Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

As aCentral European country, Austria has much to offer travelers of all backgrounds . The country’s history has left us with a legacy of sublime buildings and remarkable architecture , as can be seen in the major cities of Vienna and Graz. These cities are also home to cultural venues for concerts, operas and theatrical performances. To these historical and cultural aspects, we must add the superb landscapes with imposing mountains, magnificent lakes and deep valleys where a whole range of sporting activities can be enjoyed. And if you’re on a hike, take the time to stop off in picturesque villages, often surrounded by enchanting nature. One thing’s for sure: Austria is a must-see country.

1. What to visit in Austria Imperial Vienna

Le château de Schönbrunn
Schönbrunn Palace © Sundaylights – Adobe Stock

The Austrian capital is one of Europe’s historic centers. Vienna was once the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and a stroll through its districts is an opportunity to discover some real architectural gems, on aromantic weekend for example. It’s one of the 20 most beautiful cities in the world to visit in a lifetime!Hundertwasser’s house, the Stephansdom, the Belvedere Palace and the Imperial Hofburg Palace are must-sees for those who love beautiful monuments. The Schönbrunn Palace , a treasure trove of Baroque architecture, is also a must-see, while the MuseumsQuartier is home to a host of fascinating museums where you can learn more about the city’s history and examine works of art from different eras. Take the opportunity to discover our dedicated article “What to do in Vienna? 19 must-sees and must-dos”.

Vienna is also included in our selection of 10 cities to discover in Europe without flying. Wondering how to get to Vienna without flying? Just take the direct night train from Parisfind out morehere !

2. Styria, a land of exception

Styria is Austria’s most wooded and green state. It stretches from the Gesaüse nature park in the north to the vineyards of the so-called “Styrian Tuscany” in the south. A getaway in this region offers the opportunity to discover a stimulating, diverse and unspoilt natural environment, and to indulge in a wide range of activities. In Upper Styria, you can follow in the footsteps of the past along ancient pilgrim trails or the “Styrian Water Route”. The Aussee region offers pure romance, with its alpine pastures, lakes and ancient villages. In the Murg valley, you can discover ancient monasteries before enjoying the sporting activities of mountain biking or canoeing. The wine route in southern Styria offers excellent wines and a richly flavored gastronomy.

3. Tyrol, a beautiful mountain region

The mountainous Tyrol is the most visitedregion in the country. It’s famous for being a winter sports paradise, with hundreds of kilometers of ski slopes. The region is also a great place to visit in summer, when you can enjoy the scenery on foot or by mountain bike. But what also makes Tyrol so popular with visitors is its distinctive identity, traditions, folklore, typical architecture and preserved culture. If you want to see one of Europe’s most beautiful mountain villages, you have to pass through Alpbach and enjoy its picturesque charm and solid wood architecture.

4. What to visit in Austria Graz, a lively city

Graz, Austria’s second-largest city, is well worth a visit for its lively atmosphere and sumptuous monuments. Graz ‘s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts one of the finest Renaissance ensembles on the European continent. We head for Hauptplatz to see typical Austrian houses and stop to sample a few specialties. Then on to the cathedral and its mausoleum, and Eggenberg Castle and its wooded park. A number of museums are also worth a visit. The Joanneum universal museum presents the history of the region, while the Landeszeughaus offers a journey back to the time of the knights, with over 32,000 items of armor. For breathtaking panoramic views of the city, take the funicular up to Schlossberg.

5. Salzburg, city of Mozart

Salzburg is famous for being the birthplace of one of the world’s most talented composers: Mozart! That’s why every year it hosts one of the world’s leading festivals of classical music, theater and opera. Nestled between the mountains, it is protected by the impressive Hohensalzburg fortress, from which a superb panorama of the city and its surroundings awaits visitors. It’s also pleasant to stroll along the river and admire the colorful houses. The left bank of the old town is uNESCO World Heritage Site world Heritage Site and is a major site of interest. Returning to Mozart, his birthplace is now a museum dedicated to his life, and is a must-see on any visit to the city. Salzburg is also one of our top romantic destinations for Valentine’s Day! Book your tickets for a concert at Schloss Mirabell right here: a memorable experience!

6. Innsbruck, medieval city in the heart of the mountains

This charming city is the capital of the Tyrol region. Take advantage of a break between sporting activities to explore its architectural heritage, including the Imperial Palace, Ambras Castle and the mausoleum of Emperor Maximilian I. Innsbruck also has a cable car that takes you up to 2,256 meters into the Alps (book your return cable car tickethere ). The panorama from the summit of Hafelekar is breathtaking. Reaching the summits also means you can go hiking or enjoy winter sports.

The Innsbruck Christmas market is one of our Top 10 most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe .

7. What to visit in Austria Melk Abbey, an architectural splendor

This abbey is one of Austria’s most famous. Built on a rocky spur above the Danube, it is one of the finest examples of Austrian Baroque, and was originally a fortified castle before becoming home to Benedictine monks. The splendid architectural ensemble includes the church, the imperial apartments, the emperors’ staircase and the library, all of which contribute to the town’s renown. Located just 1h20 from Vienna, Melk Abbey also boasts a charming garden where you can stroll and picnic. And of course, the view of the Danube is remarkable.

8. The Grossclockner route, a fascinating excursion

In a way, this is Austria’s Route 66. The Grossclockner route is 48 kilometers long and has 36 hairpin bends. It offers exceptional panoramic views of the Hohe Tauern mountain range. Linking the Salzburg region to Carinthia, it has been laid out with lookouts, restaurants and information points to make the most of your getaway. It’s the perfect place to hike and meet the local people and wildlife. The Holy Grail is to discover the Grossclockner, Austria’s highest peak.

9. Lake Neusiedl, a peaceful corner of nature

This splendid body of water is breathtaking in its beauty. Lake Neusiedl lies betweenAustria and Hungary, covering an area of 240 km2 on the Austrian side. It’s a fantastic observation area for lovers of aquatic plants and animal species, with a wide variety of birds including storks, egrets and wild geese. You can also enjoy a wide range of activities, including fishing, windsurfing and ice skating in winter. It’s a peaceful, rejuvenating place for a pleasant family vacation.

10. What to visit in Austria Sankt Wolfgang, a seaside resort in a class of its own

The community of Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut is located in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria, north of Lake Wolfgangsee. It is famous for being the home of the “White Horse Inn “, whose splendid lakeside setting is featured in the 1930 operetta of the same name. It’s well worth taking a rest in this charming little town, strolling along the streets, looking at the houses or visiting the church to see the many works of art. The town has been an important pilgrimage center since the 12th century. It is also appreciated for the beauty of its natural surroundings, with mountains, forests and the ever-present lake.

11. Hohenwerfen Castle

Château de Hohenwerfen
Hohenwerfen Castle © cagala – Adobe Stock

One of of the most beautiful castles in Europe built in the 11th century by Konrad 1st, Hohenwerfen Castle stands majestically atop a rocky spur overlooking the Salzach valley. Over its 900-year history, it has been successively a royal residence, a religious haven, a prison, and today it houses a national falconry center. As well as marvelling at its beauty and unique location surrounded by pine trees and craggy peaks, you can visit the gardens, the kitchen, the apartments of the prince-bishops, the Romanesque chapel and along the ramparts… During the summer season, flight demonstrations with birds of prey add a magical touch to the place. Take advantage of our partner’s special rates by booking your ticket to Hohenwerfen Castle here .

12. What to visit in Austria The Wachau Valley, on the Austrian Wine Route

Vue sur la vallée de Wachau, route des vins d'Autriche
View of the Wachau Valley, Austria’s wine route © Tomas Marek – Adobe Stock

The Wachau Valley is one of the best wine-tourism destinations in France and Europe. Located in the Lower Austria region, around 100 km from Vienna, the Wachau Valley stretches along the banks of the Danube. The region’s most famous grape varieties include Riesling and Grüner Veltline. The Wachau has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its many traces of a long tradition of hillside viticulture.

13. Recharge your batteries in the spa town of Baden Bei Wien

Casino de Baden Bei Wien
Baden Bei Wien Casino © maylat – Adobe Stock

Located 25 km from Vienna, Baden Bei Wien is one of Europe’s UNESCO-listed spa towns where you can warm up in autumn. Its sulphurous springs have made it famous , attracting great artists such as Mozart and Beethoven. Staying in the city for a spa treatment also allows you to enjoy its maze of winding lanes, some of which reveal pretty Biedermeier-style houses. Between massages and hammams, you can also visit the spa park, where you’ll find some beautiful monuments and the casino.

14. Visit Eisriesenwelt, the world’s largest ice cave

Eisriesenwelt, la plus grande grotte de glace du monde
Eisriesenwelt, the world’s largest ice cave © dudlajzov – Adobe Stock

It’s both a spectacular place hidden high in the Alps and the world’s largest ice cave , so for that reason alone, it’s well worth a visit and deserves to be included in our selection of the most beautiful places to visit in Austria. Allow half a day, warm clothing and good shoes. To get up to the cave, take the cable car and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Salzach valley and the Hohen Tauern peaks.

15. What to visit in Austria The village of Hallstatt

Village de Hallstatt
Hallstatt village © ecstk22 – Adobe Stock

This beautiful mountain village on the banks of the Hallstattsee is a UNESCO World Cultural Site. Halstatt is the name of a Central European civilization that lived between 1300 and 400 B.C., the first major Celtic civilization to be discovered . Excavations carried out in the 19th century at Halstatt, a major Neolithic archaeological site, revealed numerous remains that shed light on this civilization: it was in the salt mine, exploited from the Neolithic period until 1989, that in 1734 miners found a human corpse preserved in salt for over 2,000 years. Discover Hallstatt on this day trip from Salzburg.

16. Climb the Kitzbüheler Horn

Vue depuis le Kitzbüheler Horn
View from the Kitzbüheler Horn © Martin Erdniss – Adobe Stock

One of the 10 legendary climbs to do in your life by bike the Kitzbüheler Horn: this peak in the Kitzbühel Alps in Austria rises to an altitude of 1,996 m and is one of Europe’s toughest climbs. A climb of around 10 km with gradients between 9% and 13% awaits you! The Kitzbüheler Horn is also one of the most feared climbs in the Tour of Austria. But your efforts will be rewarded by a splendid panorama of the East Tyrolean mountains and Lake Chiemsee in Germany. Enough to motivate you!

17. Take the Arlbergline

Pont de Trisanna et château de Wiesberg
Trisanna Bridge and Wiesberg Castle © wildman – Adobe Stock

Austria is one of our Top 10 destinations to visit by train in Europe. The Arlbergline is a spectacular and magnificent 135.70 km train line linking the cities of Innsbruck and Bludenz. You’ll pass iconic sites such as Wiesberg Castle, the Paznaun Valley and the Trisanna Bridge , and enjoy Austria’s magnificent landscapes, set against a natural Alpine backdrop. A trip on this train is a wonderful opportunity to discover the beauty of Austrian nature.

18. What to visit in Austria Admont Abbey Library

La bibliothèque de l'abbaye d'Admont
Admont Abbey Library © fine pics – Adobe Stock

One of our Top 10 most beautiful libraries in the world, Admont Abbey Library is located in Austria’s Styria region, home to the world’s largest monastic library . Inside this unusual building is a superb rococo hall housing a rich collection of incunabula and manuscripts. The ornaments above the shelves, as well as the ceilings, are splendid. A four-year renovation project was carried out in 2000. The Benedictine Abbey of Admont is also home to some rare works: Martin Luther’s German Bible and the first edition of Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie.

19. What to do in Austria Culinary delights

Le Wiener Schnitzel, considéré comme le plat national en Autriche
Wiener Schnitzel, Austria’s national dish © weyo – Adobe Stock

Austrian cuisine, rooted in tradition and influenced by centuries of refinement, offers a unique palette of flavors. Among its signature dishes, the Wiener Schnitzel, a veal cutlet breaded and browned to perfection, is considered the national dish. Visitors are also invited to sample Tafelspitz, a slow-cooked beef dish served with a variety of accompaniments. Those with a sweet tooth will be delighted by Viennese delights such as Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam, or Apfelstrudel, deliciously crisp apple pastries. Discover our dedicated article “15 desserts around the world for a gourmet trip”.

What to see in Austria in 10 days?

Austria is a country rich in history, culture and magnificent scenery. In 10 days, you can explore many of its iconic cities and enjoy the beauty of its mountainous regions. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a 10-day visit to Austria:

Days 1-3: Vienna

  • Explore Vienna’s historic sites, such as Schönbrunn Palace, one of the world’s most beautiful castles, the Imperial Hofburg Palace, one of the world’s most beautiful palaces of kings and presidents, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera.
  • Stroll through the city center to discover Baroque architecture and the famous Ringstrasse inone of the world’s most romantic cities.
  • Visit renowned museums such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Belvedere.
  • Shopping: the Austrian capital is one of Europe’s top shopping destinations , thanks in no small part to Mariahilfer Strasse.

Days 4-5: Salzburg

  • Discover Mozart’s birthplace by visiting his birthplace and the Mozart Museum.
  • Explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Hohensalzburg Fortress and Salzburg Cathedral.
  • Take a trip to Lake Wolfgangsee or Hellbrunn Castle.

Days 6-7: Innsbruck

  • Enjoy the mountains with a visit to the Stubai Alps or the Zillertal Alps.
  • Explore Innsbruck’s Old Town with the Imperial Palace and the Little Golden Roof.
  • Take a pleasant stroll along the Inn River.

Days 8-9: Hallstatt and the Dachstein Alps

  • Visit the picturesque village of Hallstatt on the shores of Lake Hallstätter See.
  • Take a trip to the Dachstein ice caves.
  • Explore the surrounding region with its mountains, lakes and hiking trails.

Day 10: Graz

  • Discover Austria’s second-largest city with its Graz Castle, well-preserved Old Town and Uhrturm clock.
  • Visit the Kunsthaus Graz museum of modern art.

This itinerary can be adjusted to suit your personal preferences and available time. Austria also offers plenty of opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts in winter, especially in the renowned ski resorts of the Austrian Alps.

What to do in Austria in winter?

Located in the heart of Europe, Austria offers many exciting and beautiful activities during the winter season. In fact, it’s included in our selection of countries to visit in December and January! Here are a few suggestions on what you can do in Austria in winter:

  1. Skiing and snowboarding: The Austrian Alps are renowned for their excellent ski resorts. Popular destinations include Kitzbühel, St. Anton am Arlberg, Ischgl, and Schladming. Söll, part of the vast Wilder Kaiser-Brixental ski area , offers more than 270 km of slopes (223 runs).
  2. Ice skating: Many Austrian cities have open-air ice rinks in winter, including Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck.
  3. Christmas markets: Visit the picturesque and enchanting Christmas markets held throughout the country, especially in Vienna, Salzburg and Graz. These markets offer handicrafts, local specialties and a festive atmosphere.
  4. Vienna: The promise of a magical, romantic Christmas getaway. Embalmed in the nostalgia of its past grandeur, the former capital of the Habsburgs has retained a special flavor. Vienna celebrates art at all times: opera, theater or classical music concerts, the city abounds in top-quality shows. Enchanting, it reveals itself more than ever in the heart of winter at the time of its famous Christmas markets…
  5. Thermalbäder (thermal baths): Enjoy relaxing thermal springs at spas like Thermes de Gastein or Thermes de Loipersdorf.
  6. Snowshoe trekking: Explore snow-covered landscapes on foot with a snowshoe hike. The Austrian Alps offer many possibilities for this activity.

Where to go in Austria in summer?

Summer in Austria offers a multitude of outdoor activities, spectacular scenery and cultural festivals. Here are some popular destinations to consider for a summer holiday in Austria:

  1. Alpine lakes:
    • Lake Wolfgangsee: Explore the picturesque shores of Lake Wolfgangsee and enjoy water activities such as boating and swimming.
    • Lake Hallstätter See: Visit the charming lakeside village of Hallstatt and discover the natural beauty of the region.
  2. Austrian Alps:
    • Hiking: The Alps offer countless hiking trails for all levels. Explore the Alpine landscapes and enjoy nature.
    • Cycling: Cyclists can take advantage of numerous cycle paths, from mountain routes to flat routes along rivers.
  3. Salzburg:
    • Explore Mozart’s birthplace and visit the Mirabell Palace Gardens, the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town.
    • Attend summer music festivals, such as the Salzburg Festival.
  4. Vienna:
    • Discover Vienna’s imperial architecture, parks like the Prater and Stadtpark, as well as museums and art galleries.
    • Enjoy open-air concerts and summer cultural events.
  5. Tyrolean valleys:
    • Explore charming Tyrolean villages like Kitzbühel and Alpbach.
    • Enjoy paragliding and other outdoor activities in the mountainous region.


By Lala