Trip and Wellness

12 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in the Austria

Austria pinned on the map with flag

Austria is a nation rich in history, scenic scenery, customs, and regional activities.  Together with its neighboring country Switzerland, this destination is considered as the winter sports hub of Europe.

Austria is a popular destination for summer travelers who come to explore its beautiful palaces, lakeside villages, and hike in the breathtaking scenery of the Alps.

One cannot miss the opportunity to travel on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, which is considered to be one of the most picturesque drives globally. 

Explore the world-class cities of Vienna and Salzburg, and immerse yourself in the musical heritage of Mozart, Strauss, and Schubert. Discover why this destination is one of Europe’s finest for travelers.

To enhance your travel experience, here are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Austria that you can add to your itinerary.

1. Vienna

View of Vienna in the sunrise, Austria
Source: istockphoto

Vienna is a cultural hub with grand palaces, museums, and a rich history of Opera and Beethoven. Strolling along Vienna’s stunning Ringstrasse Boulevard, adorned with majestic structures such as the Hofburg Imperial Palace and numerous picturesque parks. It is an excellent way to immerse oneself in the enchanting atmosphere of the city. Traveling to Vienna is one of the best ways to experience Austria. During your travels to Vienna, make sure to visit the local cafes and enjoy a relaxing evening with a delicious cup of coffee.

Art and history enthusiasts must visit the opulent Schonbrunn and Belvedere Palaces, as well as the ornate St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which are all architectural marvels. Make sure to indulge in the renowned Viennese coffee at a charming coffee shop and admire the magnificent Vienna Opera House before saying goodbye to one of the top tourist attractions in Vienna, Austria.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Vienna: Best Areas & Hotels

2. Salzburg

Historic town of Salzburg with Salzach river in summer, Austria

This is a must-see destination in Austria, with its picturesque city surrounded by rolling green meadows, grand historical buildings, and Mozart. Salzburg, the birthplace of the genius composer and the location of the renowned film Sound of Music, is first on the list of finest top tourist attractions in Austria.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Aldsten’s old town with its exquisite baroque structures, while the majestic Hohensalzburg fortification is Europe’s last surviving castle. The Salzburger Festspiele, a huge spectacle of culture, music, and the arts. This is an event to remember over the summer.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Salzburg: Best Areas & Hotels

3. Innsbruck Altstadt

Innsbruck Old town in Alps mountains, Tyrol, Austria
Source: istockphoto

Innsbruck is a breathtaking travel destination, nestled amidst the stunning Alpine mountain range, which can make you feel small in the face of nature’s grandeur. The destination boasts of a diverse character, featuring unspoiled natural scenery as well as a refined cityscape.

Explore the medieval town of Innsbruck’s Altstadt, with its distinctive architecture and numerous shops. As you travel through the Altstadt, make sure to stop by one of its renowned attractions, the Golden Roof.

The palace was built for the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, and adorned with numerous gilded copper tiles that give the impression of solid gold.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Innsbruck: Best Areas & Hotels

4. Hallstatt

Ferry boat by the lakeside village of Hallstatt, Austria.
Source: istockphoto

Hallstatt is without a doubt one of the most beautiful little towns in Austria, if not Europe. It’s also a fantastic starting point for exploring the magnificent Dachstein Salzkammergut area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The village is located in the mountainous region of Salzkammergut, near the western shore of Lake Hallstatt. Explore the charming Alpine houses that date back to the 16th century and marvel at the breathtaking salt lake located underground in the ancient Salzwelten salt mine.

You can take a funicular railway to reach the top and enjoy panoramic views from the Skywalk Hallstatt viewing platform. You can follow a trail that leads to the Echern Valley glacier garden during your travels. Explore the glacial potholes and witness the breathtaking Waldbachstrub Waterfall on your travels.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Hallstatt: Best Areas & Hotels

5. Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Grossglockner High Alpine Road on a sunny day
Source: istockphoto

Don’t miss the chance to travel along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road if you enjoy scenic drives. Experience the grandeur of the Austrian Alps on a 48 km toll road that boasts of 36 hairpin bends. This road pass is the highest tarmacked mountain road in Austria.

Without a doubt, traveling on this route is one of the most picturesque experiences one can have. The scenery is absolutely captivating. As you travel through the rugged terrain of the alpine pastures, you’ll be captivated by the stunning views of the wine-bottle green landscape. Take a few breaks along the way to fully appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.

The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is typically accessible for travel only from May to October due to weather conditions. Traveling through the scenic route named after the highest mountain in the country, one can journey from Bruck in Salzburg to Heiligenblut in Carinthia. The route reaches a peak altitude of 2,504 meters.

6. Graz

Central square in the Old Town of Graz, Austria
Source: istockphoto

Graz, the second largest city in Austria, is a great destination for travelers. With six universities and one of Europe’s best-preserved Old Town areas, there is plenty to explore and satisfy your wanderlust. Experience the perfect vacation by exploring the numerous museums, impressive baroque & renaissance style buildings, and a unique forested hill in the center of the city that offers panoramic views.

Graz is a great travel destination, especially for foodies who can indulge in its many culinary delights. Travelers can bring back some pumpkin seed oil to enhance their cooking back home. Graz is a must-visit destination in Austria, known for its offbeat charm.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Graz: Best Areas & Hotels

7. Zell Am See

Panoramic view of Zell am See, Austria
Source: istockphoto

Zell am See in Austria is the perfect destination for skiing enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy over 80 miles of powdery slopes in this picturesque lakeside town.

No matter your skill level, there is a slope that will suit you for your travels. Travelers who enjoy cross-country skiing can explore 125 miles of immaculate trails.

Zeller The Alpine lake surrounding the city is a stunning sight with its clear, blue waters.

Explore the Schmittenhöhe mountain by taking the lifts and trails that are accessible from the town. You can reach the summit of the stunning Kitzsteinhorn glacier through them, and witness breathtaking panoramic views from the Gipfelwelt 3000 panoramic platform. Some popular travel destinations in the area are Grossglockner mountain and Hohe Tauern National Park.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Zell am See: Best Areas & Hotels

8. Tyrol

Dolomites alps, Mountain
Source: istockphoto

Tyrol is a beautiful state in Western Austria. Located in the Alps, this destination is a popular spot for skiing and other winter sports. You can explore various historic sites during your travels, such as Ambras Castle, Ehrenberg Castle, and Kufstein Fortress. Tyrol boasts some of the most exciting museums that you can explore during your travels. In addition, Tyrol offers a variety of exciting travel opportunities, including attending some of the most renowned winter festivals in Europe. Include it in your travel itinerary for Austria’s top destinations.

Tyrol’s capital is the renowned city of Innsbruck. This location has historic Gothic churches as well as conventional baroque-style structures and palaces. Tyrol is one of the greatest areas to visit in Austria for anybody interested in discovering a country with both natural beauty and historical significance.

9. Vienna State Opera

Vienna State Opera in the evening at twilight
Source: istockphoto

Vienna’s Ringstraße is a popular travel destination, featuring numerous landmarks in the city’s inner area. The Vienna State Opera House is a notable landmark worth visiting during your travels.

The building was built in the 19th century with a Neo-Renaissance architectural style. This destination boasts of grandeur with its marble staircases and painted ceilings. Following the destruction caused by World War II, the structure was reconstructed to accurately reflect its original style.

Exploring the Vienna State Opera is a great experience, but attending a musical performance or ball is even more exciting. The venue hosts several of these events every year.     

10. Hofburg Imperial Palace

Horse carriage in front of Hofburg Palace, Vienna old town
Source: istockphoto

The Hofburg Imperial Palace is a stunning attraction in Vienna that is definitely worth a visit. This is a historic site that was the official royal residence of the Habsburgs until the First World War.

As the Habsburgs gained more power and wealth, they gradually expanded the palace to include additional features such as stables, a library, and the Spanish Riding School.

Starting from Michaelerplatz, travelers can explore various museums on the premises and also catch a glimpse of the erstwhile regal residences along with the dazzling Imperial Silver Collection.

11. Krems

View to River Danube and the City of Krems
Source: istockphoto

Travel west of Vienna to reach the historic city of Krems, where the blue Danube and the Krems rivers meet at the start of the Wachau Valley.

Krems has a medieval city core, and the pedestrian-friendly architecture invites visitors to explore the old city gates and the Gozzoburg fortress. Aside from these activities, Krems is known for its remarkable wine industry, which many people come to investigate.

In the heart of Krems, travelers can visit the Weinstadt Museum, a museum dedicated to wine. Visitors can receive excellent suggestions for nearby wineries and tasting rooms located throughout Krems and along the Danube River.

12. St. Wolfgang

St. Wolfgang village and Wolfgangsee, famous lake in Salzkammergut, Austria.
Source: istockphoto

Explore the charming market town of St. Wolfgang located in the renowned Lake District of Salzkammergut, Austria. Located on the picturesque shores of Wolfgangsee Lake, there are many vibrant houses lining the beautiful shoreline and a towering Mount Schafberg that reaches 1783 meters high.

Experience a thrilling journey to the summit of the mountain by boarding the charming cog Schafberg Railway. Upon arriving at St. Wolfgang, be sure to prioritize this activity as it offers breathtaking views of seven distinct lakes.

Located in close proximity to Salzburg, the town boasts the magnificent Mirabell Palace as one of its major attractions. You can take a stroll around the stunning grounds of this palace during your travels. If you are a fan of The Sound of Music, you might want to visit the fountains here as they were featured in the film.