Are you looking for a holiday destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage? Look no further than Austria! With its stunning mountain ranges, historic cities, and beautiful rivers, Austria is a top tourist destination year-round.
Austria’s Eastern Alps occupy a significant portion of its territory, making it a popular destination for skiing and mountain sports enthusiasts. However, the country’s attractions extend far beyond its natural beauty.
From the Imperial Palace in Vienna to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Salzburg Altstadt, Austria boasts some of Europe’s most stunning cultural and historical landmarks.
In this article, we will take you on a journey through some of the top tourist attractions in Austria, providing you with a glimpse of this enchanting country’s unique charm.
Tourist Attractions In Austria
1. The Vienna Hofburg: Austria’s Imperial Palace
Step into the grandeur of Austria’s history at the Vienna Hofburg – where 2,600 rooms and centuries of imperial rule await.
This impressive palace was the residence of the Habsburg dynasty, ruling over Austria for more than six centuries.
Today, the Hofburg houses several museums, including the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the Silver Collection, showcasing the lavish lifestyle of the royal family.
The Hofburg is also home to the Spanish Riding School, where visitors can witness the art of classical riding.
The elegant Lipizzaner horses have been trained in this style for over 450 years and perform their famous routines in the Winter Riding School.
Whether you’re interested in history, art, or horses, the Vienna Hofburg is a must-see attraction in Austria.
2. Salzburg Altstadt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
If you’re looking for a charming and historic area to explore in Austria, you won’t want to miss Salzburg Altstadt – it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s definitely worth a visit!
This picturesque old town is nestled between the Salzach River and the Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg mountains, and it’s home to some of the city’s most famous landmarks.
Stroll down the narrow streets lined with colorful buildings and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
One of the most iconic sights in Salzburg Altstadt is the Hohensalzburg Fortress, a massive medieval castle that towers over the city.
You can take a funicular up to the fortress and explore its many rooms and exhibits, or simply admire the panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Other highlights of the Altstadt include the Salzburg Cathedral, the Residenz Palace, and the Getreidegasse – a bustling shopping street that’s famous for being the birthplace of Mozart.
Whether you’re a history buff, a culture vulture, or just looking for a charming place to wander, Salzburg Altstadt is sure to delight.
3. The Spanish Riding School, Vienna
You’ll be captivated by the stunning elegance and grace of the Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
This school is the only institution in the world that still practices the classical style of riding, which was first developed for knights in battle.
The tradition is over 450 years old, and it’s truly a spectacle to behold.
The horses are trained to perform intricate maneuvers, such as pirouettes and flying changes, which are executed with amazing precision.
The riders are dressed in traditional attire, and the performances take place in the magnificent baroque Winter Riding School.
It’s an unforgettable experience that you don’t want to miss when visiting Vienna.
4. Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and opulence.
Originally built as a hunting lodge in the 16th century, the palace was later expanded and renovated into a grand Baroque palace that served as the summer residence of the Habsburgs.
With over 1,400 rooms, including the stunning Great Gallery and the luxurious private apartments of Empress Maria Theresa, Schönbrunn Palace is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and design.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the palace, which includes audio guides in several different languages.
The tour takes visitors through the lavish state rooms, the imperial apartments, and the private chambers of the Habsburgs.
In addition to the palace itself, the extensive palace gardens are also a popular attraction.
The gardens include a maze, a palm house, and a zoo, as well as numerous fountains, sculptures, and other decorative features.
With its rich history and breathtaking beauty, Schönbrunn Palace is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Vienna.
5. Innsbruck’s Hofburg and Hofkirche
When you step into Innsbruck’s Hofburg and Hofkirche, you’ll be transported back in time to witness the grandeur and opulence of the Habsburg dynasty.
The Hofburg was originally built in the 15th century and was remodeled in the Baroque and Rococo styles in the 18th century.
Today, it houses a number of museums, including the Imperial Apartments, where you can see how the Habsburgs lived, and the Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art, which showcases the traditional arts and crafts of the region.
The Hofkirche, or Court Church, is adjacent to the Hofburg and is known for its stunning black marble tomb of Emperor Maximilian I.
The tomb is surrounded by 28 larger-than-life bronze statues of the Emperor’s ancestors, relatives, and heroes, making it a breathtaking sight to behold.
The church also houses a number of other important historical artifacts, including the cenotaphs of Emperor Ferdinand II and his wife, Eleonora Gonzaga, and the Silver Chapel, which contains precious religious relics and objects.
A visit to Innsbruck’s Hofburg and Hofkirche is a must for anyone interested in Austria’s rich history and culture.
6. Melk Benedictine Abbey
As you explore the stunning beauty of Austria, don’t miss out on the chance to visit the Melk Benedictine Abbey and immerse yourself in the rich history and spiritual significance of this magnificent monastic site.
Located in the town of Melk, this abbey is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and is considered one of the most important cultural and historical landmarks in Austria.
The abbey was founded in the 11th century and underwent several renovations over the centuries.
The current Baroque structure was built in the early 18th century and features stunning frescoes, intricate stucco work, and a magnificent library with over 100,000 volumes.
The abbey also houses a museum that showcases the rich cultural and religious history of the region.
Whether you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or simply seeking spiritual enlightenment, the Melk Benedictine Abbey is a must-see attraction in Austria.
7. Hallstatt and the Dachstein Salzkammergut
If you’re looking for breathtaking natural beauty and a glimpse into the rich history of the region, don’t miss out on exploring Hallstatt and the Dachstein Salzkammergut.
Hallstatt, located in the heart of the Salzkammergut region, is a picturesque town situated on the shores of a beautiful lake.
It is known for its traditional Austrian architecture and quaint streets, as well as its fascinating history dating back to prehistoric times.
In fact, the town is home to the oldest salt mine in the world, which has been in operation since 4000 BC.
In addition to its historical significance, Hallstatt is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
The surrounding mountains offer a variety of hiking and biking trails, as well as opportunities for rock climbing and paragliding.
And if you’re looking to relax, the nearby spas and thermal baths provide the perfect way to unwind after a day of adventure.
With its stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage, Hallstatt and the Dachstein Salzkammergut are not to be missed on your trip to Austria.
8. Skiing at Kitzbühel and Kitzbüheler Horn
Now that you’ve explored the picturesque town of Hallstatt and the impressive cavern networks of the Dachstein Salzkammergut region, it’s time to hit the slopes at Kitzbühel and Kitzbüheler Horn.
Known as one of Austria’s most popular ski resorts, Kitzbühel boasts 170 km of skiable pistes, catering to all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, you’ll have plenty of runs to choose from.
But skiing isn’t the only activity available at Kitzbühel. In the summer months, the Kitzbüheler Horn is a favorite spot for mountain hikers.
The lush greenery and stunning views provide a breathtaking backdrop for a leisurely hike, and the fresh mountain air is invigorating.
No matter what time of year you visit, Kitzbühel and Kitzbüheler Horn offer a unique and unforgettable experience. So, grab your skis or hiking boots, and get ready for an adventure in the Austrian Alps!
9. Belvedere Palace, Vienna
You’ll love exploring the exquisite artwork and stunning architecture at Belvedere Palace in Vienna.
This magnificent palace complex consists of two beautiful Baroque buildings, the Upper Palace and the Lower Palace, which are connected by stunning gardens and fountains.
The Upper Palace houses the largest portion of the collection of artworks, which includes works by famous artists like Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele.
The Lower Palace, on the other hand, houses the Austrian Baroque Museum, which showcases the country’s rich cultural history.
Aside from the art and architecture, the gardens of Belvedere Palace are also a sight to behold.
The gardens, which cover an area of over 50 acres, are divided into three sections: the Upper Belvedere Gardens, the Orangery Garden, and the Lower Belvedere Gardens. Each section is designed in a unique style, with the Upper Belvedere Gardens being the most formal and the Lower Belvedere Gardens being the most natural.
As you stroll through the gardens, you’ll come across fountains, statues, and beautiful flower beds, making for a truly enchanting experience.
10. Medieval Burg Hochosterwitz
Explore the impressive and historic Medieval Burg Hochosterwitz, Austria’s most important medieval castle.
The castle, located in the Carinthia region, was built in the 16th century and is perched on a 160-meter high rock. You can reach it by walking up a steep path or taking a funicular railway.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
As you wander through the castle, you’ll be transported back in time with its well-preserved medieval architecture and furnishings.
The castle has 14 gates that have to be passed before reaching the main courtyard. Each gate has its own unique design and history.
One of the gates, the Ottoman Gate, was built to commemorate the victory over the Ottoman Empire. The castle also has a museum that houses an impressive collection of weapons, armor, and other historical artifacts.
Medieval Burg Hochosterwitz is a must-visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, or just looking for a unique and memorable experience in Austria.
11. The Grossglockner Road to Franz-Josefs-Höhe
Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grossglockner Road as it winds its way up to Franz-Josefs-Höhe, offering breathtaking views of the majestic Austrian Alps.
This magnificent mountain road stretches for 48 km, with 36 hairpin bends and an elevation gain of over 2,500 meters.
Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to stop at various viewpoints and admire the stunning landscape, including glaciers, waterfalls, and alpine meadows.
At the end of the road lies Franz-Josefs-Höhe, a panoramic terrace overlooking the Pasterze Glacier, Austria’s largest glacier.
From here, you can take a short walk to the nearby Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe Visitor Center, which offers interactive exhibits and displays on the history and geology of the region.
You can also enjoy a meal or a drink at the on-site restaurant, while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
The Grossglockner Road to Franz-Josefs-Höhe is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Austria.
12. St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna
Get ready to be transported back in time as you step into the Gothic masterpiece that is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, located in the heart of Vienna’s old city center.
This stunning cathedral stands tall and proud, with its iconic south tower and intricate details that have been carefully crafted over centuries.
Dating back to the 12th century, St. Stephen’s Cathedral has been a witness to many historical events and has undergone several renovations, each leaving its mark on the structure.
As you enter the cathedral, you will be mesmerized by the grandeur and beauty of the interior.
The intricate stained glass windows, intricate carvings, and ornate altars are a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the artists who worked on them.
Don’t forget to visit the Watch Room, located 246 feet above the cathedral floor, where you can enjoy spectacular views of Vienna’s old city center.
A visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a must for anyone visiting Vienna, as it is a symbol of the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
13. Klosterneuburg Abbey and the Verdun Altar
Let’s delve into the beauty of Klosterneuburg Abbey and its famous Verdun Altar, a stunning piece of artwork that will leave you in awe.
The abbey is located just outside of Vienna and has a history that dates back to the 12th century. The Verdun Altar, which is housed in the abbey’s Gothic choir, is considered one of the most important art treasures of the Middle Ages.
The altar was created in the 12th century for the Bishopric of Verdun and features intricate carvings and detailed paintings that depict scenes from the life of Christ. The altar’s panels are made of oak and have been restored several times over the years.
In addition to the Verdun Altar, the abbey also houses a collection of medieval manuscripts, sculptures, and paintings, as well as a museum that explores the history of the abbey and its role in the region.
A visit to Klosterneuburg Abbey is a must-see for anyone interested in medieval art and architecture.
14. Maria Saal Cathedral
As you step inside the Maria Saal Cathedral, the peaceful aroma of incense and the soft glow of candlelight create a serene atmosphere for reflection and prayer.
Located in the picturesque town of Maria Saal, the cathedral is one of Austria’s most important pilgrimage sites and dates back to the 8th century.
The cathedral’s impressive design features a mix of Gothic and Baroque styles, with stunning frescoes adorning the interior walls.
One of the highlights of the cathedral is the impressive altar, which is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures.
The cathedral’s peaceful atmosphere and rich history make it a must-visit destination for those seeking spiritual reflection and cultural exploration.
15. Krimmler Ache: Austria’s Tallest Waterfalls
Experience the awe-inspiring power and natural beauty of Krimmler Ache, where cascading waterfalls plummet down rocky cliffs to create Austria’s tallest waterfall.
Located in the Hohe Tauern National Park, the Krimmler Ache waterfall stands at a staggering height of 380 meters.
As you approach the falls, you’ll feel the misty spray and hear the thundering roar of the water as it crashes onto the rocks below.
The Krimmler Ache waterfall is a popular destination for hikers, as there are several trails that lead to different viewing points.
The most popular trail is the Wasserfallweg, which will take you to the top of the falls and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Along the way, you’ll also see several smaller cascades and rapids that add to the natural beauty of the area.
Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the Krimmler Ache waterfall is truly a sight to behold.
16. Eisriesenwelt: The World of the Ice Giants
You’ll be amazed by the world’s largest system of ice caves as you explore Eisriesenwelt in the western edge of Tennengebirge. The name Eisriesenwelt means ‘World of the Ice Giants’ and it’s easy to see why.
The ice caves span over 42 kilometers and are home to breathtaking ice formations, frozen waterfalls, and stunning natural sculptures.
The caves were first discovered in the late 19th century and have since been a popular tourist attraction in Austria.
Visitors can explore the first kilometer of the caves with a guided tour, which takes around an hour and a half.
The tour showcases the incredible beauty of the caves, including the massive Hymir Hall, the Ice Palace, and the Ice Cathedral.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even join a more strenuous tour that takes you deeper into the caves, where you can see even more amazing ice formations.
17. The Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus)
The Styrian Armoury, also known as Landeszeughaus, houses an impressive collection of preserved 17th-century arms and armor. It is located in Graz and is considered to be one of the largest historic armories in the world.
The Armoury has around 32,000 pieces of weaponry displayed across four floors, including armor, swords, shields, and firearms. The collection includes weapons used in battles fought in Europe and Asia over the past 500 years.
The Armoury was built in the late 17th century and was used by the Habsburgs to store weapons and ammunition. The Armoury provides a unique opportunity to learn about the history of warfare and see how weapons and armor evolved over time.
If you’re a history buff or have an interest in military technology, a visit to the Styrian Armoury is a must.
18. Old Town Innsbruck & the Golden Roof
As you wander through the streets of Old Town Innsbruck, you’ll stumble upon the iconic Golden Roof. It is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture consisting of 2,657 gleaming copper tiles that is sure to take your breath away.
Built in the 15th century, the Golden Roof was originally constructed as a symbol of the power and wealth of the Habsburg dynasty. It served as a royal box for watching tournaments and festivals in the square below.
Today, the Golden Roof is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the city. It offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the opportunity to explore the museum housed within the building.
In addition to the Golden Roof, Old Town Innsbruck boasts some of the country’s best-preserved architecture. Fine old buildings line the streets and charming narrow alleys wait to be explored.
The area is home to a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as historical landmarks such as the Hofburg and the Hofkirche. These have been remodeled in Baroque and Rococo styles.
Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply soaking up the atmosphere of a traditional Austrian town, Old Town Innsbruck and the Golden Roof are not to be missed.
Q: What are some of the best tourist attractions in Austria?
Austria is home to numerous tourist attractions, including Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Hochosterwitz Castle in Carinthia, the Vienna State Opera House, the Tyrolean Alps, Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, and much more.
Q: What are some must-visit places in Austria?
Austria has many beautiful places to visit, including Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, Innsbruck, and the cities and towns in the Tyrolean Alps such as St. Anton am Arlberg and Kitzbuhel. Other notable attractions include the Danube River and Lake Hallstatt in Upper Austria.
Q: What are the top attractions in Austria?
Some of the top attractions in Austria include the Hohensalzburg Fortress, Schonbrunn Palace, the Melk Abbey, the Hofburg Palace, the Belvedere Palace, and the St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Q: What are some of the best places to visit in Vienna?
Vienna has many beautiful places to visit, including the Vienna State Opera House, the Hofburg Palace, the Belvedere Palace, the Schonbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and more.
Q: What are some of the best places to visit in Austria during the winter months?
Austria is known for its winter sports and ski resorts, including St. Anton am Arlberg, Kitzbuhel, and Ischgl. The cities also have great holiday markets during the winter months, particularly Vienna.
Q: What is the highest mountain in Austria?
The highest mountain in Austria is Grossglockner, which stands at 3,798 meters tall.
Q: What is the history of Austria?
Austria has a rich history that dates back to the Roman Empire. It was later the center of the Habsburg Empire, which was dissolved after World War I.
Austria became a republic in 1918, and in 1938, it was annexed by Germany. After World War II, Austria regained its independence, and it is now a prosperous and peaceful country with a strong cultural heritage.
Q: What are some of the best places to visit in Austria?
Austria has many fantastic places to visit, some of the best options might include the beautiful and historic cities of Vienna, Salzburg, and Graz. The ski resorts will also be popular during this time of year.
Q: What is the best way to travel in Austria?
Austria has a well-developed transportation infrastructure, including trains, buses, and trams in the cities. Renting a car can also be a good option for exploring the countryside.
Q: What are some of the best places to see in Austria?
Some of the most beautiful and picturesque places to see in Austria include the Danube River, the Tyrolean Alps, Lake Hallstatt, the Hochosterwitz Castle, and the cities and towns dotted throughout the countryside.
Congratulations, you’ve now explored some of the top tourist attractions in Austria! From the stunning mountain vistas to the historic castles and monasteries, Austria has something for everyone.
Make sure to visit the Vienna Hofburg, Austria’s Imperial Palace, and Salzburg Altstadt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to experience the grandeur of the country’s history and culture.
Don’t forget to also check out the Spanish Riding School and Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, as well as Innsbruck’s Hofburg and Hofkirche.
For nature lovers, Krimmler Ache, Austria’s tallest waterfalls, and Eisriesenwelt, the world of the ice giants, are must-see destinations.
Finally, the Styrian Armoury and Old Town Innsbruck with the Golden Roof offer a glimpse into Austria’s past.
With so much to see and do, Austria’s sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.