Best things to do in Austria
Find out more about those top places in Austria
Nestled amongst the towering Nordkette Range of the Austrian Alps, Innsbruck is best known as a gateway to the nearby ski resorts of the Stubai Glacier. What is more, in the summer it is possible to travel from the bustling city center to mountaintop wild flower meadows with ease. However, while the city is an ideal starting point for any Alpine adventure, Innsbruck itself is one of Austria’s hidden gems and deserves more attention than it is usually given. The Altstadt is the stuff of fairytales with picture-perfect medieval buildings lining the cobbled, and often snow dusted, streets. A vast Habsburg palace with impressive period rooms dominates the old town while a few kilometers out-of-town lies Schloss Ambras, one of Austria’s best preserved renaissance castles with frescoes of Tyrolean aristocracy.
2,657 copper tiles line the roof of this famous building. The roof shines brightly in daylight and can be sighted from afar off. When you get a closer look, you would definitely marvel at the architectural prowess of the builders. The building was erected about 500 years ago for Emperor Maximilian the First. This location is now open to being visited by tourists who also get to hear about the vibrant history of this site.
Ambras Castle is one of the structures that make up a strong part of Austria's history. This castle was built by Archduke Ferdinand II over 500,000 years ago and has been home to a number of invaluable art pieces and artifacts since then. Ambras Castle can still be found standing and it features a reconstruction of the Archduke's Gallery of Wonders (Wunderkammer), the Hall of Anquities and the notable Gallery of Arts.
The Bergisel Ski Jump is not only visited by tourists but also sports people, especially those that ski. This location has more than 400 steps where those that ski can display their skills without disturbance. Asides from this, the observation point on top of this site gives you a great view of Innsbruck's landscape.
The place is called Swarovski Crystal Worlds for a reason, and rightly so. If you decide to take a tour of the place, get ready to have your mind blown. The Crystal Worlds are literally crystal worlds. You get to see the famous crystal clouds which consist of about 800,000 mounted crystals. Similarly, a visit to the "Chamber of Wonders" will leave you awestruck and the "garden of the Giant" has beautiful artworks that are breathtakingly beautiful.
This place serves as a nice relaxation spot for families and friends. Here, you would find animals that are really rare because the Alpine Zoo mainly features animals that can only be found in the alp region. Apart from animal watching, there are a number of other interesting activities that you can engage in as well.
This is only for the brave. Enjoy the thrill of floating in the air at this paragliding spot while taking in the beautiful view of Innsbruck. There are always guides that are ready to assist newbies to paraglide. A view of the entire landscape while floating in the air is one you definitely wouldn't forget.
Offering majestic baroque architecture, breathtaking views of the Alps and an unrivaled musical heritage, Salzburg is the quintessentially Austrian city. Nestled beneath the imposing ramparts and towers of Festung Hohensalzburg, one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval castles, Salzburg’s Altstadt remains much as it was when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart resided there 250 years ago. Beyond the fortress, the skyline is dotted with a picturesque collection of onion-domed churches, many of which belong to the dazzling archbishop’s Residenz. While the city is magical in winter when surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the best time to visit is during July and August when the Salzburg Festival is in full swing and the city is transformed into a vast celebration of its most famous son, Mozart.
One thing you'll never be short of at the Mirabell Palace is music. The palace often hosts musical concerts. Pieces from world artist Mozart are constantly being performed alongside contemporary songs as well. You can also take a tour of the beautiful Baroque Marble Hall in the palace.
The Hellbrunn Palace is about 400 years old and was erected to be a pleasure palace for receiving guests. The palace, today, is a tourist attraction site that receives a good number of visitors every year. The Trick Fountain and the Garden in the palace are two spots that receive the highest number of tourists.
Mozart was an influential person in his time and still remains a force to contend with in the music world. He wrote songs royalty in his time and is still known as one of the greatest men in the history of music due to his unmatchable contributions. This is where you would find the birthplace of this great man who set a trend in the world of music. You can also take a tour of the home of the great Mozart.
This grand castle is the biggest fully preserved castle in all of Central Europe and is arguably the most beautiful. It was built in 1077 by the then archbishop Gebhard and is now a very popular tourist attraction site. The significance of this structure is not lost on the people of Salzburg and is regarded as the emblem of the city.
Take a tour around the Trapped Family house and get a glimpse of what life looked like for them. The Sound of Music movie was made for the Trapp Family, the family of singers. The museum tells the story of their life, the Trapp Villa and how the movie compares with the real story of the Trapp family.
Generally, the temperature of the ice caves is usually 0 degrees. Treat yourself to a tour of the beautiful Ice Caves where you'll get to go into caves made completely of ice and snow. The whiteness and the chill of the place are guaranteed to leave you awestruck.
Beginning just beyond the eastern suburbs of Salzburg, the Salzkammergut is Austria’s dramatic region of isolated alpine lakes and towering peaks. While the region achieved fame as the location for the hit musical The Sound of Music, the Salzkammergut is also where Austrians go to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Despite it being the country’s wondrous natural playground, the Salzkammergut remains remarkably unspoiled. In the peak summer months even Mondsee and Wolfgangsee, the region’s most popular lakes, remain quiet enough for visitors to find their own hidden gems while the picture-perfect lakeside town of Hallstatt has a charming yet peaceful bustle about its cobbled streets and medieval churches.
Dachstein has quite a number of caves that often attract a good number of tourists. But of them all, one of the most populars is the Dachstein ice cave. The sound of music is the first thing you hear before you even get a good look at the interior. The ever rising and falling natural ice formations in the cave are always bathed in colored lights, making them a dreamy and captivating sight to behold.
Do you remember the famous blockbuster movie, "Sound of Music"? The movie was shot in this part of Austria. You can take a tour around the original shooting sites that were featured in the movie while you hear the popular soundtracks that you love. You would definitely be bombarded with euphoric feelings at this location.
Another exciting activity that this part of Austria has to offer you is the exhilarating canyoning trip. Your courage would be put to a test here as you would first be made to do small jumps before you can do the bigger jumps. There would be coaches all around to guide you through the basics so don't need to worry. When you are not jumping, you can take a tour around the place and soak in the beautiful view of this site.
The interesting places that are worth being a tourist attraction are not only above ground. A visit to the salt mines where miners are busy working offers you an opportunity to get first hand a view of what goes on here. Outside the mines are beautiful lakes that make nice relaxation spots for individuals, families, and lovers. Literally, on top of everything are the mountains where you get to see beautiful sights from the viewpoint of the mountain tops.
Vienna is a city defined by imperial grandeur. Between 1683 and 1918, Vienna was the capital of the vast Habsburg Empire, which bestowed upon the city an eclectic feast of architectural wonders ranging from monumental palaces, baroque cathedrals and art nouveau U-Bahn stations. While most of Vienna’s attractions, including the vast Hofburg and Schonbrunn palaces, date from the imperial era, the forces that tore the empire apart have become major tourist draws as well with the tortured paintings of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele displayed proudly in the Museumsquartier. What is more, Vienna is world-famous for its opulent cuisine with century-old coffee houses serving decadent desserts, the food stalls of the hip Naschmarkt preparing cutting-edge gastronomy and the timeless taverns of Grinzing, one of the city’s real hidden gems, showcasing the city’s excellent wine.
Absolutely one of the top places to visit in the city of Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace was the main residence of the Habsburg monarchy. The Palace is a 1,441 rooms building and it played a vital role in the life of Austrians. Besides the building there are lovely gardens to see that are specially designed around the Neptune fountain. The palace also has some fascinating sculptures such as the Gloriette. Visited by over 3.8 million people yearly, the Schonbrunn Palace is a must visit.
The Hofburg was also one of the homes of the Vienna’s royals and the seat of the Austrian government till 1918. The Hofburg was built in the 13th century primarily but still underwent some constructions until the 20th century. It is a great work of architecture, designed by various architects notably Loovico Burnacini, Fisher von Eriach and Filiberto Luchese. Currently, the location for several museums, the congress center and the Spanish riding school.
The breath-taking St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of those building in Vienna that defines the city. Construction of the cathedral started in the 12th century because the churches the city currently had could not cater for the amount of Christians that needed a place to worship. The gothic style cathedral is 107.2 meters long and 34.2 meters wide, it also has four towers with the tallest bell 136.44 meters. The most famous features about St. Stephen’s Cathedral are the bells, the cathedral has a total of 23 and the largest is called the Pummerin.
Vienna and Opera go together, people travel from all over the globe to witness a performance at the Vienna State Opera. The Opera was initially named Vienna Court Opera before it was renamed in 1920 after the Habsburg Monarchy was replaced by the First Austrian Republic. The building was designed by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Null. Opened to the public on 25 May 1869, the Vienna State Opera has performances on most nights of the year.
With over a 100 museums in Vienna, it gets a little difficult to pick one. However, one of the best and tourist’s personal favorite is the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The Art History Museum as it is fondly called was built in 1891 following the designs of Karl von Hasenauer and Gottfried Semper. The Museum being a very diverse one features collection of work from different era such as the Renaissance and Baroque era. Kunsthistorisches Museum is very revered in Europe for a number of reasons but mostly because of the notable works of painting and sculptures by famous artists.
Located inside the Hofburg in central Vienna, the Spanish Riding School was established in 1735 and is dedicated to training of Lipizzaner horses and preservation of classic equestrian skills. Regarded as one of the best riding schools in the world, its best horses and riders are well revered, and they perform to worldwide audiences. There are often live performances at the impressive riding hall designed by architect Joseph Emanuel Fisher, these performances are often attended by locals and tourist alike.
The strudel show is a great opportunity for tourist to learn how to prepare the famous Viennese desert. The show involves a professional pastry chef who bakes and teaches the audience how to make a Viennese apple strudel. It is a good learning process to watch and after the lesson the recipe is handed out to whomsoever wants to try to replicate what they have just seen at home.
This museum is something different and unique when compared to most museums you will witness on your travels. The Madame Tussauds is a wax museum and it features over 80 wax figures, each of different famous individuals including local and international persons such as Johnny Depp, Mahatma Gandhi, David Alaba and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Wax figures are not the only attraction of the Museum; you can also take an intelligent test against Albert Einstein or Talk to the interactive application “Sisi”.
Austria’s answer to the grandeur of France’s Loire Valley, Wachau is a stretch of the Danube Valley packed with atmospheric wine producing villages, medieval fortifications and charming Habsburg-era towns at every turn. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its heady blend of natural and cultural beauty, Wachau stretches from the picturesque riverside town of Krems an der Donau to Melk, whose hilltop Benedictine abbey is one of Austria’s most iconic attractions. Beyond these draws, the Wachau has evocative ruined castles capping riverside cliffs and rolling vineyards producing Austria’s finest wines.
Sitting high atop the cliff is the Schönbühel castle. This castle has had a history of being rebuilt repeatedly and being inhabited by different owners since it was first built. Today, the castle looks the central Wachau market and one can get a nice view of Wachau from the castle.
The Burgruine Dürnstein is a castle in ruins yet it still attracts a good number of tourists all year round. Tours to this location are most often complemented with a visit to interesting locations around the ruined castle. To get to the castle, you would have to take a short hike up the cliff where the ruined castle stands.
Enjoy a nice river cruise in Wachau where there are exciting activities both onboard the ship and off the ship. While onboard, get a taste of the delicacies available as the river leads you around the Schönbühel Palace, Melk Abbey, and Dürnstein, the town that has a blue church tower. The view from the river is guaranteed to leave you awestruck and wanting to see more.
There is something the locals here are known for, and it is their skill in wine making. They have their unique way of making their wine which leaves you wanting more after the first glass. Tourists often go on tours to this site not only to taste the wines but also to learn about the processes involved in the wine making.