Austria is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with stunning mountain scenery, pristine blue lakes from the snow melts, and a unique ambience in culturally rich cities that have preserved hundreds of years of the best displays of human genius.
The destinations in Austria we recommend visiting include Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Hallstatt. If you have time, Graz, the Wachau Valley, and Kufstein are also enchanting parts of this beautiful country.
Vienna, Austria’s capital, lies on the famous Danube River, and it overflows with culture and coffee. Its artistic and intellectual legacy is splendidly rich and was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence. It’s a Baroque marvel with architecture that is spellbindingly beautiful. There are 1,411 rooms at the palace and the gardens are home to 32 sculptures, as well as a set of Roman ruins built as follies in the late 1700s.
In the Museums Quartier district, be sure to visit the famous Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum) with its park and sculptures. Historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.
Admire the splendor of Vienna’s city center while sitting in one of its Habsburg-era grand cafés. Sample Austria’s many excellent white wines. The Wachau Valley has some of the best, making for a great day trip from Vienna.
A music center for centuries, Salzburg was the birthplace of Mozart, whose house, No. 9 Getreidegasse, is preserved as a museum. It is also the site of the internationally renowned annual Salzburg Festival. The streets are alive with wonderful live music and there are talented musicians around every corner. Besides that, Salzburg is the gateway to the Austrian Alps. You can trek through the Alps or enjoy the views from Salzburg.
Innsbruck is known as Austria’s sports capital. This city in the Alps has long been a destination for winter sports. Innsbruck is also known for its Imperial and modern architecture. The Nordkette funicular, with futuristic stations designed by architect Zaha Hadid, climbs up to 2,256 meters from the city center for skiing in winter and hiking or mountaineering in warmer months.
Hallstatt is a must as a day trip from Salzburg. It’s a beautiful village on Lake Hallstatt’s western shore in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region. Its 16th-century Alpine houses and alleyways are home to cafés and shops. This truly is a picture-perfect piece of paradise and has become one of the most popular places to visit in Austria.
Graz is Austria’s second largest city, and it combines a medieval Old Town crowned by a beautiful hilltop with creative modern architecture and culture. It’s a truly authentic place where you can gain an insight into the residents’ everyday life. Shops and restaurants line the streets, which blend Renaissance and baroque architecture. A funicular leads up Schlossberg, the town hill, to the Uhrturm, a centuries-old clock tower. Across the River Mur, futuristic Kunsthaus Graz exhibits contemporary art.
The “Pearl of Tyrol”, this is a charming town that combines quaint small-town life with great hiking trails a chairlift ride away, and the famous Riedel Glass factory, which has been family-run since 1756. It’s home to a local history museum and the huge open-air Heroes Organ. Narrow streets like Römerhofgasse are lined with traditional Tyrolean houses.
If you are heading to Europe in 2024, it is so worth allocating a few days to this truly magnificent European country.