Here you can find our pick of top cultural highlights and things to do in Austria from the historical sights, city architecture, musical history, etc. Austria is a fantastic country with a strong imperial past, it once held a position of European power, which invited worldwide contributions to various forms of art. Notable for its musical history (Mozart, among other composers, was born in Vienna, the capital), Austria is a simply stunning; the city architecture is breath-taking, the food is excellent and there’s a vast array of cultural attractions, all of which differ depending on whereabouts you are.
Perhaps you’ll visit grand Vienna, with its stately cathedrals, or maybe you’ll head to majestic Innsbruck, a city coveted by empires and republics throughout its history, it was once the seat of Maximilian I. When it comes to cultural attractions, look no further than splendid Austria.
Top Cultural Highlights & Things to Do in Austria
St Stephen’s Cathedral
Easily the most iconic building in Vienna, St Stephen’s Cathedral looms over the city and it is one of the most important landmarks for the Viennese people. It has historical connections to Vienna’s cultural past; Joseph Haydn sang here as a choir boy and Mozart was married here in 1782.
The oldest remains of the cathedral date back to the 13th century and it has undergone reconstruction under various different Dukes. It was finally finished in the 18th century and decorated with Baroque altarpieces. Take a tour and uncover the cathedral’s hidden secrets, climb into the catacombs and learn all about Vienna.
Located in Vienna, this is the former Imperial Palace. A monument of the Habsburg Empire (an appellation for the countries ruled by Austria’s House of Habsburg monarchy), a tour around this grand palace is a great way of discovering everything there is to know about regal Austria.
You can see the private apartments, state rooms and marvel at the art and architecture – all while experiencing the day in the life of the Habsburg family. The Imperial Treasury is also worth the look as it contains jewels dating back to the Holy Roman Empire.
Something a little different but nonetheless cultural, visit a typical Viennese Heuriger, which are wine taverns unique to Austria. Vienna is the only major city in the world that produces wines completely within its own city limits, so go ahead and taste the fruits of their labors! Many of the wines served in these heurigers are world-class.
Tip: You will find the best heurigers in the wine-growing regions, namely Neustift and Grinzing.
Located in Innsbruck, on the southern end of the Maria Theresien Strasse, the Triumphal Arch is one of Innsbruck’s most famous landmarks.
One side of the arch depicts happiness and the sanctity of marriage and the other shows the death of Emperor Franz Stephan, husband of Empress Maria Theresa who unfortunately died during their wedding celebrations.
Vienna’s Museum Quarter is one of the largest culture and art complexes in the world. If it’s culture you’re after, head here first! You can spend simply days here exploring the museums, exhibition halls and art galleries. You can find:
- The Leopald Musuem. This has the largest collection of Austrian art in the world.
- Mumok. This is Austria’s best museum of modern art.
- Austrian Architectural Museum.
Last but no means least, a trip to Austria surely means paying homage to their biggest export, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!
The house he was born in is located at No. 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg, and Mozart and his family lived on the third floor from 1747 to 1773. Now a museum, the house isn’t just about Mozart, but you’ll learn a lot about Austria too.