What to see in Austria: the best places
Austria is a beautiful country with a developed tourist infrastructure. The main flow of tourists is in the winter season. Which is not surprising, given that much of the country occupy the Alps. Here like nowhere else is developed ski tourism. However it would be a mistake to consider the country suitable only for skiers and fans of eco-tourism. In Austria there is a lot to see, where to go and what to do. About everything in order below.
What to see by car
Austria is a small country and its main attractions are convenient to visit by car. Between tourist sites distance does not exceed 100 – 150 km. This allows in one day to see several monuments, cities, castles or national parks. The main thing to visit is of course the castles of Austria.
Just forty kilometers from Salzburg is a beautiful castle, built in the 11th century. It was built to defend the lands of Salzburg, and it successfully coped with its task. The main advantage of the castle lay in its location, he was guarding the only pass that could be accessed by these lands. Today Hohenwerfen Castle can be visited by anyone. Inside, visitors are welcomed by double gates, powerful fortifications, an underground temple, and a number of museums. A beautiful view of the Salzach river valley opens up from here.
Three kilometers from the border with Lichtenstein in a small Austrian town is the castle of Schattenburg. Its main task was to protect the trade routes and the settlement of Feldkirch. In its long history the castle was destroyed several times, it was used as a prison or barracks, and there was even an almshouse within its walls. Today there is a museum here, as in many similar castles.
In the rock right under the building of Schattenburg is a road. And in the courtyard of the castle is a cozy restaurant, which is pleased to visit the local residents and tourists.
It is noteworthy that the castle is located on private property, and access to it is restricted. However, you can admire it from afar. Castle Anif stands in the small town of the same name near Salzburg. The castle is a building in the Gothic style with a classic English garden around it.
One of the most beautiful castles in the country is near the border with Italy and Slovenia. It was first mentioned in documents in the ninth century. It was built to defend against Turkish invasions, and by the sixteenth century it represented a powerful system of fortifications. Fortunately the castle never took part in any major battle or war, which allowed it to perfectly well preserve. The castle was built on a high cliff, the ascent to which requires good physical preparation. To get inside you have to go through fourteen gates with poetic names: Angel’s Gate, Lion’s Gate. Inside the castle Hochosterwitz is a nice collection of medieval weapons and paintings.
Austria in summer
The best time to visit the Wachau Valley is summer. The valley enjoys a well-deserved popularity among tourists. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, it is close to Vienna. Secondly, the Wachau Valley is a major wine region. And third, there is a high concentration of historical monuments and sites. If these facts are not enough for you, you should also mention: Wachau Valley has been added by UNESCO to the list of World Heritage Sites.
A sightseeing tour of the Wachau Valley begins in the small town of Melk. The town has many interesting historical sites. Here you can find perfectly preserved medieval buildings of the streets. The attention is attracted by the old town hall building, which dates back to the sixteenth century. There is also an interesting bakery building with an atypical roof. But the main attraction of the city is of course the Melk Abbey.
The abbey is beautifully preserved both outside and inside. Nearby is a beautiful park, where you can admire the linden alley and walk along well-groomed paths. The Abbey building itself has a museum that is open to the public. Here are stored precious manuscripts and books, there is the tomb of St. Coloman, as well as the remains of the first rulers of Austria. In addition to the museum, the church of Peter and Paul is a must-see. The baroque temple is beautifully decorated. Inside everything is decorated with marble, gold and beautiful frescoes.
Dürnstein on the River Danube in the Wachau Valley. Austria
The next must-see item on your visit to the Wachau Valley is the town of Dürnstein. The city is located on the left bank of the Danube. It looks like a picture postcard: on a rock face the ruins of the castle Kühringerburg, vineyards down, and medieval houses by the river. In addition to the castle you can see the Augustinian monastery with the church of Mariz Himmelfart. The area produces fine wine, as well as apricot liqueur.
City of Krems-na-Dunae, Wachau Valley in Austria
The journey through the Wachau Valley ends with the town of Krems, located at the confluence of two rivers. This is another beautiful Austrian town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Krems is only 60 km from Vienna and is easily reached by train or river cruise on the Danube by ship. The old city is riddled with winding streets, flanked by ancient medieval buildings. It’s a must to visit the city’s museum to learn about the history of the city. You can also see the remains of fortifications and churches built in the Baroque style. In the Piaristenkirche church, admire the frescos by Master Schmidt.
Austria is the center of European ecotourism. And it is well deserved. Much of the country is covered by the majestic Alps, while the remainder is given over to national parks and covered with beautiful lakes.
Alpine Lakes, Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt is another small town located on the lake of the same name. Salt mines have been mined there for three thousand years. The growth of the town is constrained by the small amount of free land between the rocks and the lake. Therefore, the land here is expensive and used by local residents rationally. The most interesting thing awaits the tourist in the Hallstatt Chapel: bleached skulls with the personal data of the deceased. The last skull dates back to 1981. This tradition arose due to a shortage of land for the cemetery.
Kriml Falls, Salzburg, Austria
Krimmel Falls can be safely called the European Niagara. This picturesque place is located near Salzburg. Visitors are invited to take a hiking route along the rapids of the waterfall. Along the way are great views, excellent viewing platforms, where you can take great pictures. The best time to visit Krimmel Falls – summer.
Lookout point on Dahstein Mountain
On the Dachstein Glacier there is an attraction for the most adventurous. The highest suspension bridge in the country is built here. On a clear day there is a stunning view of the Alps. And the glass viewing platform at a height of several hundred meters is worth a tickle.
What to see in Vienna
Vienna – a museum city. This center of European cultural life. Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven once created here, and today the Vienna Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic are the best in the world. The city that sprawls at the foot of the Alps on the banks of the Danube is visited by millions of tourists every year.
Christmas market in Vienna
The Vienna State Opera is a jewel in the cultural heritage. Originally the theater was called the Court Opera, but after the annexation to Germany it got its present name. The Vienna State Opera has hosted some of the world’s leading voices: Pavarotti, Domingo and Maria Callass. It was the Vienna State Opera that brought Vienna fame as the musical capital of Europe.
Vienna State Opera at night
The Vienna State Opera became the site of the famous Vienna Ball. Every year around 5,000 guests attend it. Participants of the Viennese ball have to dance polonaise, waltz and polka perfectly. The ball also requires a strict dress code. At the Vienna ball necessarily played music by Mozart, Strauss, Haydn.
A huge palace, made in the Baroque style, is located in the western part of Vienna. It is the main residence of the Austrian monarchs. Every year, millions of tourists and Viennese visit the classic park ensemble and Schönbrunn Palace itself. The park impresses with the abundance of greenery, fountains, and the presence of imitation of Roman ruins. Children will be interested in visiting the zoo at Schönbrunn. The decor of the palace is lavish and sumptuous. It is easy to imagine how the emperor used to receive visitors in the Hall of Mirrors, how important state affairs were decided in the study, how the servants changed dishes for the monarch’s family at the big dining table and how people danced in ball gowns here. Schönbrunn is a calling card and symbol of Vienna.
Vienna International Center
Vienna International Center
On the left bank of the Danube River in Vienna is the seat of the United Nations. The building complex, which is called the “UN City” among Viennese, consists of six towers. The maximum height is over one hundred and twenty meters. The Vienna International Centre is open for guided tours. Inside the building, you can tour the exhibition, meeting room and conference room.
What to see besides Vienna
There are at least two other cities worth visiting besides the Austrian capital of Vienna. One of them is located on the banks of the Danube River, some two hundred kilometers from Vienna. The second city is located at the foot of the Alps. We are talking about the city of Linz and the city of Salzburg.
The city of Linz
The history of the city is inextricably linked to the activities of the ancient Romans to expand the territory of the ancient Roman Empire. The Romans built a fortress here to protect their northern borders. The remains of the fortress were later included in the construction of the castle. The Plague Column in memory of the deliverance of Linz from the epidemic is erected on the Main Square. It is also possible to admire the building of the City Hall, the facade of which was changed from Gothic to Baroque.
The best place to look is on the Nibelungen Bridge. From here you have an open view of Linz on both banks of the Danube.
Linz, Austria. Nibelungen Bridge over the Danube River
Austria’s largest church is also located in Linz, with a capacity of up to 20,000 people. The New Cathedral or the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is striking with its stained glass windows. The cathedral was supposed to be the tallest in Austria, but due to a ban on buildings taller than St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, those plans had to be abandoned. It is possible to hear classical organ music concerts there.
The new cathedral of Linz
The history of Linz would not be complete if we forgot to mention the city’s connection with Adolf Hitler. He spent his childhood years here. And on the outskirts of Linz is the tomb of the Nazi dictator’s parents.
The City of Salzburg
The city of Salzburg is removed from the capital of Austria Vienna on 300 km. It is located at the foot of the Alps, where the city center to the mighty peaks just a few kilometers. Through the center, winding through a horseshoe, the river Salzach flows.
Mount Festungsberg is a majestic sight, and on its summit stands the mighty citadel of Hohensalzburg. The way up can be overcome either on foot or by cable car. In the fortress are still preserved palace, prison, monastery, bakery and many gun exhibits.
Salzburg Cathedral has a difficult history. It has been rebuilt several times because of fires, and the last reconstruction was to repair the collapsed dome after the bombings. Today it is possible to visit not only the church itself, but also the museum attached to it. The museum holds a collection gathered by the archbishops. In the cathedral, the bronze baptismal font in which Mozart was baptized is of particular interest.
Mozart’s birthplace in Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is primarily known around the world as the Little Fatherland of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Here you can visit the house where the musical genius spent his childhood and adolescence. The house museum tells about the life of Mozart and the people of his time, and the music of the composer can be heard in the halls.
Mirabel Gardens in Salzburg, Austria
A great place to stroll would be the park ensemble next to the Mirabel Palace, which means “very beautiful” in Italian. The park is made in the classic English style, with straight alleys and ornaments in the form of sculptures. Among all the sculptures, the attention is attracted by the garden dwarfs. The interior decoration of the palace is practically not preserved, except for the Marble Hall. Today the Palace of Marriages is located here. The residents of Salzburg consider it the most beautiful place for getting married.
Photos, descriptions, maps of places you must visit in Austria.
Austria is a very picturesque country. Sights of Austria attract millions of tourists every year. We have tried to highlight the most striking – both natural sights and places created by people.
Attractions Austria on the map
1. Halstatt (Haalstatt Hallstatt), Salzkammergut, Austria
A small town on the shore of the Alpine lake Hallstattsee (Hallstatt see). The most photographed place in Austria. It is so beautiful that the Chinese have built a replica there, and UNESCO has included it in their lists of historical heritage.
Galstatt is located away from the main hiking trails, in one of the mountain valleys of Upper Austria. It is an old town from the 12th century, with only 920 inhabitants, and is visited by more than 1 million tourists a year. There are only two streets in the town, and now to get into the town you first have to go around it through a tunnel in the mountain, park, and go for a walk into town. There are the oldest salt mines in Europe, the salt has been mined here for more than 3000 years and is still being used on an industrial scale.
Above the town at a height of 360 meters there is a breathtaking skywalk (from the beauty of the lake, mountains and town), you can take a funicular, or walk up the hill, and then a path leads to the salt mines.
In winter and summer on the lake Galstat boat runs. In winter it brings passengers from the train station, and in summer there are also sightseeing trips around the entire lake. The town from the water is particularly charming.
And although there are many sights and antiquities, Haalstat is primarily a peaceful, pastoral picture of a beautiful, neat town on the shores of a perfect lake.
2. the Aqua Dome thermal spa, Tyrol, austria
If you haven’t been to a thermal, you haven’t been to Austria . And the Aquadome Thermae is one of the best in Austria. In the heart of the Ötztal Valley Tyrol, near one of the most popular ski resorts, Solden. The village of Langefeld, where a huge thermal spa was once located, has built a great thermal baths. It’s a great place to unwind on a frosty evening after skiing.
There are three big bowls built outdoors: thermal water with a Jacuzzi, a sulfur bowl, and a bowl with music and color music under the water for complete relaxation.
There is a full-fledged swimming pool, children’s area and even slides. But what makes it worth coming here is the SPA and sauna area (7 different kinds), relaxation rooms will give you a day of rest and complete relaxation. The water temperature in thermae ranges from 8 to 36 degrees Celsius, your body will thank you for these contrasts.
The Ötztal Valley in itself is worth a visit. In winter you can ski at one of the top ski resorts, Sölden, and in summer you can drive from Austria to Italy over the pass on one of Austria’s most beautiful panoramic roads, the Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road.
At the thermal complex built an excellent hotel Aqua Dome 4 * from which you can get by underground passage in the baths. This is the best place to relax in the Ötztal Valley, and the whole of Austria.
Aqua Dome is the most popular thermal complex in Austria. There are many thermal complexes in Austria, and for all tastes, but this one is really the best.
3. Austria’s most beautiful village Alpbach, Tyrol, Austria
The Austrians once held a general vote and decided that Alpbach is the most beautiful village in Austria. The local population actively supports this concept. In summer, the village is buried in flowers with a view of emerald meadows and white mountain caps. Stop here, at least for a couple of hours if you travel by car, such as from Salzburg to Innsbruck. It’s fabulously beautiful and aesthetically pleasing! And in winter, Alpbach is exquisitely decorated for the Christmas holidays.
Also near the village is a very cozy ski resort Alpbach with very affordable, as for Austria, prices.
4. Zell am See
Zell am See is a ski resort, palace and city on the shore of the very beautiful Lake Zell, in the land of Salzburg. Its popularity is not only due to the beauty of its surroundings: from the summit of the Schmittenhoe mountain above Zell am See is a view of 11 tricity mountains (mountains with glaciers on top all year round), it is a truly majestic spectacle. And you can also ski here all year round on the neighboring Kaprun Glacier. That is, in the summer, you can go skiing in one day, swim in Lake Zell, and spend the evening in the thermal complex TAUERN SPA Zell am See – Kaprun.
The population of the town is just under 10,000 people, but in the winter there are more than 100,000 skiers who come here. In summer there are many biking and hiking trails. Nearby is the largest national park in Austria – Hohe Tauern Hohe Tauern with the famous cascade of Krimmel waterfall. Also nearby is the 3,798 m-high Großglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, with the beautiful Großglockner mountain highway.
The Austrian emperors liked to rest here. That’s why they built a railroad and a luxurious Grand Hotel Zell am See right on the shore of the lake.
This is a nice cozy town with cozy streets, old church and a lot of cafes and restaurants.
5. Grossglockner – high road (Grossglockner Hochalpenstraße)
Grossglockner is the highest panoramic road in Austria, one of the ten most beautiful roads in Europe. And undoubtedly, it is one of the most striking sights in Austria. Previously this road served as a pass from Austria to Italy, near the highest mountain in Austria. Then a road was built in the valley and the road lost its importance. It became popular again after the motorcycle rally was held here. Now there are a lot of car and motorcycle races. Tourists make here mind-blowing photos with views of the serpentine and the local natives – marmots and glaciers. This place is definitely worth your attention.
The road is open from May to October, with a toll of 35 euros per car.
6. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is the second largest and most important city in Austria. This is the capital of the salt region – Salzkammergut, which concentrated many attractions Austria. This is the city with the most beautiful and largest fortress in Europe on the eastern side of the Alps – Hohensalzburg. There is excellent beer here. This is where the famous “Sound of Music” was filmed.
This is where Mozart was born. The street on which his house is located is decorated with the most ornate wrought iron signs, even at Starbucks and McDonald’s. There’s a chic Christmas fair.
7. Wien, Austria
The capital of Austria is Vienna. In every old house, palace and cathedral of the city you can feel the royal scale of the former Austrian Empire. There are Austria’s most delicious pastry shops: Sacher and Demel, where you will not only be served desserts based on recipes from 300 years ago, croissants, which the whole world knows as croissants, but also excellent Viennese coffee.
The beautiful old St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Graben, the famous Vienna Opera House and the first “amusement park” in the world – the Pratter Park, be sure to take a ride on the observation wheel and then have a beer in the biergarten (beer garden).
Vienna is one of the capitals of the world, with ancient streets, rich museums and history. And be sure to take the famous yellow sightseeing streetcar.
8. Grünersee, Austria.
Green Lake Grüner See is located in the federal state of Styria, Austria, in the Hochschwab mountains . This is a very unusual lake with an emerald green color. In May and June, the green valley is filled with meltwater from the neighboring mountains and glaciers, and the green lawn becomes the bottom of a green lake
The depth of the lake reaches 12 meters. Divers can sit on benches or swim over hiking trails just under the water. Then the meltwater subsides and the lake remains only in the lowest part of the valley, only 1-3 meters deep of very cold green water.
9. Swarovski Museum, Tyrol, Austria
The Swarovski Kristallwelten (The Crystal Worlds of Swarovski) Museum was opened in 1995 not far from Innsbruck in the town of Wattens, to celebrate the centenary of the Swarovski company. The museum was built in the form of a huge cave with seven crystal halls, filled with crystals, which are guarded by Tyrolean giant, for centuries living in Tyrol. From his mouth pours a waterfall, small splashes of water in the sun with all the colors of the rainbow and resemble the reflections of the crystals.
Of course, there is also a store where you can buy jewelry with crystal Swarovski crystals, and a restaurant with a magnificent view of the Austrian Alps.
Ticket price: 19 euros
Opening hours: Open daily from 8:30 to 19:30, admission until 18:30 July and August: daily from 8:30 to 22:00, admission until 21:00
Address: Kristallweltenstraße 1, 6112 Wattens, Austria.
10. Krimml waterfalls, Austria
Krimml Waterfalls – the fifth highest waterfall in the world, 380 meters high cascades (3 main and many small). It is one of the most striking natural attractions of Austria. The waterfall is located in the National Park Hohe Tauern (Hohe Tauern), Salzburg State.
A powerful, beautiful waterfall, especially in early summer when the meltwater level in the Alps is at its peak. Along the waterfall there is a hiking trail. On it you can climb to the top of the very first cascade.
Admission costs 3 euros.
Of course, there are many more beautiful places and attractions in Austria. But these are just a must-see if you want to see the most beautiful parts of Austria