12 of the best places to visit in Austria

Kerry Walker

May 9, 2024 • 14 min read

austria travel

From Zell am See to culture-packed Vienna, here are the best places to visit in Austria © auerimages / 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 river 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 best places to visit in Austria.

1. Zell am See

Sitting smugly on the shores of a bluest-blue lake and buttressed by lofty peaks, Zell am See is a knockout. The cheerful Alpine resort has sensational wilderness on its doorstep, including the glacier-capped 3203m (10,509ft) 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. It’s also perfect for dipping into the ravishing mountains of Hohe Tauern National Park.

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 17-km (10.5-mile), moderately challenging Pinzgauer Spaziergang , one of Austria’s most memorable day hikes, with exhilarating views of the country’s highest peak, 3798m (12,461ft) 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. 

Planning tip: Dodge the peak-season crowds by visiting as soon as the snow begins to melt from the highest summits in late May or in autumn before the flakes fall.

Time your visit to Austria just right with our seasonal guide

A palace courtyard viewed from above with people milling around the lawns

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.

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.

Planning tip: As night descends and the city twinkles, take a self-guided tour of the monumental Ringstrasse boulevard that wraps around Vienna’s historic 1st district (Innere Stadt) on trams 1 and 2.

A riverside museum building near a river lit up at night

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.

Planning tip: Tune into the art and technology of the future – from VR to biotech, robotics to media art – at the five-day Ars Electronica Festival held in early September.

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

4. Salzburg 

On the banks of the fast-flowing, turquoise Salzach River, 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 540m-high (1772ft) Mönchsberg flinging up above the city; and at the white-wisped peaks of the Alps that pucker up on the horizon. 

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.

Escape the masses 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. For a breath of fresh Alpine air and trails weaving deep into the mountains, hitch a ride on the cable car up to 1853m-high (6079ft) Untersberg on the border with Bavaria.

Planning tip: Salzburg gets totally swamped in peak season. Rooms are like gold dust and rates rocket during the festival from mid-July to late August. Spring and autumn are less crowded, while winter here is cold but beautiful, particularly when Christmas markets sparkle.

A vineyard glowing green in the sunshine

5. 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. 

Planning tip: On the last weekend in September, the region pops many corks at its Weinlesefest (wine harvest festival).

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

6. Bregenzerwald 

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 .

Planning tip: You’ll need own wheels to explore the region’s KäseStrasse (cheese road), which twists through valley and lush mountain meadow, linking up cheese-makers, farm shops and Schoppernau’s show dairy .

For more great driving routes check out our guide to Austria's best road trips

A yellow mountain railway carriage heads up a steep incline

7. Innsbruck 

The jagged Nordkette Alps rise like a theater curtain above Innsbruck , Tyrol’s rivetingly pretty 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 architect Zaha Hadid winging you up to the Alpine heights of 2334m (7657ft) 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 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 110km/h (68mph) as you pinball around 10 curves.

Planning tip: With stays of two nights or more, you’ll receive the Innsbruck Welcome Card, which entitles you to benefits like free public transport, bike rental, rides on mountain lifts, guided hikes (in summer) and snowshoe tours (in winter) .

A small riverside village with autumn colored leaves on the surrounding vineyards

7. The Wachau

Few places capture the soul of Austria like the Wachau , a skip west of Vienna, with mellow landscapes unfolding as harmoniously as a Strauss symphony. Here orchards and vineyards rib terraced slopes that stagger down to the meandering River Danube, and trails waltz through field and forest to medieval castles romantically poised on hillsides. With one of the country’s most exciting food and wine scenes, paths that are a joy to explore on foot or by bike, and poetic landscapes, 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. 

Planning tip: Trains run from Vienna to Krems and Melk in an hour, making this a cracking day trip from the capital . Rent wheels with nextbike to pedal along the river and through wine country on a stretch of the Danube Cycle Path.

Looking for other day trips from Vienna? Here are some of the best

9. 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 341m (1119ft) 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 2200m (7218ft) Stubnerkogel , where you can hike across a 140m-long (459ft) suspension bridge for out-of-this-world views deep into the snowy Hohe Tauern peaks, or ski in winter.

Planning tip: Stay overnight and you get the Gastein Card, which entitles you to free use of local public transport, free guided half-day and full-day hikes, plus substantial discounts on mountain lifts, thermal baths and activities.

An alpine village with a church on the edge of a lake

10. 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 3000m (9845ft) mark. Should you only have time to see one lake, make it crazily pretty Hallstatt , a heavenly splash of glassy green-blue water, rimmed by the Dachstein Mountains. So gorgeous that it inspired the kingdom of Arendelle in the 2013-Disney blockbuster Frozen , its looks haven’t gone unnoticed and the village’s streets are clogged in summer. A funicular floats up to UNESCO-listed Salzwelten , the world’s oldest salt mines, which peer back on 7000 years of history and once produced the region’s "white gold".

The region rewards those who don’t rush straight off: 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.

Planning tip: While July to early September are ideal for lake swimming (the water is 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 selfie stick-wielding throngs and enjoy the lakes in peace. 

11. 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 – making it ripe for an away-from-the-crowds adventure. 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.

Planning tip: For hiking, mountain-biking and rock climbing action, the Nationalpark Kalkalpen ’s limestone peaks, gorges, and high moors are within easy striking distance. 

12. 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 (2809m/9216ft), 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 85km (53-mile) marathon ski wraps up the entire Arlberg arena and covers 18km (11 vertical miles). With 305km (190 miles) 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, the outdoor action ramps up 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. If mindfulness is more your bag, mountain yoga is having a moment here too, with the resort playing host to a peak-gazing, mood-lifting, body-bending festival in early September.  

Planning tip: From mid-June to early October, all guests receive the handy St Anton Summer Card , including benefits like free use of public transport, entrance to local museums, guided hikes, yoga classes and swimming pool entry.

This article was first published Nov 2, 2021 and updated May 9, 2024.

Explore related stories

austria travel

Destination Practicalities

May 25, 2024 • 7 min read

Find out how to fit in like a local with these tips from an Austrian writer. Whatever you do, don't mention The Sound of Music...

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 30, 2016: Annual christmas market at the City Hall (Rathaus) in downtown of austrian capital city.

May 21, 2024 • 4 min read

A train passing over a bridge across the Trisanna river in the Tyrolean Mountains

May 20, 2024 • 6 min read

Male mountain biker crossing a suspension bridge over the Soča River in the Julian Alps of northern Slovenia.

Apr 27, 2024 • 5 min read

austria travel

Jan 19, 2024 • 11 min read

1290933961

Jan 5, 2024 • 20 min read

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - FEBRUARY 20: State Opera ballet dancers during the Opera Ball Vienna ( Wiener Opernball ) at Vienna State Opera on February 20, 2020 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Chris Hofer/Getty Images)

Nov 6, 2023 • 5 min read

Mirabell Gardens with historic Fortress in Salzburg versus St. Francis of Assisi Church in Vienna

Oct 9, 2023 • 7 min read

austria travel

Sep 29, 2023 • 7 min read

Trans-Siberian-badge.jpg

Jul 3, 2023 • 3 min read

Travel Guide Austria

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

Select Month

  • roughguides.com
  • Travel guide
  • Local Experts
  • Travel Advice
  • Accommodation

Plan your tailor-made trip with a local expert

Book securely with money-back guarantee

Travel stress-free with local assistance and 24/7 support

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

Travel ideas for austria, created by local experts.

Capitals of Europe - Berlin, Prague, Vienna and more

15 days  / from 6322 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 4251 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 3543 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.

  • 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.

Vienna

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

The Rough Guides to Austria and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

The Rough Guide to the A-Z of Travel

Find even more inspiration here

Winding road in Bieszczady mountains photographed from drone © MiloszG/Shutterstock

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Rough Guides Editors

written by Rough Guides Editors

updated 09.07.2021

facebook

Ready to travel and discover Austria?

Get support from our local experts for stress-free planning & worry-free travels.

  • Where to stay
  • Travel advice

Austria Travel Planning Guide

austria travel

Austria is a very interesting tourist destination in Central Europe. A mountainous, landlocked country, only a third of its territory is lower than 500 meters above sea level.

Austria is in the center of some prime tourist territory ; it is bordered by  Germany  and the Czech Republic in the north,  Hungary and Slovakia to the east, and Slovenia, and  Italy  to the South.

Austria has extensive rail lines. When you look at schedules, you'll see Vienna represented as  Wien , the German name.

Mountainous Austria offers quite a few opportunities for scenic train routes . The  Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB)  runs a network of 5700 km of rail lines. Smaller companies run lines on alpine routes. There are lines running only in the summer for tourists as well.

Below are some representative times for rail journeys in Austria to other tourist destinations. Times depend upon the speed of particular train chosen.

  • Vienna to Salzburg: 3-4 hours, 159 miles
  • Salzburg to Innsbruck: 2 hours, 86 miles
  • Salzburg to Munich: 1-2 hours, 70 miles
  • Vienna to Venice: 8-10 hours 273 miles

Resource Articles

Read up on  Vienna , Salzburg,  Bregenz , Villach and  Hallstatt  and other top Austrian travel destinations before you go. A little research can point you to the best vineyards in Vienna and its vicinity.

When visiting some of these top destinations, a tourist often takes a short tour of the city or a tour of the rural treasures found around the outskirts. Viator has a page of its  top Austria tours  to peruse.

The currency in Austria is the Euro . At the time the Euro was adopted, its value was set at 13.7603 Austrian Shillings.

The primary language spoken in Austria is German. Dialects are spoken throughout Austria:  Wienerisch  in Vienna,  Tirolerisch  in the Tirol, and  Volarlbergerisch  in Vorarlberg. In major tourist centers, English is spoken widely.

Restaurants

You'll have a wide variety of eating options, including coffee houses, heurigen (wine bars) and pubs. In general, Austria restaurant food and service is remarkably well done, and not all of it is as heavy as you might expect. Still, you can dine on traditional Schnitzel (thin cut, usually of veal, breaded and fried) and Wiener Backhendl (chicken). To test if a Wiener Schnitzel is up to par, it can be sat upon in white trousers and should not leave a grease mark. This course of action is recommended only for brave souls with unlimited resources for buying trousers.

A service charge of 10-15 percent is included in hotel and restaurant bills. Many people add 5% for good service. Attendants get a Euro or so, and taxi drivers expect 10 percent.

Rail Passes

As Austria is a small country, you might wish to purchase a rail pass for just Austria, but you might get a better deal by combining Austria and one or more other countries. A good combo is the Germany/Austria Pass Looking to go east? Try the Eurail Austria/Slovenia/Croatia Pass (Buy Direct or Get Information). A single country pass (Buy Direct or Get Information) for Austria is also available.

General speed limits (unless posted otherwise) are 50 km/h in towns, 100 km/h on highways, 130 km/h on motorways.

Driving on Austria's motorways requires the purchase and display of a " vignette " on your vehicle. Wearing seat belts is compulsory.

There are airports at  Vienna ,  Linz ,  Graz ,  Salzburg ,  Innsbruck ,  Klagenfurt .

The weather in Austria varies with altitude. Maps are available with information on historic climate of Austria.

Vienna Guide: Planning Your Trip

The 3 Most Beautiful Scenic Train Routes in Austria

20 Top Things to Do in Vienna, Austria

Regensburg: Planning Your Trip

Switzerland Travel Guide

Your Trip to Innsbruck, Austria: The Complete Guide

How to Visit Munich on a Budget

Prague: Planning Your Trip

Your Trip to Berlin: The Complete Guide

Getting Around Frankfurt: Guide to Public Transportation

How to Rent a Bike on a Budget in Vienna

Your Trip to Frankfurt: The Complete Guide

Your Trip to Switzerland: The Complete Guide

Your Trip to the Czech Republic: The Complete Guide

Altaussee Salt Mines Guide | The Mountain of Treasures

France Travel Planner for Every Vacation

Download GPX file for this article

  • 3 Other destinations
  • 4.1 History
  • 4.2 Culture
  • 4.3 Politics
  • 4.4 Geography
  • 4.5 Climate
  • 4.6 Electricity
  • 4.7 Tourist information
  • 5.2 By plane
  • 5.4.1 From Germany
  • 5.4.2 From Italy
  • 5.4.3 From Slovenia
  • 5.4.4 From Hungary
  • 5.4.5 From Slovakia
  • 5.5 By train
  • 5.6 From Slovakia
  • 6.1.1 Tickets
  • 6.3 By plane
  • 6.4 By e-hailing
  • 9.1 Skiing and snowboarding
  • 9.2 Cycle touring
  • 10.2 Prices
  • 10.5 Tipping
  • 10.6 Bargaining
  • 10.7.1 For children
  • 11.1.1 Paying
  • 11.2 Local specialties
  • 11.3 Desserts
  • 11.4 Vegetarians
  • 16 Stay safe
  • 17 Stay healthy
  • 18.1 Helpful hints
  • 19.1 Calling Austria
  • 19.2 Phones
  • 19.3 Cell phones
  • 19.4 Internet
  • 20.1 Toilets
  • 20.2 Laundry
  • 20.3 People

Austria ( German : Österreich ) is a landlocked German-speaking country in Central Europe . Austria, along with neighbouring Switzerland, is the winter sports centre of Europe. However, it is just as popular for summer tourists who visit its historic cities and villages and hike in the magnificent scenery of the Alps .

Regions [ edit ]

Austria is a federal republic comprised of nine states ( Bundesländer ):

austria travel

Cities [ edit ]

austria travel

  • 48.2 16.366667 1 Vienna ( Wien ) — the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre
  • 47.505 9.749167 2 Bregenz — famous for the annual summer music festival of Bregenzer Festspiele
  • 47.85 16.516667 3 Eisenstadt — historically the seat of the Eszterházy Hungarian noble family that gave the town its aristocratic feel
  • 47.066667 15.433333 4 Graz — known as Austria's culinary capital and student city
  • 47.266667 11.383333 5 Innsbruck — the cultural and economic centre of Western Austria
  • 46.616667 14.3 6 Klagenfurt — scenic town very close to the Wörthersee
  • 48.3 14.283333 7 Linz — a vibrant music and arts scene and a beautiful historic core
  • 47.8 13.033333 8 Salzburg — the birthplace of Mozart; a city with an attractive setting and scenic Alpine backdrop
  • 46.616667 13.85 9 Villach — beautiful Altstadt surrounded by the Alps and various lakes

Other destinations [ edit ]

austria travel

  • 47.583333 9.466667 1 Lake Constance ( Bodensee ) — a large lake situated in Vorarlberg and shared with Switzerland and Germany
  • 47.2725 12.759444 2 Kaprun — part of the Europa Sport Region
  • 47.544167 10.673056 3 Pinswang — one of the most ancient settlements of the North Tyrolean Ausserfern, on the border with Bavaria and a short walk or drive to the famous castles of King Ludwig
  • 47.559444 13.646389 4 Salzkammergut — a stunning cultural landscape among mountains and lakes
  • 47.2308 11.4089 5 Igls — a popular ski resort in the shadow of the Patscherkofel mountain near Innsbruck
  • 47.048051 16.119368 6 Thermenland — the great spas of Styria, an easy daytrip from Graz or Vienna
  • 46.633333 14.15 7 Wörthersee — one of Austria's warmest lakes
  • 47.316667 12.8 8 Zell am See — one of the most important alpine tourist towns in Austria
  • 47.39889 11.56083 9 Eng — the largest alm in Europe and one of the most remote settlements in the Alps

Understand [ edit ]

Österreich literally means "the Eastern Realm" or "Eastern Empire" in German.

History [ edit ]

austria travel

Today's Austria is what was once the German-speaking core and centre of power for the large multiethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire with its imperial capital in Vienna. This empire stretched eastwards from present-day Austria through much of east-central and south-central Europe. It included the entire territories of modern-day Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and portions of Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland and Italy, and also had a small colonial possession in Tianjin , China . While Prussia united the German states to the north into one " German Empire " in 1867-1871, Austria remained oriented eastwards towards its diverse empire. However, from the start of the 20th century, the political history of Austria has been closely linked to the misfortunes and disasters of modern German history, mainly the First and Second World Wars and their terrible aftermath.

The modern republic of Austria came into being in 1918 as a result of its defeat in World War I . In its wake, the empire was split into many components. They included Austria's current borders, an independent Hungary, lands given to Italy (South Tyrol, Trieste and Trentino), lands given to southern Poland (which also came about from lands taken from the Russian and German Empires, lands which those three empires had taken from Poland in the three "divisions" that erased Poland from the map for over a century), an independent Czechoslovakia and the northern and western half of Yugoslavia. Interwar Austria was an unstable state with pro-German fascists, pro-independence clerical reactionaries and left wing social democrats fighting over control, sometimes violently and ultimately descending into the "Austro-Fascist" dictatorship of the 1930s. Following an unresisted invasion and annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938, Austria more or less functioned as a part of Nazi Germany during the Second World War . Most of the population supported Hitler (who was himself born in Austria) and Austria's incorporation into Germany, and Austrian soldiers also fought in the Wehrmacht. Cities were bombed heavily by the Allies and concentration camps where the Holocaust was perpetrated also existed on Austrian soil (such as Mauthausen near Linz ).

It was not until the end of the war that the mood changed and that Austria tried to distance itself from Germany. In 1945, Austria was divided into zones of occupation like Germany. However, unlike Germany, Austria was not subject to any further territorial losses. A treaty signed in 1955 ended the Allied and Soviet occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and forbade future unification with Germany. A constitutional law of that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality", a condition for Soviet military withdrawal, and thus saved Austria from Germany's fate as a divided nation with a divided capital. However, the South Tyrol Question (South Tyrol had been part of Austria Hungary before World War I and the German speaking inhabitants felt alienated by the Italian government) took Austria and Italy to the UN in the post-war era and international brokered mitigation found a suitable solution for both countries by the late 1980s. This official neutrality, once ingrained as part of the Austrian cultural identity, has been called into question since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995.

It took quite a long time after the war for re-examining Austria's Nazi past to become large-scale and accepted as commonplace in the media. After the war, Austria had sought to portray itself as "Hitler's first victim", although Hitler himself was Austrian. This blatant denial of historical fact is now called "the original lie of the Second Republic" by many leftists. A high-profile case of Austria's denial of its past came to the fore when Austrian president and former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim was embroiled in a scandal in the early 1990s due to having been a member of the SA during the war. To this day, Austria has a harder time being frank about its Nazi past than Germany and far-right Burschenschaften still play an important role in the politics of FPÖ and to some extent ÖVP leading to occasional scandals.

Post-1945 Austrian politics were dominated by "grand coalitions" between the "red" centre-left SPÖ and the "black" centre-right ÖVP. This meant that important posts in government and the civil service were shared out according to Proporz (~proportionality) among "red" and "black". Whatever the faults of this system, it helped prevent the extremely violent and unstable politics Austria had had to endure in the interwar era when "reds" and "blacks" were pitted against each other in open hostility. With the 1999 coalition between the ÖVP and the far-right FPÖ, this consensus-oriented way of making politics started to crumble, and Austrian politics has since become a lot more like the politics of other European countries.

A prosperous country, Austria entered the European Monetary Union in 1999, and the euro currency replaced the schilling in 2002. Austria is also part of "borderless Europe", resulting in many students from all over the European Union studying in Austrian universities and vice versa. As the rules for entry to Austrian universities are different from those in Germany, many German students of subjects such as medicine have gone to Austria to study in the last couple of decades. This may from time to time cause friction, but this is mostly tongue-in-cheek and not all that serious.

Austria is one of the most popular summer and winter holiday destinations in Europe and has the tourist industry to match it.

Culture [ edit ]

austria travel

Austria is a federation. Each of its nine federal states has a unique and distinct culture.

Austrians aren't easy to categorize. In fact, the main reason Austrians stand out from their European neighbors is that they don't stand out from the rest for anything in particular. Austrians are moderate in their outlook and behavior. Being at Europe's crossroads, their culture is influenced from several sides. The stereotype of the yodelling, thigh slapping, beer-swilling (schnitzel-eating) xenophobe may apply to a few individuals but it certainly doesn't apply to the majority of Austrians.

The average Austrian on the street is likely to be friendly yet somewhat reserved and formal, softly spoken and well mannered, law abiding, socially conservative, rooted, family-oriented, conformist and somewhat nepotistic, a Catholic at heart, not particularly religious but a follower of tradition, well educated if not as cosmopolitan as his/her other European cousins, cynical, and equipped with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor.

Austrians generally like to define themselves merely by what they are not . Tourists often make the mistake of classifying Austrians as Germans, which despite a common language (well at least on paper), they are not. Arguably, Southern Germany, especially Bavaria, is a close cultural relative of Austria in many ways. Indeed, the regions of Austria are all similar to their neighbors, so you will not notice you have crossed a border, whether it be into South Tyrol in Italy, north to Bavaria or east to Hungary.

Austria and Germany are sister nations and enjoy warm relations, but Mozart was Austrian, or a Salzburger for the record, not German! For most of its history, Austrians have a hard time defining their own nation; they face perhaps the most media influence from Germany but have a very different culture, especially from northern Germany. The historic minorities and individual cultures are valued, yet they have to struggle to survive. An important minority are the Carinthian Slovenes, who surprisingly voted to stay part of Austria (rather than become part of the newly formed Yugoslav state) after World War I. While this "heroic" act of "national self-preservation" was much mytholygised in the past, Jörg Haider of the far-right FPÖ got his start in politics in Carinthia by catering to SS veterans and calling into question the right of Carinthian Slovenes to have bilingual town signs in places where they form a significant part of the population - an issue that is controversial to this day as vandalised street signs show.

Austria has a long history of being a multicultural country: a glance at the Vienna phone book is all you need to discover this. Ironically, it is Germany to the north that is paving the way regarding the integration of foreigners into society in Central Europe. Austria remains a largely conservative and rural country with the exception of Vienna. Indeed, the cultural conflicts and national identity are as complicated and hard to understand for many Austrians as they are for visitors! The level of personal awareness and views on this vary greatly from person to person but are generally subject to a particularly Austrian avoidance of the subject. It is best to try to see the diversity and enjoy the variety than to jump to conclusions.

Hence many Austrians derive their identity from their region or Bundesland (state). For instance, typical inhabitants of Carinthia would say that they are Carinthian first and Austrian second and maybe European third. Asking what state someone is from is normally the first question Austrians ask when meeting for the first time.

The fact that Austrians dislike demonstrations of national identity can, however, also be explained partly by the historical experiences Austria had during the Third Reich and especially due to the violent use of national symbols in the growing Austrofascist movement and by the far-right Freedom Party. It is also because the current state of Austria is a relatively young and loose federal republic of just 8 million people.

However, the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center rates Austria as the 5th most patriotic country in the world. So Austrians do very much love their country but are unlikely to be flag-wavers. Perhaps Austria's ascendancy to the EU in 1995 and its adoption of the euro and the border-less Europe have given it a stronger sense of importance and self-worth in the greater context of Europe.

Most Austrians like to enjoy the good life. They spend a lot of time eating, drinking and having a good time with friends in a cozy environment, and are therefore very hospitable. Members of the older generation can be conservative in the sense that they frown upon extremes of any shape and form and, in general, are adverse to change. They enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world and want to keep it that way.

Austria has no well-defined class system. The rural and regional difference tend to be greater than in neighboring countries. Generally, the further to the west and the more rural you go, the more socially conservative people are.

Politics [ edit ]

Austria is a parliamentary federal republic consisting of nine federal states (see list below). The head of the state is the federal president ( Bundespräsident ), who is elected directly by the people for a term of six years. His/her function is mainly representative, however, and the federal chancellor ( Bundeskanzler ), elected by a majority of the lower chamber of the parliament, runs most of the day-to-day politics.

The Austrian parliament consists of two chambers, the Nationalrat (National Council) as the main chamber, and the Bundesrat (Federal Council). The members of the National Council are elected every five years by popular vote, and the members of the Federal Council are elected by each of the state parliaments for 4- to 6-year terms. The composition of the Bundesrat changes after every election to a state's parliament.

There are three major parties in Austria: the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), the (conservative) Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), and the (right-wing) Freedom Party (FPÖ). Historically, SPÖ and ÖVP were the two dominant forces in Austrian politics. Between the re-emergence of the Austrian Republic after World War II and the late 1980s each party usually got between 40% and 50% of the votes and governed either alone or together in 'grand coalitions' (interrupted only by a brief SPÖ-FPÖ coalition between 1983 and 1987). During that time they also divided up practically all positions of influence in Austria between them ( Proporz ). From 1990 onwards, this system began to crumble due to people's dissatisfaction with 'politics as usual' and the rise of the FPÖ under its leader Jörg Haider who introduced a new brand of anti-foreigner populism to Austrian politics. After the 1999 elections in which both SPÖ and ÖVP did dismally and the FPÖ reached second place, a new coalition was formed between ÖVP and FPÖ. As the then first and only government to include right-wing populists in the European Union, the new Austrian leadership was shunned by the heads of government of the other fourteen EU member states. In the following elections the FPÖ did badly due to internal squabbles and the fact that the reality of government could not live up to its promises. Between 2006 and 2017 Austria was again governed by a series of SPÖ-ÖVP coalitions.

After elections in 2017, the ÖVP under its new leader, former foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, formed a coalition with the FPÖ. Both parties had increased their share of the vote, promising a tougher stance on migration and supposed 'islamisation' following an influx of refugees and migrants into Austria in 2015. A corruption scandal in the FPÖ led to the early breakdown of the coalition and snap elections in 2019, after which Chancellor Kurz formed a coalition with the Greens.

Geography [ edit ]

austria travel

Contrary to popular perceptions, Austria is not all about mountains. While the Alps do cover 3/4 of the country dominating the provinces of Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Styria, Upper Austria and Carinthia, the eastern provinces of Lower Austria, the Burgenland and the federal capital of Vienna are more similar to the geography of the neighboring Czech Republic and Hungary. This diverse mix of landscapes is packed into a relatively small area of size. Glaciers, meadows, alpine valleys, wooded foothills, gently rolling farmland, vineyards, river gorges, plains and even semi-arid steppes can be found in Austria.

One quarter of Austria's population lives in Greater Vienna, a European metropolis, located where the Danube meets the easternmost fringe of the Alps, not far from the border with Slovakia and its capital Bratislava.

Virtually all government, financial and cultural institutions, as well as national media and large corporations are based in Vienna, due largely to history and geography. Thus, the capital dominates Austria's cultural and political life and is clearly a world unto its own. It has little to do with the rest of mainly rural Austria and outside of Graz and Linz there really are no other large scale cities in the country. There is a playful joke told in Vorarlberg province regarding the dominance of Vienna regarding national affairs that reads, "the people of western Austria make the money and Vienna spends it."

Climate [ edit ]

Austria has a temperate continental climate. Summers last from early June to mid-September and can be hot in some years and rainy in others. Day-time temperatures in July and August are around 25°C (77°F), but can often reach 35°C (95°F). Winters are cold in the lowlands and very harsh in the Alpine region with temperatures often dropping below -10°C (14°F). Winters last from December to March (longer at higher altitudes). In the Alpine region large temperature fluctuations occur all year round and nights are chilly even in high summer. The northern Alps are generally a lot wetter than the rest of the country. The South East (Styria and Carinthia) is dry and sunny. The area around Vienna often experiences strong easterly winds.

Electricity [ edit ]

Electricity is supplied at 220 to 230 V 50 Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travellers should pack an adapter and a converter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Austria.

Tourist information [ edit ]

  • Tourist information website . ( updated Feb 2024 )

Get in [ edit ]

Visa [ edit ].

Austria is a member of the Schengen Agreement . See Travelling around the Schengen Area for more information on how the scheme works, which countries are members and what the requirements are for your nationality. In summary:

  • There are normally no immigration controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.
  • There are usually identity checks before boarding international flights or boats entering the Schengen Area. Sometimes there are temporary border controls at land borders.
  • A visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.

One of the best ways to stay in the country for longer than 90 days is to study on a study visa, for example by studying on a TEFL course.

By plane [ edit ]

There are six airports in Austria with scheduled flights. The most important international airport is Vienna airport ( VIE  IATA ) which has connection to most major airports of the world. In the neighbouring town of Schwechat, it's the hub of Austrian Airlines, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lufthansa. There are smaller international airports in Graz , Innsbruck , Klagenfurt , Linz , and Salzburg which mainly offer connections to European destinations.

For traveling to Western Austria it may make sense to fly into Munich airport ( MUC  IATA ) and Memmingen ( FMM  IATA ). While Bratislava ( BTS  IATA ) does not have nearly as many connections as Munich or Vienna, it is only about 70 kilometers from Vienna and there is a direct bus service. The most common airports to visit Vorarlberg are Altenrhein ( ACH  IATA ) via Austrian, Friedrichshafen ( FDH  IATA ) and Zürich ( ZRH  IATA ).

If visiting Austria for winter sports, choose the airport considering cost and duration for the whole trip (plane and transfer). Vienna is a 4-hour drive from the nearest medium-sized ski resort. See more in the Get In section of Winter sports in Austria .

By bus [ edit ]

The bus is not always the cheapest way to travel, though impressive discounts for advanced bookings exist for long-distance travel (as far as from Warsaw for €1 ). The bus may also be the cheapest option if you want to travel at short notice or if you have large amounts of luggage. Bus travel is especially interesting for those coming from the East as there are many buses into Vienna and they are often faster than trains. Information about their assorted services and pricing is can be found in that section . Most of the companies that run Intercity buses in Germany also serve major Austrian cities.

Flixbus , the biggest fish in the German Intercity Bus pond and now a major player in most of Europe serves a couple of international routes through and into Austria.

By car [ edit ]

austria travel

Austria and all its neighbouring countries are Schengen members so in theory there are no border controls. For using the Autobahnen or Schnellstraßen , a vignette, or tax sticker, must be purchased and displayed on the wind-shield. Costs are €86.40 for one year, €25.90 for 2 months, or €8.90 for 10 days and can be purchased at most service stations before the border and at the border. Some major tunnels have an additional toll of between €4 and €10 .

On some Saturdays in July and August expect traffic jams on the motorways between Germany, Austria and Italy when millions of German tourists head south at the beginning of school vacations. A delay of about 2 hours is not unusual. The motorway A10 between Salzburg and Villach is especially notorious. It's best to avoid those Saturdays.

From Germany [ edit ]

  • Motorway A8 from Munich to Salzburg .
  • Motorway A93 from Rosenheim via Kufstein to Innsbruck , Tyrol .
  • E43 (A96) from Leutkirch via Wangen to Bregenz , Vorarlberg .
  • Motorway A3/E56 from Regensburg via Passau to Linz , Upper Austria .

From Italy [ edit ]

  • Motorway A23 to Villach , Carinthia .
  • E45 via Brenner to Innsbruck , Tyrol .

Considering the overall limited distances, for most Italians residing in the north, an excellent solution is to reach Austria by car. From Bolzano, Innsbruck is only an hour and a half away, while it takes about 3 hours to reach Salzburg from both Bolzano and Udine. Vienna, on the other hand, is a little further away, considering about 5 and a half hours from Bolzano, 6 hours from Venice and 8 from Milan.

Some of the Italy-Austria border crossings are famous for cycling enthusiasts and high mountain lovers, such as the Resia pass, the Rombo pass and the Vizze pass, while the borders between Friuli and the Austrian region of Carinthia are less traveled: they are the Monte Croce Carnico pass, the Pramollo pass and the Coccau pass, near Tarvisio, where the A23 motorway ends. In detail, the active crossings throughout the year between Italy and Austria are: Brenner Pass, along the A22 motorway (or the state road 12), connecting Bolzano to Innsbruck; Passo Resia, starting from Merano, leads to the border between Austria and Switzerland along state roads 38 and 40; Passo del Tarvisio, along the A23 motorway and once in Austria the A2, connects Udine to Villach; Passo di San Candido which connects Dobbiaco to Lienz via the state road 49; Passo di Monte Croce Carnico, along the SS 52bis it connects Tolmezzo with Mauthen; Passo di Pramollo, reachable by exiting the A23 in Pontebba. There are also two seasonal passes, usually closed from November to May, namely: Passo Stalle connects the Anterselva valley with the Defereggental in East Tyrol; the Passo del Rombo, north of Merano, along the provincial road 44bis.

From Slovenia [ edit ]

  • E61 from Ljubljana to Villach , Carinthia (via Karawankentunnel).
  • E57 from Maribor to Graz , Styria .

From Hungary [ edit ]

  • Motorway M1 (E60) from Budapest to Vienna (Hegyeshalom-Nickelsdorf Border Crossing)

From Slovakia [ edit ]

  • Motorway D4 (E58) from Bratislava to Vienna (Jarovce-Kittsee Border Crossing)

By train [ edit ]

Austria has plenty of connections with all its neighbours daily. Every neighbouring country (even Liechtenstein) has trains to and from Austria at least hourly. Many (Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland) even more frequently. Vienna is the largest railway hub, but day and night trains from most Central European countries travel to many stops across Austria.

The ÖBB (Austrian Railways) operate high-speed ICE and RailJet trains in cooperation with railways of neighbouring countries like Deutsche Bahn or Česke Dráhy from cities like Zürich , Munich , Frankfurt , Passau , Prague and Budapest . Vienna has a direct Railjet connection from Venice and from Brussels via Cologne and Frankfurt airport.

Eurocity trains are the next fastest trains available, comparable to the Intercity trains connecting the bigger Austrian cities. Regional trains called EURegio and Regionalzug are also available from all of Austria's neighbours.

After Germany withdrew their night train brand at the end of 2016, Austria took up the mantle of European sleeper trains and now cover most neighbouring countries (and even some far-off points) at competitive rates under their Nightjet brand. Unique among European railways, ÖBB is acquiring new, more modern rolling stock to expand its night train service. While these are much slower than day trains, they can save you a hotel night and the daytime hours of the alternative.

Train tickets can be purchased from certain locations to Austria via the ÖBB website . Always compare fares from the departure or even transit countries' railways as there may be price difference even for the same train. ÖBB offers discount 'SparSchiene' tickets to and from destinations like Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, and Switzerland for a flat-rate (i.e. €29 for a one-way seater, €39 for a couchette, or €59 for a sleeper). There are a limited number of tickets at this price. At peak times you need to book in advance. Additional offers are available to all countries in Central Europe, although many cannot be booked online.

  • There's a pontoon bridge accessible only to pedestrians and cyclists just south of the Austrian-Czech-Slovak three-country border, between Hohenau an der March (Austria) and Moravský Svätý Ján (Slovakia). The way goes through flat countryside, is very calm and can be conveniently done by bike. Its length is approximately 6 km, of which the 4 km on the Slovak part are a completely straight invariable landscape which may feel somewhat boring.
  • The urban traffic company of Bratislava (DPB) runs a cross-border bus line no. 901 between Hainburg an der Donau (Austria) and Bratislava (Slovakia), with a stop also in the Austrian town of Wolfsthal. In Bratislava, the terminus is the stop Nový most .
  • There's a pontoon ferry accessible to car-drivers and pedestrians between Angern an der March (Austria) and Záhorská Ves (Slovakia). Open 05:00-22:00.

Get around [ edit ]

By train and bus [ edit ].

austria travel

Trains are the best and most common form of mass transportation in Austria. Comfortable and moderately priced trains connect major cities and many towns; buses serve less significant towns and lakes. The two forms of transport are integrated and designed to complement each other, and intercity coaches exist but don't provide anywhere near the level of intercity rail service. Between Vienna, Linz, and Salzburg trains run every 30 minutes or even more frequently. Trains between Vienna and Graz operate hourly. The 2½-hour train ride takes you along one of the world's oldest mountain railways. 14 tunnels and 16 viaducts were built to cross the Alps.

Austrian trains are operated mostly by state-owned company ÖBB . The Raaberbahn (GySEV) provides some trains across the Austrian-Hungarian border and there are some short private railways with tourist trains which supplement rather than compete with the ÖBB. The only competitor to ÖBB is WestBahn on the Salzburg-Linz-Vienna line. Westbahn serves several inner-city stations in Vienna that are otherwise only served by commuter trains, giving travelers more flexibility.

ÖBB also operate buses ( InterCityBus ) on the Graz – Klagenfurt – Venice line because the road between these cities is much shorter than the railway.

Several bus companies operate long-distance services in Austria. The major operators include FlixBus, Eurolines, ÖBB Postbus, Blaguss, and Westbus. FlixBus is the largest and most popular provider, offering a wide network of routes across the country and beyond.

Tickets [ edit ]

austria travel

The ÖBB sell domestic tickets using a price based only upon distance traveled, regardless of when you buy the ticket and which train you take. Base fare is rather expensive, but Austrian Railways offer some interesting discounts .

Tickets can be ordered (and paid for) on the web, including narrow-gauge, privately operated railways. Tickets ordered online should be printed and presented to the conductor onboard upon request. They should be printed since they will be barcode-scanned and stamped. There are ticket machines at all sizable train stations and onboard some regional trains. When boarding regional trains you are required to have purchased a ticket before boarding, if it is possible to buy a ticket via railway office or vending machine at the station you are departing from. Rail passes and ÖBB tickets are not valid on WestBahn; buy tickets on-line or on board.

austria travel

Rural or sparsely populated regions in Austria are easier to explore by car as bus services can be infrequent. Many popular spots in the mountains are accessible only by car or on foot/ski. Renting a car for a couple of days is a good way to go off the beaten track. Driving in Austria is normally quite pleasant as the country is small and the roads are in good condition, not congested and offer fantastic scenery.

Travelling on Austrian motorways ( Autobahnen ) or Schnellstraßen means you have to pay tolls. You have to buy a Vignette toll pass at any petrol station or at the border. Vignetten can be bought for 10 days or more. Vehicles heavier than 3500 kg must instead purchase a GO-Box , a transponder which deducts tolls. Additional tolls are payable on certain roads, especially mountain passes, which you need to pay in bank notes (not coins) or with credit card.

The speed limits are 130 km/h (81 mph) on Autobahnen and 100 km/h (62 mph) on Schnellstraßen and Bundesstraßen. Expect limits otherwise of 50–80 km/h (31–50 mph). Headlights should be switched on at all times.

Take special care when driving in winter , especially in the mountains (winter lasts from September to May in the higher parts of the Alps and snowfall is in general possible at any time of the year). Icy roads kill dozens of inexperienced drivers every year. Winter tires are mandatory between November 1 and April 15. During winter season most rental cars are equipped with winter tyres, an additional fee may be charged.

Although you'll miss out most of the stunning Austrian Landscape, it is possible to travel by plane within Austria.

Domestic flights normally cost in the region of €300-500 return, Austrian Airlines offers limited tickets for €99 (Redtickets) but they have to be booked usually 2–3 months in advance. Since the country is small, the total journey time is unlikely to be shorter than by rail or car. As a matter of fact, even Austrian Airlines now codeshares with ÖBB for some "feeder flights". In other words, fly only if you are on a business trip.

These domestic airports are served by airlines like Austrian Airlines (AUA):

  • Graz (Thalerhof), servicing eastern Styria and southern Burgenland
  • Innsbruck (Kranebitten), servicing Tyrol
  • Klagenfurt ( Wörthersee -Airport), servicing Carinthia
  • Linz (Hörsching), servicing Upper Austria
  • Salzburg (Wals), servicing Salzburg and Berchtesgaden ( Bavaria )
  • Vienna (Schwechat), servicing Vienna and Lower Austria

Here are international airports serving western Austria:

  • Altenrhein Airport ( Switzerland ), servicing Vorarlberg , Liechtenstein , Eastern Switzerland , and Lake Constance area
  • Friedrichshafen ( Germany ), servicing Vorarlberg , Baden-Württemberg and Lake Constance area

By e-hailing [ edit ]

The most popular ride-hailing services in Austria are Uber, Bolt and Free Now . ( updated May 2024 )

Talk [ edit ]

The national official language of Austria is German which, in its national standard variety, known as Austrian (Standard) German (Österreichisches (Hoch)deutsch) is generally identical to the German used in Germany, with some significant vocabulary differences, many of which concern kitchen language or the home, and a rather distinct accent. Most Austriacisms are loanwords from Austro-Bavarian, even though languages of the neighbouring countries have influenced as well. Other languages have some official status in different localities (e.g., Slovenian in Carinthia, Burgenland Croatian and Hungarian in Burgenland).

Some examples for different vocabulary in Austrian German:

The first language of almost all Austrians, however, is not Standard German, but instead local dialects of Austro-Bavarian German ( Boarisch ), which is also spoken as a first language by many in Bavaria , Germany and South Tyrol , Italy. However, in Vorarlberg it is replaced by Alemannic ( Alemannisch ), which is very close to Swiss German . Both these dialects belong to the Upper German family, but in extreme cases are only partially mutually intelligible to each other and Standard German, and especially in the larger cities almost everyone will be able to communicate in Standard German as well, if only when speaking to foreigners, (including Northern Germans). Most Austrians can understand another region's dialect but have the hardest time in Vorarlberg because it's Alemannic-speaking.

English is widely spoken, and the only area most tourists have linguistic problems with is in translating menus. In rural places, however, older people sometimes don't speak English, so it can help to learn a few basic German phrases if travelling to such places.

Italian is widespread in the parts of Austria bordering Italy like Tyrol, even though the majority language on the Italian side (except in Bolzano, the region's capital) is still German (Austro-Bavarian in practice).

As a result of post-World War II immigration to Austria, in the large cities you will certainly encounter native speakers of Bosnian / Croatian / Serbian and Turkish .

In general, when speaking German, Austrians tend to pronounce the vowels longer and use a pronunciation which is regional, yet genuine, elegant and melodic; and some even regard it as the beautiful form of German. Also, the "ch", "h" and "r" are not as harshly pronounced as in Germany, making the accent much more mild in nature.

See [ edit ]

While Austria may be in the very heart of Europe, the country has plenty of attractions to see. There are scenic backdrops, traditional music, visual architectural styles and an ethnically homogenous culture in its range.

Summer and winter, large flocks of tourists are drawn to Austria's mighty mountainous scenery . With no less than 62% of the country at an altitude of 500m or more, it's hard to miss the stunning snow-covered peaks and green valleys. Depending on the season, you'll find green mountain meadows or white landscapes as far as you can see, but either way, you won't be disappointed by the grand views. Highlights include for example the High Mountain National Park in the Zimmertal Alps, with peaks up to 3476m, narrow gorges and steep cliffs. National Park Thayatal combines beautiful valley landscapes with a variety of castles and ruined fortresses. The country's highest peak is called Grossglockner and is located on the border between Carinthia and East Tyrol. To get a good view, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road , with its gorgeous panorama's comes highly recommended. At the feet of mountain peaks you'll find luscious valleys, including the lovely Villgratental . The river Danube created some beautiful valley landscapes, where you'll now find famous vineyards. Wachau and Dunkelsteinerwald in Lower Austria are fine (and protected) examples. To make the image complete, the valley landscapes and hillsides are dotted with countless picturesque villages .

austria travel

Besides all that rustic, tranquil nature and countryside, Austria has a whole other side too. As one of Europe's former great powers, Austria boasts a wealth of majestic architecture and historic structures. As it was long a centre of power in the Holy Roman Empire, you'll find not only palaces and magnificent city architecture but also grand cathedrals, monasteries and churches. Vienna , the country's capital and most popular destination, is packed with Medieval and Baroque structures. Schönbrunn Palace with its 1441 rooms is the absolute highlight, and every little girls' princess dream. Its zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn , is the oldest in the world. The 12th century St. Stephen's Cathedral is the most prominent religious building. Salzburg , birthplace of Mozart, combines delightful Alpine surroundings with a beautifully preserved historic centre. The same goes for Innsbruck , at the heart of Tyrol . The Mariazell Basilica in Mariazell is one of the country's most visited attractions and an important pilgrimage destination. Similar to Schönbrunn Palace is Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt , which is situated in the most eastern province. It's said to be one of Austria's most beautiful baroque castles. Neusiedler See, a national park, is also worth seeing in this region.

The 1965 musical film Sound of Music was set in Salzburg . Many of the settings are open to visit.

Do [ edit ]

Skiing and snowboarding [ edit ].

Austria is a traditional destination for downhill snowsports , as well as other winter sports.

Cycle touring [ edit ]

Austria is well known for its scenic cycle routes along its largest rivers. Though Austria is a mountainous country, cycle routes along rivers are flat or gently downhill, and therefore suitable even for casual cyclists. The most famous route is the Danube cycle path from Passau to Vienna, one of the most popular cycle paths in Europe, drawing large crowds of cyclists from all over the world each summer. Other rivers with well-developed cycle routes are the Inn, Drau, Moell and Mur. Most routes follow a combination of dedicated cycle paths, country lanes, and traffic calmed roads, and are well suited for children.

Music [ edit ]

austria travel

Many visitors come to experience Austria's musical heritage. Salzburg and Vienna offer world renowned opera, classical music and jazz at moderate prices, but performances of high standards are also widely available throughout the rest of the country. There are dozens of Summer festivals for all tastes, the most famous being the avant-garde Salzburg festival ( Salzburger Festspiele ) but because they're aimed at tourists prices can be high. Austria's strong musical tradition is not confined to classical music alone. Austrian folk music ( Volksmusik ) is an integral part of rural Austria, and is said to have influenced many of the nation's big composers. In the Alps almost every village has its own choir or brass band ( Blasmusik ), and you'll often see groups of friends sitting down to sing Lieder in rural pubs. Traditional Alpine instruments are the accordion and zither. In Vienna a type of melancholic violin music known as Schrammelmusik is often performed in Restaurants and Heurigen .

Movies [ edit ]

Austria has quite a special kind of cinematic culture, that is worth taking notice of as a tourist. Many films star celebrities from cabaret, a kind of staged comedy popular in Austria. Most of these movies are characterized by their rather cynical and sometimes bizarre black humour, usually portraying members of Vienna's lower or middle class. Josef Hader, Roland Düringer, Reinhard Nowak or Alfred Dorfer are among the most outstanding actors here. Recommendations include Indien (1993), Muttertag (1993), Hinterholz 8 (1998), Komm, süßer Tod (2000) and Silentium (2004). Popular directors are Harald Sicheritz, Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl. Haneke received positive international praise for his films Die Klavierspielerin (2001), based on the novel by nobel-prize winning author Elfriede Jelinek and Caché (2005). Seidl received various awards for his drama Hundstage (2001). Also, the 1949 classic The Third Man was shot in Vienna, and is regularly shown in Vienna's Burg Kino.

Hiking [ edit ]

It is normally safe to hike without a guide in the Austrian Alps, as there is a dense network of marked trails and mountain shelters. However, a few lethal incidents do happen every year as a result of carelessness. Walkers are strongly advised not to stray off the trails and not to hike in bad weather or without suitable equipment. Before setting off, always check with the local tourist office whether the trail corresponds to your abilities.

Also, check the weather forecast. Sudden thunderstorms are frequent and are more likely to happen in the afternoon. A rule of thumb is that if you haven't reached the summit by noon, it's time to give up and return to shelter.

Though the scenery is by all accounts majestic, don't expect an empty wilderness. The Alps can be very crowded with mountaineers, especially in high season (there are even traffic jams of climbers on some popular mountains). Littering is a no-no in all of Austria, but especially in the mountains, and you will enrage fellow walkers if you're seen doing it. If you really want to show respect, pick up any litter you happen to see in your path and dispose of it at the end of your hike (it's a bit of an unwritten rule). Long-distance trails are marked with the Austrian flag (red-white-red horizontal stripes) painted onto rocks and tree trunks.

Most trails and mountain huts are maintained by the Austrian Alpine Club. Some are run by other equivalent organizations, such as the German, Dutch and Italian Alpine Clubs. Mountain huts are meant to be shelters, not hotels. Though they are normally clean and well-equipped, standards of food and accommodation are basic. Don't expect a high level of customer service either. Blankets are provided, but bringing a thin sleeping bag is mandatory for hygienic reasons. During the high season (August), it's a good idea to book in advance. Mountain huts will not turn anyone down for the night, but if they're full, you'll have to sleep on the floor. Prices for the night are usually around €10-20 (half for Alpine Club members), but meals and drinks are quite expensive, as everything has to be carried up from the valley, often by helicopters or on foot. For the same reason, there are no trash cans in or near huts. Electricity and gas are hard to bring there, too, so warm showers (if available at all) have to be paid for. Some huts don't even have running water, this means pit latrines. As mentioned above, mountain huts are very useful for hikers, they mostly have a heated common room and they are very romantic, but there is nothing more than necessary.

Detailed hiking maps showing the location of marked trails and shelters can be purchased online from the Austrian Alpine Society .

Lakes [ edit ]

Austria has many lakes. Normally they are very clean, so you can swim in them. In winter you can use them for ice skating. Some times you have to pay a fee to get on the lakeside. You can often find much information on the internet. Normally the place is very clean and often there is a camping place nearby. It's good to take your own towel with you. Near the grass fields you can often find a little shop, which sells different kinds of snacks, ice cream and drinks. At bigger lakes you can also find the Wasserrettung (safety in the water). They can help you in case of emergency or other problems. Lakes are a great way to spend your leisure time. Austrians normally spend the whole day at the place. Some popular lakes are the Wörthersee, Wolfgangsee, Attersee and the Neusiedler See.

Buy [ edit ]

Money [ edit ].

Austria uses the euro , like several other European countries . One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

All banknotes and coins of this common currency are legal tender within all the countries, except that low-denomination coins (one and two cent) are phased out in some of them. The banknotes look the same across countries, while coins have a standard common design on the reverse, expressing the value, and a national country-specific design on the obverse. The obverse is also used for different designs of commemorative coins. The design of the obverse does not affect the coin's acceptability.

Austria is a cash-oriented society, and while acceptance of credit/debit cards is on the rise, many shops are still cash only.

The best rates for changing money are offered by banks. Some banks will only exchange money for their account holders, and they usually add an exchange fee ranging from €3 to €6, or more when changing large amounts. Withdrawing money from the ubiquitous ATMs is also a viable option, especially if large amounts of cash are needed.

The Austrian schilling was replaced by the euro in 2002. If you find any laying around, they can be exchanged at the Austrian Central Bank (ÖNB) indefinitely.

Prices [ edit ]

The prices are comparable with Western European countries, and a bit higher than the USA. The general sales tax of 20% is included in prices but lower sales taxes applies to certain services and mainly food. A can of Coke in a supermarket will cost you about €1 , a mid-range meal €20 . Prices in tourist areas ( Tyrol , Vienna , Salzburg , Zell am See) can be higher than the averages. B&B accommodation and restaurants in towns and rural areas are comparatively cheap.

Shops [ edit ]

austria travel

Shops are generally open from 08:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and Saturday from 08:00 to 18:00 and closed on Sundays except for gas station shops (expensive), shops in railway stations and restaurants. Especially in rural areas smaller shops may close around noon on Saturdays. Some also may be closed between 12:00 and 15:00 on weekdays. Paying by credit card is not common like in the rest of Europe or United States and Canada but all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club) are accepted at almost every gas station and at bigger shops, especially in shopping malls. In smaller towns and villages you normally find one or two small shops or bakeries, which carry nearly everything, called "Greißler", although they are under threat from bigger shopping centers.

ATMs [ edit ]

ATMs in Austria are called Bankomat . They are widespread and you will find them even in smaller, rural villages. Many shops (and some restaurants too) offer the service to pay directly with an ATM card. The majority of ATMs accept cards from abroad. All Bankomats in Austria can easily identified by a sign showing a green stripe above a blue stripe . Usually no fees will be charged, but the company Euronet charges €1.90 per withdrawal.

Tipping [ edit ]

In Austria, tipping is common and, although legally not mandatory, often considered as socially obligatory. Giving 5% to 10% of the total amount is common; more signals exceptionally good service. Rounding to a multiple of a Euro is common, for low sums the amount paid is often a multiple of 50 cents (i.e. a bill of €7.80 can be paid as €8 or €8.50 ).

Tipping is not practised when the goods are exchanged over the counter (i.e. in fast-food restaurants or at street stalls). Traditionally, the owner of a restaurant does not receive a tip. A tip is known in the German language as Trinkgeld , which literally translates as 'money for drink'. It is also common practice to tip other service employees, like taxi drivers or hair dressers. Attempting to tip any kind of government employee may be perceived as a bribe and will get you in trouble.

Bargaining [ edit ]

Bargaining is not common throughout Austria except at flea markets. It may be okay to ask for a discount, but accept No as an answer.

What gifts to take home [ edit ]

  • Eiswein (ice wine)—see Drink section
  • Marillenmarmelade (Apricot Jam)
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil a speciality from the southern region Styria
  • Manner Schnitten Popular sweets in pink package available almost everywhere.
  • Salzburger Mozartkugeln chocolate balls with marzipan in the middle

For children [ edit ]

  • Haba wooden toys

Eat [ edit ]

austria travel

Austrian food is distinctive and delicious, and is traditionally of the stodgy, hearty "meat and dumplings" variety. Wiener Schnitzel (a bread-crumbed and fried veal escalope) is something of a national dish, and Knödel are a kind of dumpling which can be made either sweet or savory according to taste. In Vienna the Tafelspitz (boiled beef with potatoes and horseradish - it's classier than it sounds) is traditionally served on Sundays, and is normally accompanied by clear broth with dumplings and herbs. Apart from these, Austria is renowned for its pastries and desserts, the most well-known of which is probably the Apfelstrudel .

Bread ( Brot ) is taken seriously in Austria. Almost every village has its own bakery, offering a large choice of freshly baked sweet and savoury rolls daily from 06:00. Rye bread ( Vollkornbrot , Bauernbrot ) is the traditional staple food among peasants. If this is too heavy for you, try the common white bread roll ( Semmel ). Somewhat surprisingly, it is easier to find good bread outside of Vienna, where the baking industry hasn't yet come to be dominated by industrial scale chain shops.

Some Austrians have a habit of eating sweet flour-based dishes ( Mehlspeise ) for a main course once a week. Varieties include Kaiserschmarren , Marillenknoedel , and Germknoedel .

The best advice is to dive into the menu and give it a go - there are no nasty surprises!

Restaurants [ edit ]

If you want to try out traditional Austrian food go for a Gasthaus or Gasthof , which serve traditional food for reasonable prices. Usually they offer various options of set lunch including a soup and a main dish and in some cases a dessert too. They are typically priced at €5-7 (except for very touristy areas). Menus are written in German, though some of the restaurants have English menus as well. Keep in mind that tipping is expected throughout all restaurants in Austria. Rounding up the price given on the bill is usually enough tip.

Paying [ edit ]

In Austrian restaurants you must ask to pay. Get the attention of your server and say: "zahlen, bitte" (the bill, please). They will then bring you the check, or tell you the amount of the bill verbally. Then, the proper way to pay in Austria is to give your cash and say the amount you wish to pay, including tip. To tip it is appropriate to round up, or to round up +50 cents or €1 of the cost for each person (should equal about 5-10% for a full meal). Servers are not dependent on tips, and it is not appropriate to tip a large amount. Saying "danke" (thank you) when paying, means keep the change! Alternatively, you can say the amount of the bill plus your tip and you'll only get change above that amount (for instance, if you pay with a €20 bill, the amount is €16.50 and you say "Siebzehn Euro" (seventeen euro), the server will give you €3 change and keep the €0.50 as tip).

Local specialties [ edit ]

  • If you have the chance to try Kletzennudeln you should definitely do it. They are an exceptional Carinthian specialty you can very rarely get anywhere: sweet noodles filled with dried pears and soft cheese. The best Kletzennudeln are handmade with minced dried pears, rather than the lower quality versions which use pear powder.
  • Salads can be made with Kernöl (green pumpkin seed oil), a Styrian specialty. Even though it looks frightening (dark green or dark red, depending on lighting conditions) it has an interesting nutty taste. A bottle of good, pure Styrian Kernöl is very expensive (around €10-20 ), but maybe one of the most Austrian things to take home. Beware of cheap Kernöl, sometimes sold as "Salatöl". Be sure to seal the bottle appropriately, the oil expands when slightly heated and leaves non removable stains. Just in case, sunlight occasionally removes them though. Kernöl or pumpkin seed oil is also available in some online shops.

Desserts [ edit ]

austria travel

  • Strudel is a sweet layery, pastry filled with fruits, most commonly apples.
  • Sachertorte is chocolate torte with chocolate icing and filled with apricot jam. It should be served fresh with freshly beaten, lightly sweetened cream, which the Austrians call "Schlagobers". The original is available in Vienna in the Cafe Sacher , but similar cakes are very common in many other Viennese Cafes. Cafe Sacher has several tourist-trap behaviours (such as a non-optional €2 coat check) and their cakes are not always the freshest.
  • Eszterházy : Austrian torte.
  • Malakhoff : a delicate cake made with milk and rum
  • Manner Schnitten are a very Viennese sweet specialty, but just the square form factor and pink packaging are really unique. You can buy them everywhere. (Maybe you've already seen these as a product placement in some Hollywood movies or for example in "Friends" and wondered what they are.)
  • Milchrahmstrudel : milk and curd cheese strudel, served warm
  • Powidl is a type of savoury prune jam with alcohol, another specialty from Vienna. It makes a good present as it tastes exotic and is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

Vegetarians [ edit ]

Vegetarianism is slowly gaining ground in Austria, especially in bigger cities. Austrians aren't as carnivorous as the rest of their Central European neighbors; 47% of the country reports having a diverse diet with only limited amounts of meat. Most restaurants don't cater for vegetarians specifically, but you're almost certain to find meals on the menu containing no meat. As an alternative, there are vegetarian restaurants in every major city, as well as harder to find vegan or vegan-friendly places. You can get vegetarian and vegan products (e.g. tofu, soy milk, lactose-free products) in nearly all supermarkets across the country (in rural areas as well) and in many health-food shops.

In more traditional or very rural restaurants, you may be viewed as eccentric if you say you are vegetarian, and it's possible that not a single meal on the menu is meat-free. This is especially true for restaurants serving traditional Austrian cuisine which relies heavily on meat—even apparent vegetable dishes such as potato salad or vegetable soup often contain meat products. Sometimes, also food clearly labeled as "vegetarian" contains fish, as vegetarianism is often equated with pescetarianism. If unsure, ask the waiting staff if there are any animal products in the dish you're about to order. Some traditional meals that are guaranteed to be vegetarian are Kaiserschmarren (sweet pieces of fluffy pancake with fruit compote), Germknödel (sweet dumpling with sour prune jam), and Kasnudel (similar to ravioli).

Austria's Vegan Society maintains an updated list of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly eating places: original [dead link] and translated version [dead link]

Drink [ edit ]

austria travel

Vienna is famous for its café culture, and there are coffee houses all over the city, many of which have outdoor terraces that are popular in the summer. Visit them for coffee (of course), hot chocolate and pastries. Most famous is Sacher-Torte.

Austria also has some first class wines , mostly whites, slightly on the acidic side. Due to its climate, Austrian reds will often be made from grape varieties such as Zweigelt or Blaufränkisch which are not familiar to many wine drinkers from outside the country, but are definitely worth trying. Wine can be drunk mixed with mineral water, called "G'spritzter" or "Spritzer". The best place to do so is at the "Heurigen" in the suburban areas of Vienna. Originally the "Heurigen" were open only in summer, but now you can have your "Spritzer" throughout the year with a little self-served snack. Locally produced wine is often inexpensive - it's easy to find a perfectly passable bottle for less than €5 in a supermarket. Sturm, or young wine, similar to federweißer in Germany, can be found in early autumn. It's cloudy in appearance, and while not as high in alcohol as normal wine, can be easy to overdo because it's fairly sweet and fizzy.

Soft drinks: Austria has also a national soft drink called Almdudler . It is lemonade with herbs. North Americans will find it similar to, but not exactly like, ginger ale. Other typical Austrian soft drinks are Holler or Hollundersaft . It's a soft drink made of elderberry blossoms. The globally popular energy drink Red Bull is a license produced localisation of Krating Daeng from Thailand but is often seen as an Austrian invention and is sold everywhere.

Beer in Austria is largely ubiquitous with Märzen Lager. The quality is generally very good but varies greatly between breweries, as in many other Central European countries. The best options are from a modest number of remaining regional breweries not yet bought up by Heineken. Visitors accustomed to the selection common in most larger towns in the US or UK may be underwehlemed by beer lists, even in upscale bars. There are a small number of micro-breweries around the country, offering more exotic brews such as stouts. Beer culture in Austria is not widespread, many Austrians have strong brand loyalty but don't know the difference between pilsner and lager, so don't be surprised if a bartender or server struggles to answer your questions.

  • Lagers : decent classic "Märzen" lagers commonly available include Stiegl, Egger and Zwettler. The quality of many others including Gösser, Puntigamer, Schwechater, Wieselburger and Zipfer all now under the Heinicken umbrella has debatebly dropped.
  • Pilsners : are normally noted with Pils or Spezial , most common is Hirter Pils.
  • Dunkles : is a rich dark brew offered by most breweries.
  • Weiße : is wheat beer. There are several breweries and many imports from neighboring Bavaria, though its rarely found on tap.
  • Zwickl : is unfiltered lager and the pride of several breweries.

Schnaps is a type of fruit brandy served in many parts of Austria, usually after a meal. The most popular flavours are pear, apricot, and raspberry, though dozens of other flavours are available. There are three quality tiers of Schnaps: distilled, infused, and flavoured. The distilled variety is the highest quality; several brands of Austrian fruit Schnaps rank among the best in the world, but are accordingly expensive: a half-Liter bottle can cost up to €100 . "Real" Schnaps is made from real fruit (either distilled or infused). Beware of the cheap stuff sold in large bottles in supermarkets; this is often of the "flavoured" type - nothing more than pure ethanol mixed with artificial flavouring. If you want the real thing, go to a deli or upscale bar (if you're in a bigger city) or a Buschenschank (Farmhouse) (if you're in the countryside). However, be careful with Schnaps especially if you are not used to alcoholic drinks!

Eiswein is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. Eiswein is generally quite expensive due to the labour-intense and risky production process. Your best bet is to buy eiswein at Naschmarkt for €10-15 for 375 ml or 500 ml; more chances to find it there on weekends. Just to give an idea of prices elsewhere, ice wine sells at Wein & Co near Naschmarkt at €24-30 for a 375 ml bottle, and Vienna duty-free shop sells it for €23.50 as well.

Stroh is possibly the best known Austrian spirit drink. It is classified as a kind of rum, although it's not produced of sugarcane molasses like the Caribbean "real" rum is. Coming in five versions (the strongest one having an alcohol content of 80%!), Stroh is often used as a component in cocktails like Jagertee and as a flavoring for cakes and pastries.

One of the best and widely available mineral waters is Vöslauer which comes in a sparkling, light sparkling, and non-sparkling version (glass bottles served in restaurants, PET bottles can be purchased in supermarkets). Austrians often mix Vöslauer sparkling mineral water with a variety of juices in a 50/50 proportion which is then qualified with the adjective gespritzt

Sleep [ edit ]

austria travel

Although hotels can usually even be found in smaller cities they are quite expensive (even more so in bigger cities) cheaper possibilities in big cities are youth hostels and in smaller towns you can often find families renting flats in bed and breakfast style (look for Pension or Zimmer Frei signs) for €15-25 . In the countryside many farmers will rent out rooms for a couple of nights, both officially and unofficially. To find a place to stay, simply knock on the door of a farmhouse and ask - if they don't have a room they'll probably know someone nearby who does.

You can also find a lot of camping grounds (some of them are open the whole year round) but while they are exceptionally clean and often provide additional services, they are also a bit more expensive than in other countries in Central Europe .

Austrian law requires anyone to register at their resident address, even if it's only for one night and even if it's a campsite.

Hotels will therefore ask you to hand over your passport or driving license and may refuse to give you accommodation if you don't have any ID on you. Don't worry too much about handing over your passport. In many countries, such a practice would raise concerns, but in Austria, it's a standard procedure. Your passport will be returned. If you stay in private accommodation for longer than about two weeks, you should obtain a document of registration ( Meldezettel ) from the local registration authority ( Bezirksamt or Meldeamt ), usually located in the town hall. This document needs to be signed by the owner or tenant of your accommodation. Failure to present this document upon departure could cause difficulties if you have stayed in the country for more than two or three months.

Learn [ edit ]

Austria has many great universities, the majority of which are located in Vienna , Graz , and Innsbruck . A development in tertiary education is the Fachhochschulen (Universities of Applied Sciences), vocational colleges that typically focus on engineering and business education with less emphasis on research than traditional universities, but a stronger view toward practice.

If you plan to study in Austria go here: [1] to see the requirements. If you need advice, you can contact the national students union at [2] .

Work [ edit ]

Citizens of European Union member states or EFTA member states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway) may work in Austria without any restrictions. Everyone else, however, needs a work permit to work in Austria.

With an unemployment rate of 5%, finding a job in Austria should not be difficult for those with the right qualifications and skills. Bear in mind a lot of jobs in Austria require a good knowledge of German. Graduates of Austrian universities have an edge in the Austrian job market.

Qualified third country nationals (Non-EU and Non-EFTA citizens) may apply for a Red-White-Red Card , which enables someone to stay in Austria for two years and work at a specific company.

There is plenty of unskilled work available in the tourism industry. As long as you have a work permit, finding a job can often be as easy as simply turning up at a hotel and asking. Seasonal work in large ski resorts is the most promising option.

Stay safe [ edit ]

Austria is one of the safest countries in the world. According to the OECD Factbook of 2006, levels of robbery, assault, and car crime are among the lowest in the developed world, and a study by Mercer ranks Vienna as the 6th safest city in the world out of 215 cities. Violent crimes are extremely rare and should not concern the average tourist. Small towns and uninhabited areas such as forests are very safe at any time of the day.

Beware of pickpockets in crowded places. Like everywhere in Europe they are becoming increasingly professional. Bicycle theft is rampant in bigger cities, but virtually absent in smaller towns. Always lock your bike to an immobile object.

Racism can also be a problem and make your stay an unpleasant experience. Just like anywhere else in Central Europe , there might be instances of glaring, hostile looks; even unprovoked questioning by the police in big cities like Graz or Vienna is not uncommon. However, racism is almost never seen in a violent form. In more remote parts of Austria, non-white people are a rare sight. If you see elderly locals giving you strange looks there, don't feel threatened. They are probably just showing curiosity or a distrust of foreigners and have no intention of doing any physical harm. A short conversation can often be enough to break the ice. Muslim visitors should note that the burqa and niqab are illegal in Austria.

Do not walk on the bike lanes (especially in Vienna) and cross them like you would cross any other road. Some bike lanes are hard to recognize (e.g. on the "Ring" in Vienna) and some cyclists drive quite fast. Walking on bike lines is not only considered to be impolite, but it may also happen that you are hit by a cyclist.

Stay healthy [ edit ]

austria travel

Austria has an excellent healthcare system by Western standards. Hospitals are modern, clean, and well-equipped. Healthcare in Austria is funded by the Krankenkassen (Sickness-funds), compulsory public insurance schemes that cover 99% of the population. Most hospitals are owned and operated by government bodies or the Krankenkassen. Private hospitals exist, but mainly for non-life-threatening conditions. Doctor's surgeries on the other hand are mostly private, but most accept patients from the Krankenkassen. Many Austrians choose to buy supplemental private health insurance. This allows them to see doctors that don't accept Krankenkassen and to stay in special hospital wards with fewer beds (which often receive preferential treatment).

If you are a traveller from the EU, you can get any form of urgent treatment for free (or a small token fee) that is covered by the Krankenkassen. Non-urgent treatment is not covered. Simply show your European Health Insurance Card and passport to the doctor or hospital. When going to a GP, watch out if the street sign says "Alle Kassen" (all Krankenkassen accepted), or "Keine Kassen" (no Krankenkassen accepted), in which case your EHIC is not valid. Supplemental travel insurance is recommended if you want to be able to see any doctor or go to the special ward.

If you are a traveller from outside the EU, and have no travel insurance, you will need to pay the full cost of treatment up-front (with the exception of the emergency room). Medical bills can be very expensive, though still reasonable when compared to the USA.

Austria has a dense network of helicopter ambulances that can reach any point in the country within 15 minutes. Beware: Mountain rescue by helicopter is not covered by your EHIC, or indeed most travel insurances. If you have a medical emergency while you are in the mountains (e.g. you break a leg while skiing), the helicopter will be called on you regardless of whether you ask for it or not, and you will be billed upwards of €1000 . Mountain sports insurance is therefore highly recommended; you can obtain this from your health insurer or by becoming a member of the Austrian Alpine Club ( €48.50 for one year of membership, automatic insurance for mountain search-and-rescue costs up to €22000 ).

Certain regions in Austria (Carinthia, Styria, Lower Austria) are affected by tick borne encephalitis. For those who plan on doing outdoor activities in spring or summer a vaccine is strongly recommended. Also be aware that there is a small, endangered population of sand vipers in the south.

Tap water is of exceptional quality and safe to drink in Austria (except in some parts of lower Austria, where it is recommended to ask about the water quality first!). The quality of water in Vienna and Graz is supposedly comparable to that of Evian.

Respect [ edit ]

Austrians take formalities and etiquette seriously and good manners ( Gutes Benehmen ) can take you a long way in a social situation.

  • When entering and leaving public places Austrians always say hello ( Guten Tag or Grüß Gott ) and goodbye ( Auf Wiedersehen ). When entering a small shop, one should say "Grüß Gott" to the shop keeper when entering and "Wiedersehen" when leaving (the "Auf" is normally left off). Phone calls are usually answered by telling your name, and finished with Auf Wiederhören .
  • Do not raise your voice, lose your temper, or shout in public; in Austria this is highly frowned upon.
  • When being introduced to someone, always shake them by the hand, keep the other hand out of your pocket, say your name and make eye contact . Failure to make eye contact, even if out of shyness, is considered condescending.
  • It is a custom to kiss one's cheeks twice when friends meet, except for Vorarlberg, where people kiss each other three times as in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Fake air kisses work too. When you're not sure whether this is appropriate, wait until your counterpart starts the greeting.
  • When drinking alcohol you don't drink until you have toasted ("anstoßen"). Say "prost" or "cheers" and most importantly make eye contact when toasting.
  • Smoking is prohibited in most indoor venues and certain outdoor spaces as well. Since 2019, there is a complete smoking ban in gastronomy (restaurants, bars, cafés, etc.) as well as hotels, certain public areas, government facilities, public transport (as well as e.g. train stations, which may offer "smoking areas") etc.
  • If you have drunk all your wine and want more it's okay to pour some more into your glass, but only after you've kindly asked everyone around you at the table if they need any more.
  • If you really want to show your manners while eating, let your unused hand rest on the table next to your plate and use it occasionally to hold your plate while eating, if necessary. Austrians use generally European table manners, that is, they hold the knife in the right hand and the fork in the left hand, eating with both utensils. It is polite to let your wrists or hands rest on the table, but not your elbows.
  • In most Austrian households it is customary to take off one's shoes.
  • Austrians really love to use honorific titles. Many books have been written on the subject of Austria and its Titelwahn (title craze). There are over nine hundred titles from many categories such as job descriptions, academic degrees, honorary titles, official titles, etc. People who think of themselves as being respectable always expect to be addressed by their proper title, be it Prof., Dr., Mag. (Master's), Dipl.Ing. (Master's in Engineering), Ing. (Graduate Engineer) or even B.A. This is especially true of older people. Younger people are generally much more relaxed in this regard. The Titelwahn is something to be aware of but it is also often a subject of satire and self-deprecating humour so it should not be taken too seriously. Foreigners are not expected to understand or care about (all of) it.
  • In German you should always use the Sie form when speaking with strangers or older people. Du is mainly reserved for friends and family. Younger people generally address each other with du . Misusing those forms is considered rude, although people most likely understand that as a foreigner you don't know better. Switching between the forms can be very irritating to English speakers, but it is good to use the right form for the right situation. However, if you slip, people will excuse that as due to your limited language skills. In Tyrol the du form is used more frequently than elsewhere.
  • Perhaps surprisingly for a rather conservative nation, Austria's attitude towards nudity is one of the most relaxed in Europe. The display of full nudity in the mainstream media and advertising can be a shock for many visitors, especially those from outside Europe. It is not uncommon for women to bathe topless in beaches and recreational areas in summer. Though swimming costumes must normally be worn in public pools and beaches, when bathing "wild" in rivers and lakes is normally OK to take one's clothes off. Nudity is compulsory in Austria's many nude beaches ( FKK Strand ), health spas and hotel saunas. Like in Germany, do not wear bathing suits into saunas.

Helpful hints [ edit ]

  • Austrians are their own people; referring to them as "Germans" is incorrect and may cause offense. The customs of Austria differ from those of Germany and other German-speaking nations.
  • In business settings, business communication tends to be formal and political. Your Austrian counterparts will normally be very careful about what they say.

Connect [ edit ]

Calling austria [ edit ].

The international code for Austria is +43.

Phones [ edit ]

Public phones are available in some postal offices. Phone boxes are getting rare. Phone boxes usually operate with prepaid cards which can be obtained from postal offices and kiosks (German: Trafik ).

Phone numbers have an area code followed by the phone number itself. Toll-free numbers are denoted by 0800, service lines priced like local calls are setting off with 0810 whereas numbers starting with 0900, 0901, 0930 or 0931 are expensive service lines charging up to €3.63 per minute. 05 is "shared cost" (usually a bit more expensive than landline/mobile), beware of the exception 05133 though which is the Austrian federal police prefix. 0720 is VOIP/virtual - usually billed at landline rates regardless of location.

To enjoy cheap international calls from Austria you can use low-cost dial-around services such as austriaphone [3] [dead link] or fuchstarife [4] . Dial-around services are directly available from any landline in Austria. No contract, no registration is required. Most dial-around services offer USA, Canada, Western Europe and many other countries at the price of a local call so you can save on your phone expenses easily. They also work from public payphones.

Cell phones [ edit ]

Austria has good GSM and 3G (UMTS) network coverage of nearly 100%. Be aware that some remote areas (especially mountainous areas) do not have network coverage, though this rather the exception than the rule. Even the Vienna underground lines do have coverage.

Austria has thee network operators: A1, Magenta and Drei. Also, there is a big number of providers, which will operate in one of these three networks.

The cheapest (discounter) providers are HoT, spusu, bob and yesss.

You may often purchase a prepaid SIM card for Austria before you depart from an online vendor [5] which can be convenient as you get instructions in English and your cell phone number before you depart.

Internet [ edit ]

Internet cafes are common in bigger cities. Hotels in cities do normally have internet terminals, more expensive hotels provide internet access directly in the rooms. There are many free WiFi Hotspots ("Gratis WLAN"), each McDonald's has free Wifi (unlimited Time and Traffic) and for example in Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna

Mobile broadband providers in Austria are some of the cheapest and fastest in Europe, and 3G coverage is excellent most populated areas. Several providers offer pay-as-you-go plans that are open to non-residents, don't require registration, and can be topped up with vouchers available in stores, at the ATM, or online.

Bob [dead link] offers a SIM or Micro-SIM with 1 GB of traffic on a pay-as-you-go plan. Additional traffic can be booked on a data plan ("Datenpaket" [6] at a rate of €4 per GB. Beware of higher rates for traffic ( €0.068 /MB) if no data plan is booked. Available at all post offices and some supermarkets. (Ask for "Bob Breitband Startpaket", €14.90 ). SIMs come with a working cell number, and are also available bundled with a USB Modem without a contract. (2011)

Yesss (an Orange subsidiary) offers SIM or Micro-SIM-cards with 1 GB of traffic for €9.90 and a pay-as-you go plan. Additional traffic can be bought for €20 for 2GB. Available at Hofer Supermarkets (ask for "Yesss startpaket" at the cashier). SIMs come with a working cell number, and are also available bundled with a USB modem without a contract. (2011)

A1 offers mobile internet prepaid data SIMs — Internet mit Wertkarte — via their webshop for delivery to any address in Austria. (pickup at your hotel) Payment can be made using credit card and they also provide package tracking. Prices start at €10 for 3GB/30 days with 4/2 Mbit/s. (2013)

Cope [ edit ]

Toilets [ edit ].

Public toilets are free in most cities. In more touristy areas and train stations, however, fees are normal. Prices range between €0.20 and €1 , which must either be handed to a toilet attendant or inserted into a slot. Public toilets can always be found in city centers (normally on the main square), in train stations, and near major tourist attractions.

Laundry [ edit ]

Households without washing machines are almost unheard of in Austria. As a result, laundrettes are few and far between, and may be completely absent from smaller cities. However, most hotels, youth hostels, campsites and even B&Bs normally offer laundry facilities for a small charge.

People [ edit ]

People in Austria are friendly and helpful. Most Austrians are very polite and treat tourists well.

austria travel

  • Has custom banner
  • Has map markers
  • Go listing with no coordinates
  • Articles with dead external links
  • Has Geo parameter
  • Central Europe
  • All destination articles
  • Outline countries
  • Outline articles
  • Country articles
  • Pages with maps

Navigation menu

Security Alert May 17, 2024

Worldwide caution, update may 10, 2024, information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.

  • Travel Advisories |
  • Contact Us |
  • MyTravelGov |

Find U.S. Embassies & Consulates

Travel.state.gov, congressional liaison, special issuance agency, u.s. passports, international travel, intercountry adoption, international parental child abduction, records and authentications, popular links, travel advisories, mytravelgov, stay connected, legal resources, legal information, info for u.s. law enforcement, replace or certify documents.

Before You Go

Learn About Your Destination

While Abroad

Emergencies

Share this page:

Travel Advisory July 26, 2023

Austria - level 1: exercise normal precautions.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise normal precautions in Austria.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Austria.

If you decide to travel to Austria:

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  ( STEP ) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Austria.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Six months validity recommended, at least 3 months validity beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area is required.

Two pages required for entry stamp

Not required for stays under 90 days within each 180-day period

For a complete list of recommended vaccinations, please see the CDC country page on Austria.

10,000 Euros or equivalent

Embassies and Consulates

Consular Section Parkring 12A (Marriott Hotel Building) 1010 Vienna, Austria Telephone: +43-(0)1-31339-7535 Emergency after-hours telephone: +43-(0)1-31339 Fax: +43-(0)1-5125835 Email:  [email protected]

U.S. Embassy Vienna NOTE: No consular services are provided at the Embassy.

Boltzmanngasse 16 1090 Vienna, Austria Telephone: +43-(0)1-313-390 Email:  [email protected]

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

                               

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

There are no COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens. 

Prospective residents or anyone intending to  stay longer than 90 days  must obtain the appropriate visa. Visit the  Embassy of Austria’s website  for current  visa information  or the Government of Austria’s  website on migration . Austria collects the fingerprints of all visa applicants.

Students  and prospective students should visit the  Study in Austria  webpage for current information on  student visa requirements. Fulbright students and scholars with questions should contact their respective  program officer .

Traveling Through Europe:  If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement. 

  • Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay  if you plan on transiting a Schengen country review our  U.S. Travelers in Europe page .
  • You may be asked to show proof of s ufficient funds  and a  return plane ticket.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Austria.

Find information on  dual nationality ,  prevention of international child abduction , and  customs regulations  on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism:  Some terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – against soft targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

Crime:  Austria has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and violent crime is rare. Crimes of opportunity involving theft of personal property do occur. These crimes frequently occur in tourist areas, including the plaza around St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the nearby pedestrian shopping areas in Vienna’s First District.

  • Beware of  pickpockets  on public transportation and in bus or train stations. Trains between Vienna and Budapest, Prague, or Rome are high-risk.
  • Do not leave bags unattended.
  • Do not carry your passport when sightseeing within Vienna; lock it in your hotel safe or other secure area unless needed for travel. Instead, carry a photocopy of your passport at all times along with a second form of ID such as a U.S. driver’s license.

Demonstrations  are common. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State  and the  FBI  pages for information.

Victims of Crime:  Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime. You can call the police at 133. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at+43-(0)1-313-390. Report crimes to the local police at  133  and contact the U.S. Embassy

See our webpage on  help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

We may be able to help victims of crime with the following:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on  victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is regulated and rules are enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff are typically on hand to support organized activities. In the event of an injury, medical treatment is available throughout the country. Outside of a major cities, it may take first responders and medical professionals longer to stabilize a patient or provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance . 

For further information:

  • Enroll in  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  ( STEP )   to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department's travel website  for  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook . 
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, imprisoned, or deported. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are  arrested or detained , ask police to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our  webpage  for further information.

  • You can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines   for possessing, using, or trafficking in  illegal drugs  in Austria. If you break Austrian laws,  your   U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution .

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods:  Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection may confiscate the items or fine you, if you bring them back to the United States. See the  U.S. Department of Justice website  for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report  – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report  – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTQI+ Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Austria. The LGBTQI+ community is well-developed in larger cities, including Vienna, Graz, Linz, Innsbruck, and Salzburg. LGBTQI+ organizations operate freely. While there is some societal prejudice against LGBTQI+ persons, Austria has become more liberal with laws and social opinion concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. Anti-discrimination laws also apply to LGBTQI+ persons. Same sex couples are permitted to marry or enter a legally recognized civil union.

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities:  Laws in Austria prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities, and are enforced. Accessibility is limited in older buildings, including restaurants, cafes, hotels, castles, and other tourist attractions especially outside of major cities. Rentals, repair and replacement parts for wheelchairs, orthopedics, and other equipment are available in major cities. For a list of providers , click here to see City of Vienna’s accessibility website.

Students:  See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for  women travelers .

Medical facilities and staff are generally excellent and emergency services are available countrywide.

For general emergency services in Austria, dial  112.

To call an ambulance, dial 144 .

Ambulance services are widely available.

Local hospitals will not settle accounts directly with American insurance companies.  You must pay the hospital’s bill and later claim reimbursement from the insurance carrier in the United States.  The Austrian Medicine Import Act prohibits the import of most prescription drugs into Austria. However, non- European Union residents are allowed medicines as part of their personal luggage, but only the quantity required for the period of time you’ll be in the country. Travelers may not receive medicine by mail from abroad while in Austria. If a particular medication is not available in Austria, an Austrian pharmacy may be able to order the medication prescribed by a local physician from a pharmacy in the United States.

We do not pay medical bills.  Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most health care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our  webpage  for more information on insurance coverage overseas. Visit the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  for more information on the type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals on its  website . We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the  Austrian Ministry for Health  to ensure the medication is legal in Austria.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all  vaccinations  recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

World Health Organization

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC)

Air Quality:   Visit  AirNow Department of State  for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

Health Facilities

  • Austria has world class healthcare facilities throughout the country.
  • Hospitals and doctors often require payment “up front” or adequate health insurance prior to service or admission. Patients who need emergency or life-saving medical treatment will not be turned away for lack of payment or insurance.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery

  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  website for information on Medical Tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Austria.
  • We strongly recommend  supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.

Pharmaceuticals       

  • Many medications that are common in the United States are illegal in Austria, even with a prescription. Austria does not allow the importation of any pharmaceuticals that contain narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances. Obtaining such medications in Austria is either impossible or requires a diagnosis and prescription from an Austrian doctor. Please review the medication rules on the websites of the  Austrian Embassy  in Washington, D.C., and the  Austrian Health Ministry .
  • COVID-19 tests in Austria are widely available at local Apoteken (pharmacies), including rapid and PCR tests. U.S. citizens are responsible for paying for all costs upfront. Results are normally delivered by e-mail, test or you may request a physical copy from the lab.  
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is available free of charge for U.S. citizen residents of Austria and hold valid Austrian healthcare E-cards. U.S. citizen visitors may be required to pay vaccination costs upfront.

Many cities in western Austria are at high altitude. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and take precautions before you travel. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Travel to High Altitudes .

Adventure Travel: Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Adventure Travel .

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:   Road conditions in Austria are excellent. During the winter, roads in alpine areas may become dangerous due to snow, ice, or avalanches. Some mountain roads may be closed for extended periods. Snow tires or chains may be required in certain provinces or mountain towns. If you are renting a car in winter months and driving to a ski resort, check with your car rental company to ensure your vehicle is properly equipped.

Be alert when you drive through autobahn construction zones, particularly on the A-1 East/West Autobahn. Traffic information  and road conditions are broadcast on the  English-language channel, FM4 (frequency depends on location). Traffic information is posted on digital signs, and trackable in popular mobile apps. Emergency roadside help and information may be reached by dialing  123  or  120  for vehicle assistance and towing services (Austrian automobile clubs),  122  for the fire department,  133  for police, and  144  for ambulance. The European emergency line is  112 .

Traffic Laws : Please see Austria’s  travel webpage  for detailed information related to driving. Below are key laws to consider:

  • Penalties for  driving under the influence  are stricter than in many U.S. states.
  • Display an “ autobahn vignette ” highway-tax sticker  on the inside of the vehicle’s windshield. The fine for failing to display a valid sticker is EUR 120 ($150 USD), paid in cash “on the spot.”
  • The  maximum speed  limit is 130 km/hr (81mph) on the Austrian autobahns.
  • It is  against the law  to use a  hand-held cell  phone while driving.
  • It is  against the law  to turn  right on red .
  • It is  mandatory  for cars on Austrian motorways to pull over when an emergency vehicle is approaching. On two-lane roads or larger, vehicles pull over to either far left or far right to create an emergency corridor down the center.  
  • You could be issued a substantial fine  for not usin  winter tires  on your vehicle between November 1 and April 15, depending where you are driving. Your car  insurance is void  if you are in an accident, and your vehicle does not havewinter tires.
  • Read your rental contract closely.You may be  arrested, fined , and/or charged with attempted auto theft if you try to drive a rental car in countries listed as “prohibited” on the car rental contract.
  • A U.S. driver's license  alone is  not sufficient to drive in Austria.  A U.S. driver's license must be accompanied by an international driving permit or by an official translation of the U.S. driver's license, which can be obtained in the United States at AAA, or at one of the Austrian automobile clubs (ÖAMTC or ARBÖ). U.S. citizens who intend to take up residence in Austria must obtain an Austrian driver’s license after six months of arriving.

Public Transportation:  Austrian Federal Railways ( Österreichische Bundesbahnen ) offers train service to all major towns in Austria and major cities in Europe. There is also an extensive network of Österreichische Post  bus lines . All major cities have excellent public transportation systems. Click  here  for Vienna’s public transportation website.

See our  road safety page  for more information. Visit the website of Austria’s  national tourist office  and national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight:   The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Austria’s Civil Aviation Authority as compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Austria’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the  FAA’s safety assessment page .

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .

Austria was cited in the State Department’s 2022 Annual Report to Congress on International Child Abduction for demonstrating a pattern of non-compliance with respect to international parental child abduction. Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in  Austria.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the  International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA )  report.

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for u.s. citizens, austria map, learn about your destination, enroll in step.

Enroll in STEP

Subscribe to get up-to-date safety and security information and help us reach you in an emergency abroad.

Recommended Web Browsers: Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.

Check passport expiration dates carefully for all travelers! Children’s passports are issued for 5 years, adult passports for 10 years.

Afghanistan

Antigua and Barbuda

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba

Bosnia and Herzegovina

British Virgin Islands

Burkina Faso

Burma (Myanmar)

Cayman Islands

Central African Republic

Cote d Ivoire

Curaçao

Czech Republic

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dominican Republic

El Salvador

Equatorial Guinea

Eswatini (Swaziland)

Falkland Islands

France (includes Monaco)

French Guiana

French Polynesia

French West Indies

Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, and Saint Barthélemy (French West Indies)

Guinea-Bissau

Isle of Man

Israel, The West Bank and Gaza

Liechtenstein

Marshall Islands

Netherlands

New Caledonia

New Zealand

North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

Papua New Guinea

Philippines

Republic of North Macedonia

Republic of the Congo

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Sao Tome and Principe

Saudi Arabia

Sierra Leone

Sint Maarten

Solomon Islands

South Africa

South Korea

South Sudan

Switzerland

The Bahamas

Timor-Leste

Trinidad and Tobago

Turkmenistan

Turks and Caicos Islands

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

Vatican City (Holy See)

External Link

You are about to leave travel.state.gov for an external website that is not maintained by the U.S. Department of State.

Links to external websites are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of State of the views or products contained therein. If you wish to remain on travel.state.gov, click the "cancel" message.

You are about to visit:

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.

austria travel

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!

austria travel

Related Posts:

Beautiful Hallstatt

The Ultimate One Day in Hallstatt Itinerary

Mirabell Gardens & Hohensalzburg Fortress

The Perfect Day Trip to Salzburg from Vienna

Beautiful views of Salzburg from the River Salzach

Salzburg or Vienna: Which Austrian City to Visit?

Avatar photo

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?

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

You will be redirected to your dashboard shortly. We will also call you back in 24 hrs .

  • 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: Lakes In Austria

Sikkim-Gangtok-Darjeeling Holiday Packages On TravelTriangle

austria travel

Gangtok & Darjeeling Tour Package 5D/4N @ Rs 13,000

Plan your trip today!

austria travel

Scintillating North-East Family Tour 6D/5N @ Rs 16,065

Get quotes from multiple travel experts.

austria travel

Fun-Filled Gangtok & Darjeeling Family Tour 6D/5N @ Rs 18,000

Compare & customize quotes before booking.

austria travel

Darjeeling Gangtok Family Package 7D/6N @ Rs 20,783

Have Questions? Talk to our travel experts today.

austria travel

Gangtok & Darjeeling Family Tour 7D/6N @ Rs 41,265

Best prices guaranteed. EMI option available.

austria travel

See more at TRAVELTRIANGLE.COM

2. Salzburg – A Date With Mozart

 Salzburg, one of the best places to visit in Austria

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 Salzburg 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 a few direct trains between Salzburg and Vienna making rail journey one of the best ways to reach.

3. Innsbruck – The Picture-Postcard Town

Vibrant city of Innsbruck, one of the scenic 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: Churches In Austria

4. Salzkammergut – Relax And Rejuvenate

 Salzkammergut's lush greenery makes it one of the relaxing places to visit in Austria

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

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

W ith six universities and one of Europe’s best preserved old town areas, there are so many places to visit in Graz, Austria. It is the second largest and cheapest city in Austria. Graz has so much to satiate the soul of a traveller. 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.

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. It is counted amongst the most offbeat places to visit in Graz Austria.

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: Water Parks In Austria

6. Worthersee – A Summer To Remember

The mesmerising lake view of Worthersee, one of the best places to visit in Austria

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

Spectacular views of 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: Castles In Austria

10. Zell Am See – Pristine Alpine Wonders

Zell Am See is one of the popular 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

The highest mountain in Austrian alps makes Hoher Dachstein one of the best places to visit in Austria

Image Source

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: Hostels In Austria

14. Tyrol – Heaven In The Alps

Immerse in the stunning mountain view of Tyrol, one of the beautiful places to visit in Austria

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

Burgenland's scenic landscapes makes it one of the best places to visit in Austria

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 Monchhof, Schloss Esterhazy, Sonnentherme Lutzmannsburg Places To Stay : Falkensteiner Balance Resort Stegersbach, Country Lake Villa Best Restaurants : 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: Festivals In Europe

18. Hallstatt – Scenic Lake Views

The iconic mountains and a tiny village by Lake Hallstatt is a must see destination in Austria

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

One of the famous places to visit in Austria, Mostviertel

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: Rivers In Austria

20. Alpbach – Skiing And Sledding

The Alpbach is one of the best places to visit in Austria for skiing enthusiasts

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's stunning buildings makes it one of the most scenic places to visit in 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

Grossglockner High Alpine Road is heaven for mountain biking

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 could 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 is one of the best places to visit in 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: Villas In Austria

24. National Park Danube-Auen – Into The Wild

Danube-Auen National Park is one of the magical places to visit in Austria

Recognized in 1996, National Park Danube-Auen is home to a variety of species of animals and plants. The park is sprawling across an area of 93 square kilometres 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. This comes under the top 10 places to visit in Austria. Explore the scenic landscapes and lush greenery 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. Gesause National Park – A Rock Climber’s Paradise

Gesäuse National Park austria

Are you a rock climber? If yes, then you would like to visit the Gesause National Park 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: Gesause-Lodge, Landgasthof Buchner, JUFA Hotel Schloss Rothelstein/Admont Best Restaurants: Genuss Region Gesause 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

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

Schonbrunn

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 Places to Visit: Schonbrunn Palace Places to Stay: Austria Trend Parkhotel Schönbrunn Wien, Aparthotel Adagio Vienna City Best Restaurants: Der Gockel, Kutscher G’woelb, Joseph II. – Das Schloss-Restaurant Schonbrunn 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

museum

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 Places To Visit: Vienna State Opera Places to Stay: The Amauris Vienna – Relais & Châteaux, Mar Suite Apartments – Center Best Restaurants: You Vienna, Bristol Lounge, Bristol Bar, Hard Rock Cafe – Vienna 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

Cave

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 Places To Visit: Eisriesenwelt Cave Places to Stay: Berghotel Garni Burgblick, Hotel Adler Best Restaurants: Restaurant Obauer, Berggasthof Zaismann, Gasthaus zum Eisenwerk Best Time To Visit: September to October, April to May How To Reach: There are many buses to go to the cave

Further Read: Salzburg Hotels

Though we’ve included the best 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 . Cover Image Source: Shutterstock

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.

Looking To Book A Holiday Package?

austria travel

Spellbinding Cochin Family Tour 2D/1N Package @ Rs 2,750

austria travel

Himachal Family Tour Package 4D/3N @ Rs 8,750

austria travel

Exciting Andaman Family Trip 5D/4N @ Rs 10,250

austria travel

Wonderful Goa Family Package 3D/2N @ Rs 6,500

Best prices guaranteed.

austria travel

Riveting Rajasthan Vacation 3D/2N Package @ Rs 6,499

EMI option available.

austria travel

Enchanting Uttarakhand Tour 4D/3N Package @ Rs 7,199

Explore best destinations with our experts.

austria travel

Delightful South Weekend Tour 3D/2N Package @ Rs 4,999

Thrilling weekend full of fun.

austria travel

Marvelous Gujarat Tour 3D/2N Package @ Rs 4,999

Talk to our experts today.

People Also Read:

Places To Visit In Mauritius Places To Visit In Arizona Places To Visit In France

Recent Posts

austria travel

Campbell Bay National Park Tour For Thrill Seekers And Adventure Lovers

austria travel

Discover The Crystal Clear Waters At Anse Cocos

austria travel

Explore The Every Corner Of Saddle Peak National Park

Enchanting architecture of Sundareswara temple in Kannur, sundareswara temple

Sundareswara Temple A Beacon Of Peace And Beauty In Kerala

places to visit in Shimoga within 100 km

Places To Visit In Shimoga Within 100 Km That Are Worth Visiting

Revel in the tranquil surroundings of King Rama IX Park.

King Rama IX Park Is An Enchanting Labyrinth Of Culture And Nature

Trending Blogs

austria travel

20 Mysterious Places In India To Visit In 2024 More Bizarre Than The Bermuda Triangle

austria travel

10 Scariest Roads In India That Are A Driver’s Nightmare

austria travel

101 Places To Visit In India Before You Turn 30 in 2024

Skiing In Krasnaya Polyana

35 Exotic Places To Visit In December In India 2024 To Enjoy A Surreal Vacation

a couple in front of taj mahal

60 Best Honeymoon Destinations In India In 2024

Best honeymoon destinations in the world

95 Best Honeymoon Destinations In The World In 2023 For A Romantic Escape!

Best Places To Visit In India By Month

Best places to visit outside india by month.

  • TravelTriangle
  • International
  • Europe » Austria »
  • Tour Packages
  • Honeymoon Packages
  • Family Packages
  • Budget Tour Packages
  • Luxury Tour Packages
  • Adventure Tour Packages
  • Group Tour Packages
  • Maldives Tour Packages
  • Bali Tour Packages
  • Dubai Tour Packages
  • Singapore Tour Packages
  • Thailand Tour Packages
  • Europe Tour Packages
  • Sri Lanka Tour Packages
  • Tour Packages From Delhi
  • Tour Packages From Mumbai
  • Tour Packages From Bangalore
  • Tour Packages From Chennai
  • Tour Packages From Kolkata
  • Tour Packages From Hyderabad
  • Tour Packages From Ahmedabad
  • Thailand Tourism
  • Bali Tourism
  • Singapore Tourism
  • Maldives Tourism
  • Mauritius Tourism
  • Dubai Tourism
  • Europe Tourism
  • Hotels in Thailand
  • Hotels in Maldives
  • Hotels in Mauritius
  • Hotels in Bali
  • Hotels in Dubai
  • Hotels in Singapore
  • Hotels in Sri Lanka

Happy to Wander

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

Last Updated: July 6, 2023

*FYI - this post may contain affiliate links, which means we earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from them. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out our Privacy Policy and Disclosure. for more info.

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.

austria travel

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.

austria travel

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.

austria travel

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.

My Go-To Travel Favourites:

🧳 Eagle Creek: My favourite packing cubes

💳 Wise: For FREE travel friendly credit cards

🍯 Airalo: My go-to eSIM

🏨 Booking.com: For searching hotels

📷 Sony A7IV: My (amazing) camera

✈️ Google Flights : For finding flight deals

🌎 WorldNomads: For travel insurance

🎉 GetYourGuide: For booking activities

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. *

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. *

No time to read now? Pin it for later!

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

Hundertwasserhaus

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

Vergnügungspark

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

Gosauseen 

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. 

Hotel-Flair

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.

Olpererhütte 

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.

Faktorei

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

Pin It for Later!

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!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Welcome to the Holiday Information Service

Our holiday experts are here to assist you with your holiday planning. Send us a message and we will get back you as soon as we can.

Please fill in fields marked with *

Give us a call Monday to Friday from 8am to noon. Outside of our office hours please drop us an email and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Telephone: 00800 400 200 00 Österreich Werbung Vordere Zollamtsstraße 13 A-1030 Wien Wien AT

[email protected]

*toll-free; calls from mobile networks may incur charges

  • Service and Facts

Up-to-date Information on the Coronavirus Situation

All Covid-restrictions have been lifted in Austria.

We can't wait to welcome you back!

Last update: 3 July 2023

Travelling to Austria

All Covid-related entry requirements have been lifted. Proof of vaccination/recovery or a test are no longer needed.

During your Stay

There are no more restrictions (public transport, shops, hotels etc.) during your stay in Austria.

This Might Also Be Of Interest

A summer in austria - your daily dose of 'lebensgefühl', city breaks in summer - your cultural 'lebensgefühl', lakes and nature in austria, an active summer in austria.

The Trusted Traveller

Austria Travel Guide

This Austria Travel Guide aims to provide you with simple and stress-free travel planning information and inspiration for planning a trip to Austria.

On this regularly updated page you will find links to useful posts on The Trusted Traveller, budget information, details on types of accommodation available, information on getting around the country and more useful links to resources around the web.

Quick Facts

Capital: Vienna

Language: German

Currency: € Euros which is made up of 100 cents. Coins come in 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2 denominations and notes in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 denominations.

Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are standard.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

Travel Tips

Austria Map

Austria is a small landlocked country right in the heart of Europe bordered by Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

The landscape is mountainous with the Alps running right through the country and peaks rising up to over 3,500 metres. Almost half of Austria is forested while the other half is mainly lush green grassland.

Austria has a moderate continental climate which brings warm summer days with cool night and cold sunny winters with lots of snow during the ski season of December to March.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

Best Time to Visit

Austria is a year-round destination and you should plan your visit based on the types of activities you wish to enjoy.

June to September (summer) sees lots of sunshine and low rainfall making it the perfect time for hiking in the mountains and exploring the bigger cities.

From November to March (winter) it is cold with plenty of snow, perfect for those wanting to take part in winter sports such as skiing. It is also a nice time of year to visit some of the smaller villages on the edge of the Alps because of the festive spirit and spectacular scenery.

It is always recommend to have a mixture of cash and bank/credit card with you when you travel anywhere in the world and this is no exception in Austria.

In Austria ATM’s are called Bankomats and are found in all major towns and cities across the country. As well, credit cards are widely accepted although some establishments such as small hotels and shops may only accept cash.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

Getting There

Getting to Austria from surrounding European countries is simple, quick and cheap by bus or train. You can find out more about rail travel in Europe, including purchasing tickets, on the Rail Europe website; and about bus travel on the Eurolines website.

Austria is also well-connected by air with flights arriving in Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg from all across Europe and the UK and parts of the US, Middle East and Asia.  A flight from London will take around two hours and a flight from New York about nine hours.

I use and recommend Expedia for researching and booking flights all around the world.

It is also possibly to arrive by boat along the Danube River from Germany , Hungary and Slovakia .

Getting Around

Austria is a relatively small country so getting around it is pretty simple and cheap.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

Europe’s excellent network of trains means that getting around Austria and in fact to/from other European countries is the most timely and cost-effective way to travel. All the major cities are connected to one another and you will find that most regional areas are well-connected to at least one of two of those major cities.

Because of Austria’s proximity to the Alps, some of the world’s most scenic train journeys can be taken through the country too making it more than just a means to get from point a to point b.

There are two classes on the trains, 1st and 2nd class, with the only real difference being slightly more leg space and room to move about in 1st class.

Most trains you can just show up at the train station and buy your ticket on the day while a few (mostly high-speed intercity trains) may need a seat reservation to be made in advance. This can be done either at any train station in the country or online through a ticketing agent in your home country. Here are a few that I recommend depending on where you are from:

  • Rail Europe  for residents in USA, Canada & Mexico.
  • Rail Europe  for residents in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe and other select parts of the world.

Eurolines operates services bus services around the country and they are a cheaper alternative to train travel but will take longer to get from a to b.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

Because Austria is a small country, it is relatively easy to navigate if driving yourself.

You’ll be able to collect a hire car from all major airports and cities with most allowing you to pick up in one location and drop off in another, which makes sense if you’re road tripping around the country.

The road in Austria are well maintained and easy to navigate because they are well signposted. During the winter months remember that weather conditions can change rapidly especially on roads going through the mountains. Be sure to obey all signs and drive with care in slippery conditions.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

Where to Stay

Austria caters for everyone when it comes to accommodation. Here is a list of the types of accommodation you’ll find:

  • Camping/Cabins –  With Austria being a very outdoorsy country you’ll find lots of camp grounds that offer tent sites and basic cabins as low costs. And as with a lot of other European cities, you’ll also find large camp sites on the outskirts of big cities like Vienna that you can stay at cheaply and commute each day into the city for sightseeing.
  • Hostels –  You’ll find hostels in abundance in the Austria’s bigger cities and one or two in most other regional areas as well. The level of cleanliness in Austria and similar parts of Europe is well above average so you will likely find your room and shared bathroom to be super clean.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

  • B&B’s/Pensions –  Small family run style accommodation like B&B’s or pensions can be found all over the country in big cities, small towns and popular rural locations. Accommodation is simple yet comfortable and the experience usually comes with friendly hosts and a home cooked breakfast each morning.

Get up to $45.00 AUD credit when you join Airbnb using this link .

  • Hotels/Apartments –  You will find both chain hotel/apartments brands and independent hotel/apartments to be in abundance in cities across the country. The good thing about this type of accommodation is in most cases you know what you are going to get, a clean, comfortable and modern room with a decent array of facilities in the room and on the property. Apartments are great for longer stays as they allow you a bit more space and the option to self cater.

I use and recommend Booking.com for researching and booking hostel, motel, hotel, apartment and resort accommodation around the world.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

  • Luxury Hotels & Resorts –  Austria has its fair share of 5 star properties, some of which have been named in top lists of accommodation around the world. These will offer you brilliant service and a top location, sometime with incredible views of the surrounding area.

Austria has a variety of eating options that will suit all budgets and tastes. While you will find the majority of its restaurants and cafes serve local and European dishes, the country is expanding and becoming more multicultural with its cuisine offerings.

  • Supermarkets/Markets   –  Save money and shop in supermarkets and local markets for snacks, picnic lunches and even ingredients to make a whole meal in your self catering accommodation.
  • Fast Food / Take-away   –  Chain fast food stores are in all major centres of the country and along highways as well. If you’re looking for a cheap and tasty fast food meal, look to where the locals are, usually getting snacks and light meals from food trucks and stands on the side of the street. A popular street food snack is a sausage or hot dog and you’ll find stands selling them everywhere.
  • Cafes –  Austrian’s love cafes and some of the world’s most well know can be found in the country. Coffee, delicious sweets and tasty Austrian sandwiches will be on offer for sit down or takeaway.
  • Restaurants –  Portion sizes tend to be on the larger side in Austria so eating out in restaurants can be really good value. Consider sharing a meal with a travel companion if you’re not too hungry to save money or sticking to one course.
  • Fine Dining –  Austria has it’s fair share of the worlds best restaurants so if it is fine dining experiences you are after then you won’t be disappointed.

Austria Travel Guide - The Trusted Traveller

Useful Austria Posts

Suggested itineraries.

Exploring Austria by Car: A 5 Day Itinerary

First Timers One Month Europe Itinerary

Things to Do

Things to Do in Salzburg

Other Austria Travel Planning Resources

Here is a constantly growing collection of resources from around the web to help you plan you dream trip to Austria.

  • The official Austria Tourism website is a great place to start planning your trip.
  • The authority in all things travel, Lonely Planet has an extensive section all about Austria. Or why not buy the Austria Lonely Planet Guidebook in hard copy or as an eBook.
  • Carly is an Aussie expat living in Vienna who writes all about life in Vienna, her travel across Austria and the rest of Europe on her blog Austrian Adaptation .
  • Becki from Borders of Adventure spent most of 2017 discovering the best of Austria. You can read all about her adventures on her blog.
  • Travel Tyrol is a blog by Linda who loves living in Austria and wants to share it with the world.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

Austria Travel Guide

Last Updated: April 29, 2024

a traditional Austrian home overlooking the snow-capped mountains and rolling hills in the Austria countryside

Austria is a stunning country bursting with history and culture. From Vienna’s imperial architecture to sprawling vineyards to snowy alpine peaks to world-class opera and ballet, Austria has something for everyone and every budget.

Whether you’re backpacking around the country or just traveling here on a short trip, Austria has a lot to offer.

Vienna is the gateway to much of Central Europe; Graz and Linz boast historic old towns and funky cafes; and Salzburg is a picturesque Baroque city close to mountains and lakes. The country is also home to the dramatic “Sound of Music” alpine scenery where you can hike in the summer, ski in the winter, and sing as you run through the rolling hills.

I am forever blown away by the sheer beauty of this country. It is one of the most spectacular in Europe (especially if you like hiking and skiing).

This travel guide to Austria has all my tips and tricks so you can plan the ultimate adventure without breaking the bank!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Austria

Click Here for City Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in austria.

A huge, historic palace in beautiful Vienna, Austria

1. Visit Vienna

For centuries, Vienna was the stomping ground for the Habsburg rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today, you can admire ornate architecture by day and hang in summer pop up bars and clubs on the Danube at night. Be sure to check out the Belvedere Palace, The Hofburg (a palace complex with museums), and Schonbrunn Palace (the summer home with a huge garden that is my favorite). Some other incredible things to do include a trip to the Vienna Naschmarkt (with more than 120 food stalls and market vendors) or an afternoon at MuseumsQuartier, a massive arts and culture district. If you go during the holiday season, Vienna’s Christmas markets are legendary, including Christkindlmarkt on Rathausplatz (the square in front of the town hall), one of the biggest and oldest markets in the world. This imperial city has a lot to do!

2. Check out Salzburg

The birthplace of Mozart, this city has a lot of attractions relating to the city’s most famous son. Visit the house where he was born and have coffee at Café Tomaselli where Mozart used to frequent. The city was also the shooting location for “The Sound of Music” and you can take a self-guided walking tour retracing the Von Trapp’s steps. There’s also an 11th century fortress (Hohensalzburg Castle), a Renaissance palace (Schloss Hellbrunn), scenic hikes, cobblestone streets, cool cafes, beautiful churches, views of the Alps, and a ton of Baroque charm. I really liked it and found it to be like a Vienna without the crowds (I mean it’s still crowded but not as crowded).

3. Ski in Arlberg

St. Anton is a particularly lovely town in summer but it swarms with visitors during ski season. With 87 lifts and cable cars, more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) of slopes and 200 kilometers (124 miles) of open terrain, it’s Austria’s largest inter-connected ski area and is known as a go-to destination for serious skiers because of its challenging slopes and numerous off-piste opportunities. Day passes start at 75 EUR per person (not including rentals).

4. Go on a wine tour

Austria’s vibrant wine scene has earned a worldwide reputation for quality and innovation. The country’s wine regions are beautiful and easy to visit. Burgenland and Lower Austria, for example, are within a one-hour drive from Vienna. You’ll be able to sample reds, whites, and Sekt, Austria’s sparkling wine. Expect a full-day winery bike tour of the stunning Wachau Valley to include 2-3 wine tastings and to cost 100 EUR. I always include a wine tour when I run tours to Vienna and it’s the number one thing people remember about the trip.

5. Cycle the Danube

This is one of the most famous cycle routes in Europe, stretching from Passau, Germany into Austria. Since it’s also one of the most traveled, there’s no lack of tour operators offering holiday packages. Depending on where you begin and end, the entire journey can take 4-6 days. Expect to pay 400-500 EUR for a self-guided multi-day tour of the journey, which usually includes accommodation, a set of cycling maps, and daily luggage transfer. Guided tours start at about 1,000 EUR.

Other Things to See and Do in Austria

1. visit vienna’s museum of art history.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is the largest art museum in the country, with works from ancient Egypt and Greece through to the 18th century. There are over 700,000 items in the collections so it’s worth taking the time to explore (especially if you’re a history buff like me). Opened in 1891, the primary collection originally belonged to the Hapsburgs, which includes tons of portraits, classical paintings from masters like Gustav Klimt, and armor. Admission is 21 EUR.

2. Hit the slopes

Austria’s mountainous countryside offers up plenty of opportunities for skiing in the winter (I mean, it is the Alps after all!). Ski and snowboard rentals start at around 50 EUR. Lift passes vary between 40-70 EUR per day and the more popular and larger resorts tend to be on the upper end of that scale (but you get more ski runs for that). Niederau, Lech, and Obergurgl are good places for beginners.

3. See St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Stephansdom is a 12th-century Romanesque and Gothic cathedral in Vienna, noted for its colorful roof. The cathedral has been destroyed and rebuilt over the years, with the current version largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365). Its most recent reconstruction took place just after World War II. You can take a tour of the cathedral and climb the north and south towers (which offer excellent views of the city). Under the cathedral are catacombs holding the remains of over 10,000 people, including important nobility and victims of the plague. All-inclusive admission with tour is 25 EUR; admission to the cathedral only is 7 EUR. Self-guided audio tours are 5 EUR. Catacombs tours are 7 EUR and going up the towers costs 6.50 EUR for the South Tower and 7 EUR for the North Tower.

4. Walk the Ring Road (Ringstrasse)

This historic loop stretches just over 5 kilometers (3 miles) around Vienna and is brimming with beautiful architecture. It’s here where you can find the Parliament building, City Hall, both the Museum of Art History and the National History Museum, as well as the State Opera. Strolling the tree-lined boulevards is a relaxing (and free) way to spend some time soaking up the city and admiring its history and imperial design.

5. Visit Schloss Hellbrunn

This Baroque palace was built in the 17th century in Salzburg as a retreat for the one percent, and is considered one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings north of the Alps. The palace is noted for its trick water fountains that are hidden in benches, tables, and around the grounds. These “secret” fountains spray visitors when they don’t expect it. It’s funny to see — as long as you aren’t the one getting sprayed! The gardens here are partially landscaped and make for a great place to relax. It’s even fun to visit even in the winter months when the courtyard is transformed into a Christmas market. The palace and trick fountains are closed for winter refurbishments until late March 2024, but the park is still open. Admission is 15 EUR.

6. Visit the National History Museum

Home to a detailed anthropology exhibit, as well as a planetarium and prehistoric exhibit, the National History Museum is worth the time to explore if you’re a museum buff. Their collection boasts over 100,000 items, including a huge collection of meteorites. It’s also home to the 25,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf statue, which was discovered in Austria. There’s also a planetarium that offers shows in German and English (the live shows are only available in German). Admission is 18 EUR.

7. Get outside in Innsbruck

One of the most beautiful towns in the entire country, Innsbruck is in the Alps and filled with cobblestone streets, a historic center that dates back more than 500 years, and lots of great restaurants. It serves as a launching pad into the nearby Nordkette mountains where you can hike and camp. Don’t miss the Golden Roof, an impressive alcove balcony with 2,657 copper tiles covering its roof (it’s the best museum in the city!). There’s a lot of great hiking in the area, cool bars, and one of the best food tours I’ve ever taken (Innsbruck Food Tour). It’s an awesome city for outdoor activities any time of the year. Since it’s a big student town, it’s also one of the more affordable destinations in the country. I could have easily spent double the amount of time here.

8. Relax in Hallstatt

Hallstatt makes a great day trip from Salzburg (it’s just one hour away). The tiny, picturesque town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you can see in a single day. Spend an hour walking around the central square, home to a 19th-century church and fairytale alpine architecture. For impressive views, visit the skywalk above town — don’t look down if you’re afraid of heights. It’s a one-hour hike to the top or a 5-minute funicular ride on the Salzbergbahn Hallstatt, which re-opens in early February 2024 (22 EUR). There’s also a swan-filled lake, a waterfall, a bone house with more than 6,000 decorated skulls, and nearby mountains that provide ample hiking opportunities. You can take a tour of the nearby salt mines (the world’s oldest) or take a scenic boat ride on the lake. Hallstatt also serves as a gateway to the Salzkammergut region, where you can find even more lakes, forested mountains, and historic villages.

9. See a classical performance

Austria has contributed its fair share of composers to the world, so it’s no surprise that you can find plenty of opportunities to indulge in the classics here. Just going to one of the many theaters and concert halls in Vienna is an experience in and of itself as the buildings are so historic and beautifully decorated. If you’ve ever considered taking in an opera, symphony, or ballet (the Vienna State Ballet is one of the best in the world), this is the place to do it. Prices vary depending on the performance but expect to pay at least 40 EUR for standard tickets. Alternatively, show up a few hours before the opera for standing room only tickets that start at 4 EUR.

10. Go hiking

Hiking trails in Austria are well-marked, and there are even mountain huts along many trails to provide shelter. With almost 30% of the country’s natural landscape marked as protected, it’s easy to see why hiking is such a foundational part of the culture here. Pack a lunch, hit the trails, and enjoy all that the country has to offer! The Pinzgauer Spaziergang route in Zell am See is one of the best hikes you can do, covering 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from Saalbach to Schmittenhöhe’s peak. If you’re looking for a more serious trek, try the 280-kilometer (175-mile) Eagle Walk from St. Johann to St. Anton am Arlberg. There are also several smaller hikes that offer flat paths around lakes and forests.

11. Visit Graz’s Old Town

This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts over 1,000 buildings, many of which date back to the Middle Ages. It’s a picturesque area worth exploring, especially if you love history and architecture. There are street cafes, art galleries, and lots of shopping opportunities here as well. Climb the 260 steps to the top of Schlossberg (the fortress on the hill) for sweeping views. If you want a guided tour of the area, they start at around 20 EUR. While Graz is the second-largest city in Austria, it sees far fewer tourists than Vienna.

12. Visit Mozart’s Geburtshaus

Located in Salzburg, the townhouse where Mozart was born in 1756 (he was the family’s seventh child) and spent his childhood years is now a museum. The living area of this once middle-class residence has been restored to be a snapshot of the musician’s 18th-century life with original furniture. Noteworthy pieces include several portraits of Mozart, hand-written letters on display as well as his violin and clavichord (which he used to compose The Magic Flute). There are also rotating exhibits that change annually. The tour is about an hour and admission is 13.50 EUR.

13. Visit the Belvedere

This is one of my favorite places in Vienna. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Belvedere is composed of two palaces and is split into the permanent collection at the Upper Belvedere, special exhibitions at the Lower Belvedere, and contemporary art at the Belvedere 21. It’s home to an incredible art collection spanning more than 800 years with works by Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh and a large portrait collection (which is my favorite). There is also a rotating exhibit hall with renowned Austrian and international art. The free grounds feature beautiful fountains, gravel walkways, ponds, statues, plants, and flowers and are perfect for a stroll on a nice day. Admission starts at 16 EUR. You’ll save a few euros if you buy online ahead of time.

14. Wander Hohensalzburg Castle

Standing high over the city of Salzburg, this magnificent castle dominates the city. The fortress has been in use since the 11th century, though it’s undergone several expansions and renovations. There’s a nice hike up to the castle (it takes about 30 minutes), or you can take the funicular. At the castle, there are ancient ruins, a cool historical tour, and panoramic views of the city to enjoy. The fortress also has a collection of museums, including the Marionette Museum and the Museum of the Rainer Regiment (which highlights the former Salzburg house military regiment). Admission is 14 EUR and includes the funicular.

15. Explore the Sigmund Freud Museum

Sigmund Freud, the famous founder of psychoanalysis, lived in this apartment-turned-museum from 1891-1938. The museum was opened in 1971 with the help of Anna Freud (his youngest daughter) and is home to the original furniture, Freud’s private collection of antiques, and the first editions of his works. There are also films from his private life. It’s small and only takes about an hour to visit. Admission is 15 EUR.

Austria Travel Costs

A solo hiker exploring the rugged hills and mountains of Austria

For anyone traveling with a tent, camping is available around the country. There are a few hundred campgrounds scattered around, costing around 5 EUR per night in the low season and around 22 EUR in peak season (July-August). These plots usually do not include electricity.

Two-star budget hotels range from 60-80 EUR per night. Expect basic amenities like TV and Wi-Fi.

Airbnb is another budget option, with private accommodation starting at 50 EUR per night. For an entire home or apartment, expect to pay at least 65 EUR per night (though prices average around 100 EUR).

Food – Austrian cuisine is a meat-oriented one, with soups, stews, and pastries rounding things out. Popular dishes include rindsuppe (beef soup), smoked meat with sauerkraut, wiener schnitzel, strudel, and tafelspitz (beef boiled in broth). Breakfast usually is centered on bread or rolls with cheese and cold meats. For a wider choice of vegetarian options, look for affordable restaurants near the many universities.

A typical inexpensive restaurant meal of traditional cuisine like schnitzel costs around 15 EUR. Expect to pay at least 30 EUR for a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant. Dessert (such as pie or baked goods) is usually around 4-8 EUR.

If you’re on a budget, stick to eating at the local markets where you can find a great selection of traditional Austrian food (like schnitzel, goulash, sausages, and potatoes) as well as Asian, Greek, and Middle Eastern dishes for around 10-14 EUR.

Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 9 EUR for a combo meal. A large pizza should cost less than 20 EUR while Chinese food is 10-15 EUR for a main dish.

A beer at the bar costs around 4.25 EUR while a latte/cappuccino/tea costs 3-4 EUR. Wine is around 5 EUR and bottled water is 2.20 EUR. Soft drinks cost around 2.75 EUR.

If you are planning to cook your own food, a week’s worth of groceries costs around 40-60 EUR for basic staples like rice, pasta, vegetables, and some meat.

Backpacking Austria Suggested Budgets

On a backpacker budget of 65 EUR per day, you can stay in a hostel dorm, cook all of your meals, visit a few museums, take a free walking tour, limit your drinking, and take public transportation to get around. If you plan on drinking, add 5-10 EUR to your budget per day.

On a mid-range budget of about 160 EUR, you can stay in an Airbnb or private hostel room, eat out for some meals, have a few drinks at the bar, see more museums and palaces, day trip to Bratislava, and take the occasional taxi to get around.

On a “luxury” budget of 330 EUR per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink out at the bar as much as you’d like, visit more palaces or go to the opera, rent a car or take taxis to get around, and do some private guided tours. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.

Austria Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Expenses in Austria can add up quickly with all its pricey accommodations, high-end restaurants, and costly outdoor activities and tours. However, there’s plenty of free activities and delicious cheap eats to help keep your costs down. Here are some tips on how to save you money when you visit:

  • Take a free walking tour – Vienna offers a handful of free walking tours which are great ways to get familiar with the city and the culture. Good Tours , Anna Loves Vienna , Vienna Greeters , and The Original Free Vienna Walking Tour are all great options — just be sure to tip your guide at the end!
  • Visit museums for free – Many museums in Vienna are free to visit the first Sunday of every month. That list includes the Wien Museum, Museum of Military History, the Uhrenmuseum (clock museum), and the Roman Museum
  • Ride the Flixbus – Flixbus is a budget-friendly way to explore the country. They have Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, and decent enough sites for overnight and long-haul bus journeys.
  • Cook your own meals – Many hostels here don’t include kitchen facilities, so if you want to save money make sure you book accommodation that does. Buying your own groceries may not be as glamorous as going out to eat, but it definitely saves you money!
  • Stay with a local – Staying with a local via Couchsurfing (or similar sharing economy sites) is a great way to not only save money but you get to meet a knowledgeable local who can help you better understand the country and its people.
  • Skip the City Airport Train in Vienna – Unless you are in a rush to get downtown, skip the City Airport Train. It’s 11 EUR compared to the regular train that is only around 4.30 EUR. The time difference is negligible, and that extra 6.70 EUR is better spent on a cold beer!
  • Walk everywhere – All of the major cities in Austria are quite walkable. Skip public transportation to save a few euros.
  • Enjoy the free spaces – There are plenty of free parks as well as many free hiking trails around the country. Save your budget and enjoy the outdoors!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle – The tap water here is clean and safe so bring a reusable bottle to save money and reduce your single-use plastic usage. LifeStraw is my go-to brand since they have built-in filters to always ensure your water is clean.

Where to Stay in Austria

Austria has plenty of hostels that are fun, clean, and affordable. Here are some of my favorite places to stay:

  • Wombats City Hostel (Vienna)
  • The MEININGER Hotel (Vienna)
  • Der Salzburger Hof and Hotel-Annex (Salzburg)
  • Hostel Marmota (Innsbruck)
  • The A&O Graz Hauptbahnhof (Graz)
  • Jugendgaestehaus Linz (Linz)

How to Get Around Austria

People out and about walking along a narrow old street in charming Austria

Public transportation – Public transportation is clean, safe, and reliable across Austria, with lots of options within larger cities. Expect to pay around 2.40 – 2.60 EUR for a one-way adult ticket on Vienna’s trams, underground subway, and buses. The underground (U-Bahn) runs from about 5:00 AM to midnight and is open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday. Several bus lines run from 12:30 AM. to 5 AM. Always validate your ticket at the machine before boarding. In Graz, a one-hour tram pass is 3 EUR, and tram and bus prices in Salzburg start at 2.30 EUR. Most cities offer day passes, such as Vienna’s 24-hour pass for 8 EUR (there’s also a 48-hour pass for 14.10 EUR and 72-hour pass for 17.10 EUR).

Train – Trains are the best way to get around Austria. They’re fast and affordable, with tickets from Vienna to Graz (2.5 hours) costing as little as 25 EUR and Vienna to Salzburg (3 hours) costing around 40 EUR — those prices require advance booking. Tickets to nearby cities outside of Austria are quite affordable, too. For example, Vienna to Prague (4 hours) starts at about 40 EUR while Vienna to Budapest (2 hours) costs about 30 EUR. Consider Nightjet, Austria’s overnight train. Destinations include Salzburg, Vienna, Innsbruck, Bregenz, and Arlberg. Additionally, you can take it to more than a dozen countries. Prices start at around 40 EUR to Berlin, or about 60 EUR to Paris for carriage seats. Expect to pay more than 100 EUR for a sleeper cabin.

To find routes and prices for trains around Europe, use Trainline .

Bus – Flixbus has routes from Vienna to Graz and Vienna to Bratislava. It’s the cheapest way to get around. The ride from Vienna to Graz offers tickets for as low as 10 EUR (the train costs 40 EUR) while the journey to Bratislava is just 5 EUR.

To find bus routes and prices, use BusBud .

Flying – Flying around the country is possible, but it’s not going to save you any time once you factor in getting to/from the airport. Flights are usually double or triple the price of the train at best, so I’d avoid flying when you visit. The country is small and the trains are fast.

Ridesharing – Use the ride-sharing app BlaBlaCar for both medium and long distances. You can usually find rides for popular routes if you look a couple of days in advance. All you do is pay a small fee (essentially chipping in for gas) and you’re on your way. It usually isn’t much cheaper than the bus, but it’s faster and more interesting!

Car rental – Car rentals cost 20-40 EUR per day. Make sure you have an International Driving Permit (IDP) before you rent as it is required. To find the best car rental prices, use Discover Cars .

When to Go to Austria

There’s no wrong time to visit Austria. The summer months (June-August) offer the best weather, with daily highs around 30°C (86°F). Go in summer for activities like music festivals, “beach” events on the Danube, and plenty to see in the palace gardens across the country. Summer is peak season for tourism so expect crowds in Vienna and Salzburg.

Winter is from December to March. It gets cold, with temperatures dropping as low as -15 °C (5°F). That said, November and December are considered to be the most magical months in Vienna and Salzburg because of their famous Christmas markets and snow-covered alpine villages. It’s also the best time for skiing or snowboarding in the Alps. There are also plenty of holiday concerts and classical music events in Vienna in December.

Personally, I think the best time to visit Austria is shoulder season in the spring and fall (April-June and September-October). It’s still warm during this time but there aren’t as many crowds. This time of year is especially good for outdoor activities like hiking and cycling. In spring, the hillsides are blooming, and October and early November offer amazingly vibrant fall foliage.

How to Stay Safe in Austria

Austria is a very safe country. Violent crime here is rare, and it’s generally safe to walk or take public transportation at night. The only real issue you need to be on the lookout for is petty theft and pickpocketing, which can occur in high-traffic areas in Vienna and Salzburg. As a general rule, don’t wear flashy jewelry or wave around valuables, and always keep your wallet secure when out and about. If you’ve rented a car, don’t leave valuables or suitcases inside where they are visible.

Scams here are rare, but you can read about common travel scams to avoid.

Always check the weather before going off hiking and make sure you have everything you need (water, raincoat, food, etc.). Be mindful that you might not have cell coverage in remote areas, especially in the mountains.

Solo female travelers should feel safe here, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). In Vienna and Salzburg, several hostels offer female-only rooms. If you experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Austria Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Austria Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Europe and continue planning your trip:

10 Scotland Road Trip Tips You Need to Know Before You Go

10 Scotland Road Trip Tips You Need to Know Before You Go

The Perfect 7-Day Croatia Itinerary

The Perfect 7-Day Croatia Itinerary

The 6 Best Hotels in Copenhagen

The 6 Best Hotels in Copenhagen

The 6 Best Hotels in Florence

The 6 Best Hotels in Florence

The 7 Best Hotels in Madrid

The 7 Best Hotels in Madrid

The 6 Best Hotels in Vienna

The 6 Best Hotels in Vienna

Get your  free travel starter kit.

Enter your email and get planning cheatsheets including a step by step checklist, packing list, tips cheat sheet, and more so you can plan like a pro!

austria travel

  • Where To Stay
  • Transportation
  • Booking Resources
  • Related Blogs

Cookies on GOV.UK

We use some essential cookies to make this website work.

We’d like to set additional cookies to understand how you use GOV.UK, remember your settings and improve government services.

We also use cookies set by other sites to help us deliver content from their services.

You have accepted additional cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.

You have rejected additional cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.

austria travel

  • Passports, travel and living abroad
  • Travel abroad
  • Foreign travel advice

Warnings and insurance

Before you travel.

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

  • women travellers
  • disabled travellers
  • LGBT+ travellers
  • solo and independent travel
  • volunteering and adventure travel

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and  get appropriate travel insurance . Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO ) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out  more about  FCDO  travel advice .

Follow and contact FCDO travel on  Twitter ,  Facebook  and  Instagram . You can also sign up to  get email notifications  when this advice is updated.

Related content

Is this page useful.

  • Yes this page is useful
  • No this page is not useful

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.

To help us improve GOV.UK, we’d like to know more about your visit today. Please fill in this survey (opens in a new tab) .

  • Share full article

Advertisement

Supported by

Savoring the Summer at 5 Waterside Hotels

Whether it’s by a lake or an ocean, or in a castle or a cottage, here are places where the water is never far.

A castle-like hotel is shown from above. It sits on a forested peninsula and overlooks a long, deep-blue lake that is surrounded by mountains covered with trees. In the distance are snow-covered peaks. Above, a bank of clouds fills much of the sky.

By Stephanie Rosenbloom

Nothing says summer more than a waterfront getaway. And at these five properties you can make the most of the season, whether you want to splash in the ocean off the Maine coast, paddle board across a reservoir in upstate New York, kayak in a Rhode Island bay, or laze by a river on a South Carolina island. You can even skirt the crowds in Europe’s capitals by escaping to the mountains of Austria where a castle on a lake awaits.

The Catskills, N.Y.

The chatwal lodge.

At this luxury escape in White Lake, N.Y., about a two-hour drive from Manhattan, immerse yourself in more than 100 acres along the Toronto Reservoir. Or better yet, get into the reservoir and go paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking and swimming. And because the Chatwal Lodge is set within the approximately 2,500-acre Chapin Estate , you can also fly-fish on private trout streams there.

On dry land, pretend you’re back in summer camp and try archery, birdhouse decorating, baking classes and yoga. Or visit the recreation center where you can play shuffleboard, duckpin bowling, ping pong, billiards and board games. At night, gather for stargazing and s’mores around a fire pit.

This year, the property added what it calls Treehouses, three accommodations perched about 15 feet above the ground amid oaks and maples, to its 11 existing suites and stand-alone stone cottage. Each treehouse, which can accommodate up to four guests, has a king-size bed on the first level, a loft with a Murphy bed, a living room with a wet bar, a covered balcony, and a deck with a fire pit.

Wandering the Chatwal Lodge, part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, calls to mind the 19th-century Great Camps of the Adirondacks, and a number of rooms there have water views. All of the accommodations have private outdoor space. Seasonal farm-to-table meals can be enjoyed from your private terrace or patio, inside your room, or in the Lodge’s Rustic Grill . Prices for the Lodge, which include all meals (not alcohol) and certain activities, start at $900 a night; prices for the Treehouses start at $2,300 a night during the summer.

Johns Island, S.C.

The dunlin, auberge resorts collection.

Beginning Aug. 1, check into this new 72 room-and-suite luxury property along the Kiawah River and you’ll have 20 miles of waterfront and nature trails to hike and bike. Water activities abound, including kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing classes, clam-harvesting workshops and a “water safari” that takes you on the river’s estuary where you might spot roseate spoonbills , great blue herons and sea turtles. When you’re not exploring the river, check out the spa, which uses honey, including aster honey from local apiaries, for treatments such as nectar-infused facials.

Even though you’re surrounded by nature, you’re just a 40-minute car ride to the buzzy bars and restaurants of downtown Charleston. But there are plenty of places to tuck into a meal just beyond your room, too. For lunch and cocktails make your way to the Cove, a 1950s beach-club-inspired restaurant at the riverfront pool. Order bites like wood-fire-grilled oysters, cocktails and whiskeys at the Willet Room bar, and savor Southern coastal cooking with seafood and river views at Linnette’s restaurant.

The Dunlin, named for a shorebird , has charming, cottage-inspired rooms that play off their sunny Lowcountry surroundings with wicker, linen, and white and mint-green hues by the interior designer Amanda Lindroth . Porches provide places to sip iced tea and gaze at the river. Opt for a suite and you’ll have more space, including a living room and a soaking tub from which you can enjoy views of the water. Prices from $749 a night.

Hof bei Salzburg, Austria

Rosewood schloss fuschl.

On July 1, this 15th-century castle on Lake Fuschl in the Austrian Alps will reopen its doors after closing in 2022 and undergoing a gut renovation. What was once a hunting lodge and a summer residence of the Archbishop of Salzburg is now part of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts , and it will have 98 rooms, including suites and stand-alone, lakefront chalets, as well as places to try regional cuisine, which emphasizes fish from local lakes, cheeses and wood-fired bread. A spa will include a heated infinity outdoor pool, an indoor pool and a fitness center. The big draw, of course, is the vast blue-green lake, and staying there means you can participate in activities like a fishing excursion that might wind up with you beside the water savoring a freshly smoked catch served on newspaper.

And while the tranquillity of the lake and the property’s walking trails may make you feel far from city life, Salzburg and its historic center , which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is only a half-hour car ride away. If you’re willing to explore a little farther, the picturesque lakeside village of Hallstatt — part of the breathtaking Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut Alpine region , which is also on the UNESCO list — is about an hour’s drive from the resort.

Wherever you choose to spend the days, they’ll conclude in your elegant room where soothing hues are in keeping with the natural surroundings. Most of the rooms have full or partial views of the lake, and some have private outdoor space as well, including the lakefront chalets. Summer prices from €800 a night, or about $870.

Ogunquit, Maine

The dunes on the waterfront.

On the southern coast of Maine, amid flowers and picket fences, the cottages at the Dunes are scattered across 12 acres of lawns near the Atlantic Ocean. Following a renovation, the property just opened with 21 whitewashed cottages with green shutters, ranging from one-to-three bedrooms, all with a private porch or patio, and a fireplace.

In the morning you can have coffee, baked goods and a newspaper delivered to your door. Later, take a five-minute walk to get fresh seafood at the Ogunquit Lobster Pound . The charming restaurants, bars, shops and sandy beaches of Ogunquit are also a stroll away, or you can hop on one of the hotel’s complementary bikes and ride into town. The hotel also has row boats for you to cross the river to the popular Ogunquit Beach.

Back at the Dunes, owned by Atlantic Hospitality , whose properties in Maine include the Claremont Hotel and the Lincoln Hotel , go fishing off the new dock, paddle boarding, kayaking, or join a waterfront yoga class. Take a dip in the heated swimming pool with views of the ocean, or while away an afternoon playing lawn games. Prices from $950 a night for a one-bedroom cottage.

Newport, R.I.

Newport harbor island resort.

Fresh off a $50 million renovation, this resort on the site of a former torpedo factory has 257 rooms and suites, and a 22-slip marina where you can take to the water on inflatable paddle boards and in kayaks. A new seasonal water taxi will whisk you from the marina to the shops and restaurants of downtown Newport.

Or stay put and feast on seafood at the resort. The restaurant 1639 has New England classics like clam chowder and lobster, which you can enjoy on its outdoor deck or indoors with views of the harbor. Head to the Pineapple Club for its pool, cabanas and restaurant, where a new menu includes lobster rolls, salads and flatbreads, and grown-ups can slip into a new adults-only seating area. For more sea-inspired dishes like blue crab toast and tarragon lobster, visit the Torpedo Bar & Lounge . And satisfy your sweet tooth at the Bakery , a new spot to grab coffee and baked goods on the go.

Previously known as Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina, the resort is now owned by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust . The rooms, most with views of the water and many with balconies or patios, have new furniture and are decorated in calming earth tones. Go for a swim in the outdoor saltwater pool or, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, in the heated indoor pool. Stop into the spa for a massage or body treatment, work out in the fitness center, or feel the sea breeze in your hair as you take a ride on one of the complementary bicycles. Prices from $459 a night, varying by season.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Get Out on the Water This Summer

3 6 Hours in Traverse City, Mich.:  Explore the laid-back city loved for its annual cherry festival, unspoiled lake vistas and access to epic dunes .

6 Great Beaches for Families:  For families with children, we found half a dozen beaches in the United States and Mexico , each tailored to a particular summer activity.

Surfing in Texas: A wave pool in Waco offers consistent conditions, affordable prices and a friendly vibe for beginner surfers .

Hidden Island Treasures: Being far from everywhere is the point in the Magdalens, a colorful and tranquil Quebec island chain  north of Prince Edward Island.

A Famous Massachusetts Inn: A writer returns to a classic Nantucket hotel, where he worked 50 years ago, to ponder how he, the island, and the newly refurbished inn have changed .

5 Waterfront Hotels : Whether it’s by a river, lake or ocean, or in a castle, cottage or on the site of a former torpedo factory, here are places to stay where the water is never far away .

austria travel

Travelling to Croatia by car: which way, where to fill your tank and highway tolls

T his summer season Croatia is expecting more tourists than last year, when over half a million Slovaks travelled to the Adriatic Sea. The vast majority chose to travel by car.

That's why we tried routes at the beginning of the season, one through Hungary, the other through Austria and Slovenia. We were interested in the current prices of highway tolls and new toll stickers. We discovered when to expect changes in the Croatian toll system and where there is a risk of delays due to roadwork.

Toll stickers

It is a good idea to buy a toll sticker before the trip. One piece of good news is that an Austrian one can be bought online without waiting 18 days for the validity to start.

The biggest news is the introduction of one-day stickers; unfortunately not every country offers them and sometimes they are not worth it.

The idea was to enable cheaper travel, especially in cases where holidaymakers are just passing through a given country. However, two problems arose.

Firstly, the validity of a sticker is tied to a calendar day, not 24 hours from the moment of purchase. In other words, those who wish to depart in the evening must take into account that after midnight their sticker will no longer be valid.

Still, you might not save anything, because you also have to take the return trip into account.

In Hungary, a one-day highway ticket costs €13.40 (5150 forints) and a 10-day one costs €16.60 (6400 forints). Therefore, those who plan to return via Hungary should not buy two one-day stickers.

Always buy them directly from the local highway operator, not from providers with higher prices. In the case of Hungary, you can buy them there , but you need to sign up first. If you already have an account, but will drive a different car than before, verify the vehicle registration number the sticker you're buying is attached to.

The situation is similar to Austria where a one-day sticker is also not worth it at €8.60, while a 10-day one costs €11.50. You can buy them there .

Slovenia is not offering a one-day sticker yet, so you still have to buy a 7-day sticker for €16. In the case of a lorry the price is €32. You can buy them there .

*is valid for 7 days

**is valid for 2 months

Travel through Hungary

Tolls: €58.20

We left Bratislava shortly after 08:00 in the morning and our destination was Split.

According to Google Maps, we would complete the more than 770-kilometre journey in 7 hours and 50 minutes; an accident had been reported ahead of Zagreb. We also planned for three shorter stops at rest sites.

There are very few of them in Hungary; also, highway sections are also lacking. Nevertheless, this is the shortest route, especially if you do not go around Lake Balaton and turn right near Mosonmagyaróvár, stick to the M86 road, which partially parallels the E65 international road, and continue to Csorna and Szombathely.

We preferred to travel through Hungary during the day due to the smaller risk of encountering forest animals and undisciplined drivers. But near Csorn, a car suddenly appeared in front of us while trying to overtake a truck. All we could do was brake and steer to the side.

When travelling through Austria and Slovenia, you don't have to worry about this as you are driving on highways the entire time.

After passing Szombathely, the road continues to Lenti and joins the M70 highway next to the Slovenian border. If you don't know this road, do not let the signs for Budapest confuse you; you'll be able to turn right towards the Letenye-Goričan border crossing.

You might even miss it since Croatia is part of the Schengen zone; you will stop at the first toll gate, from where the journey to Zagreb is easy.

Renovated rest stops and modern McDonald's restaurants have sprung up near some gas stations in Croatia. There are also charging stations for electric cars.

It takes 400 kilometres to get from Zagreb to Split, but the journey on the highway around Zadar went by quickly. In some sections, however, we noticed the deteriorating condition of the road surface. After more than 20 years, it already needs a more complex reconstruction, gradually being carried out.

During the summer season, the highway sections with traffic diverted to one lane will probably cause problems for drivers. The part of the highway near the Hrastovec tunnel under repair should be finished by mid-June. Current restrictions can be found here .

We arrived at our destination in Split at 16:30. The journey took 8 and a half hours without jams and with three short breaks.

Travel through Austria and Slovenia

Tolls: €69.90

On our return trip to Slovakia we opted for a longer and more comfortable route. Since we would drive on the highway all the time, it allowed us to drive at a higher speed. In terms of time, it is comparable to the journey through Hungary.

You can cover the 830 kilometre trip from Split to Bratislava in 8 hours. This season, however, there are several problematic sections to take notice of, most due to roadwork.

The first section is near Hrastovec tunnel in Croatia. A funnel is created because the work is being carried out in stages. Another delay occurred at the border, where the Slovenian police checked whether there were any migrants in the vehicles.

Jams began to form again in front of the Spielfeld-Šentijl border crossing, which is undergoing reconstruction, including a new road surface. There are fewer lanes on the Slovenian side.

However, you should know that repairs are being performed on several sections on the highway between Graz and Vienna. In order to avoid collisions, the drivers of passenger cars (designated PKW) are guided towards a narrower temporary lane in the opposite direction, which is slower than for trucks (designated LKW).

Toll in Croatia

Although many Slovaks would probably welcome the elimination of toll gates in Croatia in the holiday season, this will not happen until at least the second half of 2026.

It is interesting that the tender for the new Croatian toll system was won by the Czech Tollnet and Slovak SkyToll companies. However, the Austrian Kapsch TrafficCom company filed an appeal against the selection, which has delayed the introduction of the new system.

The new system still includes toll gates, but should allow passing without stopping and paying, which every year causes long jams during the summer season.

Jams at toll gates can also be avoided by purchasing the credit ENC electronic payment system. You can find a list of sales points where you can buy the device here .

Be prepared to pay by card even without the device, which shortens the stay at toll gates. Lučko, the busiest gate located near Zagreb, has separate sections for card and ENC payments located on the right, two kilometres ahead of the cash gate, where long jams form.

The amount of fees depends on the length of the highway section used; for example, from the Hungarian border, the Goričan - Sveta Helena section near Zagreb will cost you €5.80, but the section from the Lučko gate to the Dugopolje gate before Split will cost you €24. You can see how much given sections will cost you here .

The cheapest fuel prices are once again in Croatia this year. A litre of 95-octane gasoline in Split will cost €1.54, while in Bratislava it is €1.64. Therefore it is worth refuelling when returning from Croatia. At the time of our visit, it didn't matter whether we did so on the highway or in a city.

In Slovenia, we paid the same prices for gasoline as in Croatia. In Hungary, a litre of 95-octane gasoline cost €1.57.

Refuelling in Austria has always been the most expensive; it pays to get off the highway and find a cheaper filling station. Otherwise a litre of gasoline costs €1.63; on the highway it was €2.

Accommodation

If you are not the hotel type and prefer an apartment, it is not a problem finding one even a day before departure when booking through Booking.com. However, this is more the case at the beginning of the summer season, when there are a lot of apartments to choose from.

Once we booked an apartment, we almost immediately received a confirmation and a few kind words from the hostess, saying that she was looking forward to seeing us. The fact that we only wanted accommodation for one night was not a problem either.

We chose accommodation in a house three kilometres from the centre of Split and near the city beach. We discovered a single inconvenience right on the spot: a new house was being constructed right next door and there was a lot of construction activity during the day.

The nearest beach was turned into a large construction site too, because it was being renovated thanks to European funds. Checking the surroundings via Google Street View didn't help us this time, so it's a good idea to look at the latest reviews for the place you've chosen for your stay.

National Geographic content straight to your inbox—sign up for our popular newsletters here

A row of coastal multi coloured houses in Scotland which are reflected in the calm waters.

A practical guide to touring Scotland's islands, from midge-dodging to ferry bookings

Get the most out of your visit with our booking tips and packing advice.

Most of the 900-odd islands and islets off the coast of Scotland can be grouped into four main archipelagos: Shetland and Orkney in the north, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides in the east. They’re impossible to neatly define — some with rocky crags, some with shores so scenic they could stand in for the Tropics. Although remote, they can be busy, and it pays to plan in advance.

How far in advance should I book my accommodation?

Although you might get away with rocking up in towns like Stornoway and Lerwick and finding a bed for the night on the hoof, it’s worth remembering that you’re dealing with a rural region, and hotels are few and far between. If you’re travelling in the peak summer season or during school holidays, you’ll need to book several months in advance — if not longer — to secure the best rooms.

How frequent are the ferry crossings, and how far in advance should I book them?

The ferries are the lifeblood of the islands, so most major destinations have at least a daily link to the mainland. While you can often turn up at a ferry port and travel on the next available service, it’s always best to book your journeys in advance, especially if you’re travelling with a car.

CalMac , which serves many of the islands off the west coast, generally publishes its summer timetable in January and its winter schedule in September, with bookings opening in phases shortly afterwards. NorthLink Ferries , which serves Orkney and Shetland, usually publishes its timetable and opens bookings for the following calendar year in November. If you’re travelling between Aberdeen and Lerwick, you’ll sail overnight and will need to book either a cabin, sleeping pod or reclining seat — best done as far in advance as possible.

What should I pack?

Whatever your plans, you’ll need layers (thermal ones in winter), a decent rain jacket and waterproof shoes. Leave out the formal wear; the isles are a laid-back place, and even the fanciest dinner can be enjoyed in a jumper and walking boots.

Should I plan for rain?

The Scottish weather has a dreadful reputation, and there’s a reason so many Scots jet off in summer to destinations with guaranteed warm, dry weather. Scotland, and particularly its west coast, is a wet and windy place — but as islanders love to say, if you don’t like the weather, wait and it’ll change. This is a place where clouds tend to scuttle overhead rather than bed in for the long haul, so take the local advice to do things ‘between weathers’: when you get a sunny spell, make sure to make the most of it.

What about the midges?

Scotland’s famous midges can ruin an otherwise pleasant summer’s evening. While these teeny, flying insects are intensely annoying, their bites are harmless, and you won’t encounter them if it’s sunny, even slightly windy or outside the summer months. They like dark clothing, so wear lights and brights, and apply a liberal spray of Smidge insect repellent — it’s DEET-free and was invented by a Scottish midge expert.

For Hungry Minds

Related topics.

  • SHORT TRIPS
  • CITY GUIDES
  • TRAIN TRIPS

You May Also Like

austria travel

How to plan a weekend on Scotland's wild Isle of Arran

austria travel

10 best things to do in Switzerland

austria travel

20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024

austria travel

Why this Austrian Alpine town makes the ultimate summer weekend break

austria travel

A winter guide to Austria, from cities to mountains

  • Paid Content
  • Environment
  • Photography
  • Perpetual Planet

History & Culture

  • History & Culture
  • History Magazine
  • Mind, Body, Wonder
  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Your US State Privacy Rights
  • Children's Online Privacy Policy
  • Interest-Based Ads
  • About Nielsen Measurement
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information
  • Nat Geo Home
  • Attend a Live Event
  • Book a Trip
  • Inspire Your Kids
  • Shop Nat Geo
  • Visit the D.C. Museum
  • Learn About Our Impact
  • Support Our Mission
  • Advertise With Us
  • Customer Service
  • Renew Subscription
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Work at Nat Geo
  • Sign Up for Our Newsletters
  • Contribute to Protect the Planet

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society Copyright © 2015-2024 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved

COMMENTS

  1. Holidays in Austria

    Discover the joy of life in the heart of Europe with Austria's nature, culture, and culinary delights. Find itineraries, hotels, tips, and events for your summer holiday in Austria.

  2. 15 things to know before going to Austria

    Austria is one of the safest places you can travel to, whether you're visiting with friends and family or traveling solo. But it's wise not to keep your wallet in your back pocket or an open purse. One place I'd be particularly wary of my belongings is the train from the airport to Vienna main station. Don't put your backpack or carry-on in ...

  3. Austria travel

    Discover Austria's rich culture, stunning scenery and diverse attractions with Lonely Planet's expert tips and recommendations. Explore the best time and places to visit, from imperial Vienna to alpine peaks, and find top picks from our travel experts.

  4. 12 of the best places to visit in Austria

    Discover 12 of the most stunning and diverse destinations in Austria, from the Alpine resort of Zell am See to the futuristic city of Linz. Explore the culture, history, nature and cuisine of this Central European country with Lonely Planet's expert tips and insights.

  5. Austria Travel Guide Resources & Trip Planning Info by Rick Steves

    Find out why Austria is a great destination for alpine scenery, culture, and cuisine. Learn about its history, attractions, and tips from Rick Steves' resources and trip planning info.

  6. Austria Travel Guide

    Plan your visit to Austria with Rough Guides, the best guide to Austria. Find out where to go, what to do, where to stay and travel essentials for your trip.

  7. Things to Do in Austria Plan Your Trip

    Explore Austria's diverse attractions, from cultural and historical sights to hiking trails and ski slopes. Find out how to plan your trip, book flights, and enjoy Austrian hospitality with Austrian Airlines.

  8. Austria Travel Planning Guide

    Learn about Austria's geography, culture, currency, language, and transportation options. Find out how to plan your trip to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, and other top destinations in this Central European country.

  9. Holidays in Austria: The Official Travel Guide

    Travel to Austria: Information for your next holiday to Austria on austria.info, the official website of the Austrian National Tourist Office.

  10. Austria

    Austria ( German: Österreich) is a landlocked German-speaking country in Central Europe. Austria, along with neighbouring Switzerland, is the winter sports centre of Europe. However, it is just as popular for summer tourists who visit its historic cities and villages and hike in the magnificent scenery of the Alps .

  11. Austria Itinerary: Where to Go in Austria by Rick Steves

    Rick's Best Two-Week Austria Trip (by Train) Day 1: Fly into Vienna (sleep in Vienna) Day 2: Vienna (sleep in Vienna) Day 3: Vienna (sleep in Vienna) Day 4: Vienna (sleep in Vienna — or head to Melk in evening if biking or cruising Danube on Day 5) Day 5: Danube Valley (Melk to Krems and back) (sleep in Melk)

  12. Austria International Travel Information

    For additional travel information. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern ...

  13. The Ultimate 5 to 7 Days in Austria Itinerary

    Plan your trip to Austria with this guide that covers the best things to do in Vienna and other destinations. Learn how to get to and around Austria, where to stay, and what to see in 5 to 7 days.

  14. Austria Travel Guide + Map

    Austria Travel Map. In the map below, we've marked must-visit cities, towns, river valleys, hiking destinations, mountain huts, and hotels in Austria. For a curated list of top places to visit, read Best Places to Visit in Austria. If you're traveling to Austria in summer, read Summer in Austria and if you're traveling to Austria in ...

  15. Austria Travel Guide

    Our worldwide travel correspondents bring you the best and most up-to-date coverage of over 7,500 global destinations. Fodor's Vienna & the Best of Austria: with Salzburg & Skiing in the Alps. Get ...

  16. 34 Best Places To Visit In Austria In 2024: Top Attractions & How To Reach

    Explore the enchanting country of Austria with its dream-like landscapes, stunning architecture and music. Discover the top attractions and how to reach them in Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck and more.

  17. 20+ Austria Travel Tips for First Timers & Must Knows Before You Go

    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. 24. Prepare to pay for public bathrooms.

  18. The Ultimate Austria Travel Guide • The Blonde Abroad

    Learn everything you need to know about traveling to Austria, from the best time to visit, to the language, currency, and safety tips. Discover the country's charming villages, stunning mountains, and cultural attractions in this ultimate guide.

  19. The Perfect 10 Day Austria Road Trip Itinerary

    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.

  20. Latest Information on the Coronavirus Situation in Austria

    All Covid-related entry requirements have been lifted in Austria. Find out more about travelling to Austria, staying in Austria and enjoying the summer in Austria.

  21. Austria Travel Guide for 2024

    Austria is a small landlocked country right in the heart of Europe bordered by Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland. The landscape is mountainous with the Alps running right through the country and peaks rising up to over 3,500 metres. Almost half of Austria is forested while the other half ...

  22. Austria Budget Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Austria Travel Costs. Accommodation - Hostel dorms are your cheapest accommodation option in Austria, with prices starting around 16 EUR per night for a 6-8-bed dorm (though they average closer to 45 EUR). For a private room, expect to pay 40-75 EUR per night.

  23. AUSTRIA TRAVEL TIPS FOR FIRST TIMERS

    Planning to visit Austria for the first time? In this video, I'm sharing all my best Austria travel tips for new visitors, from important must-knows for your...

  24. Austria travel advice

    FCDO travel advice for Austria. Includes safety and security, insurance, entry requirements and legal differences.

  25. Savoring the Summer at 5 Waterside Hotels

    Once a hunting lodge and a summer residence of the Archbishop of Salzburg, the Rosewood Schloss Fuschl, opening on July 1, overlooks Lake Fuschl in the Austrian Alps.

  26. Travelling to Croatia by car: which way, where to fill your tank and

    Travel through Austria and Slovenia. Tolls: €69.90. On our return trip to Slovakia we opted for a longer and more comfortable route. Since we would drive on the highway all the time, it allowed ...

  27. A practical guide to touring Scotland's islands

    20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024. TRAVEL. Why this Austrian Alpine town makes the ultimate summer weekend break. TRAVEL. A winter guide to Austria, from cities to mountains. Go Further.