Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Summer holidays to Austria are packed with things to do and see, whether you’re staying in a mountain village, lakeside town or culture-filled city. Here’s why you need to visit Austria this summer.

1. The scenery’s next level

Austria’s a pretty incredible place to look at. You’ll find flower-filled meadows, bright blue lakes and mountain peaks surrounding old farming towns and villages – most of which have a centuries-old church in the centre. And if you can tear your eyes away from the natural scenery, you’ll spot frescoed buildings decorated with colourful window boxes and decorative carvings.

2. There’s a whole range of things to do

Explore cobbled streets and watch the locals go about their daily life while kicking back at a pavement cafè. Take to the hills on two feet – or two wheels – and stop for a bite to eat at a mountain hut. Or head out on the water for a fresh perspective – cruise across a lake on a vintage paddle steamer in spots like Lake Wolfgang and Zell am See, or hop aboard the Fuschlerin barge on Lake Fuschl near St Gilgen for real fairy-tale vibes.
A ferry leaving the town of Zell Am See and setting off across the lake.
Zell am See

3. Easy walks serve up serious views

In Austria, you don’t have to be mega fit to enjoy some of the best walks or reach the most wow-worthy viewpoints. There are lots of gentle trails threading through valleys, as well as relaxing lakeside strolls to enjoy – you could even stop for a quick dip along the way. And if you do want to hit the heights you’ll find plenty of trains and cable cars in Austria that’ll whisk you up the mountain in minutes. Once you get there, you’ll find wide, well-maintained trails with panoramic views.

So whether you’re after a walking holiday or just an afternoon amble, Austria’s a fab pick.

A man sitting on a bench overlooking a lake in Austria with tree-covered muntains nearby

5 of the best mountain walks in Austria

Check out some of the best easy walks you’ll find in Austria.

4. Mix mountain air with a dose of culture

Austria’s not all about lakes and mountains – the country’s home to some unmissable cities too. Salzburg’s super easy to visit on a day trip from places like Zell am See and Bad Hofgastein – or you could stay in the city itself – and it’s ideal for exploring on foot. Visit castles, cathedrals and colourful palace gardens, plus the bright yellow building where Mozart once lived. You might spot some places you recognise from The Sound of Music too.

A woman wearing a backpack looking out over the city of Salzburg.

The essential guide to Salzburg

Everything you absolutely must see, do and eat during a day in Austria’s musical city.

5. You’ll get a warm welcome

Austrians are known for their friendliness and hospitality. You can expect personal and attentive service, whether that’s in your hotel or guesthouse – many are family-run – or when you’re out and about getting to know the towns and villages. Look out for locals wearing traditional Austrian dress like dirndls and lederhosen too.
A man and a child wearing lederhosen walk with a herd of cattle in Austria.
© Alpbachtal Tourismus

6. Authentic accommodation’s easy to find

You’ll find it easy to get a feel for the real Austria because so much of the accommodation is very authentic. We’re talking traditional guesthouses that have been in the same family for generations, and are often charming chalet-style buildings with painted exteriors, colourful shutters and window boxes stuffed with flowers. If you like a little luxury, you’ll find it here too, with many hotels blending traditional touches with contemporary style, swish spas and sleek pools.

Where to stay in Austria:

The Hotel Stadt Wien in Austria

Hotel Stadt Wien, Zell am See

The chalet style Pension Hannes in Niederau with pink flowers lining the windows.

Pension Hannes, Niederau

The exterior buildings of the Elisabth Hotel in Mayrhofen.

ElisabethHotel, Mayrhofen

7. Austrian weather’s comfortable all summer

If you prefer mild summer days to total scorchers, you’ll love it here. The weather in Austria gets warm and balmy from May to September, but rarely gets very hot. And being among the lakes and mountains, you’ll discover the air here’s a whole new level of fresh, and it makes it ideal for getting out and about. There’s a chance of a rain shower at any time of year, but they don’t tend to last long. And without rain, the scenery wouldn’t be so rich and colourful.
Two people walking along a path crossing a grassy hill with mountains visible in the distance.
© Zell am See-Kaprun

8. The food’s pretty special

Austrian food is all kinds of moreish – and wherever you go you’ll be able to taste authentic dishes and traditional recipes that’ve been passed down for centuries. Try Tiroler gröstl, a combo of fried potato, bacon and onion with an egg on top – it’ll keep you going all day. Dumplings are big here too, and there are loads of different types to sample.

For something sweeter, try kaiserschmarrn, a warm pancake chopped into chunks that comes with fruit compote. And you can’t miss Sacher-Torte, a rich chocolate cake drizzled with a thin layer of apricot jam and smothered in chocolate glaze.

A dish of kaiserschmarrn - chopped warm pancake - dusted with icing sugar.

Our favourite foods to try in Austria

Don’t miss these traditional dishes for a taste of authentic Austria.

9. There are plenty of drinks to try too

Coffee culture’s big in Austria, and afternoon coffee and cake is pretty much a meal in its own right. So wherever you are there’ll almost always be a cafè or coffee house nearby where you can relax with a hot drink and a sweet treat. Later on, why not sample a shot of another classic Austrian drink – schnapps – or settle down with a frothy stein of beer.
An outside terrace of a cafe in Salzbrg with people sitting at tables drinking coffee.

10. There’s often a festival to be found

People love a good party in Austria, and there are lots of festivals on throughout the summer. Got a taste for dumplings? Head to St Johann in Tyrol for Knödelfest in September, a festival dedicated to the humble Austrian staple, and you can pull up a seat at the 595m long dumpling table to try all sorts of varieties, with lots of live music too.

And over in Kitzbühel, the hills are filled with the sound of music during July and August as the town hosts various open-air music festivals.

Green and yellow painted buildings and market stalls in the centre of St Johann in Tyrol.

St Johann in Tyrol

People in ledhosen parading through the centre of kitzbuhel past red and yellow buildings.


11. You can save money in Austria with a summer card

Summer cards make it easy for you to explore all Austria has to offer. Most resorts have them and some hotels give them to you for free when you stay – so check what’s available where you want to go. They’ll give you free travel on local buses, and sometimes mountain railways and cable cars too, plus discounts on local attractions.
A red train in Austria passing trees and hills with a lake in the distance.

By Lala