but here goes…

Austrians do not really care about the Sound of Music. It’s not a classic film for them, they have no nostalgia tied to it, and (frankly) many of them don’t even like it.

So, when you head to Salzburg for your big Sound of Music pilgrimage, just know that your enthusiasm is probably best shared among your fellow tourists, rather than among locals.

austria travel

12. Remember “W” is pronounced like V

In terms of language, a good thing to remember is that the letter W in German is pronounced like a V so if you’re saying any words or names, say it with a “Vuh” sound.

In Austria, the most prominent example would be the German name of Vienna which is spelled Wien, but pronounced “Veen”.

You’ll catch this pronunciation trap in the city’s most popular dish too -Wiener Schnitzel. So remember: if you do decide to indulge in this fried slab of goodness during your trip, order it as a “Veen-uh” schnitzel and not “Weeeeee-ner” schnitzel.

austria travel

13. Avoid catching locals in photos/videos without their consent

Upon arrival in Austria, your first instinct may be to whip out your phone and capture as many of those beautiful sights as possible, to the chagrin of your 52 Instagram followers.

But just a quick note before you do that – Austrians can be very private people who don’t like having their photograph taken without consent.

So, a very important Austrian etiquette tip is to be mindful of others’ privacy and try not to blatantly take photos that might accidentally catch someone’s face head on. 

austria travel

14. Don’t be alarmed if you catch people staring at you

While taking photos of others’ faces is considered very rude, one thing that isn’t is… staring.

To the shock of many first time visitors, Austrians don’t mind staring. So you could very well be sitting on the bus, minding your own business, only to feel the stony stare of a stranger who is (rather shamelessly) staring at you while you just try to peacefully exist.

Can it be jarring? Of course! But don’t worry – it’s just a cultural difference where they don’t consider staring to be a rude practice. Think of it as just them perceiving you (or if it helps your confidence, pretend it’s because you’re wowing them with your stunning face).

austria travel

15. Learn how to tip in Austria

In terms of tips, tipping culture in Austria is definitely not as aggressive as in North America.

For good service you’ll tend to tip 5-10%, usually rounding up to a number that makes sense so if your meal was 45 euro, you might hand them 50. 

What’s worth noting though is that tipping works a little differently here.

For instance, you wouldn’t just leave money on the table after the meal. Instead, you have to tell them how much you intend to pay in total (including tip) as you hand over your cash or card.

So let’s imagine that (including tip), you want to pay 40 euro. In this instance, you would say “40” as you hand over your cash or your card, and then they’ll give you the appropriate change.

If you want them to just keep the change, then you hand your cash over and say “Stimmt So!”, and they’ll know to just keep the whole thing.

austria travel

16. Be prepared for a different style of customer service

Now in terms of culture, it is often said that Austrians can seem cold and direct. I personally haven’t had this experience as much, but maybe I’ve just been lucky. (And tend to surround myself with the drunk ones ).

Anyways, what I will concede though is that Austrian customer service is very different from typical North American customer service.

In contrast to typical North American service which involves being bright, cheery, friendly and hands on, Austrian customer service is usually a lot less animated, and to someone who’s not used to it, it may even seem like you’re being ignored on purpose.

The way I’ve had this explained to me though is that Austrians just really value their privacy, hence why they take such a hands-off approach.

At a restaurant for example, the server will come, take your order and then leave you alone, hence why you need to flag them down if you want anything, because they consider constant check-ins a rude interruption.

So, don’t take ‘colder’ customer service personally – it’s just another one of those cultural differences.

austria travel

17. Prepare for nude saunas and public nudity areas

Another fun cultural difference? The Austrian approach to nudity!

Namely, that they’re very into it.

If you go to a sauna in Austria for instance, it’s very much expected that you go naked (for sanitary reasons), and there’s often designated nude (FKK) zones at lakes and swimming areas as well.

Add on the fairly common occurrence of both men and women alike sunbathing topless, and you have a sure recipe for culture shock. So, if you’re from a part of the world where this kinda bare-it-all attitude isn’t common, just remember it’s normal here, so adapt accordingly.

austria travel

18. Eat as much dessert as humanly possible

An easier thing to adapt to perhaps is the absolutely WONDER that is Austria’s sweet scene.

Truly, Austrians are masters of dessert.

While North Americans will have no doubt heard of strudel or the famous Sacher Torte, there are SO MANY more options than those. My personal favourite is the Esterházytorte which is originally Hungarian but is commonly found in Vienna these days too, or the almighty Kaiserschmarrn, shredded pancakes served with jam or apple sauce.

With hundreds of options and special regional desserts all over, I’d recommend you simply go to a coffee house or bakery and let your senses guide you.

austria travel

19. Try regional specialties wherever you are

While overseas visitors often think of Austrian food as simply schnitzel and not much else, the truth is there’s a lot of culinary variety across the country, so choose your eats accordingly.

For instance, Styria is known for its crispy fried chicken (Backhendl) and delicious pumpkin seed oil. Some alpine regions are also known for their hearty eats like Käsespätzle, bouncy little dumplings slathered with cheese and onions.

Other regions do a lot of fish dishes, others work miracles with potatoes – all to say be sure to try the local specialties wherever you are.

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20. Don’t miss out on Austrian wine

Despite its proximity to Germany, Austria is definitely more of a wine country than a beer country, so take advantage of all the crisp and delicious wines that they have to offer.

Or better yet – book yourself a trip to a wine region to enjoy it close to the source! South Styria is one of my favourite areas of Austria.

austria travel

21. Try Almdudler

And if you’re looking for a soft drink to try in Austria, make sure you grab yourself a refreshing Almdudler.

Besides being fun to say, it’s a remarkably tasty soda made with alpine herbs, and is often considered the national drink of Austria.

austria travel

22. Don’t order schnitzel with sauce

A proper Austrian schnitzel requires little more than a quick squeeze of lemon juice. Anything more is often considered akin to sacrilege, so keep that in mind before your slather your schnitzel in mushroom sauce (which I fear to admit was actually a common thing I did in Germany).

And for my fellow Sound of Music fans, no, sadly ‘schnitzel with noodles’ is not a thing. Why is it in the song then? I imagine it’s likely because few things rhyme with “potato salad”.

Schnitzel Steinheil 16

23. Bring cash 

While many more places accept card payments these days in Austria, paying with cash is often still the norm, especially for smaller purchases, so having cash is always a good idea, preferably in smaller denominations like 50 euro bills or smaller.

austria travel

24. Prepare to pay for public bathrooms

Another important Austria travel tip is to bring coins with you wherever you go.

That’s because public bathrooms usually charge a small fee of 50 cents or a euro, so make sure you have some coins with you in case of an emergency.

austria travel

25. Do not jaywalk

In Austria, the only crime worse than saucing up your schnitzel is crossing the street when you’re not supposed to.

No – really – jaywalking is not only illegal in Austria, it’s actually enforced (albeit kind of randomly), so err on the side of caution and avoid it if possible.

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26. Remember that most shops are closed on Sundays

Last but not least, a very important Austria travel tip if your visit coincides with a Sunday is that Sundays are considered a day of rest in Austria so shops (including grocery stores) are closed.

That said, be sure to stock up on any shopping before Sunday, although in a pinch, bakeries, restaurants, gas stations and shops in transit hubs will usually still be open.

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I hope this list of Austria travel tips was helpful!

If you’re here after all those Austrian travel tips, congrats – I’m beyond proud of you! Hopefully by now, you’ll feel much more prepared for your big Austria trip, but if you have any more questions, let me know in the comments.

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Travel Guide Austria

Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts

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Glorious Alpine scenery, monumental Habsburg architecture, and the world’s favourite musical – Austria’s tourist industry certainly plays up to the clichés. However, it’s not all bewigged Mozart ensembles and schnitzel; modern Austria boasts some of Europe’s most varied museums and contemporary architecture not to mention attractive and sophisticated cities whose bars, cafés and clubs combine contemporary cool with elegant tradition.

Where to go in Austria

Tailor-made travel itineraries for austria, created by local experts.

Capitals of Europe - Berlin, Prague, Vienna and more

15 days  / from 6264 USD

Capitals of Europe - Berlin, Prague, Vienna and more

This trip is ideal for all city & culture lovers: the Reichstag in Berlin, the castle in Prague, historical Cesky Krumlov, St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, the fortress above Salzburg and Schloss Neuschwanstein near Munich - these are just some of the highlights of this incredible roundup trip.

Castles across Austria and Czechia

11 days  / from 4212 USD

Castles across Austria and Czechia

Austria and Czechia are home to some of the world's most beautiful architecture and culture gems, such as Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna, Prague castle, the fortress above Salzburg and many more. Finish your tour with a visit to Schloss Neuschwanstein before flying out of Munich.

Exclusive trip to Prague and Austria

11 days  / from 3510 USD

Exclusive trip to Prague and Austria

Explore the main highlights of Central Europe: fascinating Prague & historical Cesky Krumlov, the highlights of Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck in Austria and then further on to Germany - get in the Disney spirit at Schloss Neuschwanstein.

Danube capitals

4 days  / from 1188 USD

Danube capitals

Keen to explore three of Europe's capital cities but short on time? This three-country trip allows you to visit Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, three remarkable capital cities with a wealth of history and culture at your fingertips.

Oktoberfest in Germany & Beer culture in Austria & Czechia

12 days  / from 5346 USD

Oktoberfest in Germany & Beer culture in Austria & Czechia

Oktoberfest is a 2-week festival held in Munich/Germany. The first weekend of October is traditionally the last weekend of the festival, so plan accordingly. Before or after, head to Austria and Czechia for some more insights in to European beer culture.

Remarkable European capitals: Prague, Vienna, Budapest

11 days  / from 4590 USD

Remarkable European capitals: Prague, Vienna, Budapest

Start your trip in Czechia before moving on to Austria and then Hungary. Spend 3 nights each in Prague and Budapest, as well as 4 in Vienna to explore not only the capital cities but the surroundings like Salzburg, Cesky Krumlov and the Balaton Lake.

Grand Eastern-European Tour

15 days  / from 4860 USD

Grand Eastern-European Tour

The gems of Central and Eastern Europe within 14 days: visit the capital cities Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, and Sarajevo as well as famous Mostar in Herzegovina and Dracula's castle in Romania.

Beer culture in Czechia, Austria and Germany

Beer culture in Czechia, Austria and Germany

Beer is an important part of Central European culture and this trip allows you to get to know this part in more detail - Pilsner brewery in Czechia, the famous Hofbräuhaus in Munich, the small and unique Stiegl brewery in Salzburg - get your taste buds ready for lots of Beer-liciousness.

An active outdoor trip for the whole family in Germany & Austria

8 days  / from 4298 USD

An active outdoor trip for the whole family in Germany & Austria

Discover 'The Sound of Music' in Salzburg, swim in the lake at Zell am See, go hiking in the mountains of Kitzbühel, and get to know the world's most famous castle Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. Start and end to the tour is Munich and you can easily extend your days here.

  • Population 8.47 million
  • Language German
  • Currency Euro (€)
  • Capital Vienna
  • International phone code t 43
  • Time zone GMT +1hr

Long the powerhouse of the Habsburg Empire, Austria underwent decades of change and uncertainty in the early twentieth century. Shorn of her empire and racked by economic difficulties, the state fell prey to the promises of Nazi Germany. Only with the end of the Cold War did Austria return to the heart of Europe, joining the EU in 1995.

Politics aside, Austria is primarily known for two contrasting attractions – the fading imperial glories of the capital, and the stunning beauty of its Alpine hinterland. Vienna is the gateway to much of central Europe and a good place to soak up the culture of Mitteleuropa .

Less renowned provincial capitals such as Graz and Linz are surprising pockets of culture, innovation and vitality. Salzburg , between Innsbruck and Vienna, represents urban Austria at its most picturesque, an intoxicating Baroque city within easy striking distance of the mountains and lakes of the Salzkammergut , while the most dramatic of Austria’s Alpine scenery is west of here, in and around Tyrol , whose capital, Innsbruck , provides the best base for exploration.

If you are looking for great travel experiences in Austria while avoiding the crowd, check out our tips here.


Without a visit to Vienna you’ll return home with only half the picture. Built on a grand scale as seat of the Habsburg Empire, it’s a place that positively drips with imperial nostalgia.The pickings are rich, with the old palaces of the Hofburg and Schönbrunn high on the list, as are the cultural offerings from the gargantuan art collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum to the new cultural complex of the MuseumsQuartier.

Equally compelling, nowadays, are the ghosts of Vienna’s golden age at the end of the nineteenth century, when the likes of Freud, Klimt, Schiele and Schönberg frequented the city’s cafés.The city boasts some wonderful Jugendstil and early modernist buildings and a bevy of traditional fin-de-siècle cafés patrolled by waiters in tuxedos. Last, but by no means least,Vienna is by far the best place in the country for night- life, and that means everything from top-class opera to techno.

Salzburg is no less intoxicating. Its Altstadt contains the country’s most concentrated ensemble of Baroque architecture, and the Hohensalzburg fortress is arguably the country’s most impressive medieval castle. A substantial musical pedigree is ensured by the city’s status as the birthplace of Mozart and venue of the Salzburg Festival, one of the world’s most renowned celebrations of classical music and theatre.

Of Austria’s other regional capitals, Innsbruck combines both a buzzing 9 nightlife and close proximity to some of the Tyrol’s highest peaks to make it one of Austria’s most popular destinations. Its attractive and largely medieval city centre focuses on the Hofkirche, site of the memorial to sixteenth-century Habsburg strongman Emperor Maximilian I.

In the Styrian capital, Graz, the main attractions are the Altstadt, the fine-art collections of the Landesmuseum Joanneum and the Baroque Eggenberg Palace. Austria’s second largest city is also a good base from which to venture out into the vineyards and pumpkin fields of the rural southeast.

Top image: Hallstatt village © Rastislav Sedlak SK/Shutterstock

Travel advice for Austria

From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to Austria

  • How to get to Austria
  • Culture and Etiquette in Austria
  • Eating and drinking in Austria
  • Getting around Austria: Transportation Tips
  • Sports and Outdoor activities in Austria
  • Travel Tips Austria for planning and on the go
  • Best time to visit Austria

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Austria Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth Austria travel guide ?

Then you’re in the right place!

Nestled amidst the majesty of the Alps, this gem of Central Europe is a symphony of sparkling lakes, enchanting forests, and mountain vistas that will captivate your spirit and invigorate your senses.

Austria is a destination that is as diverse as it is beautiful. From the cosmopolitan allure of Vienna, a city bathed in the echoes of Mozart and Klimt, to the baroque architecture of Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart himself.

Visit Innsbruck, where urban and alpine worlds merge seamlessly, or stroll through the charming, cobbled streets of Graz.

Each corner of Austria offers a unique tableau of experiences waiting to be discovered. This guide will offer you a peek behind the velvet curtains of Austria, providing tips to traverse its iconic landscapes, explore its vibrant cities, indulge in its world-class culinary offerings, and immerse yourself in its unique traditions.

Whether you’re a lover of the arts, an outdoor enthusiast, or a history aficionado, Austria is a country that promises to leave you with an unforgettable travel tapestry of your own.

So tighten your hiking boots or polish your opera glasses, because an Austrian adventure, brimming with magnificent sights, sounds, and tastes, awaits.

Ready to book? Keep reading to dive into resources that will help you with planning a trip to Austria in Europe .

Note: This ultimate guide to Austria travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Austria travel guide

Map Of Austria

Use this Austria travel map to begin planning your trip to this incredible country!

Austria map

Click here for an interactive Google Map version of the above graphic.

Plan an unforgettable trip to Austria with the following guides!

solo travel in Austria

Solo Travel In Vienna: How To Have An Amazing Trip Traveling Alone

River Danube in Vienna, Austria

4 Day Vienna Itinerary (With Map!)

Europe Travel Tips

The following Europe travel advice can help you plan the perfect trip!

best places to travel alone in Europe

19 Best Places To Travel Alone In Europe

Best Austria Tours

Explore local culture with a Austrian tour guide through these unique excursions:

  • The Original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg
  • Hallstatt and Alps Day Trip from Vienna with Skywalk
  • Bavarian Mountains including Eagle’s Nest & Salt Mines from Salzburg
  • Melk Abbey and Danube Valley Day Trip from Vienna
  • Vienna’s Highlights: Food, Coffee & Market Walking Experience

Click here for a full list of Austria travel tours!

Renting A Car In Austria

Need a rental car for your Austria trip? Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options.

austria travel

Austria Train Travel

Getting around Austria by train, bus, or ferry? Omio is a must! I use this tool for all of my public transportation needs when traveling Europe.

The site is straightforward and user-friendly — and you can pre-book your tickets in advance at a discount. They even offer flight and car deals!

Austria Hotels

Click here to browse the best Austria travel hotels!

Prefer self-contained stays?

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays. It’s currently set to the Innere Stadt district of Vienna, but you can easily change it to your preferred destination:

Austria Travel Insurance

When visiting Austria — or any other country in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your Austria travel itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks .

Austria Travel Guide FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling in Austria .

Q: What is the best month to go to Austria?

The best time to visit Austria largely depends on the activities you’re interested in. For skiing and winter sports, December to March are ideal, while for hiking, sightseeing, and enjoying the beautiful landscapes, the milder weather in late spring to early autumn, particularly May through September, is preferable.

Q: How many days do you need for Austria?

An ideal trip to Austria, covering key destinations like Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck, would typically require around 7 to 10 days. However, if you wish to explore more thoroughly, including smaller towns, natural landmarks, or engaging in activities like hiking or skiing, you may want to consider extending your stay to two weeks or more.

Q: Is it expensive to vacation in Austria?

While the cost can vary depending on your travel preferences, Austria is generally considered a moderately expensive destination. Major cities like Vienna and Salzburg can be pricier, particularly for dining and accommodation, but with careful planning, such as utilizing public transportation and choosing affordable eateries, it’s possible to manage expenses.

Q: What are some travel tips for Austria?

When in Austria, try to learn a few basic phrases in German, as it’s the country’s official language and locals appreciate the effort. Also, use public transportation, particularly the efficient train system, to get around major cities and even between towns. Finally, while Austria is famous for its cities, don’t forget to explore the countryside, where you can enjoy scenic hikes, charming villages, and renowned vineyards.

Q: Is it safe to travel in Austria?

Yes, Austria is generally considered a very safe country for travelers, with low crime rates and high levels of safety in both urban and rural areas. However, as with any travel destination, it’s advisable to stay alert, especially in crowded places, and always secure your belongings.

austria travel

Q: How long can a tourist stay in Austria?

Travelers from many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many European countries, can stay in Austria without a visa for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. For longer stays or if you’re from a country not covered by this rule, you may need to apply for a visa. Always check the most recent visa regulations before your travel.

Q: Where is Austria?

Austria is located in Central Europe, bordered by eight countries: Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Its landscape is largely defined by the Eastern Alps.

Q: Are credit cards accepted in Austria?

Yes, credit cards, particularly Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted in Austria, especially in urban areas, hotels, and most restaurants. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments, particularly in rural areas or local markets, where card payment may not always be possible.

Q: Can you drink the tap water in Austria?

Yes, tap water in Austria is of very high quality and is safe to drink. In fact, much of the country’s tap water comes directly from spring water sources in the Alps, making it some of the cleanest and freshest water you’ll find.

What would you add to this Austria travel guide?

trip to Austria

She Wanders Abroad

  • The Perfect 10 Day Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Gosauseen, Austria

With its outstanding natural beauty and sophisticated cities that fuse old with new, Austria is one of the most enchanting countries to visit in Europe. As there are so many pristine lakes, rivers, and mountain ranges to explore in between the urban areas, the best way to experience the place has to be with an epic Austrian road trip.

Renting a car and hitting the road in Austria gives you so much freedom to pick and choose which places you get to visit. No matter where you drive, you will find yourself surrounded by incredible landscapes the whole time, without even needing to leave the car.

If you’re not sure where to begin, then my 10 day Austria road trip itinerary is here to help! This guide contains all the practical information you need as well as the most impressive destinations that let you experience a bit of everything that Austria is known for.

* Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link. *

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The Perfect 10 Day Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Table of Contents

Useful Info for Your Austria Road Trip

How to get to austria .

This Austria road trip itinerary is designed to start in either Vienna or Innsbruck. My guide starts in the east, in Vienna, and concludes in the west, at Innsbruck. However, you can flip it and do it in reverse if that suits you better!

Both Vienna and Innsbruck are served by an international airport. As the Austrian capital and largest city, Vienna International Airport (Flughafen Wien) connects nonstop to the vast majority of European cities. You can also find direct flights from the US, Canada, the Middle East, and some Asian cities.

As a smaller airport, there are fewer direct flights to Innsbruck Airport (Flughafen Innsbruck). However, you can fly nonstop from other Austrian airports as well as from a select number of European destinations including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

Marktplatz Hallstatt

Best time to visit Austria 

Austria experiences the four distinct seasons as per the Northern Hemisphere and other Central European nations, so the best time to visit Austria really depends on the type of experience you are after. The climate and temperatures differ depending on the altitude, so during the course of this road trip in Austria, you should expect the weather to fluctuate somewhat. 

The peak travel season is the summer months of July and August when the temperatures are at their hottest, reaching typically 27-29°C (80-84°F) or sometimes even higher. Meanwhile, winter brings snowfall to the mountains and sees the ski resorts open up for the season.

In terms of the best time to visit Austria as part of a road trip, the shoulder seasons of late spring and autumn are the most pleasant overall. Temperatures are at their most comfortable, you will have less competition for accommodation and parking space, and tours and hotels will be a fraction cheaper. And to be honest, when you’re up in the mountains you will likely still see dustings of snow on the peaks.

Girl in a red skirt on the 5 Fingers Viewing Platform, Austria

Car rental in Austria

No matter which airport you fly to (Vienna or Innsbruck), there are car rental agencies located at both of the airports and in the cities themselves.

I recommend booking your rental well in advance to get the best deals. Prices can be pretty inflated during the summer months so the earlier you book, the better deals you can snag.

Driving tips for Austria 

Driving in Austria is a doddle, providing that you follow the rules and understand the local road rules. Naturally, you must wear a seatbelt at all times, not drive while under the influence, or when using your mobile phone. Here are a few more driving tips for your Austria road trip itinerary: 

  • During the summer season and warmer months, Austrian roads are a joy to drive. They are paved and well maintained. However, between December and March, snow and ice is likely at higher altitudes so you will need to ensure that your rental is fitted with winter tires and that you have snow chains in the boot. 
  • To drive in Austria, you must possess a full driving license from your home country as well as an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). You will need to arrange this documentation prior to arriving in the country to start your Austria road trip. If your driving license was issued by one of the member states of the European Economic Area, you will not need the IDP as your license is valid in Austria.
  • Traffic rules and regulations are comparable to other European countries. In general, the speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph) on Bundesstraße (freeways) and S Roads (expressways) and 130 km/h (81 mph) on Autobahn (highways). When driving through residential areas and inner cities, the speed limit is usually 50 km/h (31 mph), but you should stay alert for signs.
  • In order to drive on the Austrian Autobahn and S Roads, your rental must display a vignette toll sticker. If your rental car doesn’t have one, you must purchase a vignette before hitting the highways. For this Austria road trip itinerary, purchasing a 10-day vignette is the best option which costs €9.90. You can buy the vignette at any of the petrol stations and then stick it to your windshield.
  • Driving with your headlights on is optional during daylight hours and compulsory at night in Austria. 
  • ÖAMTC and ARBÖ are the two major breakdown assistance services in Austria and both operate 24/7. The numbers are 120 and 123, respectively. As a non-member, you will be liable to pay a fee if you use this service. 
  • This itinerary for Austria includes a generous amount of hiking so it’s really important to have some sturdy hiking boots in your rental that you can throw on whenever you reach the trails. You should also have a significant stash of water ready for the hikes. 

View from Mitterberghof Jausenstation, Austria

Overview of Your 10 Day Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Breakdown of your 10 days in austria.

This is your itinerary at a glance, with details about where you will need to book accommodation for each of the 10 nights. Remember, you can do the route in reverse if it suits your travel plans better.

  • Day 1-2: Two full days in Vienna (overnight in Vienna)
  • Day 3: Grüner See, Admont Abbey Library, arriving in Hallstatt (overnight in Hallstatt)
  • Day 4: Full day in Hallstatt (overnight in Hallstatt)
  • Day 5: 5 Fingers Viewing Platform (Dachstein), Gosauseen, arriving in Salzburg (overnight in Salzburg)
  • Day 6: Full day in Salzburg (overnight in Salzburg)
  • Day 7: Gollinger Wasserfall, Bluntauseen, Hohenwerfen Castle, arriving in Zell am See (overnight in Zell am See)
  • Day 8: Stausee Mooserboden, Sigmund-Thun Klamm, Alpine Coaster Maisiflitzer Kaprun, Mitterberghof Jausenstation (overnight in Zell am See)
  • Day 9: Krimml Waterfalls, arriving in Mayrhofen (overnight in Mayrhofen)
  • Day 10: Olpererhütte, Innsbruck (overnight in Innsbruck)

Map for your Austria road trip

Below you can find a customized map that includes all the locations you’re going to visit on this Austria road trip itinerary. I marked the different parts of the road trip with different colors so you can easily see which places you’re going to visit each day.

If you open up this post on your phone and you click on the bracket in the upper right corner of the map, it will automatically save this map to your Google Maps app so you can always have it with you. Super convenient, right?

Day 1-2: Vienna

Number one on your Austria itinerary is Vienna, the capital and largest city in the country, located in the northeast. The oldest part of the city and its most central district is the Innere Stadt, which is contained by a ring road.

Within this neighborhood, you will find the majority of the key attractions and majestic architecture, including Baroque palaces and gardens, museums, and concert halls. No wonder that Vienna is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe !

Vienna is synonymous with classical music and was the home of musical masters including Mozart and Beethoven so you will find numerous references and recitals in town.

Two days in Vienna is plenty of time to explore the major landmarks of this elegant city. You will not need a car for these two days as it’s easier to get around the city via public transport and walking so you can pick up your rental car after your two days in Vienna are over.

Karlskirche surrounded by green trees in Vienna, Austria

Where to stay in Vienna

If this is your first time visiting Vienna then I recommend staying in the Innere Stadt. Hotels are more expensive but deals can always be found. Alternatively, you can choose accommodation in one of the outlying neighborhoods and connect to the Old Town easily by metro.

Trendy Wieden has affordable accommodation which is convenient for seeing the sights featured on this road trip in Austria. Landstrasse, to the east of the Innere Stadt, is another alternative for budget hotels. As you will not pick up your rental until the third day, you don’t need to worry about finding a hotel with parking.

Below you can find my suggestions for the best places to stay in Vienna for 2 nights.

Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna

LUXURY – Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna

Built as a hotel for the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873, the luxurious Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna can be found right on the famous Ringstraße boulevard in the heart of the city. The hotel features 2 restaurants, a bar, and an exclusive spa and fitness center.

Hilton Vienna Plaza

MID-RANGE – Hilton Vienna Plaza

Located on the historic Ringstraße in the Innere Stand, the city center of Vienna, Hilton Vienna Plaza combines modern and Art Déco design elements. The elegantly decorated rooms come with marble bathrooms and offer amazing views of the city from their large windows.

K+K Palais Hotel

BUDGET – K+K Palais Hotel

Centrally located in the quiet part of Vienna’s city center, K+K Palais Hotel is a total steal. Boasting fully air-conditioned rooms and state-of-the-art amenities, the property is in close proximity to many major sights, such as the St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Best things to do in Vienna 

Explore the innere stadt.

Vienna’s old town is brimming with museums, monuments, and landmarks that you can explore on foot. Slip into your sneakers and spend a day touring the key sights.

Look out for the ornate Anker Clock, the commanding Rathaus (city hall), the manicured Volksgarten, and the Wiener Minoritenkirche which features a mosaic of Da Vinci’s Last Supper.

Girl in a red dress on a street with Votivkirche in the background


Perhaps the most unusual building you’ll see during your Austria road trip, the Hundertwasserhaus was conceived by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and architect Joseph Krawina in 1985.

The concept was to create a space in harmony with nature and highlights include the grass on the roof and the trees that grow freely through the floors. Thanks to its vibrant colors, it’s definitely one of the best Vienna Instagram spots !

Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna

Classical concert

In a city famed for its lineage of classic music, you might want to book tickets to catch a show for yourself. There are various concert halls scattered throughout the Innere Stadt.

Once you’ve confirmed the dates for your itinerary for Austria, check out what’s on at the Wiener Musikverein, Wiener Konzerthaus, and the Vienna State Opera House . The main season runs from September to June.

Schönbrunn Palace

This 18th-century palace and gardens are located southwest of the Innere Stadt. Once the summer residence of the Habsburg royal family, this colossal complex is now the star attraction in Vienna. Queues are always long so I recommend booking a skip-the-line tour of Schönbrunn Palace to save time.

Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna with flowers in the foreground

Hofburg Palace

Another palace for your list, this one was built during the 13th century and has been restored and expanded in the following centuries. Originally the winter home of the Austro-Hungarian Empire leaders, the property is now the office of the Austrian president.

Hofburg Palace in Vienna


One of the most fun things to do in Vienna at night is to visit the Prater amusement park. The star attraction is the giant Ferris wheel which has been rotating since 1897 but there are plenty of other rides to satisfy all thrill-seekers.

Swing at the Vergnügungspark Prater in Vienna

Where to eat in Vienna

  • Honu Tiki Bowls : Colorful cuisine in an equally colorful setting! You can select one of the signature bowls or customize your own. There are plenty of options to satisfy vegans, carnivores and seafood lovers.
  • Das LOFT : Dine high above the rooftops of Vienna at this upscale restaurant that serves contemporary Viennese dishes, quality wines, and delectable cocktails. They’re also open for breakfast.
  • Café Anzengruber : Located in the foodie haven that is Wieden, the 4th District, this is one of the best places for authentic schnitzel, goulash, and other traditional Austrian plates you must try during your 10 days in Austria.
  • Restaurant Ofenloch : Another option for classic Austrian food this time in the heart of the Innere Stadt. This historic venue has an irresistible ambiance and an expansive menu. 

Day 3: Vienna to Hallstatt

Pick up your rental and ready your playlist, your Austria road trip officially begins today as you journey into the mountainous state of Styria! The total drive time to today’s final destination, Hallstatt, is around 5 hours and the distance is 340 km (211 miles).

But you will stop along the way before reaching your hotel in Hallstatt so allow extra time to visit the destinations listed below.

Once in Hallstatt, you will need to book 2 nights of accommodation. Refer to the next day if you want to learn about my recommendations for where to stay in Hallstatt!

Grüner See

Driving time: 2 hours and 15 minutes (175 km/110 miles) from Vienna to Grüner See

Leaving the city behind, Grüner See in an unbelievably beautiful pool of water formed by the snowmelt of the surrounding karst mountains. Translating into ‘Green Lake’, the water is an ethereal emerald hue.

There is a huge parking lot at the entrance of the lake but since it’s a popular place among locals and tourists alike, it’s better to go early to secure a parking spot. Parking is €6 for a full day (there is no hourly parking option) and you can only pay with cash.

It takes around 20 minutes to reach the lake from the parking lot on a gravel road, the trail is completely flat and very easy. You can walk around the lake in its entirety in around 30 minutes to appreciate the viewpoints and take photos.

There is a small restaurant next to the lake if you need lunch or you can prepare a picnic to enjoy by the water. Note that swimming is not permitted in the lake due to conservation efforts.

Grüner See, Austria

Admont Abbey Library

Driving time: 1 hour and 40 minutes (87 km/54 miles) from Grüner See to Admont Abbey Library

The next scenic stop on today’s journey is a sensational library situated inside Admont Abbey. Stepping into the library feels as if you would enter the library from the Beauty and the Beast !

The archive represents the largest monastic library in the world and the works span architecture, frescoes, sculptures, manuscripts, and printed tomes. Constructed by the architect Josef Hueber, the library hall was completed in 1776.

It registers 70 meters (230 feet) in length, 13 meters (43 feet) in height, and features seven ceiling frescoes that represent the Enlightenment. These were composed by the painter Bartolomeo Altomonte who was 80 years old at the time!

70,000 volumes are stored in the hall while the abbey in total contains around 200,000 books and manuscripts, with some dating as far back as the 8th century AD.

The breathtaking Admont Abbey Library, a must stop on every Austria road trip itinerary

There’s a huge parking lot right next to the Abbey where you can leave your car while you explore the inside.

A ticket to Admont Abbey Library costs €16.50 and it also includes entrance to a bunch of museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts or the Natural History Museum. I’m not a museum kind of girl myself but I really enjoyed wandering around these museums so definitely give them a try!

Depending on how many museums you want to visit, you can easily spend 2-3 hours inside. If you happen to visit at 11 am or 2 pm, you can also take part in a guided tour of the library which lasts for 40 minutes (it’s already included in your ticket price).

Please note that the library only operates on a limited opening time. As of March 2023, according to the official website it’s closed and will be open from April to May between 10.30 am to 3.30 pm and it’s completely closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. From June to October it will be open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. In November you can count on the same opening hours as in April and May. From the second half of December the library is going to be closed.

The official website doesn’t get updated that much so if you want to go for sure, it’s worth calling them in advance about the current opening hours. We almost missed our chance to visit this masterpiece because of the incorrect opening hours on the website so if you want to avoid the struggle, make a call!

Outside of the library, it’s also worth taking a stroll around the beautiful gardens and popping into the Abbey itself (it’s free to visit). Admont itself is situated on the banks of the Enns River right in the middle of the Ennstal Alps so if you have more time, it’s also worth taking a wander around this picturesque town to savor the incredible scenery. 

Girl in a pink skirt inside Admont Abbey Library, Austria

Arriving in Hallstatt

Driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes (78 km/48 miles) from Admont Abbey Library to Hallstatt

After wandering around Admont and taking in the scenic views, pop back into your car and drive all the way to Hallstatt. It takes around 1.5 hours to reach this fairytale town from Admont. In case you’re not staying directly in Hallstatt, you might need to calculate different driving times depending on where you’ll stay.

Day 4: Full day in Hallstatt 

Hallstatt is a quaint lakeside village located in the mountainous region of Salzkammergut. It is known for its salt mining heritage and historic center which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hallstatt’s setting on the shore of Hallstätter See (Hallstatt Lake) means that you have arresting views in all directions which really do look like something you’d see on a postcard. This is easily one of the prettiest places you’ll stay during your Austria road trip.

Cars are not allowed in Hallstatt Zentrum. So, you will need to leave your car at the parking lot suggested by your hotel while you carry on with your one day in Hallstatt . 

Panoramic view of Hallstatt from the Classic Postcard Viewpoint, a must visit place on every Hallstatt itinerary

Where to stay in Hallstatt 

As Halsttatt is a small village, accommodation options are limited and it’s essential to book far in advance. However, as you will have your own car you can also consider staying further out of the village in either Obertraun or one of the other nearby hamlets. These are my suggestions for where to stay in Hallstatt for your two nights.

Hallstatt Hideaway

LUXURY – Hallstatt Hideaway

This adults-only resort is located right on the waterfront and comprises a deluxe portfolio of suites that offer lake views. Modern interiors feature a rustic twist and the most decadent options come with additional features ranging from private patios to private spa pools.

Heritage Hotel Hallstatt

MID-RANGE – Heritage Hotel Hallstatt

All rooms and suites at this 4-star hotel provide lake views and are equipped with a private bathroom, coffee maker, and homely touches. The accommodation spans three buildings and there is also a restaurant and sauna on site.

Gasthof Bergfried

BUDGET – Gasthof Bergfried

This centrally located guest house features compact rooms with en suite bathrooms with the option to upgrade to a balcony suite. The property offers a shared relaxation area with a spa and sauna.

Alternatively, if you have a car, you might want to stay a little further out of town in one of the surrounding hamlets. One of the best options is Obertraun, from where you can reach Hallstatt within 10 minutes by car or you can also take advantage of the ferry.

We stayed at  Haus Salzkammergut  on our second visit to Hallstatt and absolutely loved everything about the hotel! Great location, amazing views from the balcony, lovely owners, cute doggie, and delicious breakfast. I can only recommend this place!

In case the hotel is full or you’re looking for something else, you can  check all the accommodation options in Obertraun here .

Best things to do in Hallstatt 

Hallstatt zentrum.

The center of Hallstatt is totally walkable and you can spend the morning exploring the main sites. Roam the Marktplatz Hallstatt with your camera, take in sweeping views from the top of Evangelisches Pfarramt and visit the ossuary (bone cemetery) at Michaelskapelle. You can also walk down to Small Island and head north of the village to appreciate the scenic viewpoints of Hallstatt.

Colorful houses at Marktplatz Hallstatt

Ride the ferry

Whether you stay in Hallstatt Zentrum or Obertraun‎, it is worth hopping on the ferry that connects the two towns in order to experience a different perspective of the river. The crossing takes around 25 minutes.

Hallstatt Skywalk

Ride the Salzbergbahn funicular up to this observation deck that rises 350 meters (1,148 feet) above the village and provides sensational views of the alpine landscape. You can also walk up but it is very steep and takes around 1.5 hours. The compromise is that you ride the funicular up and walk back down!

Girl in a yellow skirt at Hallstatt Skywalk

Salzbergwerk Hallstatt

Take a tour of this 7,000 year old salt mine which includes exploring on foot and by traditional mine train. The mine is only accessible via the 90 minutes guided tour which you can book online in advance to secure your spot. Access to the attraction is also via the funicular so you can plan these two activities for the same time.

Hallstatt Waterfall

A shorter waterfall option: you can walk to the Hallstatt Waterfall from Marktplatz in around 20 minutes. It gushes out from the vegetation and is a great way to warm up for a day of sightseeing or cool down in the spray during summer. 

Girl in a yellow dress in front of Hallstatt Waterfall

Waldbachstrub Waterfall Hike

It takes around 40 minutes to hike to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall from Parkplatz Echerntal or just over 1 hour from Hallstatt Zentrum. This is an easy trail with minimal incline and is a great way to experience the local nature and warm up for some more challenging hikes later in the Austria itinerary.

Gletschergarten (Glacier Garden) Hike

The Glacier Garden is another wonderful hike that you can do from Hallstatt or Parkplatz Echerntal. This assemblage of rocks and streams formed during the last Ice Age as the local glacier receded from the gorge. It takes 2-3 hours to cover the entire complex and it isn’t too demanding.

Glacier Garden in Hallstatt, Austria

Where to eat in Hallstatt

  • Restaurant Rudolfsturm : Located within a medieval tower, this place is worth it for the views alone. The menu is typically Austrian and they also do a great apple strudel. 
  • Restaurant Am See : This lakeside eatery offers charming views and the menu is rich with local dishes and fresh fish dishes. 
  • Pizzeria Kegelbahn : Situated across the lake in Obertraun, this Italian restaurant serves good quality pizza and pasta alongside soups, salads, and Austrian fare. 

Afternoon snack at Restaurant Rudolfsturm Hallstatt

Day 5: Hallstatt to Salzburg 

Today you’ll need to check out of your hotel in Hallstatt as it’s time to head to your next destination: Salzburg! You’re going to have two stops along the way so your driving time will be around 2 hours including both stops.

I recommend starting the day as early as you can as you’ll have some exciting plans for the day!

5 Fingers Viewing Platform (Dachstein)

Driving time: 10 minutes (7 km/4.5 miles) from Hallstatt to Dachstein Krippenstein

Your first stop today is going to be the slopes of the Dachstein massif, a dramatic glacial mountain range that rises 2,700 meters (8,858 feet) in the region south of Hallstatt. Once you reach the summit, you can explore the 5 Fingers lookout, an ice cave, and 360° views.

You can park at the cable car, Dachstein Krippenstein, and then hop on the gondola up the mountain to experience incredible views as you soar. The ticket price depends on which attractions you’re planning to visit, you can check the different options here .

For reference, if you only want to visit the 5 Fingers platform, you’ll need to purchase a Panorama ticket that costs €35.30, while the all-inclusive ticket costs €52.20 which includes a visit to the caves as well.

In a remarkable feat of engineering, the 5 Fingers observation platform protrudes 400 meters (1,312 feet) above the ground below and is shaped in the form of a hand with 5 ‘fingers’ stretching out to grasp the cool mountain air.

Once you leave the cable car at Krippenstein (section 2), you’ll need to hike around 25-30 minutes to get to the viewing platform.

The hike is really easy and well-marked so it shouldn’t be a challenge even if you’re not in the best shape. And the views along the way are out of this world!

5 Fingers Viewing Platform, Austria

Within the same area as the lookout, you will also find the Dachstein Giant Ice Cave. Entering this huge cavern, you will encounter stalactites of all different colors before you catch sight of the massive wedge of ice filling the chasm.

Guided tours of the ice cave last 50 minutes and require a 15-minute walk from the cable car station, Schönbergalm (section 1). If you do want to explore the cave, you will need to dress warmly as the average temperature inside is -2 °C (26.6 °F), even during summer. Make sure you pack layers for your 10 days in Austria!

You can find another cave at Schönbergalm (section 1) called Mammut Cave. It’s known as one of the largest karst caves in the world, hence the name. It takes around 15-20 minutes to reach the cave from the cable car station and as with the Giant Ice Cave, a guided tour lasts for 50 minutes as well.

Depending on how much time you have, you can visit either of the caves or both, or you can just go for the 5 Fingers platform for the panorama – it’s completely up to you!

World Heritage Spiral and Heilbronn Chapel at Dachstein Krippenstein, Austria


Driving time: 30 minutes (27 km/17 miles) from Dachstein Krippenstein to Gosauseen

Gosauseen is a cluster of three beautiful lakes located in the Alps of Upper Austria. You can drive to the Gosausee Parking lot and park your car here while you explore, or you can park near the Gosaukammbahn cable car station and ride up to the lakes this way instead if you prefer.

There are a series of hiking trails that connect the lakes and give you the chance to explore phenomenal nature.

The shortest option is to just walk around the first of the three lakes, Vorderer Gosausee, which takes around 1-1.5 hours in total. The more challenging options take you to the middle lake, Gosaulacke, as well as the third and final lake, Hinterer Gosausee.

To visit all three bodies of water, you will need to allow around 5 hours. As the drive time today is around 3 hours, this is feasible if you depart from Hallstatt as early as possible and skip the caves at Dachstein.

If you don’t want to fully drain your batteries, my recommendation is to visit only the first lake and rest a little bit after you arrive in Salzburg.

Gosauseen, Austria

Arriving in Salzburg

Driving time: 1 hour and 10 minutes (80 km/50 miles) from Gosauseen to Salzburg

After exploring the lakes, you’ll need to drive around 1 hour to get to Salzburg, which will be the next destination on your Austria road trip itinerary. Once in the city, you’ll need to stay for 2 nights to be able to spend one full day in Salzburg.

If you need recommendations of where to stay in Salzburg, check the next section for my tips!

Day 6: Full day in Salzburg

Salzburg presses its way up against the border with Germany in Western Austria and affords some of the finest views of the Eastern Alps. The Salzach River flows through the center of the city, with the Salzburg Alstadt (Old Town) resting on the left bank.

As the birthplace of the legendary composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, much of the culture of the city revolves around his lineage.

Fans will no doubt want to visit both Mozart’s Birthplace and Mozart’s Residence and catch a recital while in town. But Salzburg is also abundant in museums, galleries, stately residences, and gardens, restaurants, and shops, and it’s really not a place to skip off your Austria road trip.

You can easily spend one day in Salzburg exploring the delights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and strolling along the riverside. 

The beautiful Mirabell Gardens that you have to visit even if you have only one day in Salzburg

Where to stay in Salzburg

As with Vienna, it makes sense to book accommodation as centrally as your budget allows. Hotels in Salzburg Altstadt are priced higher and you should expect to pay around €15 per day for parking so do factor that into your plans and budget.

If you stay further out in areas such as Itzling, Maxglan or Taxham then you will find that accommodation rates drop and you can transfer into the city center efficiently via bus.

These are my suggestions for where to stay in Salzburg for your two nights.

Small Luxury Hotel Goldgasse Salzburg

LUXURY – Small Luxury Hotel Goldgasse

All suites at this deluxe hotel are artistically presented and some feature a private terrace. The property is situated in Salzburg Altstadt within walking distance to all the major landmarks and has a wonderful restaurant on the premises. 

Hotel Wolf

MID-RANGE – Hotel Wolf

Colorful rooms are comfortably designed with eclectic furnishings and immaculate bathrooms. The hotel is positioned within a building that dates back to 1429 and is located in the heart of Salzburg Altstadt. A fantastic breakfast is included in the rate. 


BUDGET – Hotel-Flair

Rooms at this budget hotel in Salzburg are clean with plenty of space and each comes with a private bathroom. The property is conveniently located for walking to and from Salzburg Central Station and is a 30-minute walk into Altstadt Salzburg. 

Best things to do in Salzburg

Salzburg alstadt.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Salzburg Alstadt is where you will find the most historic buildings and streets in the city, as well as museums, public squares, shops, and cafes.

You can call in at the shops on Getreidegasse, stroll down Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse, tour Mozart’s Birthplace, or dip into one of the Salzburg Museum institutions. 

Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse in Salzburg, Austria

Mirabell Palace & Gardens

This resplendent palace dates back to 1606 when the prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich commissioned and gifted the residence to his mistress, Salome Alt. You can explore the sprawling gardens and peer into the public rooms of the estate.

If you are a fan of The Sound of Music then this place will be familiar to you already!

Girl in a floral dress twirling in Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg

Kapuzinerkloster Viewpoint

This viewpoint is accessible via a climb up 260 steps to the Aussicht Kapuzinerberg. Your reward is the scenic views across the city towards Hohensalzburg Castle from the deck and they are worth the effort, I’d say they’re the best in town. 

Panoramic view of Salzburg from the Kapuzinerkloster viewpoint

Hohensalzburg Castle

Ride the funicular up the mountain to get up close to the defining emblem of Salzburg, and one of Austria’s most iconic sights.

Hohensalzburg Castle, the largest fully preserved castle in Central Europe, is home to a portfolio of museums that you can take your pick from. However, it’s the views of the city and the looming alps that more than justify making the journey. 

Panoramic view of Salzburg from Hohensalzburg Castle

Where to eat in Salzburg

  • Imlauer SkyBar : Located on the sixth floor of the Imlauer Hotel, this swanky restaurant is the perfect place to start your day in Salzburg with brunch or wrap up a perfect day of sightseeing with a decadent dinner!
  • Café Bazar : After tackling the viewpoint climb, you can recoup your energy at this historic cafe that looks across at Salzburg Altstadt. Considered the home of artists and poets, the menu spans lunchtime specials, sweet treats, and moreish specialty coffees. 
  • S’Kloane Brauhaus : Slip inside this 400 year old building and you will be greeted with the scents of traditional Austrian delicacies. The friendly staff are on hand to guide you through the menu to find your perfect dish!
  • Lazarte : It might feel odd to dine on Latin American food during your Austria itinerary, but Lazarte delivers the real deal. Add a dash of spice to your trip and experience the flavors of Mexico, Peru, and beyond at this top rated restaurant. 

Breakfast at Imlauer Skybar, Salzburg

Day 7: Salzburg to Zell am See 

The distance from Salzburg to Zell am See via the specified attractions is 120 km (75 miles) and the drive time is approximately 2 hours. Tonight you will need to book accommodation in the little town of Zell am See-Kaprun for 2 nights.

Gollinger Waterfall 

Driving time: 35 minutes (28 km/17 miles) from Salzburg to Gollinger Waterfall

Head to Parkplatz Gollinger Wasserfall where you can leave your car and walk to this remarkable 75 meter (246 feet) waterfall which forms two tiers as it crashes down the cliff from the forest.

Between the months of May and October, you must pay €5 to visit the waterfalls on top of the parking fee which is also €5. You’ll need to drive around 35 minutes to get to the waterfall from Salzburg which makes it one of the best day trips from Salzburg.

There are different viewpoints along the waterfall and you can even hike to the top which I 100% recommend! It takes around 10-15 minutes to reach the lower viewpoint while it will take you approximately 35-40 minutes if you want to go all the way to the top.

The waterfall is super strong so be prepared to get a little bit wet! If you decide to go up, you’ll find a bridge that crosses over the water so that you can get very close to the water spray. It’s recommended to wear sneakers or hiking boots as the trail gets wet and slippery due to the mist.

Gollinger waterfall, Austria

Driving time: 7 minutes (3.5 km/2 miles) from Gollinger Waterfall to Parkplatz Bluntautal

Another day, another magical lake nestled between mountains and forestry to add to your Austrian road trip! Bluntausee changes color depending on the time of day you visit and what the weather is doing, so it might be emerald or sapphire tinted.

You can follow the hiking trail around the perimeter in less than one hour however swimming in the water is forbidden.

Since it’s only 3.5 km (2 miles) from Gollinger Waterfall, you can easily walk from one place to the other but if you’d rather drive, you can leave your car at Parkplatz Bluntautal which is the closest parking lot to Bluntausee. From the parking lot you’ll need to hike for around 30 minutes to reach the lake.

The trail is completely flat so the hike itself is really easy and it goes through a beautiful forest and crosses a crystal clear river. It’s absolutely worth visiting Bluntausee just for the scenery alone!

Bluntausee, an unmissable stop on every Austria road trip itinerary

Hohenwerfen Castle

Driving time: 20 minutes (18 km/11 miles) from Parkplatz Bluntautal to Hohenwerfen Castle

In a country that is overflowing with beautiful castles, this one really takes the biscuit and is an essential sight during your 10 days in Austria! The hilltop fortress of Hohenwerfen Castle has stood in this spot for over 900 years and from the complex, you can look down at the Salzach River and across at the surrounding mountains and woodland. 

Access to the castle is via funicular or a short but steep 25-minute hike. Once at the fortress, you can observe a demonstration of the resident birds of prey in addition to exploring the museums.

There are always a number of temporary exhibitions which change throughout the year and seasonal events are hosted on the grounds. Entrance to the castle costs €10.40 and if you want to take advantage of the elevator, you can buy a combo ticket for €14.40.

Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria

Zell am See-Kaprun

Driving time: 50 minutes (57 km/35 miles) from Hohenwerfen Castle to Zell am See-Kaprun

Today’s final destination is Zell am See-Kaprun, a small town that sits on the shore of Lake Zell (Zeller See). The town is the gateway to the ski resorts and slopes of the Schmittenhöhe mountain that looms over the town and is accessible via cable car if you wish to take in the views.

You can go for a walk or hire some bicycles and cycle along the esplanade that begins at the southwest of the lake and skirts the circumference of the water.

Down at the south corner, you also have the option to rent kayaks or stand up paddleboard and float your way across the lake. There are a number of pretty parks dotted along the lakeside where you can enjoy a picnic and the town has a good spread of restaurants and hotels.

Where to stay in Zell am See

Zell am See-Kaprun is small but it does have a substantial number of hotels and guesthouses. As with Hallstatt, I encourage you to book accommodation way ahead of your Austria road trip and look further out of town if needs be.

Here are my recommendations for where to stay in Zell am See-Kaprun for two nights.

Salzburgerhof Wellness-, Golf- und Genießerhotel

LUXURY – Salzburgerhof Wellness-, Golf- und Genießerhotel

This luxurious, family-run spa, golf, and pleasure hotel offers unique holiday experiences in a beautiful location in Zell am See. Surrounded by a splendid natural landscape, the Salzburgerhof combines 5-star comfort with 4 lilies in the Relax Guide for its spa quality and the culinary pleasures of 3 toques by Gault Millau.

Hotel Neue Post

MID-RANGE – Hotel Neue Post

Only a 3-minute walk away from the Zeller Bergbahn cable car, which provides access to the Schmittenhöhe skiing and hiking area, Hotel Neue Post enjoys an exceptional location in the heart of the old town of Zell am See.

Hotel Glasererhaus

BUDGET – Hotel Glasererhaus

Just a 5-minute walk from the shore of Lake Zell in the heart of Zell am See, Hotel Glasererhaus offers individually furnished rooms, a wellness area, and free WiFi. Most rooms additionally come with a balcony featuring a seating area.

Day 8: Highlights of the Kaprun Valley 

Today you will explore the attractions of the Kaprun Valley before returning to your Zell am See accommodation for a second evening.

Stausee Mooserboden

Driving time: 20 minutes (16.5 km/10 miles) from Zell am See-Kaprun to Kaprun Stauseen Parkhaus

Stausee Mooseroden is one of two high-altitude reservoirs and dams in the Kaprun Valley that resemble fjords. At 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) above sea level, the water is a startling shade of turquoise that contrasts against the circling cliffs and snow-capped peaks.

The dam wall at the Moserboden is 107 meters (351 feet) high and almost 500 meters (1,640 feet) long.

Stausee Mooserboden, Austria

Unfortunately, you can’t drive all the way up to Stausee Mooserboden, so you’ll need to leave your car at Kaprun Stauseen Parkhaus (it’s free) and use the shuttle buses from there.

The parking house has 11 floors and if there’s enough free space, it’s worth driving all the way to the top because that’s the direction you’ll need to go in order to find the ticket office and the shuttle buses. If you park on the lower levels, you’ll need to climb up the stairs to get to the top of the parking lot.

Once you purchase your ticket, you’ll need to get on the shuttle bus which will take you to a very cool open-air lift. This is the largest open lift in Europe and it will take you up on the 431 meters (1,414 feet) incline within minutes.

After that, you’ll need to board another shuttle bus which will take you all the way to the reservoir. The whole process takes around 45 minutes and a return ticket costs €28 per person.

During your exploration, you can follow short hiking trails to get a full perspective on this dramatic landscape from the surrounding viewpoints. If you’re up for a challenge, you can also try some of the via ferrata routes but for that, you’ll need to have the proper gear.

If you want something easier, you can just hike up to the upper viewpoint which takes 10-15 minutes and it’s fairly easy. The route is quite narrow and steep so it’s best to wear sturdy shoes and watch out for your steps.

Stausee Mooserboden, Austria

Sigmund-Thun Klamm

Driving time: 6 minutes (4.5 km/3 miles) from Kaprun Stauseen Parkhaus to Sigmund-Thun Klamm

Once you’re reunited with your rental you can drive 5 minutes along the road to the next attraction on your Austrian road trip itinerary.

Sigmund-Thun Klamm is a stunning ravine with an excellent wooden track that lets you walk past the water that thunders through the narrow chasm before culminating in a massive waterfall that falls like a veil.

You’ll find a couple of parking lots near Sigmund-Thun Klamm, the closest one is right at the crossing of Kesselfallstrasse and Klammweg. Once you park your car, you have to follow Klammweg and around 5 minutes later you’ll come across the ticket office which marks the entrance of Sigmund-Thun Klamm (an entrance ticket costs €6.50).

It takes around 20-30 minutes to go through the gorge and it’s important to note that the wooden track is one way only, you will have to take another road to get back to your car.

Wooden stairway at Sigmund-Thun Klamm, Austria

At the end of the trail you will reach another gorgeous lake called Klammsee that you can then complete a lap around. The lake is quite small and the trail around the lake is only 1.8 km (1.1 miles) so you can walk around the whole lake in 30 minutes.

All in all, you should factor around 1.5-2 hours to fully explore Sigmund-Thun Klamm and Klammsee together. There are few places where you can experience such an extraordinary spectacle of nature and it’s worth taking the time to complete the full route.

Klammsee, Austria

Alpine Coaster Maisiflitzer Kaprun

Driving time: 6 minutes (4 km/2.5 miles) from Sigmund-Thun Klamm to Alpine Coaster Maisiflitzer Kaprun

The next item on today’s agenda isn’t one for the fainthearted but it’s great fun! The Alpine Coaster Maisiflitzer Kaprun is essentially a rollercoaster combined with a toboggan.

Once comfortable in your two-seater sled, you will charge down the track reaching speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph), and screaming is fully acceptable.

The ride is open year-round and you can opt for a single ride for €14 or pay for 5 for €59.50.

Dinner at Mitterberghof Jausenstation

Driving time: 25 minutes (15 km/9.5 miles) from Alpine Coaster Maisiflitzer Kaprun to Mitterberghof Jausenstation, then 15 minutes (9 km/5.5 miles) back to Zell am See-Kaprun

After a fairly strenuous and hair-raising eighth day of your Austria road trip, you might just want to flop into your hotel bed. However, if you can summon the energy to drive a little bit more, this awesome restaurant is worth the 15-minute drive, especially on a balmy evening.

From the outdoor dining terrace, you can drink up views across the Kaprun Valley and Zeller See. Although, on overcast days you might be seated above the clouds!

You’ll find wholesome Austrian fare on the menu as well as an excellent variety of desserts. The restaurant is actually part of a family-run inn and you could even choose to stay here rather than in Zell am See if you prefer.

In case you’re not hungry or you have other dinner plans, it’s still worth driving up to the restaurant for the view alone.

Dinner at Mitterberghof Jausenstation, Austria

Day 9: Zell am See to Mayrhofen 

The journey time from Zell am See to Mayrhofen via the below attractions is just shy of 2 hours, and the distance covered is 100 km (62 miles). You will need to book one night of accommodation in Mayrhofen for the penultimate evening of your Austria road trip itinerary.

Krimml Waterfalls 

Driving time: 55 minutes (55 km/34 miles) from Zell am See-Kaprun to Krimml Waterfalls

If you were impressed by the ravine yesterday then just wait until you clap your eyes on what is said to be the highest and most powerful waterfall in Europe!

You’ll find plenty of parking lots near the Krimml Waterfalls, the closest one is P4 so if you find free space there, go for it! There is a small tunnel going under the main road right next to the P4 parking lot, you’ll need to follow this road to get to the ticket office.

An entrance ticket costs €10.20 and if you want to visit the nearby Water Worlds Krimml museum as well, you can purchase a combo ticket for €13.90.

The Krimml waterfalls tumble over several layers and you can decide how far you want to hike. The first viewpoint is accessible via a 15-minute walk from the parking and this alone is impressive.

However, if you want to walk all the way to the summit of the falls, it will take 2-2.5 hours to complete the 380 meters (1,250 feet) hiking trail, and then you’ll need to climb back down so factor in a 5-hour round trip. It does get steep and slippery due to the spray, so excellent hiking boots and a reasonable level of fitness are required.

Aerial view of Krimml Waterfalls, Austria

Driving time: 55 minutes (44 km/27 miles) from Krimml Waterfalls to Mayrhofen

After an intense morning, you can look forward to checking into your hotel in Mayrhofen and taking a leisurely afternoon. It’s a further hour to reach Mayrhofen from the waterfalls if you take Gerlos Strasse.

Since this is a private road, you’ll need to pay €11 per car for the road usage. Sometimes this road gets closed due to weather circumstances so it’s worth checking it in Google Maps in advance before you go in that direction.

If the road is closed or you don’t want to pay, you can take a detour and use another road to get to Mayrhofen, but it will take you 2 hour and 15 minutes this way.

Situated in the Zillertal Valley, in the province of Tyrol, Mayrhofen is another feeder town for the local ski resorts. You can ride the gondolas from the town up to the resorts where you’ll find loads of hiking trails if you have the energy, but the views are lovely on their own.

The Pfarrkirche Mayrhofen is a cute church and you can take a stroll along the river in town.

Mayrhofen, Austria

If you need a restaurant recommendation for dinner, check out Goldkind . They’re the number one restaurant in Mayrhofen according to TripAdvisor and let me tell you, they’re not wrong! The restaurant caters to everyone from vegans and vegetarians to meat lovers.

All the meals we tasted there were super delicious and the prices were reasonable as well (nothing too fancy or expensive). Give them a try, you won’t regret it!

Dinner at Goldkind in Mayrhofen, Austria

Where to stay in Mayrhofen

As a lively ski town, Mayrhofen features a good spread of accommodation options. The following places are all centrally located and provide free on-site parking which is perfect for your one night in Mayrhofen.

Huber's Boutique Hotel

LUXURY – Huber’s Boutique Hotel

This stylish hotel comes with all the luxury trimmings including a pool, spa, and scrumptious breakfast. The top-tier suites feature idyllic freestanding bathtubs and spacious balconies.

Gutshof Zillertal

MID-RANGE – Gut Stiluppe

This beautiful lodge offers a spread of rooms and suites, including ‘Romantic’ and ‘Royal’ themed choices. There is a pool, sauna, spa, and garden terrace where you can unwind.

Brugger ApartHotel

BUDGET – Brugger ApartHotel

Rooms at this inviting hotel are decorated in traditional Tyrolean style with wooden furnishings and feature a balcony, a private bathroom, and a seating area. Breakfast is included and the price is happily affordable.

Day 10: Mayrhofen to Innsbruck 

Can you believe that it’s the final day of your Austrian road trip already? Today your final destination will be Innsbruck but first you’re going to take a little detour to reach one of the most epic viewpoints in Austria.

Once you get to Innsbruck, you’ll need to book a hotel for one night.


Driving time: 40 minutes (25 km/15.5 miles) from Mayrhofen to Parkplatz Schlegeis Stausee (Olpererhütte)

First up on the agenda today is a demanding hike up to Olpererhütte, a mountain refuge that sits 2,388 meters (1,273 feet) above sea level.

Olpererhütte is a 30-minute drive southwest of Mayrhofen. There is a parking lot marked as Parkplatz Schlegeis Stausee where you can leave your car as you tackle the Olpererhütte trailhead which starts a few minutes walk from the parking area.

This is another occasion where hiking boots are essential as the trail is steep and strewn with rocks and even some streams that trickle down the mountain which you’ll have to wade through.

The hike up will take between 2-2.5 hours and then you’ll need to make your way down carefully as well so you can factor in 4-5 hours for the whole hike. This is by far the most challenging hike on your Austria road trip itinerary but trust me, it’s so worth it for the views!

Olpererhütte hiking trail

Once you reach the summit you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the landscape. You can appreciate the scenery from the Panoramabrücke Olpererhütte, which is a suspension bridge that overlooks the valley and turquoise Schlegeisspeicher down below. And of course, you can get a much-needed drink and snack at the hut.

If you do not fancy the hike then you can enjoy a more relaxing walk around the shore of Schlegeisspeicher, or even head straight to Innsbruck and spend longer there.

Ps: Before you think I’m crazy, I just wanted to let you know that I obviously did not hike up to Olpererhütte in a skirt! I was wearing proper hiking shoes with leggings and a top and I just changed to this red skirt at the bridge for the photos. Don’t underestimate this hike and please don’t try to complete it in pretty dresses!

Girl in a red skirt sitting on Panoramabrücke Olpererhütte, Austria

Driving time: 1 hour and 40 minutes (92 km/57 miles) from Parkplatz Schlegeis Stausee (Olpererhütte) to Innsbruck

The final destination on your Austria road trip (or first, if you’ve flipped the itinerary) is the colorful city of Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol province. Most of the touristic attractions are situated within the Altstadt (Old Town) and you will find monuments, museums, and restaurants galore here.

Notable sights include the 16th-century palace, the Hofburg, and the Roman-style Triumphpforte which was erected in 1765. You can walk along the River Inn or hire a bicycle while a series of cable cars whisk you away high into the Nordkette mountain range which is situated in the Karwendel Nature Park.

If you completed the whole Olpererhütte hike then you’ll probably feel super tired so I recommend just casually strolling around the Old Town and finding a great restaurant for dinner.

My personal recommendation is Gasthof Goldener Adler, which is allegedly the oldest restaurant in Innsbruck. They have a really nice terrace right in the heart of the historic old town and their menu is full of authentic Austrian delicacies.

Colorful houses by the river in Innsbruck, Austria

Where to stay in Innsbruck

Innsbruck is teeming with budget-friendly and luxury hotels and you can find decent deals in the city or elect to stay further afield if you are keeping your rental for the final night. Here are my top picks for where to stay in Innsbruck.

aDLERS Hotel Innsbruck

LUXURY – aDLERS Hotel Innsbruck

Being the tallest hotel in Innsbruck, aDLERS Hotel Innsbruck offers a breathtaking panorama from its stylish rooms. There is also a spa area on the 11th floor and guests can dine at the Panorama Restaurant and Bar on the 12th floor.


MID-RANGE – Faktorei

Sophisticated rooms weave minimalism with a rustic touch and a number are equipped with a balcony. On site you will find a bohemian cafe and a lovely bar where you can toast the end of your trip!

Hotel Garni Römerhof

BUDGET – Hotel Garni Römerhof

Combining modern facilities with a traditional style, Hotel Römerhof enjoys a quiet location only 8 km from the center of Innsbruck. Stylish rooms offer amazing views of the surrounding woods and meadows and there is also a spa area on site.

Planning a trip to Austria?

Then you might want to take a look at all our other travel guides about Austria. I promise, they are just as awesome as this article was!

  • Where to Stay in Vienna: 7 Best Areas & Hotels
  • 2 Days in Vienna Itinerary: The Perfect Weekend in Vienna
  • 19 Stunning Vienna Instagram Spots You Can’t Miss
  • How to Spend One Day in Salzburg, Austria
  • One Day in Hallstatt Itinerary: The Perfect Hallstatt Day Trip
  • Hotel Review: Das Edelweiss Salzburg Mountain Resort
  • Hotel Review: Hotel Post Lermoos, Austria

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The Perfect 10 Day Austria Road Trip Itinerary

8 thoughts on “The Perfect 10 Day Austria Road Trip Itinerary”

Hi, we are planning to visit Austria from 26 Nov- 3rd Dec and kind of follow this itinerary. However, could you please tick-off routes and places to be avoided during this time of the year?

I’ve never been to Austria during that time of year so unfortunately I don’t have any first hand experience to help with.

Some good advice but all of these places can be visited by train without adding to green house gasses. I can only hope that this ridiculous trend of travel bloggers posing in long dresses and skirts is dead soon. Seriously, posing in a flowing dress on a hanging bridge or hiking trail just distracts from your articles. It also clogs up travel spots for the rest of us travelers as we have to wait around while you get the perfect photo. Isn’t this blog to serve other travelers? Help with our trips? You’re doing the opposite. Please. Just stop.

Well, yes, most of these places can be visited with a train but then you’ll need a lot more time and wouldn’t be able to complete this itinerary in 10 days. But if you have more free time, go for it! I’m sorry if the pictures bothered you but at the end of the day, did you find the information on this blog helpful? Did it help you to plan your trip? If yes, you are welcome, if you found it useless, then you can just click away and read another blog. I don’t think that by sharing some pictures I like makes the article unhelpful but again, sorry if you feel that way.

Hi! I have been to Austria a few time and I still learned a lot from this blog. Some I have done before and I totally agree with your suggestions so I trust the many suggestions and ideas that I have not heard of or tried. Thank you for your thorough research and clear, well thought out itinerary. I picked and chose what I liked from it and will definitely use it on my trip in May. Really great job. Glad I came across your page. Thank you. Thank you!

Thank you so much for your lovely comment, it really means a lot and I’m so happy I was able to help you plan your trip. Have fun in Austria in May!

Can You tell me please which time have you visited. Because the flow of waterfalls is insane. To witness the same experience I’m asking your travel month. And yes i love your article so much that everyday i come and read your blogs.

Sure! We’ve been to Austria multiple times but most of these photos were taken on a road trip in the middle of June. Hope that helps!

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The World Was Here First

The Ultimate 5 to 7 Days in Austria Itinerary

Last Updated on February 20, 2024

by Maggie Turansky

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

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Planning out an Austria itinerary is one of the top things to do when visiting Central Europe. This beautiful country nestled between Germany, Switzerland , Italy , the Czech Republic , Slovenia , Hungary and Slovakia has a lot to offer beyond Vienna or Salzburg . And whether you have 5 or 7 days in Austria, you’re sure to have a blast exploring this gorgeous Central European nation.

From chic cities to charming villages, to gorgeous mountaintops to lovely lakes, Austria is a dynamic and interesting destination that is a joy to explore. Easy to navigate and filled with history, planning out the ideal trip to Austria is a treat.

So if you’re planning to spend a few days to a week in Austria, follow this itinerary to ensure you get a good feel for this country – though you may want to plan another trip in the future!

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Austria?

If you want to see more than the capital city and get to a couple of different places, then consider spending at least 5 days in Austria.

However, if you’re interested in digging deeper and visiting more than two different cities, then mapping out at least 7 days is going to be your best bet.

With a week in Austria, you have the opportunity to visit several different places, have the time to get to know some of the cities and also have the opportunity to explore some smaller towns and natural areas as day trips.

You also really can’t go wrong with spending 10 days in the country or more. With this amount of time, you don’t need to leave anything off of your itinerary and you will be able to spend time in some more far-flung places and areas a bit off the beaten tourist trail.

Hofburg Palace in Vienna

Getting To & Around Austria

Located in the centre of Europe, Austria — and, particularly, the capital of Vienna — is easy to reach from virtually all of Europe and many destinations further afield.

Vienna Airport is a large international airport that has countless flights to and from a myriad of countries and cities in the world, so arriving in Austria from abroad is not a problem.

Austria is also well-connected by rail and bus from nearby countries and cities. Vienna is directly connected to cities like Budapest , Prague , Munich and Ljubljana and many other smaller cities are also well-linked across the continent. You can view train schedules here.

Once in Austria, you have a few options when it comes to getting around. In the cities, plan to rely on getting from point A to B on foot or using the city’s public transit. Austrian cities are incredibly easy to navigate and there is no need to have a car while exploring.

You also can easily get between cities and major urban areas via both an extensive rail system and bus.

However, if you want to easily make stops between cities or would like to get out in nature, see the countryside and have some flexibility, it can be worth it to opt for a car rental and go for an Austrian road trip.

This will allow you to spend time in the Bavarian Alps, the Zillertal Alps and the town of Mayrhofn, the Danube Valley and drive along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.

If you decide to hire a car while in Austria, you can compare prices across several major companies on Rentalcars.com.

One thing to note when driving in Austria is that you will need a vignette – or toll sticker. If you rent a car while in Austria already, this will be taken care of for you. However, you will need to purchase one upon crossing over from a neighbouring country.

Salzburg from the Hohensalzburg Fortress

5 to 7-Day Austria Itinerary

Day 1 – vienna.

The perfect place to begin any visit to Austria is in the capital city of Vienna . Often considered to be one of the most liveable cities in the world, Vienna is an absolutely beautiful city that is packed with history and interesting things to do.

Spend your first day in Vienna wandering around and taking in all of the top sites.

You can go on a walking tour to get your bearings before heading to sites like the Vienna Opera House, enjoying the art collections at the Albertina Museum or taking in the iconic attractions of the Spanish Riding School and the Sisi Museum at the Hofburg. End your day taking in the beautiful St Stephen’s Cathedral.

Vienna is also absolutely wonderful to simply wander around or to park yourself at one of its iconic cafes and enjoy a classic Viennese pastry and coffee. This is absolutely one of the best things to do.

Vienna State Opera House

Where to Stay in Vienna

Motel One Wien – Hauptbahnhof — This hotel is a fantastic accommodation option for those travelling on a mid-range budget in the Austrian capital. Located very close to Vienna’s main train station, they have several room sizes to choose from and an option to add breakfast each morning.

Hotel Brauhof Wien — Those after luxury in the Austrian capital will love this 4-star hotel. They have a range of beautiful, plush rooms to choose from and countless other amenities to ensure that your stay is an unforgettable one.

Hostel Ruthensteiner — This family-run hostel can be a fantastic option for both budget or solo travellers in Vienna. They have both private rooms and dorm beds available and several common areas and kitchen facilities that make it easy to meet other travellers in the city.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Vienna hotels!

Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral)

Day 2 – Vienna

Day 2 of your Austria trip should still be spent in Vienna. As the capital and largest city in the country, there is a lot to do here and you definitely need at least two full days within the city itself to do it justice.

On your second day, it’s time to explore a bunch of sites that you didn’t get to the day before. These can include touring Schonbrunn Palace (you can book a guided tour here ), heading to Karlskirche or wandering around Schloss Belvedere.

Plan to spend your afternoon taking in the museums in the Museums Quartier, which includes places like the Leopold Museum and the Modern Art Museum.

Schloss Belvedere

Day 3 – Vienna

One of the benefits of spending 3 days in the Austrian capital is that you will have the time to go on a day trip from the capital. Because we’re exploring more of Austria itself if you’re spending 5 or 7 days in the country, this is a great time to take a day trip outside of Austria.

Heading to the Slovak capital of Bratislava is an excellent day trip option from Vienna.

Located only about an hour via train from the Austrian capital, Bratislava is an interesting place to spend a day and it is completely different from Vienna so you will get a good change of pace. You can go independently or organise a guided tour.

Bratislava’s compact nature means that it can easily be explored in just one day and it’s the perfect way to head outside of Austria during your trip to Austria!

Bratislava skyline

Day 4 – Salzburg

After spending a few days in Vienna, the next stop on your itinerary through Austria should be the western city of Salzburg . Known for being the birthplace of Mozart and the filming location for the classic musical The Sound of Music , Salzburg is a lovely city to enjoy and no trip to Austria would be complete without visiting.

Though small in size, Salzburg has enough to offer visitors to merit spending 2 days here. So if you’re only planning for 5 days in Austria, this will be the final stop on your itinerary.

Spend your first day in Salzburg taking in the main sites of this beautiful city. In the morning, explore the old town, wander down Getreidegasse, browse through the stalls in the Grünmarkt, visit the Salzburg Cathedral and take in the views at Residenzplatz – Salzburg’s main square.

Later, head up to the imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress and stroll along the walking trail on Monchsberg until you reach the Augustiner Brau Brewery, which is well-known for its classic and massive beer garden.

View of Fortress while hiking on Monchsberg

Where to Stay in Salzburg

Gästehaus im Priesterseminar – This guesthouse is an excellent option for mid-range visitors to Salzburg. They have a wonderful, centrally located in a beautiful baroque building and they have several lovely rooms on offer – perfect for exploring the city!

Boutique Hotel Auersperg – If you’re after a luxury option in Salzburg, you’re sure to love this boutique hotel in the centre of the city. It has been family-run for generations and it is located within spitting distance of all of Salzburg’s top sites. They have luxe rooms available and countless other amenities to ensure your stay is a great one.

Yoho International Youth Hostel – Budget and solo travellers will love this centrally located hostel. They have both private and dorm rooms available, good common areas and self-catering options and, for those who want it, they screen “The Sound of Music” every evening

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Salzburg hotels!

Residenzplatz in Salzburg

Day 5 – Salzburg

On the final day of your 5-day trip to Austria (or simply your final day in Salzburg if you’re planning on spending 7 days in Austria), plan to spend the day digging deeper and getting to know Salzburg just a bit better.

There is plenty to keep you occupied on your second day in Salzburg. Plan to spend your day wandering through the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, take in one or two of the city’s many museums and take a river cruise along the Salzach to see the city from a different perspective.

You can end your day in one of the city’s fine restaurants or even visit another beer garden to sample some great Austrian brews.

Iconic archway featured in The Sound of Music in Mirabell Gardens

Day 6 – Gollinger Waterfall & Hallstatt

Treat day 6 as a travel day between Salzburg and Austria’s second-largest city of Graz. This day is best to do if you have a car, as it will give you the flexibility to make stops along the way and to enjoy the rural and natural side of Austria.

For those looking to get a bit active, then make your first stop en route to Graz be the Gollinger Waterfall. This waterfall is absolutely beautiful and there is a hiking trail that can take you around the falls and allow you to view it from different vantage points. The hike is pretty easy and it’s suitable for those of a moderate fitness level.

After enjoying the waterfall, drive a bit further to visit the iconic town of Hallstatt. This town is well-known on Instagram feeds and it is absolutely beautiful. However, it is also incredibly popular amongst international visitors and can be absolutely packed with tourists.

If you’re keen to avoid crowds and want a more laid-back alternative to Hallstatt, then consider making a trip to the town of St Gilgen on Wolfgansee, a large lake located a little bit closer to Salzburg.

For those who don’t have a car and are going this by public transport, it’s not going to make sense to stop at Hallstatt or the Gollinger waterfall. What you can do instead is spend your morning on a lovely day trip to St Gilgen and Wolfgangsee before taking an afternoon train from Salzburg to Graz.

End your day of exploration in the beautiful city of Graz.

Gollinger Waterfall near Salzburg

Where to Stay in Graz

Schlossberghotel – Das Kunsthotel – This classic hotel is an excellent option for those looking for a great place to stay in Graz. They have a range of beautifully decorated rooms and it is filled with antiques and artwork. There are lots of rooms to choose from, a swimming pool, and plenty of other fantastic amenities.

Aiola Living Graz – This boutique hotel is a great option for visitors to Austria’s second city who are looking for a swish place to stay in the centre of town. They have clean, modern and comfortable rooms on offer and there is also an on-site fitness centre for guests to use at their leisure.

B&B Hotel Graz-Hbf – This hotel is a great option for those travelling in Austria and visiting Graz on a budget. They have a range of private rooms available and a great location close to the train station – perfect for exploring the city and for continuing on your trip in Austria. There is even an option to include breakfast.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Graz!

Beautiful views of Graz

Day 7 – Graz

The final day of your 7-day Austria itinerary should be spent exploring the absolutely beautiful and charming city of Graz .

This city often gets overlooked when people plan trips to Austria and this is really a shame – it has quite a lot to offer and its compact size means that you don’t need to dedicate a lot of time to it.

Start your day at the Kaiser Josef Market before meandering over to the Grazer Burg where you can take in the fascinating double spiral staircase. Then, head over to the Graz Cathedral and tour this incredible structure before watching the clock chime and the interesting puppets at the city’s Glockenspiel.

Spend your afternoon up at Schlossberg, the castle hill that has incredible views over the city – it is accessible via funicular. Then, head over to the hip Lend area and, if you’re so inclined, visit the Kunsthaus – a modern art museum. If you’re more interested in history, then you could head to the Styrian armoury, instead.

End your day at one of Graz’s many phenomenal restaurants – and make sure to sample some of the great wines grown in the region!

Graz's Famous Clock Tower

Have More Time?

If you, for example, have 10 days in Austria or more, then the world is your oyster. For those who want to see more of this beautiful country, head to the west and make sure to explore the Tyrol region. The Alpine city of Innsbruck is infinitely popular and is a perfect getaway for those looking for an active holiday. From here, you can also visit the gorgeous glaciers at Dachstein.

If you’re interested in heading to some neighbouring countries, Slovenia is well-located and easy to get to from Graz. Consider spending heading to the city of Maribor before venturing onto Ljubljana (and beyond, if you have the time!).

There is a lot to see and do in and around Austria and it is likely impossible to plan a bad itinerary in this beautiful country. However, with the proper planning and knowledge, you can map out the absolutely perfect trip for you and your travel style.

Are you planning a trip to Austria? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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About Maggie Turansky

Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

would like to know about visiting Styria and Karnten

Hi, Amazing article, helps a lot!

I have more questions around sightseeing near Hallstatt and Salzburg- for eg- 5 fingers, lake wolfgangsee..what else can i explore on these lines? and any budget hostels to stay a night probably in or near Hallstatt?

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The ultimate Austria travel guide: the best things to do and see

The best trips to Austria are multi-sensory adventures that include transporting music, intriguing history, delicious cakes , and postcard-worthy nature. This small Central European country may not have the same travel reputation as its more popular neighbors like Italy and Switzerland, but Austria—often considered one of the best countries to live in—is just as culturally rich. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in Austria, what to see in Austria, the best time to visit Austria, and much more.

The best time to go Cities to visit What to see What to eat and drink What to do Souvenirs to buy What to pack

Currency: Euro 

Language: German (but English is widely spoken)

UNESCO sites: Austria is home to 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic cities of Salzburg and Vienna. Schönbrunn Palace and the 25-mile Semmering railway are also two top things to see in Austria. 

Best way to get around: Transportation into and within Austria is fantastic. Vienna, its capital, has a major international airport that connects to many of the world’s biggest cities, and an extensive train network makes traveling all over the country that much easier. Metros and trams are regularly used in the bigger cities; while most Austrians are very comfortable riding their bikes to quickly zip around town. Because the Danube River runs through most of Austria, enjoying a river cruise is also one of our favorite Austria travel tips. 

Fun fact: Austria borders eight European countries: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein. What does this mean for travelers? Well, if you’re wondering how to plan a trip to Austria, you may want to consider a multi-country European tour. It would be very easy to partner a tour of Austria with any of the countries above, plus other wonderful destinations in Europe. 

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If you love Medieval beauty, love to see and visit ancient castles located on cliffs or river banks, don’t miss Austria. Somewhere glimpses of princesses and princes in fairy tales or the majesty of powerful kings once owning massive castles. Located in the heart of ancient Europe, Austria is an attractive destination because of its spectacular natural scenery along with magnificent, splendid architecture and glorious history. But what makes Austria so special is music that is always present in its flow of life, everytime, everywhere. So, what to do and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Austria for the first-time? Let’s check out our Austria travel blog (Austria blog) with the fullest Austria travel guide (Austria guide, Austria tourist guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!

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Austria travel blog: Overview of Austria

austria travel

Austria or the official name is the Republic of Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe with an area of more than 80,000 km² and a population of over 9 millions. Although a country that is not too large, Austria shares borders with many other countries such as the Czechia Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.

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About 60% of the area of ​​Austria is the mountains, forests, grasslands of the famous Alps. In the north and south, the terrain is gentle with poetic rivers and lakes. It is this that has created the fairy scenes for this country, including the charming village of Hallstatt.

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Language and religion

German is recognized as the national language of Austria (95% of the population), in addition to many other languages ​​such as Turkish, Bosnian, Serbian, English, Hungarian, Croatian, Polish, Albanian, etc. If you travel to Austria, don’t worry too much, because most people can speak English.

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The religion with the largest number of believers is Catholicism, followed by Protestantism, and a small part of the population follows Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Some “cool” facts about Austria

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  • Austria is in the top 10 countries with the highest GDP per capita in Europe. The world’s first postcards were born in Austria.
  • The German name of Austria is Österreich, which means “Eastern Kingdom” (Öster – “East”, reich – “Kingdom”). While its English name of is Austria is also easily confused with Australia.
  • The Austrian flag is the second oldest national flag in the world, designed in 1230 by Duke Leopold V. According to legend, after a battle of the Third Crusade, Leopold’s white cloak was dyed red by blood. But its white back part of was not stained with blood. That’s why he came up with the idea of ​​​​designing the flag based on these two red and white colors.
  • The capital of Austria is the city of Vienna. About a quarter of Austria’s population lives here. This place is also known as the “City of Dreams” because it is the hometown of the world’s first psychoanalyst – Sigmund Freud.

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Austria blog: When should you travel to Austria?

Austria has a temperate continental climate. The western part near the Alps will have longer winters and shorter summers than other regions. Because of such climate, the scenery in this area, especially in winter, is like in fairy tales. Summers are usually warm with cool evenings, and there’s nothing better than hiking and mountain biking. Winter is still quite sunny, with just enough snow for winter sports. For those who are passionate about these sports and other winter activities, the period from November to March is the most ideal. However, if you want a trip with warm rays of sunshine but not too bright with not too much rain, then from June to September is the right time for you.

austria travel

Although Austria is quite small, choosing an appropriate travel time is quite complicated. Because when the scenery in Hallstatt is most beautiful, but it is not the good time to visit Vienna. If you only plan to go to Vienna, it is best to go in the summer (June – August). Because of this time in Vienna there will be many outdoor activities take place, including music festivals.

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If you plan to visit Hallstatt, choose autumn or winter. Because the summer scene in Hallstatt is not too special and very crowded with tourists (especially Chinese tourists). It’s a bit of a pity that I went to Hallstatt in the summer, the weather was beautiful, but the scenery was not as magical as my friend went in winter.

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Personally, I would probably choose the time of May – June to come here. This is not the peak time of Austria tourism, so traveling here is quite comfortable and not too crowded. In addition, the weather is also more pleasant than summer or winter. In addition, you will find it harder to enjoy the natural beauty of the lakes, mountains, and beautiful roads in winter than in spring and summer.

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Austria travel blog: How to get to Austria?

Austria in particular and other European countries in general all have very convenient transport links. From neighboring countries, Austria can be reached by train and by car and by plane. You can take a train from Budapest to Vienna or take a train from Salzburg to Croatia.

Inside the train from Vienna to Budapest

For those who want to fly Austria, you can find cheap airfares and most suitable flight routes on Google Flights , SkyScanner or Momondo . Usually, tourists will fly to Vienna first on their journey before heading to Salzburg and finally Hallstatt village.

Austria blog: How to get around Austria?

With a prime geographical location bordering many countries, the transport network in Austria, especially railway, is very developed. I chose the train to travel from Budapest to Vienna, and then also took the train from Salzburg to Croatia.

The public transport system in Austria is very developed, modern, safe and very punctual. ÖBB (The Austrian Federal Railways) is the largest railway company in Austria with both domestic and international routes running from 5am to 11pm. You can book tickets online through the website , or via hotline 05 1717, at ticket counters or ticket vending machines at train stations. Fares for each route from about 8 Euro or more depending on each route.

Austria Railway1

In addition, with the itinerary of 3 destinations: Vienna – Hallstatt – Salzburg, the train is also the most optimal means. If you depart from Vienna to Salzburg, on the way to take advantage of visiting Hallstatt but do not want to carry bulky luggage, you can send your luggage at the transit station of Attnang-Puchheim (Because going to Hallstatt from Vienna or Salzburg you will have to transit at this station).

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At Attnang-Puchheim station, there is a system of lockers of many sizes and modern for you to send your belongings. The transit time is enough for you to send luggage + go to the toilet, so don’t worry too much about missing the train. And if you unfortunately miss the train, there is also a very good lounge at the station (due to the train delay, I had the opportunity to experience this lounge).

NOTE: With the above route, I use most of OBB’s trains. You can download the OBB app ( iOS , Android ) to buy train tickets and manage schedules very conveniently.

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Buses are also another popular option for tourists when getting around Austria. Buses are available in most cities and only operate from 5 am to 11 pm. To look up information on bus routes, you can visit www.postbus.at or www.oebb.at or refer to flyers at bus stations.

Bicycle is a very popular and favored means of transport in Austria, most roads have dedicated bicycle lanes. Some cycling routes even lead to famous valleys such as Danube, Enns and Mur. You can rent a bike for 15 – 25 Euros/day.

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How to getting around Austria’s cities?

The metro is only available in Vienna and you should note that its operating hours only run overnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Among the three destinations Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg, Vienna’s public transport system is the most developed. And metro is the most popular means of transport used by tourists here.

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You can buy a day pass (daily tickets) for 24, 48, 72 hours, saving and convenient with unlimited travel times (This card can be purchased at the ticket vending machine at the stations or buy online here ). If you plan to stay in Vienna just for 1 day, you should buy 24 hours card for EUR8. You can find more information about metro fares in Vienna on the following page.

austria travel

In Salzburg or Hallstatt, you can completely walk to visit the attractions in the city or village. Note that you should limit the use of taxis because the price is very high. I went from the hotel to the Salzburg train station, only a short distance and have to spent nearly €20.

Salzburg street

Austria blog: Where to go?

During my self-sufficient trip to Austria, I went to some famous places such as the capital of Vienna, the ancient village of Hallstatt, the city of Salzburg – Mozart’s hometown and some other surrounding areas. Actually, on this trip, I went to 2 more small places belonging to Slovakia and Germany. I’m pretty pleased with that decision. Although these attractions are located in different countries, they are close to each other, so traveling between them is quite easy.

austria travel

For example, on the first day when I arrived at Vienna’s capital airport, from here I took a bus for 1 hour to travel to Bratislava – Slovakia’s capital. These are the two closest capitals in the world and are only 60km (1 hour) apart, so traveling is very convenient.

I stayed there to visit and then took the bus back to Vienna at noon the next day to continue visiting Vienna. Likewise, after visited Salzburg, I spent a day to crossing Lake Königssee in Germany. This lake is only away 30km from Salzburg and the scenery is extremely beautiful. I highly recommend you take a trip to visit this lake.

austria travel

The capital and also largest city of Austria, Vienna is the economic, cultural and political center. Inheriting the ancient and unique architecture from the family of Habsburg who ruled Austria for nearly 650 years, Vienna owns UNESCO palaces, and is known as a city of music and art.

austria travel

Vienna is also the cradle of classical music in Europe, with many famous composers such as Mozart, Haydn or Beethoven. The city features castles, palaces of the Habsburg dynasty and the romantic Danube river flowing through the city. I was quite surprised when I came to Vienna because I did not think it was so beautiful, magnificent. Almost travelers come to Austria just to visit the ancient village of Hallstatt, but for me personally, you should spend time visit Vienna.

austria travel


  • Time to visit: June – August
  • Accommodation area: Innere Stadt District
  • Means of transportation: Metro
  • Tourist attractions: Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Hundertwasser House (Hundertwasserhaus), Imperial Palace (Hofburg), Austrian Gallery Belvedere, Stephansplatz Square, Austrian National Library, Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper).

Vienna really has a lot of impressive museums, theaters, palaces and bustling old town. This is probably the top 5 European capitals that I feel most excited about so far. You absolutely should not miss this most livable city in the world when traveling to Austria. Vienna has been voted the world’s most liveable city twice in 2018 and 2019. Exploring Vienna I think about 2–3 days is fine. You should buy a Vienna pass for €85 to get free admissions to all major tourist attractions as well as free ride public transport.

Salzburg, Austria

Located in the center of Austria is Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, where he spent more than half of his short life. As Austria’s fourth largest city, famous for its mysterious architecture, Salzburg is one of the best-preserved cities and is on the UNESCO heritage list. Legend has it that when you come here, your soul is lost in the world of rhythms, and it is hard not to play a certain tune as you stroll along the Salzach River or when climbing each step of the Hohensalzburg fortress.


  • Time to visit: November – February
  • Accommodation area: City center area (along the 2 banks of the Salzach River)
  • Means of transportation: Walking
  • Tourist attractions: Fortress Hohensalzburg, Mirabell Palace & Gardens, Hellbrunn Palace, Mozart’s Birthplace, Linzergasse District, Old Market Square, Hellbrun Castle Garden, Hohe Tauern National Park, Salzburg Carolino Augusteum Museum, Wolfgangsee Lake.


Usually travelers see Salzburg as a stopover before going to the ancient village of Hallstatt. Traveling to Hallstatt from Vienna takes a long time to travel (4 – 5 hours/one-way), but the cost of accommodation in this village is quite expensive, so they often stay overnight in Salzburg. Personally, if you travel to Salzburg, just 1 day is enough. However, if you combine going to some nearby natural sights such as Lake Konigsee in Germany or Grossglockner High Alpine Road (one of the most beautiful roads in the world), you will need more time.

hallstatt travel blog what to do in hallstatt photos picture trip guide (1)

The ideal destination to end your trip will be a picturesque village of Hallstatt, with a picture of a poetic and lyrical small lake town appearing before your eyes. With a long history dates back thousands of years, tranquil lake and towering peaks, Hallstatt is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The ancient village of Hallstatt is famous around the world for its poetic and peaceful beauty. With its back rylying on the mountain and facing the lake, this lovely little village is like a pearl of Austria. Not only that, the ancient village of Hallstatt also has the oldest salt mine in the world, along with ancient churches and castles with unique medieval architecture. Therefore, this place has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and voted in the top 10 most beautiful villages in the world.


  • Time to come: November – February
  • Accommodation area: It is not recommended to stay overnight
  • Tourist attractions: Marktplatz Square, Salzwelten Salt Mines, Hallstatt Ossuary (Bone House), Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, Skywalk, Waldbachstrub Waterfall, Lake Hallstätter See, Hallstatt Old Town

hallstatt skywalk (1)

Normally to get to the ancient village of Hallstatt you can go from Vienna (4 hours) or from Salzburg (1.5 hours). This village is quite small, so visit time recommend for about 3 – 4 hours is fine, even shorter. Taking a day trip from Vienna will be quite difficult and very tiring, so I do not recommend going this way. If possible, resting overnight in Salzburg or rent a room in the ancient village of Hallstatt.

austria travel

Innsbruck is Austria’s year-round tourist destination. It is famous for its skiing resorts in the Alps, which was also the site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. The colorful houses along the Inn River stand out against the white snow of the range The Alps are definitely a sight that will captivate every visitor here.

austria travel

Innsbruck also has many other attractions such as Court Church (Hofkirche Innsbruck), Ambras castle, Ambras Bells Museum, and more.

Hochosterwitz Castle

The castle is located on a 160-meter high rocky peak, the castle was built in the Middle Ages and has been owned by the Khevenhüllers family from 860 AD to the present. This place will be open to visitors from April to October every year and to firsthand see the castle in front of you, you have to pass the 620m long trail and 14 fortified gates.

austria travel

Lake Worthersee

This is the largest lake in Carinthia, an attractive summer destination in Austria. Sports enthusiasts will want to paddle to the other side of the lake, explorers will visit the colorful Griffen Stalactite caves, the 12th-century Gurk cathedral, and car lovers wanted to once again enter the nearby Gmund and Villach automobile museum (Auto Museum TAF-TIMER – Back to the Future).

austria travel

In addition to the main places to visit above, on my Austria journey, I also visited some other places such as Golling Waterfall, Lake Bluntausee, Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave (the largest rock cave in the world), Hohenwerfen Castle, Liechtensteinklamm gorge, Lake Zell, Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Lake Fuschlsee, Lake Mondsee, Mount Schafberg, Lake Wolfgangsee. It may quite a lot, but that’s why I went to Salzburg – Hallstatt and stayed there for 5 days. If you ask me where should you go, where should not go, it is really difficult for me. Every place is very beautiful and has its own attractive. And if I had to choose again, I would still decide to visit all because basically you will hardly find the same landscapes in other European countries except in Switzerland. You can follow more detailed articles I linked at the end of this guide to see how beautiful these places are.

austria travel

Austria blog: What to eat in Austria?

With borders with many countries such as Italy, Germany, Hungary, each region in Austria has its own distinct cuisine. The taste of the food in the eastern part is a bit like Hungary, while in the western part has a lot of influence from Germany.

Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese cutlet)

austria travel

This is considered the “national dish” of Austria. Traditionally, it is made from a thin piece of veal breaded, then deep fried in oil or butter. Some other variations use beef, pork or turkey.

This dish is served with Austrian potato salad or steamed or fried potatoes, topped with a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh parsley making it extremely eye-catching. A glass of cold wine or a Gruner Veltliner white wine is the perfect accompaniment to Wiener Schnitzel.

Apfelstrudel apple pastry

austria travel

An Austrian pastry is loved around the world. You can find it in any pastry shop, cafe or restaurant in Vienna. The pastry has a thin, crispy dough crust, inside the filling is a mixture of raisins, lemon, rum, cinnamon, and cloves. Then top with breadcrumbs mixed with nuts and fine sugar or vanilla sauce.

This dessert is especially delicious when enjoyed with Austrian coffee or black tea.

austria travel

Meat lovers should definitely not miss this dish. Beef or veal is stewed with vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, horseradish… Its rich and hot taste is suitable with a little cold of autumn or winter.

Sachertorte chocolate cake

austria travel

Sachertorte cake is the own brand of the Sacher family, in Austria people love this cake so much that they choose November 5 every year to celebrating and call it Sachertorte cake day.

Sachertorte chocolate cake consists of 2 layers of torte made from melted chocolate with butter, eggs, and some other additives. The special thing about this cake is the special layer of apricot jam in 2 layers made according to the secret heirloom recipe of the Sacher family.


austria travel

A small square cheesecake made from danish or pastry, people use caster sugar, raisins, egg yolks and corn starch to make this pastry. You can buy Topfenkolatschen at most Austrian bakeries or patisseries, enjoy it with a cup of hot tea.

Roasted chicken

austria travel

If you step into a pub in Austria, you will find this roasted chicken, which is served to drinkers, is a great snack. In Austria, there are two popular types of roasted chicken, Backhendi and Paprikahendi. Backhendi is marinated in flour, eggs, breadcrumbs and then roasted, while Paprikahendi is often served with German Spatzle pasta and lettuce.

Frittaten, Grießnockerl, Kaspressknödel soups

It is the broth from the Tafelspitz that will be used to make these appetizer soups. Toppings are added to the broth such as long-rolled pancakes like noodles (Frittaten soup), dumpling (Grießnockerl soup), fried dumplings (buns) made with bread and cheese (Kaspressknödel soup).

austria travel

Tiroler Gröstl

austria travel

Tiroler Gröstl is a very popular dish in the Alpine region. The ingredients are very simple, including: french fries, thinly sliced ​​beef (pork), onion, butter, topped with an omelet. This is a classical Austrian dish, popularly served in ski resorts.

Austria travel blog: Where to stay?

Some hotels I feel quite good, you can check it out:

Vienna: Motel One Wien-Hauptbahnhof in the city center for €70/night. The hotel is clean, new, modern and very close to supermarkets. (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com ).

Salzburg: Check best hotels in Salzburg on Agoda.com , Booking.com .

During my trip to Hallstatt, I only stayed in Salzburg and rented a car to Hallstatt to play for the day. However, if you want to experience life in this lovely small village, I think you should rent a room here. You can refer to some of the following options:

Hallstatt Lakeside : An apartment has a private garden and a view overlooking Hallstatt lake. The house is conveniently located, near the bus station, supermarket and square (5 minutes walk). Double room price at €97 depending on season.

austria travel

B&B Haus Hemetzberger: An apartment with mountain view, outdoor swimming pool and a cute little garden. The location of the house is also very convenient, near the bus stop, the museum and the square. Double room price at €110 including breakfast. (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com ).

Hallstatt Hideaway

In addition, you can find top rated and best hotels on Agoda.com , Booking.com .

Austria blog: What to buy?

austria travel

  • Porcelain is a very special gift in Austria with a variety of designs.
  • Specialties such as wine, Sacher cake, Mozart Balls candy, Mozart chocolates, Demel’s confectionery, Chocolate, Lebkuchen cake
  • Souvenirs bearing Austrian symbols such as keychains, clothes, display items.
  • Traditional Austrian costumes.

Austria travel blog: Traveling costs

austria travel

The cost of traveling to Austria depends on the needs and preferences of each individual. In my opinion, the traveling cost here is also on par with other famous European tourist destinations such as Paris, Venice and a bit cheaper than Denmark, Norway and a lot cheaper than Switzerland. The mid-range self-sufficient Austria travel cost you can refer to is as follows:

  • Hotel: €30-40/night, shared
  • Meals: €35€/day
  • Traveling: €20/day

Total about €100/day.

Austria blog: Suggested Austria travel itinerary 3 days 2 nights

According to my travel experience, you should arrange an itinerary of 3 days or more to go to 3 main Austria’s tourist attractions: Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg (Hallstatt is a day trip).

However, with 3 days itinerary you can save quite a lot, but it will be rush and quite tiring. To make the itinerary a little easier, you should add 1 day for Vienna or Salzburg.

Here is my 3D2N Austria travel itinerary, you can refer to it:

07:40 – 10:21: Train from Budapest Keleti (Hungary) to Vienna Hbf 11:00: Back to the hostel to send luggage 11:30: Lunch 13:00: Schönbrunn Palace 17:30: St. Stephen Cathedral 18:00: Walking around streets 20:00: Dinner

austria travel

06:55 – 10:44: Train from Vienna Hbf – Hallstatt 11:00 – 16:00: Visit the village of Hallstatt 16:32 – 18:48: Train from Hallstatt – Salzburg 19:30: Check in hotel 20:00: Dinner

09:00: Mirabell Garden 09:45: Mozart’s Birthplace 10:30: Linzergasse 12:00: Old Market Square 13:00: Lunch 14:12 – 20:53: Train from Salzburg – Zagreb Glavni Kolod (Croatia)

austria travel

Austria travel blog: Austria travel tips

Austrians are not friendly and service in Austria is extremely poor. During my 3D2N trip, I encountered not one but many unloving things about Austrians:

  • When I first arrived in Vienna, I asked locals for directions, but as soon as they hear, they ignore it and say nothing.
  • When eating at a restaurant in Hallstatt, my group with 3 people but the staff only give one menu. I asked for another one, the staff replied “Why do I have to give you another menu?”.

In Hallstatt, we rented a canoe to getting around the lake. Everything was Okay until the canoe returned to the wharf, the owner accused us of damaging his canoe, then he asked for €100 or else he will report it to the police. We refused, argued for a while, got bored and said that we only have exactly 50 euros now, will you agree? The person in charge agreed without saying anymore.

Men’s toilets at some placess in Austria have very high pedestals, I don’t think it serves short people.

You should buy tickets to attractions in advance to save time, to avoid queueing.

austria travel

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Vienna you can refer to

  • Private Vienna International Airport (VIE) Transfers for Vienna
  • Vienna City Card
  • Vienna PASS
  • Vienna City Airport Train Tickets
  • Salzburg Day Tour from Vienna
  • Hallstatt Day Tour from Salzburg
  • Hallstatt Day Tour from Vienna
  • Vienna Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours (Open-Top)
  • Schönbrunn Palace (Skip-the-Line) and Vienna City Tour


Are you looking for more top things to do in Vienna: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: 1 day in Vienna — Suggested Vienna 1 day itinerary & best places to see in vienna in 1 day . And guides for Hallstatt , Innsbruck , Salzburg  and Austria .

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Austria Travel Guide.

austria travel guide showing fort at hilltop with town at the bottom

Sahana Kulur

Explore the small yet wonderful alpine country of Austria with our detailed travel guide.

Not a lot of folks say, “I really want to visit Austria.” Backpackers often skip it due to the high costs. Families usually opt for Austria’s neighboring countries, and the tour packages usually cover only Vienna among the European cities they visit – They are missing out a lot!

After spending 15 days exploring Austria on a mid-range budget with my mom, I’ve put together a helpful travel guide. If you’re someone balancing work and wanderlust without quitting 905, this post is packed with essential tips to plan your Austria vacation wisely without straining your finances – The perfect post to show you “How to Travel in Austria”

  • Best Time to visit and Duration of Trip
  • Places to see
  • Austria Trip cost
  • Booking Tours and Activities
  • Preparing for Your Trip – Visa, Air connectivity, Currency, Cards
  • Getting around – Public and Private Transport
  • Practical Travel Tips – SIM, VPN, Plug sockets and Tipping Culture
  • Essential Information – Language, people, Culture and Safety
  • Amenities – Public Toilet, hygiene, drinking water
  • Food and Alcohol etiquette

kid happily running on a restaurant deck chasing a crow in front of snow mountain in austria

1. Best Time and Duration for Visiting Austria.

How many days are enough in austria.

Plan a trip to Austria at least for 10 days. Austria totally got me hooked in my 15 days there, and honestly, I could easily stick around for another 15. It’s packed with music, hiking, history, and fantastic food (cheese). Austria might not be enormous, but the experiences it offers is huge!

Best time to visit Austria

If skiing’s your thing, December to March is the best time to visit Austria. For hiking with fewer crowds and mild weather, March to May is the finest time. August can get hot, crowded, and pricey. Summers bring occasional showers and scorching temperatures, hitting up to 33°C – Trust me, I went there in July and was sweating like a pig!

Two female hikers accompanied by a brown Labrador dog, enjoying a view of the snow-covered valley at Grossglockner

2. Guide to crafting Austria Travel Itinerary

Austria’s history is rich, tracing back to Roman times, a delight for history enthusiasts. But the true gem lies in its scenic countryside and majestic mountains. Along the Danube River, quaint villages offer endless charm. And Austria has thousands of Museum – So your Austria travel itinerary depends on what you want experience.

Places to visit in Austria

There are nine regions in this alpine country. So when you plan a trip to Austria, pick particular regions based on the number of days. I recommend exploring these four regions in 15 days.

Four Days in Vienna and Wachau Valley

big bus vienna moving on bridge above the graffiti wall in vienna

Planning Your 3-Day Visit to Vienna

colorful facade across curves at hundertwasserhaus vienna

25 Things to Do in Vienna in Summer

array of grape plants leading to danube river with row of countryside houses on the other side bank at Wachau valley

Two-Day Exploration of Wachau Valley.

Four days in austria’s tirol for mountains and cheese.

rocky grey tyrolean mountain range with green pasture at bottom in inssbruck

Guide to Planning Your Trip to Innsbruck

row of moderately tall sloped roof building painted with pastel colours on Inns river bank with mountains covered in fog at Innsbruck

13 Cool Things to Do in Innsbruck Summer

traditional wooden houses dotted across rolling bright green meadows at kirchberg

Relaxing in Kirchberg: A Serene Retreat

Six soulful days in salzburg and day trips from there.

Salzburg fort seen from mirabel garden

Comprehensive Salzburg Planning Guide for First-Time Travellers

typical baroque style church with rolling green meadows at Maria plain in salzburg

24 Best things to do in Salzburg

beer mugs stacked on wooden shelf under a vaulted roof at augustiner beer garden

The Epic Beer Garden – Augustiner Braustubl

church beside a lake with tall stone tower surrounded by traditional sloped roof houses in hallstatt

Don’t Visit Hallstatt in Summer

serpentine like road through snow caped mountains to Grossglockner

On Austria’s Highest Road to Grossglockner

a white curved shaped wall with onion domes beside lake and mountains in background

Day Trip to Königssee & Eagle’s Nest

a couple on kayaking board sailing on turquoise green water of wolfgangsee with beautiful traditional houses on the other bank

Day Trip to a Quaint Town, Saint Gilgen

3. austria travel budget.

Austria ranks as the second most expensive country we’ve visited, with Japan taking the top spot as of 2024! Thank god, I used some tricks to reduce our Austria trip budget ; Otherwise I would have been bankrupt.

Some of the basic costs tourists need to pay in Austria are

  • Basic non-star hotel rooms for a couple outside the city centre: Starting at 60€/night
  • Medium-sized Cappuccino at the underground metro station: Costs 2.5€
  • Meal for two at a regular restaurant: At least 15€
  • Diesel price in Austria (July 2022): 2.2 €/liter

austria travel

Expected Austria Trip cost

  • Average daily expenses for one person on Mid range in Austria in Summer (July-August) : Around180€/person , including hotel stays, cafe visits, meals, public transport, train journeys, attractions, and some shopping (excluding airfare) Without shopping, consider Around 150€ for the same experience
  • This price can be much cheaper if you visit Austria during March to June.
  • Budget backpackers can plan a trip to Austria keeping 65-70 €/ day by staying in hostels and cooking meals.

an indian woman in sungudi saree walking on sidewalks lined with trees in vienna

Finding Accommodations in Austria

Where you stay in Austria can really gobble up your budget, so make smart choices. Outside the touristy spots like Vienna and Salzburg, you’ll discover some pocket-friendly places to stay in Austria.

  • B&Bs known as Gasthöfe offer double rooms from €60
  • Larger towns feature pensions with similar rates
  • Private rooms (Privatzimmer) in well-travelled rural areas cost €50 for double rooms
  • Hostels in popular locations cost around €30-35
  • Campsites for those who travel with RV

The prices of hotels/hostels and Gasthof increases if you need a parking spot for your car. It is best to book these on Booking.com (except campsites) for hassle-free booking. Remember, AC and elevators aren’t common in all Austrian hotels (Just like in France). Double-check before booking.

tyrolean wooden house with extended balcony full of flowers beside a wood cabin stocked with firewood  in Austria

4. Booking Tickets for Activities in Austria

Booking in advance can be a smart move for some activities in Austria, but the cities aren’t as crowded as Rome or Paris.

  • Salzburg and Innsbruck city card (which you can buy from your hotel) gives you access to 99% of the monuments. So don’t spend on Skip the line tickets in these two places
  • Vienna city card which is almost useless doesn’t include monuments/museum fees. So buy “ Skip the line” tickets for Vienna
  • I highly suggest booking Opera and Mozart concerts in Vienna early . They sell out fast, and there might be disappointing false concerts to avoid – We had to settle for whatever was available due to last minute booking.
  • Consider Guru Walk’s free walking and food tours in Vienna and Salzburg ; they’ve consistently delivered great experiences for me. Remember to tip the guides!
  • For activities like summer slides, paragliding, and ropeways, buying tickets on the spot is usually possible.

indian woman in salwar kameez sliding on Summerside overlooking wolfgangsee lake at saint gilgen

5. Planning Austria Trip

Austria tourist visa.

Austria is among the 27 Schengen countries. There are different aspects and insights on what Schengen union is. But for tourists, having a visa from any one of these nations means exploring the other 26 is easier.

Over 50 nationalities can enter the Schengen countries without a visa. A valid passport suffices for easy entry. Changes are on the way: By 2025, non-Europeans with visa-free access to the Schengen area will require ETIAS. You can find details on iVisa .

As of July 3, 2023, all COVID-related entry requirements for Austria have been lifted. Proof of vaccination, recovery, or testing is no longer needed. But keep an eye on their official website for changes.

Austria Schengen Sticker Visa

For over 140 nations like India, getting a sticker visa is the only way to go to Austria. It involves gathering a hefty 50+ page document and attending a face-to-face interview at the embassy. It’s no easy task — it typically takes at least a month to complete. So this saga of getting Schengen Visa needs a separate post with all minute details are there in it .

indian passport with schengen visa sticker from austria and a magnet sticker on top of it

Air Connectivity

Austria has around six main airports, with Vienna International Airport being the biggest. There’s also Salzburg Airport, Innsbruck Airport, and a few smaller ones.

As a foreign tourist, you’ll probably land in Vienna. Mind that Vienna international airport isn’t big and doesn’t have a dozen of food outlets. It just serves the purpose and works fine. Vienna receives fewer international flights compared to Munich, Paris, or Frankfurt.

So, if you’re entering Austria from Germany, France, Switzerland, Slovenia or Czechia, it’s wise to opt for trains over flights. Before booking flights to Austria, it’s wise to check Skyscanner for flight connections . It provides options on whether you should fly to Vienna or anywhere else from your city. Based on that you can decide if you should take a train from your city to any Austrian city or fly.

One Quick heads up : Many confuse Austria with Australia ! So just be careful when you search!

cemetery is salzburg with graves adorned with flowers and metal cross

Domestic flights in Austria

Honestly, you don’t need to fly between cities in Austria. Trains are the way to go , and sometimes buses work just as well. Plus, these journeys pass through green meadows, beside the Alps, and even through the vineyards. Train rides are super scenic 99% of the time. With more than 80% of the aging population, buses and trains are made accessible for all ages. The platform heights for buses and trains are matched, making it easy for baby strollers and wheelchairs. So, skip the domestic flights unless it’s your last resort.

austria travel guide showing winding narrow asphalt road with grasslands on either side, a pond and a hut in one side at grossglockner

Similar to 20 out of the 27 countries in the EU, Austria uses the Euro (€) as its currency.

Bringing Euros from home is a good idea as exchanging other currencies can be tricky. Currencies such as Indian Rupees and Egyptian Pounds can’t be exchanged. The exchange rates for US Dollars, British Pounds, or Canadian Dollars is super low.

Card Payments

Visa and Master Debit cards work just fine in Austria. While cards are accepted in most places except the hut cafes along mountain trails, Austrians generally prefer cash. You’ll find plenty of ATMs, even in smaller villages. Remember to withdraw enough cash before going hiking.

Unfortunately, credit card skimming fraud is on the rise in Europe. Although Austria has had only a few reported cases, I wouldn’t recommend using your credit cards there. If you really have to, avoid swiping cards at small street shops or random cafes.

Alternatively, consider getting travel cards from your home country and top them up as needed during your trip.

local sustrians buying food from a local streetside shop under an umbrella

6. Getting Around Austria

Roads and driving.

Austrians drive on the right lane with elegance and patience. Even when there is no single soul on the road, you never see an Austrian driver skipping the signal (99%). You don’t hear honking except for Police and Ambulance sirens.

Renting cars in Austria

Renting Cars in Austria is easy. As they all follow good traffic rules, driving on street isn’t a headache. But rent a car in if only :

  • You have planned to go to the most remote villages in the mountains where there is no bus to take you.
  • You are ready to pay a high diesel price.
  • You are ready to hunt for parking spots in busy areas.

Honestly, unless you’re staying in a remote hillside village or heading to Grossglockner, a car isn’t necessary. Their public transport is that excellent.

Scenic Austrian landscape featuring a charming white house with a sloped roof, set amidst lush meadows with a parked car

Cycling in Austria

Besides the Netherlands , Austria is one of the most cycle-friendly countries globally. They have dedicated lanes with incredible views. Your accommodation hosts prefer cyclists over cars as they don’t have to break their head for providing parking area! Trains and buses even allow bikes on board. So, cycling’s the best way to explore spots like Wachau Valley if you’re moderately fit.

A man cycling with a child in a rear seat, both wearing helmets, in Vienna

Public Transport Overview

Austria win’s your heart with its stunning landscapes, sophisticated people, and top-notch public transport. So you can plan your entire Austria trip without renting a car! Trains and public buses are the go-to for getting around. They welcome pets and bicycles, and the platforms and seats are accessible for both wheelchairs and baby strollers.

Just a heads up, Austrian public transport isn’t free ; it runs on an honesty system. Expect occasional checks on trams or regular inspection in intercity trains.

Some of the options in Austria’s public transport are :

Google Maps is pretty great for finding your way around Austria using public transport – to get around cities. It tells you schedules, routes, and even when the next ride’s coming. For trains ÖBB Scotty is “the” one – It is rare to see official railway websites work as fast as OBB!

A dog seated on the floor inside a Vienna tram

Austrian Railways

Austrian trains are godsend! – They are comfortable, always on time, travel on beautiful routes, and are frequent. The tickets aren’t exactly super cheap. But affordable.

It may get overwhelming when you see a variety of trains in Austria and wonder what to book – But it is more straightforward once you know it. Austrian railways app OBB is kickass and one of the most user friendly app you can ever use. You can connect your paypal account for payment. So booking train tickets in Austria on OBB website or app is the easiest and best way.

Guide to using Railways to travel through Austria

As several companies operate Austrian railways, there is no common pass. If you are travelling in Austria for a year, then only consider ÖBB Österreichcard.

  • Standard Tickets: . Valid for 2 days on any route or sales channel, refundable before first use.
  • Komfort Ticket: Refundable for booked train and route up to 15 days before use
  • Einfach Raus Ticket: Group tickets ; cancel before departure.
  • Sparschiene Tickets:  Early bookings for discounted rates. No changes or refunds; restricted to one connection (Cheapest and best of all).
  • Interrail One Country Pass: Useful for business travelers frequently hopping between cities in two countries.

"Railway track with a sound barrier wall against a backdrop of breathtaking green scenery

Eurail Pass for Austria :

It’s a misconception that having a Eurail pass gives you unlimited access to every single public transport in the EU. Most of the time, a Eurail pass isn’t worth for tourists who are travelling in the area for 15 days or lesser.

  • Consider Eurail passes if only traveling across multiple nations without a fixed plan for at least six months.
  • Eurail passes don’t let you use any public transport all over EU
  • We spent 258 Euros for two on four train journeys in Austria.
  • Covering the same trips over 15 days with Eurail Interrail pass would cost 500 Euros!

Metro and Trams

Vienna’s the sole city in Austria with a metro. Graz, Linz, and Innsbruck rely on trams. Salzburg goes with buses . Each city offers its travel passes, available for 24/48/72 hours at train stations to suit your schedule. Announcements on both the metro and trams are in English and German.

tram moving in vienna street beside a traditional church

Public buses

  • Buses are perfect for day trips and city travel in Austria. They open only at the front, so buy tickets from the driver—change is often available.
  • Some city cards cover bus fares; check with the driver by showing your card.
  • Stops are displayed in English and German on screens well before arrival.
  • Buses stop only at designated spots. Even if you’re close or wave, they won’t stop if not at the spot.
  • Check schedules carefully; they vary by season, Sundays, and holidays.
  • Timetables differ for May 1st to October 31st and November 1st to April 31st.
  • Montag – Freitag außer Feiertag : Monday – Friday except public holidays
  • Samstag außer Feiertag : Saturday except public holiday
  • Sonn- und Feiertag : Sunday and holiday

buses moving on empty streets of salzburg

Ferries and Boats

Austria, being landlocked, lacks access to seas or oceans, so ferries aren’t commonly used within the country. However, some lakes or rivers may offer ferries for leisure or specific tours.

Nevertheless, Danube river cruises in Vienna and the Wachau valley are famous. Exploring various villages along the Danube via these cruises is a fantastic way to experience the region.Similarly, Wolfgangsee has boats for recreational purposes, mostly catering to tourists rather than locals.

A woman sailing on Wolfgangsee Lake, passing by picturesque houses adorned with flower-filled balconies along the lakeside

The Expensive taxi

A kilometer ride sets you back 10€. Curious, I asked my hotel owner in Kirchberg about the taxi fare to Innsbruck. She rolled her eyes, mentioning they charge over 150€ for 90KM, while train costs less than 25€

Uber was available in Salzburg and Vienna, albeit pricey! In smaller areas like Melk, Innsbruck, Schafberg/Saint Gilgen local taxis are the norm, requiring booking via phone.

an indian woman in salwar kameez standing at the cliff edge of green mountain clicking photo of blue wolfgangsee lake in Austria on a sunny day

7. Essential Information

Language spoken in austria.

Austrians speak “Austrian German,” similar to standard German. If you know one, you’ll understand the other.

Austrian-German uses the Latin Alphabet with unique letters, often with dots and special characters above or below them. You might read signboards but mispronounce words if you’re unfamiliar with language. For example, the name “Kirchberg” in Tirol is pronounced as “Ki-yek-burg”

Managing in English in Austria isn’t exactly a breeze. But, it’s not as tough as it is in Germany! Austrians take pride in their heritage but they’re not stubborn about expecting everyone who visits their nation to speak the same tongue.

sign board in austria showing hiking trail difficulty levels in hours

Austrians and Culture

Hearing about the reputation for rude Germans, I expected a similar vibe from German-speaking Austrians. Surprisingly, it’s different. You won’t get invited to their homes like in Iran , but they won’t give you the cold shoulder either. Hitchhiking might not work, but they’re generally willing to lend a hand to tourists. Shopkeepers might not offer personal assistance but will greet you warmly. And when you ask for help, they do assist, although there might be some limits.

Tourism being a key income source, Austrians warmly welcome people from all over. I should add, they’re not racist (at least not in our presence)! Never did they discriminate based on our colour or ethnicity. Instead, they admired my mother’s saree. Many ladies asked her how to drape it and where to buy one.

local austrians sitting on the footpath

How religious are Austrians?

Austria’s main religion is Catholic Christianity, with Muslims as the second largest group. Plus, there are quite a few synagogues around too.

There are several old churches, at least two in a small village. Unlike Greece , they weren’t strict about a dress code for visitors. On Sunday mornings, we only saw elderly folks heading into the chapel. It seems Austrians aren’t as devout as Greeks but not as secular as the Swedes either.

traditional church with tall bell tower by the meadows in austria

Essential Austrian Customs Every Tourist Should Know

  • Don’t compare Austrians to Germans – it might lead to a sharp response.
  • Austrians are super punctual, don’t ever be late even by a minute when you are meeting an Austrian.
  • On escalators, stand right, allow left for those walking – Austrians will definitely get annoyed if you don’t follow this and they will ask you to follow.
  • Shops close by 4 pm on Saturdays and stay completely closed on Sundays – Cities and towns shut completely.
  • Near closing time, they politely but firmly ask customers to leave, whether in a monument or shop.
  • Say hi and bye when entering or leaving shops – a common practice in Austria.
  • At crosswalks, everyone waits for the light to turn green.

Tips on Austria’s Café Culture

  • Austrian eateries encourage relaxed dining, allowing for a two-hour dinner or a leisurely hour for coffee.
  • Service may not be immediate due to Austria’s labor shortage; cafes operate with minimal staff.
  • Some cafes prefer you check with the waiter before seating; reservations aren’t always necessary but some seats might be reserved.
  • Waiters won’t bring the bill unless requested, even after you’ve finished your meal.

indian woman in saree drinking coffee at hawelka cafe in vienna

How to dress in Austria?

Loads of tall Austrian churches and their history might give the impression that conservative clothing is a must. Being landlocked and without beaches, you might lean towards fully covered outfits. Many Austria blogs claim it never gets too hot even in summer. So, if you’re packing full pants and warm shirts, your packing for Austria trip might be wrong

Not every place in Austria lets you wear anything you want, yet it doesn’t demand conservative attire either. You must pack according to the weather, cities, and regions of Austria .

baroque style building at a square in vienna and people walking around

Safety Concerns in In Austria

Austria and Japan are the only places where I’d say, “Take a stroll on a remote hiking trail alone without a worry. Walk back to your room in the midnight even as a solo woman traveller.” We’ve used underground metro trains after dark and walked back to our rooms around 11 pm after concerts; all we saw were well-lit streets and fitness freaks jogging! Don’t hesitate to hit any walking tours, dinner or concerts in the night – It is very much safe if you take standard precaution like not getting over drunk.

a concert on the go with musicians in black on the stage at vienna

You won’t find police in their blue uniforms everywhere. But they arrive within a minute when something minor goes wrong.

One safety threat in Austria is – Watch out for cows ! They leisurely graze along hiking trails and can get quite angry if you approach. Enjoy the distant bell chimes, but be cautious. There have been cases where cows attacked and even killed hikers !

pinkish orange sky behind sloped roof houses in the meadows

Tips to stay safe when you travel in Austria

  • Stick to safety basics: avoid dark, isolated streets,
  • Be careful with drinks with strangers, and stay away from drugs.
  • Beware of pick pocketers in crowded places.
  • Austrian cities have many asylum seekers on certain streets with “Anti-Police” slogans in their wall art. A Viennese cafe owner warned about those folks disrupting local norms, advising caution on these streets after dark in any city.

Tourist Scams in Austria

  • Taxis : they’re often a rip-off. You pay 17 euros for a 2km ride with an Uber.
  • Fake museum concert tickets, faulty railway tickets, and fake charity petitions.
  • Streetside games; tourists often lose out when playing chess or marbles with Austrians.

a teenager with his dad playing Boules in the sand pit at vienna by the street side

8. Practical Travel Tips for the Austria

Mobile sim and connectivity.

I grabbed two SIM cards from the Wow Austria outlet at Vienna airport. They have great network coverage and works well almost everywhere. Each SIM card, offering 30GB data for four weeks plus local calling, cost around 25€.

4G internet was reliable, except on hilly trails. Vienna airport had decent free Wi-Fi, and our hotels had speedy connections. Despite OBB claiming free Wi-Fi on trains and stations, it never functioned.

austria travel guide showing railway station at krems with giant signage of OBB and a clock tower

Plug Sockets and Adapters

Austria uses Type C & F – The ones with round pins. Check if your country needs a plug adapter here . I carry a universal adapter.

Tipping Culture

Tipping isn’t a must in Austria. Sometimes, waiters may ask if you want to round up the bill while swiping your card. If you’re happy with the service, rounding up is an option. Hotels and BnBs typically feature individual tip boxes at reception for specific services such as housekeeping, front desk, and the restaurant. Although it is expensive, Austria is great for shopping . Even in streetside shop, sellers don’t expect tips.

vintage furnitures in old Hawelka cafe Vienna

9. Amenities

Public toilet policy.

Toilets are typically free in Austria, with many cafes letting people use them even without making a purchase. At the Melk docking yard, I asked a cafe waitress about restroom fees, and she found it funny, wondering why anyone would pay (She hasn’t been to Belgium and tried to use a washroom – I am sure). There are a few public toilets that charge around 50 cents for access.

Toilets in Austria typically have western commode with toilet paper and no jet spray. Used toilet paper is disposed of in the commode, unlike in Greece where it’s put in the dustbin.

Public Hygiene

Austria consistently ranks among the world’s top 10 cleanest nations, and for good reason. People are incredibly conscientious, keeping streets litter-free, even around tourist spots. Hikers refrain from tossing their empty beer cans trailside, ensuring stunning, trash-free street and mountain views.

clean streets in vienna near opera house in baroque style

But, near subway and train stations, you’ll come across carpets of cigarette butts! We’ve used the subways throughout the day; in the morning, workers clean them thoroughly, but by night, they’re back to the same dirty state.

Viennese folks abide by strict rules against graffiti on historical buildings. But when they stumble upon an empty wall, they let loose their creative side!

entire wall with street grafitti

Drinking Tap Water in Austria

Tap water is safe to drink in Austria, and you’ll often find drinking water outlets and spouts, even on historic statues. Most cafes or restaurants charge for drinking water! So, carry a bottle and fill up in the restroom—it’s a hack many use!

A woman in a dress filling her bottle with drinking water from a traditional street-side water hose

10. Food and Alcohol Etiquette

Austrian cuisine overview.

Austrian food’s a mix of classics like Wiener Schnitzel (that’s breaded and fried pork/veal) and Sachertorte (a famous chocolate cake). They’ve hearty stews, dumplings, and loads of sausages, each with its local twist. Everywhere you go, there’s a unique flavor waiting, blending tradition with new tastes.

Breakfast is usually bread with jams and cheese in Austria. There’s a crazy variety of bread and cheese—I loved the butter croissants and slicing up spennel (that round bread with a star on top), filling it with berry jams and pesto cheese. Locals dig pretzels, but you may found them too salty and hard!

A partially eaten croissant held under a tree, with a stunning Baroque-style church and meadows as the backdrop in Maria Plain

Tips to Vegetarian Dining in Austria

Austrian cuisine leans towards meat, but fear not, veggies – You can easily plan your trip to Austria without having the fear of “not getting food”. There are loads of options for you too. As a vegetarian, I and mom didn’t struggle to find delicious Austrian food . While I’m not big on vegan eats, Austrians, especially in Vienna, are! You can even snag veggie burgers at KFC there.

a platter of variety of sandwiches with a beer mug and carrot juice bottle on table

Austrian hot beverages

Austrians are coffee freaks – just like me! Whenever I imagine the cappuccino I had in Vienna and Kirchberg, I crave it even now. You find tea only in fewer places, You must specify if you want cappuccino, latte or espresso. Cappuccino quality is usually ample. So ask for cup size before ordering two.

Drinking Culture

Austrians sure enjoy their drinks, but you won’t find rowdy scenes on the streets! People casually sip beer from cans on buses and trains, part of the day’s routine. I tasted a few beers—Ottakringer, Gosser Lemonade Radler, and the top pick, Augustiner Bräustübl beer!

A smiling waitress carrying a plate with beer mugs while patrons dine outdoors in a historical city setting during twilight

Wachau steals the show for wine lovers. Gruner Veltliner can become your go-to—it’s affordable, fruity, and simply delightful. Schnapps, the local fruit brandy, didn’t quite match my wine experience. But the apricot liqueur from Wachau Weiser will surpass all other fruit liqueurs you try!

Smoking in Austria

It was shocking to find such a clean country, focused on organic farming for health, with widespread smoking in open areas. Apart from public transport and enclosed cafes, smoking is permitted everywhere outdoors. While weed/hemp isn’t legal, you can spot hemp shops and even weed planter boxes in various places!

Shopfront displaying a 'Hemps' sign below a symbol of a weed leaf in Salzburg

Found our Austria Travel Guide helpful to plan your trip? Let us know in the comment section below.

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The 10 best ski resorts in Austria

If staying in a picturesque ski resort with a warmly welcoming atmosphere is a high priority, Austria will come up trumps.

Many of its ski resorts have grown up around traditional farming villages with onion-domed churches that benefited from generous long-term grants under the US Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of European economies after World War II. Down the generations, Austrian hoteliers have grown rich on the tourist harvest, but the cosy hospitality embodied by the German word Gemütlichkeit is very much in evidence.

Austrian resorts are famed for foot-stomping, but friendly après-ski that starts on the slopes in the afternoon – traditionally with ski boots on – and continues until the small hours in the most party-orientated resorts. Think everything from convivial times in rustic mountain huts to clashing Steins and Schnapps in lively bars.

By contrast, the ubiquitous hotel spa provides a more soothing alternative – though be warned, the wearing of swimming costumes is not permitted in most sauna and steam rooms. To bare all may not in essence be part of repressed British wellness culture, but in the interests of hygiene and Germanic health rules, we are forced to comply in some of Europe’s smartest spa facilities.

On the slopes, while Austria may not always compete with the giant linked ski areas of France, its traditional villages are backed up by some heavyweight state-subsidised lift systems. Major investment in resorts including St Anton and Saalbach, for example, now mean fewer queuing bottlenecks, better linking and easier travel around these decent-sized ski areas. Improvements this season include new ten-person gondolas in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Gerlos in the  Zillertal, and Schlick 2000 in the Stubaital, as well as two new six-seater chairs in the Jochberg area of Kitzbühel.

It’s difficult now to imagine that back in the 1960s and even 1970s, Tirol and Salzburgerland attracted more British skiers each winter than France. Austria then fell far behind, but the gap between the two is again closing. However, future winter supremacy must surely be down to which country will manage to maintain the most reliable snow cover.

Many resorts have invested in sophisticated snowmaking, and while the low altitude of some villages – 1,000m or less – sounds discouraging for snow security in poor snowfall years, Austrian pastureland requires just a handful of centimetres to become skiable compared to high-altitude rocky crags in France and Switzerland. Resorts with slopes that go above 3,000m, including some on glaciers, also bely Austria’s low-altitude reputation. 

Here’s where to go to enjoy the very best the Austrian slopes have to offer.

Best for beginners

Complete beginners really don’t need the complexity of a large resort, so a novice’s visit to this Tirolean chocolate-box with oodles of atmosphere – it regularly wins prizes as the prettiest village in Austria – should result in a lifetime of piste enthusiasm. 

Resort purists reacted with alarm when Alpbach’s ski area was linked to that of Auffach in the neighbouring Wildschönau valley in 2013, but they needn’t have worried. While the number of pistes and lifts more than doubled, attracting a substantial number of new visitors, Alpbach itself, only a 40-minute drive from Innsbruck airport, has remained remarkably unchanged.

The next generation of adults who perfected their first turns as children in Alpbach now return to explore the respectable 97km of slopes served by 46 lifts in the two valleys that make up Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau. The ski area continues to improve –  a children’s area and nursery slope at the bottom station of the Reitherkogel gondola in the Reith sector, reached by ski bus, is one of the more recent additions.

Alpbach has a special relationship with the British that began more than 60 years ago when a Major Billy Patterson came here on leave from his army base in Germany and enjoyed the pistes and the pubs. He told his army friends in the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR) and they told others. Thousands of Britons have since learnt the basics on Alpbach’s slopes, and many return year after year and generation after generation. British regimental ski teams still train here.

The main ski area is a three-minute bus ride, followed by a gondola ride, away from town. But there is also a single nursery slope in the village centre, ideal for practising snowplough turns after lessons. Of the three ski schools in the resort, Alpbach-Inner Alpbach is the original learning establishment, while Alpbach Aktiv and Skischule Alpbachtal also have fine reputations.

Alpbach also offers great value for money – prices are low, even by Austrian standards. Visiting the resort during the dedicated family weeks, when special offers are available to families, makes it even more so.

Where to stay  

Positioned five minutes’ walk from the village centre and nursery slopes is the friendly, family-run Pension Furstenberg. 

From £472 B&B, with Crystal Ski . 


Niederau in the neighbouring Wildschönau valley to Alpbach has similar small-village appeal, along with Kühtai near Innsbruck.

Best for intermediates

Saalbach hinterglemm leogang fieberbrunn.

Located a 90-minute drive from Salzburg airport, the two main villages of this all-encompassing ski area, Saalbach Hinterglemm, are at the centre of a magical ring of 2,000m peaks that form a natural circuit of pistes that can be navigated in either direction to give adventurous intermediates a sense they are actually going somewhere each day.

The ski area, which is one of the biggest in Austria, with 270km of slopes accessed by 70 lifts, also encompasses the smaller villages of Fieberbrunn and Leogang, and they all share one of the most sophisticated lift systems in Austria, with new lifts being added each winter. This season the 29-year-old Limberg chairlift has been replaced by a high speed eight-seater.

In 2019 the old eight-seater Zwölferkogelbahn in Hinterglemm was replaced by a high-speed 10-person gondola that increased uphill capacity from the Hinterglemm end of valley to the 1,984m Zwölferkogel peak from 2,400 to more than 3,500 people per hour.

Saalbach village is larger than Hinterglemm, and has a lively centre with bars, designer boutiques and four-star hotels. Hinterglemm is more peaceful and better for families, while straggling Leogang doesn’t have a centre as such, but offers some ski-in ski-out hotels so is extremely convenient for mountain access.

Where to stay

If you want to be in the centre of the action, then a good option is to stay in Saalbach where most of the après-ski is based. Sportpension Enzian is ski-in/ski-out with an in-house restaurant, bar and sauna. From £988, B&B, including, with Heidi. Find more of the best hotels and chalets in Saalbach here .

Ellmau is a pleasant little village in the heart of the SkiWelt, Austria’s second largest interconnected ski area. Bad Gastein in Salzburgerland gives access to around 200km of mainly intermediate runs.

Best for experts

The ability to handle the slopes like a god, party until dawn, and still be smiling enthusiastically on the first lift the following morning, makes or breaks a stay in what must be regarded as one of the top resorts  in Europe for serious skiers, snowboarders, and committed night owls.

The first time visitor to St Anton will find it surprisingly small for a destination with such a huge reputation. The core of the village is just one main street – pedestrianised during the day – lined with some fine, old hotels and inns, sports shops and cafés.

It is situated at 1,305m and the Valluga cable car, the highest lift, goes up to 2,810m. In between lies an array of runs that vary from the moderately demanding to the just plain wicked – with waist-high moguls to boot. This is not a place for the faint-hearted – a blue slope here might well be classified dark red in a lesser resort – but the kind of person who feels confident on steepish intermediate runs and is game to tackle blacks will have a lot of fun.

Snow cover is usually reliable and the main action takes place on the Valluga side of the village, on and above the slopes of the Gampen and Galzig sectors. The Rendl ski area on the other side of the valley is more benign (and sunnier). Less accomplished members in the a group can always head to the altogether more friendly slopes of Lech and Zürs, also covered by the regional Arlberg lift pass, and linked to St Anton by lift. The main connecting lift is the Flexenbahn 10-seater gondola, which links Zürs with Stuben on the St Anton side in six minutes. In all, the Arlberg pass covers 85 lifts serving 300km of pistes, including the slopes of Warth-Schröcken on the far side of Lech.

A good day out is the Run of Fame piste circuit, which starts from Warth in the north and goes via Lech to St Anton’s Rendl sector, covering 18,000m vertical. However, when exploring the outer reaches of this enormous ski area, be sure to return in time for the evening action. St Anton is as serious about its more muted, but still lively post-Covid nightlife as it is about its on-slope action.

The off piste offered by the ski area as a whole is one of the major attractions, and an excursion to Zürs off the back of the Valluga is a must for any expert. In good snow conditions its hype is worse than its bite, but what really gets the adrenalin flowing is the fact that those carrying skis or a snowboard are only allowed up the final cable car to the 2,810m summit if accompanied by a mountain guide. Piste to Powder offers expert guiding and off-piste tuition in St Anton.

Chalet Valluga is one of Skiworld’s five chalets in the resort. This chalet-apartment is decorated in a modern Tirolean style and sleeps six. From £919 with SkiWorld . Find more of the best hotels and chalets in St Anton here .

Zürs on the Flexenpass above Lech has plenty of challenges both on and off-piste as do Fieberbrunn and Leogang, both part of the same huge ski area as Saalbach and Hinterglemm.

Best for snow reliability

This is one of the highest ski areas of Europe with glacier slopes that remain open 365 days of the year and gradients – remarkably steep for a glacier – that allow for serious downhill race training by national ski teams during the off-season. In winter the ski area reverts to a playground for all abilities, with 60km of runs (and 13km of marked, but unpatrolled off-piste ski routes), six different ski schools and two terrain parks.

A choice of extended and regional lift passes give visitors access to some or all of the other Zillertal resorts. The Hintertux ski area lies at the head of a remote and beautiful valley beyond better-known Mayrhofen , and the winding road up to it passes through the communities of Vorderlanersbach, Tux, Madseit and Juns before reaching the lift station that gives access to the glacier. Hotels are scattered all along the road and these collectively provide the accommodation base, served by the regular ski bus. Consequently, après-ski is largely limited to hotel bars scattered along the valley.

However, Hintertux is a great destination for families, thanks to the Playarena in the village of Vorderlanersbach at the foot of the Eggalm slopes just down the valley. There’s something here for children of all ages, ranging from babies to 16 year olds, with facilities including a soft play area, bouncy castle, indoor high ropes and climbing wall, kids’ cinema and theatre. Entry is free of charge.

Four-star Hotel Hintertuxerhof is a three-minute walk or a short bus ride away from the glacier lifts. It also has a beginner lift outside the door. Facilities include a wellness area with Finnish sauna and steam bath. From £1,465 with Ski Solutions.

Obertauern is Austria’s best shot at a purpose-built resort, with a strong reputation for reliable cover throughout a long season. Sölden in the Otztal has two glaciers and remains open for much of the year.

Best for charm and romance

Watching the annual Hahnenkamm , the toughest of all World Cup downhill ski races, held in mid-January, is breath-taking. At one point, the course plunges away at an angle of 85 degrees.

The funny thing is, the Hahnenkamm isn’t really what Kitzbühel is about. This former medieval mining town, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Wilder Kaiser mountains, is actually one of the softies of the Alpine world. Its slopes are, for the most part, flattering rather than frightening. Even the notorious Streif racecourse, the venue for the Hahnenkamm, becomes a Familienabfahrt – a family run – once the World Cup circus has left town.

The local slopes are divided into three areas – the Kitzbüheler Horn, the much more extensive Hahnenkamm and neighbouring Bichlalm, a little area given over to freeride. Bichlalm is accessed by a chairlift, and there’s a snowcat for continuing the journey beyond the top of the lift. There’s one blue run and a choice of off-piste itineraries back down to the valley.

Apart from its own 205km of runs and 68 lifts in the local area, Kitzbühel links (by a short bus ride) to the 270km of piste and 83 lifts of the SkiWelt area, which includes Westendorf and Söll. The two giant areas are similarly linked from Going across to the Kitzbüheler Alps to Hollersbach in the Hohe Tauern. Kitzbühel and the SkiWelt both have their own separate ski passes, while the KitzSkiWelt Ticket covers the entire area. You are, of course, limited by how much terrain you can cover in a day. Remember to check your watch in the afternoon – taxi rides home from distant corner of the ski area can be expensive. 

The medieval town with its heavily buttressed walls and delicate painted frescoes is one of the most beautiful in all of the Alps. It is also one of those rare resorts that genuinely appeals to non-skiers. Its pretty pedestrianised streets are lined with luxury hotels, upmarket boutiques and cafes.

The four-star Q Hotel Maria Theresia blends modern style with traditional Tirolean, and it has a good spa area. The building is a short walk from the pedestrian centre and four minutes’ walk from the Hahnenkamm gondola. From £1,429 with Inghams . Find more of the best hotels and chalets in Kitzbühel here .

Lech is Austria’s smartest ski destination, but it still retains much of the atmosphere of the farming village that it once was. Seefeld, set on a wooded plateau 25 minutes from Innsbruck, has limited downhill slopes, but cross-country skiing, curling and sleigh rides are popular alternatives for those who want to holiday in comfort in a range of sophisticated four- and five-star hotels.

Best for entertainment

Ischgl is often overlooked by the British – which is surprising, given its history of lively entertainment and high-quality intermediate pistes.

It’s famed for its opening and closing parties featuring some of the world’s most celebrated artists. The concerts started with Elton John in 1994 and have since featured an array of A-list celebrity artists, including Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue.

The resort is an old farming village that has developed over the years into a sophisticated tourist centre, with a collection of smart hotels and traditional B&Bs. In recent years, the resort has shifted its focus from late nights to luxury, so the immediate post-skiing and the evening scene is much more restrained than it used to be.

The 239km of pistes and 46 lifts in Ischgl – the area is linked to Samnaun in Switzerland – offer runs to suit all standards and the lift system is constantly being updated. Intermediates can have a ball here, and while there is an overall absence of truly steep slopes, the off-piste and ski touring opportunities with a guide are excellent.

The Skyfly, two parallel zip-lines from the Silvretta mid-station to the village, is a 2km-long exciting ride that can be done in ski boots with skis attached behind in a harness.

Hotel Val Sinestra is a cosy and traditional Tirolean three-star B&B with 12 rooms on the side of the piste. You can ski back at the end of the day and the centre of town is within a short walk. From £849 with Iglu Ski . Find more of the best hotels and chalets in Ischgl here .

St Anton and Saalbach . At both, the party begins in huts on the slopes before the lifts close for the day.

Best for families

Obergurgl and neighbouring Hochgurgl have rebranded for marketing purposes as plain Gurgl, although the two villages seem to retain their separate names.

If taking young children to the Alps, the ideal is guaranteed snow cover at village level throughout a long season so that a holiday is possible either pre-Christmas or after the latest of April Easters. At 1,930m, very high for a resort at the eastern end of the Alps, Gurgl can happily oblige.

A short transfer and a low-risk environment is also preferable. This traditional village is set around a fine church, an easy one-hour drive from Innsbruck. There’s no through traffic and the ambience is essentially family-friendly.

The resort attracts a loyal band of regulars, who love its low-key atmosphere and well-run, traditional hotels and  scattering of chalets.

The drawback is an undersized ski area, which can irritate those looking for endless action on groomed pistes. The village of Obergurgl is linked by lift to higher Hochgurgl, but together they still only offer 112km of runs and 26 lifts. The off-piste in Obergurgl is good and the spring touring opportunities are renowned.

One added attraction is the Top Mountain Crosspoint at the Hochgurgl end of the ski area, which comprises a table-service restaurant serving authentic local dishes and a 500 exhibit motorbike museum – rebuilt after a devastating fire. This is also the base station of an efficient 10-person gondola.

Obergurgl Ski School has been teaching the basics to children and adults since 1922. Hochgurgl Ski School has less of a pedigree, but a strong reputation. Most instructors speak reasonable English, but don’t expect to learn cutting-edge technique. There’s no non-ski kindergarten, but many of the hotels offer their own child-care.

Hotel Jenewein is ski-in/ski-out, located opposite the Hohe Mut gondola and Rosskar chair lift. The in-house après-ski bar faces onto the slopes and is a popular gathering place for lunch or after skiing. All bedrooms are decorated in an attractive rustic style. From £1,509, self drive including ferry crossings, with SNO . Find more of the best hotels and chalets in Obergurgl here .

Westendorf in the SkiWelt area has free-to-use nursery slopes and claims to have taught more British children over the years than any other Austrian resort, although St Johann in Tirol might well dispute that. Both have gentle local slopes and are charming bases for families.

Best for terrain parks

This once-traditional village in the Zillertal – the Ziller valley – was one of the original migration points for British skiers in the Seventies, and its allure has never faded. These days Mayrhofen is equally popular with snowboarders.

Both riders and skiers are drawn to one of Austria’s most highly-rated terrain parks, as well as wide, open slopes above the tree line that are heaven for powderhounds after a fresh snowfall. The main ski area is on the Penken mountain, reached by the Penkenbahn from town, a state-of-the-art gondola with 24-seat cabins that has to be taken both up and down the mountain, but makes quick work of any queues.

The Penken terrain park is set at 2,100m, beneath the Sun Jet chairlift. It’s crammed full of kickers, boxes and rails. It has five separate areas: intermediates, advanced, pro, jib area,  and kids park.

Mayrhofen’s local ski area has 150km of pistes and 52 lifts, but that’s just a fraction of what’s on offer in the region. The lift pass, the Zillertaler Superskipass, gives access to seven resorts, a mighty 487m of pistes in the valley, served by 170 lifts.

Après used to be hectic here, although, as in other resorts, it is more muted these days. In past times, the Dutch tended to lead the way at bars on the mountain, long before the lifts closed for the day. The action then switched to the Ice Bar next to the bottom gondola station.

Each April, Mayrhofen hosts Snowbombing , a sort of Glastonbury-on-snow complete with live bands, DJs and ski and snowboard competitions. The week-long festival acts as a major boost to accommodation and lift pass sales.

The Foersterhaus is a comfortable and good-value annexe of the Alpenhotel Kramerwirt, set above the supermarket, 50m from the main hotel. The property is within a short walk of the gondolas and there is a ski bus stop nearby. From £789 with Inghams . Find more of the best hotels and chalets in Mayrhofen here .

Nordkette on the outskirts of Innsbruck , St Anton and Sölden are also good destinations for freestylers.

Best for value

It’s not difficult to find low-cost in Austria, if you are prepared to compromise on either the quality or quantity of the slopes. There are dozens of small villages with loads of charm, but limited terrain and lift systems. Söll is a serious exception. It lies at the heart of the third largest ski area in Austria and has plenty of budget accommodation.

It is the unofficial capital of the SkiWelt, a dozen villages with 270km of largely intermediate pistes and 83 lifts. If that’s not enough, the region is directly linked (with a short bus connection) from Kirchberg to Kitzbühel. This adds another 233km of runs and 57 lifts to the tally.

20 years ago Söll was best-known for its nightlife. But with the highest density of hotel beds in the region, it is now trying to appeal to a much wider clientele, including families. Nevertheless, it is best suited to those who want to attack the slopes with gusto or to party – or both.

The traditional Tirolean village with its onion-domed church is set in the middle of a wide valley. The slopes are a kilometre away and best reached by ski bus.

At the Hotel Gänsleit, Austrian Rosi and her English husband Steve combine the familiarity of home with genuine Austrian hospitality and style, and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel has been beautifully decorated and includes a modern spa and wellness suite. From £818 with Crystal Ski .

St Johann-in-Tirol and Kühtai have a good choice of budget accommodation.

Best for weekends

Finding a hotel in the Alps that will take bookings of less than a week is not always easy. Not so in Innsbruck with its huge choice of urban accommodation. This is one of Austria’s most beautiful cities, boasting a medieval old town of narrow cobbled streets and colourful buildings along the banks of the River Inn. The short transfers and regular flights – the airport’s just a 16-minute drive from the city centre - make the Tirolean capital one of the most convenient of all hubs for weekends.

Apart from being the capital of the Tirol, Innsbruck is a ski resort in its own right. It’s possible to be on the slopes within an hour of leaving the airport as the Nordkette ski area is reached by a funicular and a cable car from the city in 20 minutes. The Hungerburg funicular runs from across the river in the centre of Innsbruck to the base station of the Nordkette ski area at Hungerburg (860m) in just eight minutes.

After reaching the Hungerburg station, visitors can take a cable car up to Seegruben (1,905m) and then another cable car to the top of the Nordkette area at Hafelekar (2,256m), where novices can admire the city and Alpine views and experts can tackle Karrinne, a truly challenging off-piste run.

This is one of the Tirol’s steepest ski areas with plenty of spectacularly gnarly off-piste terrain for experts. There are 5km of marked off-piste runs here and 11km of mostly red pistes, but even these are steep by other resorts’ standards. There’s also a good terrain park, Skylinepark, with kickers, rails, rollers and boxes.

Nordkette is part of the Ski Plus City pass that covers 296km of piste in 13 ski areas within reach of Innsbruck, including Axamer Lizum, Kühtai, the Stubai Glacier, Muttereralm and Patscherkofel. These are all easily reached by free ski bus.

The four-star Hotel Weisses Kreuz dates back to 1465 and is located in the pedestrian centre of Innsbruck, close to the famous Golden Roof and the Imperial Palace. Facilities include a loft bar. From €138  per room/per night B&B, excluding travel, booked direct . Find more of the best hotels in Innsbruck here .

Zell-am-See, Fugen, and St Anton are also suitable for short winter getaways.

Unless stated otherwise, package prices are per person, based on two sharing a double or twin room, half-board, for seven nights, including flights and transfers.

Where is your favourite place to ski in Austria? Leave your tips in the comments below.

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Extensive slopes, modern snowmaking and high-speed lifts make skiing in Austria a breeze - TVB Saalbach


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