When it comes to places to visit in Austria, people often think of splendid cities like Vienna, the historic capital or the marvellous city of Salzburg. These places are famous for some of the best landscape and collections of historical and architectural delights. Along with them, we present to you some other fascinating destinations in Austria, both popular and less well-known ones.
Austria, or the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country lying in the southern part of Europe. Its territory is mainly occupied by the Eastern Alps and numerous hills and plains. Yet this small country has a temperate climate and experiences only slight changes in weather patterns. With high-quality healthcare and education, Austria earns a high rank as one of Europe's best countries for settlement and travelling.
Visit Austria - Interesting Facts about Austria
Before jumping right into the list of ideal places to visit in Austria, let's take a moment to discover some interesting facts about this beautiful country.
Austria has been leading in music, theatre, literature, architecture and science for many years with outstanding achievements. It is home to many famous musicians, painters, artists and scientists. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Austria, and Vienna in particular, was considered the world capital of classical music for attracting some of the most brilliant composers. There are familiar faces such as Joseph Haydn, Johann Strauss, Franz Schubert, and of course, the most prolific and influential of them all, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Along with classical music, Austria is where the first Waltzes were danced. The dance became popular worldwide and continued as one of the symbols of Vienna. In 2017, the Viennese waltz was added to the list of the world's intangible cultural heritage.
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Located in the centre of Europe, Austria has played a vital role in Europe's history. If you're someone who loves royal stories and scandals, you may have heard of the house of Habsburg, one of the most dominant royal families in Europe. The Habsburgs took primary control of European politics for nearly 5 centuries. They ended up being one of the oldest and the most powerful dynasties.
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We have heard about the music, the dance, and the history, but there is far more to discover in this culture-packed country. Take a flight right away to Austria to observe the gorgeous glaciated mountains in the Hohe Tauern National Park and be amazed by the magnificent beauty of Nature's Ice Palace. Not the one for a long exhausting trip? Refresh yourself in front of the Krimml Waterfalls. These beauties are all waiting for you there in Austria. Here is our take on the best Austria places to visit.
Best Places to Visit in Austria
Vienna is the capital and the largest city in Austria. It is also widely known as the city of music. If you are out there finding somewhere to enjoy classical pieces, this is just the right place! Imagine indulging in the elegant waltz with your beloved one in the most exquisite ballroom. How aesthetic and romantic is that! In case you are concerned about the right time to visit Austria, no worries since the city holds more than 200 balls each year.
No interest in the balls? Too many people? Then perhaps the classic coffee houses will be a better choice. Coffee houses have a long history in Vienna; in fact, some have been in operation for decades. It’s the perfect place to stop by, relax, and have a cup of coffee while enjoying Mozart pieces.
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Tourists who love architecture may consider Vienna one of Austria famous places. For a little tip, you can find most of the top architectural sights within the Ringstrasse. This circle boulevard surrounds Vienna's historical centre and once enclosed the ancient city. Take a walk along the Ringstrasse, and you will see the variety of architectural styles. One may find both Baroque palaces and modern art museums, Gothic cathedrals and Art Nouveau exhibition centres in one place. If you have a chance, remember to visit Hofburg or Vienna's Imperial Palace, one of the biggest palace complexes in the world.
The best time to enjoy most of Austria tourist places is during the months of spring (between April and May) and fall (between September and October). Vienna, at this time, is accompanied by mild weather and fewer crowds. The warm, sunny weather here is absolutely perfect for a three-day trip. On the other hand, tourists who plan to visit Austria between June and August must book tickets and accommodation in advance and prepare for the jam-packed space.
While Vienna gives off the impression of a picturesque town with classical music and mediaeval buildings, Salzburg amazes you with mountain scenery and outdoor adventures. Vienna may be fantastic for a stroll, but it's a must to take a hike in Salzburg. With the breathtaking Alps and the aesthetic of Altstadt old town stretching along the river banks, Salzburg's beauty is sure to touch people's hearts and worthy of the title of the most beautiful places in Austria.
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Talking about popular attractions in Salzburg, the first destination that most tourists will think of is Grossglockner High Alpine Road (or Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße). Located at the heart of High Tauern National Park, the striking mountain stands out with an impressive height of 3,798m. It remains the highest summit of the Alpine area to this day. Visitors fill up High Tauern National Park every year to join the road and take in fully the magnificence of the scenery. Apparently, they also receive a wide variety of choices for entertainment, including various exhibitions, lots of themed playgrounds and many beautiful nature paths, plus special offers and unique passes for motorcyclists and drivers.
Using the same High Tauern National Park space, Krimml Waterfall is also among Austria famous places. At 380m, this breathtaking fall is the highest waterfall in Europe and the fifth-highest in the world. Overall, the trip to Krimml Falls is an immersive nature experience that provides stunning natural scenery and, surprisingly, healing therapy. According to the researchers from the Paracelsus Private Medical University, the spray or mist from the fall has a unique cleansing effect on the lungs. There’s nothing better than standing before the gigantic marvellous fall and taking a deep, fresh breath.
Tourists are recommended to visit Salzburg from September to October when the crowds from summer vacation have thinned out. You can enjoy the comfortable temperatures as you go hiking or take a stroll around Altstadt. As you may want to watch the spring flowers bloom, March and April are perfect times, as long as you bring enough warm clothing.
Innsbruck is a medium-sized city lying on the banks of the Inn River and surrounded by striking alps. Being the fifth-largest city in Austria, Innsbruck proved itself to be the witness of time and the symbol of Austria’s history, culture and architecture.
Tourists are recommended to stroll around this mediaeval town and bathe in the beauty of old structures, such as the Baroque Saint Jacob Cathedral, the 16th century Schloss Ambras, or the lavish Hapsburg Imperial Palace. And it would be a shame not to visit Golden Roof, known as Goldenes Dachl, the famous one among Austria tourist attractions. The roof is decorated with over 2500 fire-gilded copper shingles, which attract tourist’s looks from afar. This balcony was initially built to honour the wedding of Emperor Maximilian I and his wife, Bianca Maria Sforza. It later became the city’s most famous symbol.
Located near the beautiful Inn River and accompanied by the striking range of mountains, Innsbruck is charming in all seasons and incredibly gorgeous in winter. Sports lovers may have heard about Innsbruck as the famous winter sports centre that hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics and the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics. However, the city offers more than just winter sports tournaments to beat other Austria famous places.
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A flock of tourists came to this place for the beauty of the Winterland and numerous outdoor activities. During the season, adventure enthusiasts have a chance to try brilliant hiking trails, ideal skiing spots and especially bungee jumping at Europa Bridge. As for scenery enjoyers, taking the cable car to Nordkette mountain will offer a breathtaking view of the city and surrounding alps. After that, you may visit the famous Nature’s Ice Palace at the Hintertux Glacier. This tremendous underground chamber is ideal for a year-round excursion and is a unique wonder of nature.
As mentioned above, Innsbruck is a renowned winter destination. Therefore, tourists should pick a convenient time between December and April for fewer crowds, plus nothing can beat the snow-capped Alps and the picturesque view of the Inn river during this time.
It’s not an exaggeration to call Hallstatt one of the most beautiful places in Austria. Travelling to the southeast of Salzburg, you will find a small yet scenic village reflected in the crystal clear water of Hallstatt lake.
Since you’re here, you would want to stroll down the town and look at some of the most breathtaking attractions of Hallstatt. Ideally, take some time to visit the famous Kalvarienberg church first, then take some great shots of the heavenly beautiful Lake Hallstatt and finally relax at the Market Square in the centre of the town.
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The colourful buildings circling the square will catch your eyes from afar. The place used to serve as the marketplace, filled with food stalls and stores, before getting damaged in a fire. It’s now rebuilt and has become the perfect spot to host Christmas markets or outdoor concerts. When there’s no activity, it’s best to grab a coffee, sit on a bench and watch the Holy Trinity fountain in the middle of the square.
If you do some research on Hallstatt, most of the results will mention The Hallstatt Salt Mine at least once. With over 7,000 years of history, the Hallstatt Salt Mine is often considered the oldest salt mine in the world. This valuable source of raw material helped sustain the life of the early Hallstatt residents since salt was quite rare then. Nowadays, a tour guide (and probably some protective equipment) is all you need to visit this precious mine. Slicing down the mines means a thrilling ride to the past. Tourists are supposed to observe the oldest staircase, the underground lake and touch directly on the raw blacks of salt. The tour is fun, educational and suitable for all ages.
The perfect time to visit all these Austria tourist attractions without many crowds is between March and May. After May comes summertime, which means the place should be packed with tourists, and the prices will skyrocket. That’s why visiting during Spring provides the best deals and hotel discounts. However, the spring season in Hallstatt also comes with colder temperatures and shower rains. In this case, remind yourself to bring a jacket and some warm clothing.
On the bank of the Mur River, Graz is one of Austria best places to visit and satisfy your travel soul. This second-largest city of Austria has a strategic location in the southeast of the country, turning it into a valuable historical and cultural site.
Tourists coming here for the first time should look around the town for impressive baroque and renaissance buildings, and make sure to bring along your camera. The architecture here ranges from centuries-old churches to modern museums and music theatres. Famous among them are the Kunsthaus, Schloss Eggenberg, and the Graz Art Museum, with thousands of impressive works of art.
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If you're someone who longs to leave the bustling city and find your way back to nature, pack your stuff and head to Graz right now! You will soon find yourself enchanted by the beauty of this charming town. Anyone who wanders in this land should fall in love with flower-stipped meadows and fascinating rolling hills, notably the famous Schlossberg Hill.
This 473 metres tree-clad hill offers panoramic views of freshly green forests in the summer and stunning colour-changed leaves performance in autumn. Specific farms are also open for tourists around the year for travellers who love outdoor activities. Feel free to come and enjoy yourself among the vineyards, the poppy fields and rows of cypress trees in one of the best places to visit in Austria.
As a fun fact, Graz becomes vibrant and lively when the sun has set. In case you're one of the night owls, please welcome yourself at the bars, restaurants and cafes along with young folks from universities and colleges in the town.
We recommend travellers arrange their time to visit Graz from April to September. These months generally have milder temperatures and great weather to join outdoor activities. However, summer months also come with sudden rain. Travellers should bring light clothes, a good pair of boots and maybe a good-quality umbrella.
Saint Anton am Arlberg
Saint Anton am Arlberg, commonly referred to as St Anton, is a beautiful village in the state of Tyrol, specifically in the Tyrolean Alps. Blessed by striking peaks and fresh ice slopes, this place is the foundation of the first ski club in Austria, the Ski-Club Arlberg, in 1901. The tradition keeps up as St Anton nowadays offers some of the best ski resorts in Austria, making it one of the ideal Austria tourist places.
Arriving at St. Anton, adventurers love to join the annual ski marathon and experience some of the steepest skiing slopes in Austria. On the other hand, tourists who want to enjoy the scenery may take the aerial tramways and chairlifts to get a magnificent view of the remarkable alps. After spending time trying multiple outdoor activities, it’s best to clean yourself and relax in a luxurious spa included in the resort service.
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Although St Anton is known for its popular skiing spots, visiting the village in the summertime is not a bad choice. Once the snow-capped mountains reveal their greenness, it's the perfect time for hiking, bicycling and mountain biking. At night, tourists can enjoy themselves in elegant restaurants and cosy cafes.
For the best experience, tourists should come to visit the place during March. At this time, the weather is merely perfect, and the peak holiday season hasn't arrived yet. Tourists will likely get cheaper transportation and accommodation costs if they book far in advance.
Zell am See
Tourists travelling to Austria have probably heard of Zell am See as one of the most beautiful places in Austria. Lurking behind the gorgeous Kitzbuhel Alps, this scenic town sits near the stunning Zell lake. The scenery combined with moderate weather make Zell am See the perfect year-round destination. The capital of Zell am See District is not only famous for its natural beauty but also for being a vital transport hub for the rest of the Salzburg region.
If you’re someone who loves to indulge in nature and exciting outdoor activities, quickly add Zell am See to your itinerary the next time you visit Austria. For a long time, the town has been a favoured destination for its famous ski resorts and shoreline, which helps tourists enjoy both summer and winter events. In summer, water sports lovers shall have fun swimming, boating or wind-surfing at the marvellous Zell lake while bathing in sunshine. Otherwise, the awe-inspiring alps are always there waiting to be discovered. Recommended activities include hiking, cycling and mountain biking.
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When winter comes, replace the bike and hiking shoes with snowboard and winter boots, then enjoy yourself at any ski resort nearby. If you don’t have a great passion for sport, you may as well visit the famous St. Hippolyte Church. Lying in the old quarter of Zell am See, the church is one of the most fascinating historical attractions of the town. As one tours the place and observes the combined Roman and Gothic architecture, one shall learn about the splendour of the structure and history of the oldest attraction in Zell am See.
Tourists wishing to visit Zell am See should pick the date during June, July and August. The town usually has nice, moderate weather at this time, with an average daily temperature of 19 degrees Celsius. However, the rainy season starts anytime during these months, so bringing some raincoats and umbrellas is a wise choice.
When discussing Austria’s best places to visit, it’s hard not to mention the name of this lovely village, Badgastein. Located in the heart of Austria’s Tauern Mountains, Badgastein enchanted passers-by with its charming fairytale look. Once you set foot in the town, you won’t be able to get out since it offers the sweetest healing and treating therapies for worn-out souls.
This famous spa town has hundreds of resorts for tourists to pick from. There’s nothing more relaxing than letting your body sink in the hot spring water while slowly taking in the panoramic view outside. The sun has set, and you are surrounded by dark forests and dangerous steep cliffs; the lights appear, covering the whole town in a blinding, sparkly blanket. How romantic is that! After the bath, you can take some walks around the city or join the local folks in nighttime events. There are countless things to do! Creative workshops, open studios, and jazz shows. They have everything you need for a cosy night.
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Want to warm up your body in the cold weather of Badgastein? We’ve got you covered! The place has some of the best skiing spots around and sweet choices of outdoor activities such as biking and hiking. If you’re here for the scenery, pack your stuff and head toward the astonishing Gastein waterfall. The beautiful view will undoubtedly clear your exhaustion and lift up your mood. As for architecture lovers, you will find the extraordinary Grand Hotel de l’Europe in the middle of the town. This 100-year-old building has such a fantastic design. You can see the dedication in each section, from the restaurant and the event hall to the Gastein Museum.
Tourists will most likely experience good weather in Badgastein during July and August. At this time, the town has pleasant temperatures, falling between 20 and 26 degrees Celsius. However, July is also the start of the rainy season. Prepare carefully and bring some waterproof clothing for your best Austrian trip.
If one seeks a less popular destination, a raw gem that people rarely hear of, please travel further to the west of Austria. Peacefully lying at the foot of Pfänder Mountain and overlooking the gorgeous Constance Lake, that’s the place you’ve been looking for. Bregenz is genuinely a town of nature and relaxation, with the rare sight of crowds and breathtaking scenery. This place is indeed one of the most beautiful places in Austria.
Here in the capital of Vorarlberg, there are plenty of things that tourists can do for amusement. In the morning, you can take the cable car to the summit of Pfänder mountain for the spectacular views of the Swiss and German Alps. The stunning views over Constance lake and surrounding mountain peaks make Pfänder one of the most famous lookout points in the region. May sightseeing not be for you? No worries, you will not get bored since the mountain has great hiking paths and delicious restaurants to try out.
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When the sun goes down, quickly return to the foothill and walk down the beautiful promenade by Constance lake. You may be able to witness the last moment of the day as the sun sinks slowly into the sparkling water. Once the lights are turned on, the nightlife officially starts. During July and August, the Bregenz annual festival brings a totally different atmosphere to this peaceful town. On the floating lakeside platform, they perform marvellous opera and orchestral pieces that attract locals and tourists. When festivals don’t happen, people often visit Kunsthaus Bregenz, the famous museum of contemporary art, since some artworks give off different impressions at night.
As mentioned above, tourists are advised to visit Bregenz during July and August to experience the annual festivals. However, expect the crowds and make your reservations well in advance because summer is always the peak season. Rainfall often happens this time, so remember to add umbrellas and waterproof clothing to your checklist.
Among prominent tourist destinations in Austria, one place that seems pretty much jam-packed all year round is the famous Wachau Valley. This small yet picturesque valley lies midway between the towns of Melk and Krems and attracts flocks of tourists for its exquisite wine and historical delights.
Being one of the most important wine regions, most of the amusement activities in Wachau valley revolve around grapes and wine. Tourists may meander around the valley, wander on the rolling hills and take some shots of beautiful vineyards dotted along the Danube river. After warming your body, you start to feel thirsty and decide to try some wine tasting. As soon as you take a sip of Grüner Veltliner, you will feel a bit of spice, then a rich, full of fruit flavours balanced by ample acidity. At that moment, you somehow understand why wine connoisseurs would love to taste this drink fresh from its birthplace.
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After finishing the wine, you embark on the journey to discover the ancient monasteries. Walking among the old castles and ruins, tourists will feel like they’re living in the past. Make sure to take your time to visit the Dürnstein Castle, which stands out among other baroque-styled buildings as its beauty remains intact despite the time.
As one of Austria best places to visit, the valley welcomes around half a million visitors yearly. It will be hard to have fun without the crowds. However, travellers should come during early summer or autumn to fully experience the captivating scenery and avoid the rainy season.
This is the end of the list. We hope you find the perfect places to visit in Austria during your holiday. Remember to have fun but also watch out for the weather.