Fri. Jun 21st, 2024
With its pastoral landscapes, lively viticulture and gastronomy, and renowned art and music scene, Austria offers something for every traveler. A 10-day trip is ideal to fully experience Austria’s top cities, from the country’s capital, Vienna, to Innsbruck in the historic Tyrol region. In a week, you can still see much of the country by basing out of a major city and taking strategic day trips into the countryside. For a more condensed five-day getaway, focus on one or two regions to get the most out of your trip.

Planning Your Trip to Austria

In 10 days, you can see most of Austria’s top sights by car or train. Embark on a cross-country highlights tour of the country’s major cities, including ViennaSalzburgLinz, and Innsbruck.

If you only have a week, combine city sightseeing with day trips to scenic destinations like the ancient salt mines of Hallstatt or the Wachau Valley wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its medieval architecture and picturesque views along the Danube River.

With just five days, focus your trip on the highlights of Austria’s two most distinguished cities, Vienna and Salzburg. Alternatively, head into the heart of the wintry Alps for a holiday in one of Austria’s famous ski towns.

To make the most of your trip to Austria, check out this guide on the best time of year to visit.

Austria in 5 Days

Festung Hohensalzburg above the city of Salzburg
Festung Hohensalzburg above the city of Salzburg

Most travelers to Austria will arrive via train or plane to the capital city of Vienna, the perfect launch point for a five-day highlights tour.

Spend two days visiting Vienna‘s top sights, including the MuseumsQuartierHofburg Palace, and the Vienna State Opera. From Vienna, make the trip to nearby Salzburg, approximately 2.5 hours (156 mi/251 km) by train. Grab a bite of apple strudel before trekking up Festungsberg mountain (or taking the cable car) to Festung Hohensalzburg, an imposing medieval fortress perched high above the city at an altitude of more than 1,640 feet (500 m). Fans of the “Sound of Music” will delight to see Schloss Hellbrunn, home to the “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” pavilion and the lush gardens of Schloss Mirabel.

Alternatively, adventure travelers and ski enthusiasts will venture from Vienna to one of Austria’s famous ski towns, Kitzbühel. Set in the Leukental Valley, the town of Kitzbühel offers more than 150 miles (241 km) of ski slopes catering to beginners and professionals. After a long day on the slopes, take a stroll through the town’s historic medieval center or catch the cable car up to the Alpine Flower Garden to enjoy more than 400 flower varieties.

The sport-inclined might opt for an itinerary that takes them from Vienna to another famous ski town, Zell am See. The town of Zell am See is a top ski resort in winter but is also an increasingly popular summer destination for hikers, bikers, swimmers, and sunbathers alike. Plan to visit in the summer months and relax on the banks of Lake Zell or hike up the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier for an unbelievable mountain view at 9,843 feet (3,000 m) above sea level.

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Austria in 1 Week

Wolfgangsee Lake in the Salzkammergut lake district
Wolfgangsee Lake in the Salzkammergut lake district

A week in Austria gives you enough time to glimpse city life and the surrounding countryside.

Dividing your time between Vienna and Salzburg at the start, you’ll have time leftover for day trips to nearby scenic destinations. Spend a day wining and dining in the Wachau Valley, located about an hour from Vienna and famous for its cultivation of white wines, including riesling and grüner veltliner. From Salzburg, drive just over an hour to the world’s oldest salt mines in the town of Hallstatt, dating back more than 7,000 years. For a unique (and delightfully spooky) tourist experience, visit Hallstatt’s “Bone House” in St. Michael’s Chapel, featuring more than 600 painted human skulls.

For road trippers, another itinerary is to follow the 236-mile (380-km) Austrian Romantic Road to witness some of the country’s best mountain and lake views. Start your journey in Salzburg and travel through the provinces of Upper Austria and Lower Austria en route to Vienna. On the way, you’ll pass through the Salzkammergut lake district, the wineries of Wachau, and a series of charming small towns, including St. WolfgangBad Ischl, and Melk.

Austria in 10 Days

Old Town in Innsbruck
Old Town in the city of Innsbruck

For the ultimate Austria experience, plan to spend at least 10 days exploring the country’s major cities.

Begin your trip with three days in Vienna before traveling two hours to the riverside city of Linz. Stroll through Old Town and soak in the views on a cruise along the Danube River. Before you depart, try the “Linzer Torte,” considered the oldest cake in the world. Then travel to Salzburg, where Mozart’s Birthplace in the historic Getreidegasse neighborhood awaits. Finish your journey in Tyrol’s capital, Innsbruck. Step back in time to the days of Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I by visiting the emperor’s former residence at the Imperial Palace and his empty tomb at Schwarzmander Church.


By Lala