There are plenty of spectacular places to see in Austria. This Central European country, situated on the beautiful mountain range of the Alps, has an enviable location that makes it an ideal destination for all seasons. The western part is similar to Switzerland, but with cheaper prices. In the colder months it is a paradise for lovers of winter sports. And when the temperatures are more favorable, it is ideal to fall in love with its natural landscapes or its elegant cities. In this post we tell you 15 essential places to see in Austria, one of the most beautiful countries in Europe.
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You will find the best places to see in Austria on this map.
Best Places To See In Austria
Vienna and its palaces
Vienna is the most elegant city in Europe. The capital of Austria made us fall in love with its palaces and its valuable artistic heritage. For a long time, Vienna was one of the most powerful cities in the world during the Habsburg period and later as the capital of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. It is very easy to appreciate this power. You just need to see its elegant palaces like Hofsburg or Schönbrunn, our favourite. Vienna is a city rich in culture. In fact, many call it the capital of music because of the artistic legacy left by Mozart, Beethoven… We tell you 32 things to do in Vienna so you can enjoy the city as it deserves. If you don’t have much time in the country, you can visit Vienna in one day. It is not the most recommended, but we believe that there are more spectacular places to see in Austria. Especially related to nature.
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Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart
Located right on the border with Germany, Salzburg was the birthplace of Mozart. The famous composer is the most prominent character in the history of the country. In fact, one of the best things to see in Salzburg is the house where this musical genius was born and raised. But Salzburg is much more than Mozart. It only remains to open your eyes and observe the alpine landscape that surrounds it. Visiting Salzburg in one day is easy. Don’t miss the famous Hohensalzburg Fortress or the streets of its historic center. For some reason it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We believe that Salzburg could not be missing from this list of essential places to see in Austria. Getting from Munich to Salzburg is much easier than getting from Vienna. So adding the Bavarian city to your tour is not a bad idea.
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Hallstatt, the most beautiful town to see in Austria
Hallstatt is the most picturesque town to see in Austria. And probably one of the most beautiful in the world! You have probably seen it hundreds of times in travel catalogues, in advertisements or on postcards. Now you must meet him in the first person! This idyllic town is located on the shore of the beautiful Hallstätter lake surrounded by mountains. Get lost in its streets and enjoy this town that looks like something out of a fairy tale. Among its main attractions is the Salzwelten Hallstatt, the oldest salt mine in the world. In fact, it has been exploiting for 7000 years. It is not as picturesque as the town, but you must know it. And above all, enjoy the views from above. It is reached by funicular and you will also have the opportunity to enjoy the views from its famous Skywalk. Without a doubt, one of the main attractions to see in Austria.
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The medieval castle Hochosterwitz
Hochosterwitz is the most important medieval castle to see in Austria. It is spectacular! It is located on top of a rock formation about 170 meters high. The highlight of its design is that it has up to 14 entrance doors ! If you decide to go up on foot, you will go through all of them until you reach the top. Although you can also go up by funicular. The exact date of its construction is unknown, but the first time it was mentioned was in the year 860. Without a doubt, one of the most impressive castles to see in Austria. It reminded us of the Vianden castle, one of the most beautiful to see in Luxembourg.
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Krimml Falls, the highest waterfall in Austria
Austria is a natural paradise. In the Hohe Tauern Nature Park, near Salzburg, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful waterfalls to see in Austria. In fact, the highest! The waterfall measures no more and no less than 380 meters. It has three levels: the upper one has a drop of 140 meters, the middle one of 100 meters and the lower one of 140 meters. Visiting the lower level is very easy. It will hardly take 10 minutes. However, it is worth doing the entire 4-kilometer route to reach the upper level and enjoy all the viewpoints. The best time to visit this waterfall is in summer, when the river has a higher flow.
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Innsbruck and the Alpine region of Tyrol
Tyrol is probably our favorite region in Austria. Even South Tyrol, in Italy, is also very worthwhile. The capital of this region is Innsbruck, one of the most beautiful cities to see in Austria. It is located in the beautiful valley of the Eno River and surrounded by peaks of more than 2,300 meters. For that reason, Innsbruck is one of the best destinations in Austria for skiing. It has even hosted two Winter Olympics (in 1964 and 1976 respectively). Whether you ski or not, it is highly recommended to have travel insurance. Not only does it offer you medical coverage, it also covers unforeseen events such as loss of luggage or delays in transport. You can contract your insurance with InterMundial with a 20% discount. Innsbruck is a perfect place to combine mountains and city. Strolling through the streets of its historic center and observing its facades is something very beautiful. But then, in just 30 minutes by cable car, you can reach the top of Hafelekar, a peak of 2,300 meters. You will be amazed by the views! Without a doubt, Innsbruck is one of the best places to see in Austria. But don’t settle for just seeing the city. Explore the Tyrol region!
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Eisriesenwelt, the largest ice cave in the world
If you are going to visit Austria from May to October you will have the opportunity to visit the largest ice cave in the world. This cave system is about 30 kilometers from Salzburg and is more than 40 kilometers long. Is awesome! The formations of ice and icicles that you will see inside will leave you speechless. Of course, wrap up warm because inside the cave the temperatures are very low (hence the presence of ice). You have about 3 hours to visit. The guided tour lasts approximately 1:15h, but to get there you must take the funicular and it will take a long time. Book tickets in advance. Also keep in mind that during the visit you will have to climb many steps. Even so, it is worth it because it is one of the most spectacular places to see in Austria.
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The spectacular Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey is one of the most famous monastic sites in the world. This Christian monastery is located in the beautiful Wachau Valley on top of a cliff with spectacular views of the Danube. It was founded in 1089, but it didn’t take on its beautiful current Baroque appearance until the 18th century. It is barely 1 hour by train from the central station of Vienna, being one of the most popular excursions from the capital. The great courtyard of the Abbey and its interior, especially the Marble Room, are its main attractions. Admission costs €12.50 (without guide).
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Lake Schlegeis, one of the most beautiful lakes to see in Austria
Austria has a lot of natural lakes. But we recommend an artificial one! Schlegeis is one of five artificial lakes in the beautiful Zillertal valley . We advise you to go up to the Olperer mountain cabin . There is a path that will take you from the lake to the top in about an hour and a half . The views from the cabin will take your breath away! You will be able to see very clearly the lake and the mountains and glaciers of the Zillertal Alps. There is also a beautiful suspension bridge to enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes to see in Austria . The path starts right next to the parking lot. If you use Google Maps, you will find it marked on the map at the beginning of this post. If not, look for the Zamsereck restaurant and you will see that the path starts just on your left.
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Grossglockner and its alpine road
At 3,798 meters, the Grossglockner is the highest mountain in Austria . But to enjoy it you don’t have to be an expert climber. From the alpine road you will have spectacular views. In fact, you can reach Edelweiss Peak, located at 2,571 meters above sea level, in your own car. But the main attraction of the alpine road is the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe . From that point you will have spectacular views of the highest mountain in the country and the Pasterze Glacier . In addition, you can also start one of its many trails. The road is 48 kilometers long and starts in the town of Bruck an der Grossglockner. And believe us, each of its 36 curves is pure magic. It is considered the most beautiful panoramic road in Europe. Keep in mind that it is a paid tourist attraction. The price per car is €36.50. Without a doubt, the most beautiful road to see in Austria.
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Gipfelwelt 3000 , one of the best viewpoints in Austria
If you like panoramic views, you cannot miss this viewpoint. It is known as “Top of Salzburg” and with 3029 meters above sea level it is the highest panoramic point to see in Austria. From the top you will have privileged views of some of the highest mountains in the country and also of the Hohe Tauern National Park. In addition, access is simple in one of its comfortable cable cars. The viewpoint is located on the famous Kitzsteinhorn mountain. At 3,203 meters above sea level, it is one of the highest in Austria. And it doesn’t just house this viewing platform. In the mountains you can also enjoy ski slopes, a cinema at more than 3000 meters and other attractions.
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Graz and its old town
Graz is the second largest city in Austria and one of the great forgotten (unfairly). Its historic center is beautiful. In fact, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its superbly preserved medieval and Italian Renaissance buildings. You can not forget to climb the Schlossberg hill to enjoy the best views of Graz or visit some of its temples and palaces. Without a doubt, one of the most interesting cities to see in Austria.
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The Schafberg Train
If you plan to visit Austria from May to the end of September, you cannot miss this experience. It is the steepest cogwheel railway in Austria. It has been in operation since 1893, when it was opened to go from the base of the lake in St. Wolfgang to the 1,783-meter-high summit of Schafberg. From the top you will have incredible views of various alpine lakes and the Dachstein Glacier. But it will not be necessary to reach the top to enjoy a good panoramic view. During the 35-minute journey you will be amazed. In just 6 kilometers it gains 1200 meters of elevation gain. Almost nothing! The return ticket costs €39.60.
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The beautiful Admont Monastery Library
Austria has elegant cities, picturesque towns, beautiful nature and even a spectacular library! Yes, you read it right. One of the most beautiful things to see in Austria is a library. But once you visit it, you will not be surprised that it appears on this list. It is located inside a Benedictine monastery located next to the river Eno. The landscape that surrounds it is equal to or more beautiful than the library itself. It was built in the 18th century and is the largest monastic library in the world. Its main attraction are the ceilings and domes, decorated with frescoes and many details in gold. The entrance to the library costs €11.50 per person.
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Zell am See, one of the most picturesque towns to see in Austria
And to finish this post about the 15 most beautiful places to see in Austria, we could not leave the beautiful town of Zell am See. This town located on the shores of Lake Zeller. In fact, it is one of the cleanest lakes in Europe. You just need to see the transparent color of the water. And if you add to that that it is surrounded by the high peaks of Schmittenhohe and Kitzsteinhorn, the place becomes idyllic. There are plenty of things to do in Zell am See. For example, take a boat cruise on the lake or even go around it on a 12-kilometre circular path. And of course, do not forget to walk through its beautiful old town.
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