One thing’s certain: there are no kangaroos in Austria! So, in case you’re among those who aren’t absolutely positive where is Austria and what it’s all about, we’ll reassure you that this Central European beauty is well-worth paying a visit to.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to unmissable Austria destinations, answer often asked questions such as “what to do in Austria”, as well as share some interesting things which are good to know when planning your Austria travel. Let’s begin!
Must-Visit Cities in Austria
A multifaceted pearl in the heart of Europe, the one and only Austria, is the country that has something to everyone’s taste. Of course, describing Austrian cities can take hours and hours, but talks are just talks. Austria is all about feelings: catch the smell of fresh pastry from the local cafe, hear the sweet sounds of the piano and violin, take in the Baroque beauty of street ensembles and gorgeous Alpine mountains, and let Austria steal your heart for good!
To immerse into the epicenter of lush Baroque and Empire, you will find no better place than the country’s capital, bohemian Vienna. The world’s capital of music has traditionally been a home for royal dynasties and the greatest men of art who’ve left their mark in the city’s history and legacy.
In fact, Vienna attractions are literally met at every step so the wave of joy and inspiration won’t belong in coming. Schonbrunn Palace alone is enough to get you thrilled!
One more residence of the Habsburg rulers, the charming town of Graz, is located to the south of Vienna. Being Austria’s second-largest city, this beauty, in a lot of ways, reminds the spirit of the Austrian capital with a hint of Italian allure but provides a more relaxed vibe.
Graz boasts a well-preserved old town, combining several architectural styles, the medieval Schlossberg Castle, and some truly impressive museums you wouldn’t like to miss.
To enrich your Austria travel itinerary, we strongly recommend not to put off visiting one more heart-stealer, romantic Salzburg.
The motherland of the genius composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, absorbed the best the Renaissance epoch could provide.
So if you still can’t get enough of beautiful castles, palace-park ensembles, and Alpine views, Salzburg is the right place to go.
However, the list of the best cities in Austria is not limited only to this trio. The lion’s share of the country’s popularity belongs to local resorts, which are many.
In case you are a fan of the active lifestyle and sports, you’ll be pleased with the wide selection of ski spots.
The most advanced region in these terms is the captivating state of Tyrol with the capital in Innsbruck (aka the capital of three Olympiads and a true city-museum), as well as the largest ski areas, including St. Anton am Arlberg and SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental. Isn’t it tempting to spend several days enjoying both steep Alpine slopes and famous Tyrol pies? We bet the answer is obvious!
Things to Do in Austria
Okay, you are already aware of which cities to draw your attention to while planning where to go in Austria, and now you probably have a logical question about what to see in Austria upon arrival. Don’t worry as we know exactly how to make your journey as good as it can be!
Dive into Fascinating Views
Fortunately, Austria is not only about cities and stunning cultural legacy, but mesmerizing scenery as well. The beauty of Austrian nature is revealed in all its glory in the country’s national parks (Austria has 7 of them).
The largest and most spectacular one is the Hohe Tauern, located at the junction of Carinthia, Tyrol, and Salzburg. This kingdom of fabulous peaks and lakes, waterfalls, and gorges literally evokes legends about dwarfs and goblins. Ready to become a character of one of them?
Another amazing alternative is renting a car and driving across the federal states of Salzburg and Lower Austria to immerse into the amazing lake region and admire the mirror-like surface of Traunsee, Mondsee, Wolfgangsee, and Attersee.
Naturally, the best travel time for this kind of adventure is summer as it is the season when all coastal towns are drowned in flowers and the atmosphere of peace and harmony is in the air.
If you are planning your Austria trip in the wintertime, we highly advise visiting one of the main natural Austria highlights, setting off hiking in Eisriesenwelt.
Set around 40 km (25 miles) from Salzburg, this unique formation is the largest ice cave in the world, extending more than 42 km (25 miles). So don’t forget to take your warmest sweater and a pair of gloves!
Test Austrian Ski Resorts
Austrian ski resorts are considered to have the best tracks in Europe, together with Swiss resorts of course.
For this reason, it is quite obvious why they are extremely popular among sports enthusiasts from all over the world.
Reasonable prices, high quality, and great infrastructure in the Austrian Alps speak for themselves!
In fact, there are about 1,000 places in the country where you can spend a nice active vacation.
Among the top-rated ones by travelers are: Solden, Innsbruck, Alpbach, and Mayrhofen.
Top Things to Do in Vienna, Austria
Explore Outstanding Palaces
Speaking about Vienna, the capital is the ideal place to start your Austrian palaces’ exploration. The city houses several dozens of pompous buildings which were owned by nobility and ruling families.
The most famous ones, Schonbrunn and Hofburg, were the Habsburg properties and still boast extraordinary beauty of the decor. It stands to reason that they’re both simply obligatory places to visit in Vienna while you’re there!
Enjoy Viennese Opera
It goes without saying that classical music and waltz are inseparable from this country, so it’s no surprise that among the top things to definitely include in your Vienna sightseeing tour is, for sure, paying a visit to a concert.
So don’t even think of depriving yourself of the pleasure to wear a beautiful dress or fancy suit, head to the gorgeous Vienna State Opera House, and spend an unforgettable evening savoring a wonderful performance!
Take a Ride on a Horse Carriage
There’s no more exciting and romantic way to check out the major Vienna tourist attractions than by passing the route on a horse-drawn carriage.
The largest number of them can be found by the colorful St. Stephen’s Cathedral in the heart of town.
As a rule, both of the horses and the carriage are beautifully adorned, providing for not only great opportunities for taking pictures but also giving you the feeling as if you’re a Hofburg yourself (well, for the time of the ride at least).
What to Taste in Austria
Every corner of our planet has its own secrets and peculiarities in everything regarding cuisine, and Austria is not an exception. Generally, Austrian specialties are simple and hearty. Probably the most renowned local dishes include Wiener Schnitzel (traditionally cooked from veal), Rindsuppe (beef soup), and Tafelspritz (boiled veal served with minced apples).
For sure, it would be a miss to ignore sweet delicacies which have become a prominent part of Austrian cuisine as well. Who doesn’t know the famous Viennese waffles with every possible topping? Or the taste of freshly baked Strudel with apple filling? Or amazing Tyrol pies and the chocolate cake called Sachertorte? Mmmm… sweet paradise!
By the way, referring to the tasty topic about chocolate, you should definitely treat yourself to a tasting of Austrian Mozartkugel, or better appreciate the finer things in life, visiting the chocolate manufacture Zotter. Most Austrians would claim that this brand has practically no rivals. And what side will you choose?
What’s for traditional Austrian drinks, make sure to have some Almdudler, this soft drink is claimed to be the country’s main distinguishing beverage.
Austria Travel Tips
Now that you have a clear vision of places to visit in Austria, in continuation we would like to give you a couple of useful tips to make your trip even more comfortable and worry-free.
The first thing you should think about once you’ve decided that Austria is next on your travel radar, is an Austria tourist visa.
And here’s the good news for the holders of the US, Canadian, New Zealand, and Australian passports – you don’t need to have a visa to enter neither Austria nor any country of the European Union for stays for touristic purposes under 90 days.
If you are a citizen and passport holder of any other country in the world, check whether you need the Schengen visa or not.
One more important point involves money and payment methods. Like in the majority of the European Europe countries, the currency of Austria is Euro. Though it is unlikely that you’ll have issues exchanging cash in a local exchange office or withdrawing money in ATMs, you have to keep in mind that you can be charged some fees after making payments in a different currency if your card isn’t issued in Euros. Apart from foreign transaction fees, think of the type of your card before departure as credit cards are not as popular in Europe as they are in the USA, so it would be better to take a debit one, just to stay on the safe side.
And one small remark about plugs. Austrian sockets meet the European standard of delivering power at 220V, meaning that you may need a special adapter to charge your devices. However, don’t worry if you haven’t managed to buy one at home as you’ll easily find a travel adapter for Austria in most local shops.