Top 11 Places to Visit in Austria
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Austria – a small country in Europe – has numerous surprises for tourists. From history to sports, from soothing natural spas to historical monuments, from castles to caves, this small country has everything a tourist needs to make his or her time in Austria a memorable one.
There is no scarcity of places to visit in Austria. And yes, who can forget Adolf Hitler whose birthplace was Austria? More precisely, he was born in Braunau Am Inn – a small town that was located in the pre-WWII era’s Austria-Hungary.
Today’s Austria has shrugged off her past and created a positive image in the world. If someone is wondering what really to expect from this beautiful and serene Alpine nation, here are a few facts for starters:
It is the only country in the European Union that did not join NATO.
Kaffeehaus or Coffee House was deeply integrated into Viennese tradition after Turks left behind enormous quantities of coffee beans while fleeing the Vienna city.
Austria is home to the world’s oldest zoo – Schönbrunn Tiergarten. It was founded back in 1752.
Europe’s largest per capita is Austria’s funeral industry. Austrians elaborately plan their demise. The phrase “ein schöne Leiche” (which translates into “a beautiful corpse”) is pretty commonly heard after a funeral.
Wine lovers from across the world should memorize the phrase “ein Achtel” (which means “one-eighth of liter”) if they happen to be in Vienna. In Vienna, that’s the standard serving.
For those who have some love for psychology – here is another interesting fact – Sigmund Freud – Father of psychoanalysis – was born in Vienna.
Ernst Mach – the Austrian philosopher and physicist, is the person after whom the Mach number system was introduced in 1929.
Finding the best places to go in Austria is not a difficult task. One can start with natural beauty that is utterly breathtaking.
When in the country, a tourist should not miss out the following Austria points of interest else, his or her travel to Austria will naturally be incomplete:
Useful travel tips for every traveler (Budget or not!)
→ Learn how to find cheap flights: Read our Skyscanner guide on how to find flights!
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→ Get some money back from your hotel bookings: Use this Booking.com discount code and for every 50USD worth of hotel bookings, you will get 10% of your money back!
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick facts and Austria travel tips
- 2 Find accommodations in Austria
- 3 Find the best tours in Austria
- 4 Here’s the list of the top places to visit in Austria
- 5 Need help to plan your trip? Start with these useful tips!
- 6 Do you need inspiration for your next trip? Here are our top posts!
- 7 Other destinations to visit in Europe
- 8 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Quick facts and Austria travel tips
Quick facts about Austria?
- Capital City? Vienna
- Currency? Euro
- Languages? German, Hungarian, Austrian German, Slovenian
- Where is this place? Central Europe
- What is Austria famous for? Castles, Palaces, Architecture, Wiener Schnitzel, Waltz, and Gustav Klimt
- Best time to visit Austria? Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September to October) are the lowest seasons with good weather but fewer crowds and possibly lowest rates on hotels and tours. Summer (June to August) is the highest season and Winter (November to March) is also a good time to visit if you enjoy Christmas markets, skiing, and winter activities. That said, make sure to bring a good winter jacket and walking shoes with you to make it easier to explore the city!
- Neighboring countries? Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, and Liechtenstein
Do you need a visa for Austria?
In order to enter Austria, you need to have a valid Schengen visa. If you’re a citizen of the EU group of countries, you can enter Austria without a visa. However, if you’re a citizen of Canada, the USA, New Zealand, and Australia – you can stay in Schengen areas for 90 days.
Check out our detailed guide on how to apply for a Schengen visa – read it here.
Where to book your flights to Austria?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need travel insurance for Austria?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Find accommodations in Austria
Find the best tours in Austria
Here’s the list of the top places to visit in Austria
Zell am See
Located in Salzburg, Zell am See is a living embodiment of human-nature truce. Zell am See fans out in a beautiful Alpine lake of clear blue water. Standing as sentinel right at its backyard is the snow-capped peak of Hohe Tauern Mountains.
Serving as the corridor for Grossglockner Alpine Road, it gives the tourists a chance to take a casual stroll on his elevated panoramic road. Up there, the scenic beauty of the Alpines may steal a breath or two away without any notice.
That’s not all. The Zell am See is extremely popular among ski enthusiasts. With its majestic ski slopes, this city has been ground zero for various skiing competitions of international stature.
And those who are wondering about past, Castle Rosenberg screams the history of the 16th century. Cycling, skiing, fishing during the day, followed by a soothing silence of the unfolding night, Zell am See is one of the most famous Austria points of interest that no one can afford to miss.
Grossglockner Alpine Road
A panoramic view of Grossglockner – the highest mountain in Austria – is something no tourist should ever miss. Like a gigantic serpent, this toll road lays flat with twists and turns and leads all the way up to the famous Kaiser Franz Josef Höhe Visitor Center.
It is from here that one gets to view the Grossglockner – unobstructed – in all its pristine glory.
Since the Alpine Road is located up in the mountains, it doesn’t stay open for the entire year. It opens for tourists between May and October.
Sitting in the Salzkammergut Region is the little and unassuming village of Hallstatt. Here is where nature reigns with all her glory. Silent lake waters reflecting the low hills and blue sky create an atmosphere of serenity that entices everyone once in a while.
Hallstatt makes Austria travel a memorable one with its subterranean salt lake of the Hörnerwerk cavern. Here is where a tourist gets to look straight into the eyes of a prehistoric man – albeit dead but preserved in salt. It is this salt that has given the village a rich tradition. The thriving salt industry of Hallstatt is the primary income source apart from tourism.
Travel to Austria can get as incomplete as it can without a trip to the Hohenwerfen Castle. This incredible relic of the not so distant past is a wonder in itself. Nestled on a rough patch of towering rock; the castle offers an excellent view of the famous Salzachtal Valley.
The entire setting creates a dilemma. It becomes hard to decide which one is better – a castle or nature. Pollution-free air up top in open environment is in starking contrast to the dungeons of the castle itself.
Deep inside the castle’s dungeons sits the gruesome instruments of the medieval era – a sultry remembrance of the proximate past. And yes… falconry – that’s something one should remember.
Learn more about castles in Europe:
- 15 Beautiful Castles in Europe That Would Inspire Your Wanderlust
- Paradors in Spain: Top 10 Best Castles in Spain to Visit!
- Chateaux in France: Top 10 Best Castles in France to Visit!
Landeszeughaus – Styrian Armory
A building full of armors and arms that is enough to arm an army of a whopping 32,000 men!
Yes, that the Landeszeughaus in Graz where armors and arms of the 17th century are neatly preserved. Austria travel guide is just incomplete without Landeszeughaus. The building itself wears the style of Renaissance architecture while on the inside, a breathtaking stucco ceiling adorns the Knight’s Hall.
Salzburg – This is Where Mozart Was Born
Salzburg is the capital city of Austria. It makes the list of places to visit in Austria. It is where you find the house No. 9 Getreidegasse. It is this very house in which the maestro was born.
As of today, the rooms in the house are occupied by his descendants who have carefully preserved Mozart’s portraits, instruments, and relics. Full of artifacts from Mozart’s life, this is a place for all music lovers in this world. The Salzburg Festival organized from June to August is one of the several things to do in Salzburg.
Eisriesenwelt Cave is one of the most famous Austria tourist attractions. It is particularly favorite among nature lovers, especially ice enthusiasts. Miles of icy paths through the labyrinths of the cave is just fun.
Inside the cave awaits the ice palace known as Eispalast. With the kiss of light, this icy palace sparkles with all its glory, creating a surreal world that makes children and adults fall in love at first sight. However, reaching the hall requires climbing down into the womb of Earth using a flight of 700 plus steps.
While combing through possible tourist destinations in Austria, one is bound to ask a simple question – ‘What to see in Austria?’
The Hochosterwitz Castle fits in. The creators of Sleeping Beauty designed the castle shown in the movie by taking inspiration from Hochosterwitz Castle.
In more recent times, the acclaimed Game of Thrones gives a view of castles inspired by this one. Massive gatehouse, spiked turrets, irregular wavy defensive walls – this castle is something straight out of fairy tales and movies.
Tourists are allowed to go all the way to the top, but for that, they need to pass through 14 gates that were designed for defense. With its 1,000 plus years of history, the Hochosterwitz Castle overlooks the panoramic views of East Austria and Slovenia on two sides.
Austria travel during the winters is just as fun as it is in summer. There are places which cater to both winter and summer tourists. The Alpbach is one such place.
A thousand meters above sea level, the Alpbach resort sits right in the middle of Tyrolean Alps. Come winter, and it becomes a heaven for skiers with rocks sleeping beneath a thick blanket of snow, groomed well for skiers’ delight.
When the summer sets in, the meadows bloom to life rock jasmine, poppies, and buttercups. In the lap of the mountains sits the famous St. Oswald Church – the final resting place for Erwin Schrödinger.
Unless someone has acrophobia, Schafberg must be on the itinerary when it comes to sightseeing in Austria. What makes Schafberg one of the most famous tourist attractions in Austria is the incredible view it gives for the Wolfgangsee Lake.
Schafberg is a peak in Salzkammergut Mountains, which in turn is a part of Limestone Alps. A lone steam railway known by the name Schafbergbahn chauffeurs the tourists all the way up to the peak from St. Wolfgang town.
Another awe-inspiring destination is the Finkenberg. Austria travel cannot be enjoyed to its fullest without visiting Finkenberg’s Tyrolean town that outpours right into the heart of Zillertal Valley.
Taverns and homes with rustic settings, sheets of thick snow during the silent winters, dense clouds, evergreen Alpines during summers – yes, that’s something synonymous to the peaceful abode that most likely Gods prefer.
This town is the home to Finkenberger Almbahnen – the cableways meant for transporting skiers to Mayrhofen. Only a few hops down Zillertal lies the Hintertux Glacier, which is yet another reason to travel to Austria.
While the glacier itself is home to myriads of snow sports, just south of it lies Italy’s Trentino-Alto Alps where the magnificence of nature overshadows everything beautiful a tourist can think of.
There are many more places to visit in Austria – much more to discover and much more to enjoy. What’s listed here is only the tip of the iceberg. The cultural, natural and historical wealth of Austria cannot be summed up in simple words. They are meant to be experienced and discovered in person.
Need help to plan your trip? Start with these useful tips!
- Best Carry On Backpack: Top Weekender Backpack Reviews
- Best Luggage: Top Suitcase Reviews
- Backpacking Minimalist: How to Travel with Less (Minimalist Travel)
- Minimalist packing list for women
- Minimalist packing list for men
- Backpack vs Luggage: Which One to Use for Long Term Travel
Important travel tips and tricks:
- Before Flight Travel Checklist: Make Sure You Have Everything You Need!
- How to Find Cheap Flights Everywhere (Using Skyscanner)
- Why You Should Get a Travel Insurance for Your Next Adventure
- Hotel, Hostel, Airbnb, or Guesthouse: Which One to Choose for Accommodation?
- Top Travel Tips to Use When You Get to Your Destination
Do you need inspiration for your next trip? Here are our top posts!
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- European Honeymoon: The Most Romantic Destinations in Europe
- Inspirational Travel Quotes: The 111 Amazing Travelling Quotes
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Other destinations to visit in Europe
Portugal, France, Andorra, Spain, Greece, Italy, Malta, Gibraltar, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, The Netherlands, The UK, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia an Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Macedonia.
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- Have you been to any of these places to visit in Austria?
- If yes, which ones?
- If not, which ones you’d like to visit one day?
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