Cities in Austria
Vienna—the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre
Vienna, city of great museums and palaces, the birthplace of opera and Beethoven, is thriving city of culture. A promenade alongside the magnificent Ringstrasse boulevard surrounded by royal palaces such as the Hofburg and countless magnificent parks is an excellent opportunity to let the magic of Vienna take effect on you. Vienna is considered to be one of the best cities in Austria. For a relaxing evening, you should also enjoy a nice coffee in one of the cafés in Vienna.
The luxurious Schönbrunn and Belvedere palaces and the sumptuously decorated St. Stephen’s Cathedral are architectural masterpieces and a must-see for those interested in art and history. Be sure to enjoy the world famous Viennese coffee in some of the numerous charming coffee houses.
Best for: History, Architecture, Culture
When to visit: April-May, September-October
Bregenz—famous for the annual summer music festival of Bregenzer Festspiele
Bregenz is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Constance and has a breathtaking view of the Swiss and German Alps. This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Austria.
Bregenz is well known for its lake festivals and various cultural events, most notably the Bregenz Festival, which takes place annually in July and August. Performed by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and several other top musicians, this festival has a truly unique floating stage.
Travelers visiting Bregenz are advised to take the time to enjoy a ride on the Pfänderbahn, which takes you to the Pfänder. From here you will be able to see the peaks of the surrounding mountains as well as visit the Alpine Wildlife Park and the famous Eagle Observatory. During winter the mountain is becoming a popular skiing area.
Best for: Nature, Culture
When To Visit: July-August
Eisenstadt—historically the seat of the Eszterházy Hungarian noble family that gave the town its aristocratic feel
Eisenstadt, the capital of the province of Burgenland, is one of Austria’s most beautiful places, known for its rich history. The city used to be the home of the famous composer Joseph Haydn during the 18th century. Its magnificent baroque castles, well-maintained gardens and its historical museums have made it a very popular tourist destination in Austria.
The most popular sight of the city is the Esterházy Palace which dates back to the 14th century, once the home of the Esterházy princes. Nowadays this beautiful example of baroque and traditional style serves as a venue for several events, most notably the Haydn Festival.
Best For: History
When To Visit: September-November
Graz—known as Austria’s culinary capital and student city
Graz is Austria’s second largest city and after the takeover by the Habsburgs in the 12th century the city became an important economic center. Nowadays it carries the title of European Capital of Culture, is reminiscent of Murinsel, a steel sculpture situated on the river Mur and used for recreation and as an amphitheater. Graz is furthermore famous for being the hometown of the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it has a small museum that is dedicated to his career.
Graz’s old town is a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site and has impressive baroque architectural structures such as stucco facades and artistic woodcarvings. The Haus am Luegg is a especially attractive piece of architecture, while the Landhaus and the Rathaus are examples of the Renaissance style. A great example of late Gothic style architecture can be seen in the Franciscan church.
There are several museums in the old town, among them the Theriak-Museum of the Mohren Pharmacy and the Stadtmuseum Graz there is also the Robert-Stoltz-Museum, which is devoted to one of the composers of the 19th century.
In Graz there are several good museums, among them the Stadtmuseum Graz and the Landeszeughaus, the world’ s largest historical armoury in the world, as also a unique pharmacy museum (Mohren Apotheke’s Theriak Museum).
Those who are interested in art are also recommended to have a look at the Kunsthaus Graz, which is located in a very strange metal building which looks like an extraterrestrial capsule.
Other significant tourist attractions and places of interest are the Graz Cathedral (St. Gile’s Cathedral), a late Gothic structure offering many impressive features, and also the Mariatrost Basilica, a Baroque church that is an important pilgrimage attraction.
Only a few minutes away from the city, the Baroque castle from 1635, Schloss Eggenberg, is home not only to some beautiful architecture and well-preserved huts, as well as several hundred magnificent sculptures and paintings.
Best For: History, Food, Education
When To Visit: April-September
Innsbruck—the cultural and economic centre of Western Austria
This idyllic alpine town, which is surrounded by high mountains, has a lot to offer that will make your stay worthwhile. You can stroll through the Old Town and have a look at the impressive Goldenes Dachl, which is covered with more than 2,500 sparkling tiles, or you can visit the Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum , which is one of the finest museums of regional heritage in Europe.
Innsbruck is a destination for all seasons of the year and is one of the most charming places you can visit at Austria in winter. It has world renowned ski resorts where you can have fun during the winter months. Fans of adventure will be able to hike through wonderful meadows, to bungee jump on the Europa Bridge and take a thrilling funicular ride through the Nordkette.
Best For: Adventure, Architecture, Culture
When To Visit: December-April
Klagenfurt—scenic town very close to the Wörthersee
Klagenfurt is a little town located near the Slovenian border in South Austria, which originated as a humble market town.
The Old Square crosses through the oldest part of town is a lovely pedestrian zone with baroque architecture like the Old Town Hall and the House of the Golden Goose. It also has some of the city’s top stores and cafes and a lively open-air market, the Benedictine Market.
Just behind the Old Square is the Landhaus, a magnificent 16th century building that features a 2-story arcaded courtyard and 2 onion-shaped arched towers.
The New Square is the heart of the new town area, a lovely and broad square on which the Lindwurm fountains are situated. In this spectacular sculpture, the symbol of the city is shown, a giant dragon that is believed to actually have inhabited the swamp on from which the town was built.
The cathedral of Klagenfurt, constructed in the end of the 16th century, was the residence of the prince-bishop of Gurk starting in 1787. In this spectacular building you will find stucco details, skilfully crafted marble details and paintings dating back to the 18th century. The building is also home to the Gurk Diocesan Museum, which contains numerous ecclesiastical findings.
Klagenfurt is also the location of the Landesmuseum Kärnten, which displays a variety of local art and nature exhibitions.
Best For: History
When To Visit: September-November
Linz—a vibrant music and arts scene and a beautiful historic core
Linz is a magnificent city which is often overlooked by travellers. The city is home to many historical, cultural as well as scenic attractions and a variety of shopping opportunities. It is situated on the River Danube and is an excellent starting point for boat tours and for discovering the many surrounding villages.
The most important historical attraction of the city is the Linz Castle, a fortification and royal palace, which is also home to the Castle Museum. This museum of history has a wonderful collection of archaeological artifacts from prehistory to the Middle Ages.
The central part of Linz’s old town is the Hauptplatz, which used to be the central marketplace. It is surrounded by splendid decorated baroque architecture and is an excellent place to take pictures and watch people. On the nearby promenade, you will find a wide range of shopping boutiques, art galleries and street cafés.
The oldest church in Linz ‘is the Martinskirche, which was built in the 8th century with its early Carolingian architectural style and several Roman elements as well as a series of frescoes dating back to the 15th century.
Neuer Dom (the new cathedral) was constructed between 1862 and 1924 using yellow sandstone in neo-Gothic style. The most remarkable features include a stained-glass window representing the history of the city as well the 135 meter high tower.
Best For: Sightseeing
When To Visit: May- September
Salzburg—A city with an attractive setting and scenic Alpine backdrop
The city of Salzburg is located on the Salzach River in the north-west of Austria and is as famous for its stunning historical architecture as it is equally famous for its impressive musical heritage as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the world famous composer.
The house where the Mozart was born is now open as a museum and displays a violin that he used as a child, as well as original compositions and various other artifacts. In the festival halls of the Salzburg Festival, comprising the Festspielhaus and the Mozart House, are held classical music festivals and regular concerts during the whole year.
In the old part of town there are several historical monuments, among them the Residenzbrunnen fountain dating from the 17th century. You can also find the Salzburg Residenz, a 16th century royal residence, known for its baroque and neoclassical style.
Other attractions include the pedestrian zone Getreidegasse with its lavishly decorated facades and a large number of boutiques as well as the old Kranzlmarkt and a number of sidewalks with porticoes which give a romantic touch to the surroundings.
Located above the old town is the Hohensalzburg, a lovely late Gothic palace containing two outstanding military museums.
Two of the other beautiful palaces in Salzburg are known to be the location of scenes from All Together Passionately which are among the most popular tourist attractions. The pergola and a tree-lined alleyway of Hellbrunn Palace has been used in a cult scene, and the rest of the park is also equally charming, with its gardens and make-up fountains which have been installed by the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg Markus Sittikus.
The baroque style gardens of Mirabell Palace (Mirabell Palace) were also featured in The Sound of Music. A stroll through the gardens and to admire the fountains, statues and terraced sceneries is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
The Salzburg Cathedral is one of the most significant religious sites in Salzburg. This Italian Gothic building was finished in 1657 and Mozart was baptized here. There is also the Cathedral Museum, which contains a collection of important ecclesiastical artifacts.
The Collegiate Church of St. Peter (St. Peter Church) features some remarkable early Gothic and Rococo ornamental features.
Best For: Architecture, Photography, Music
When To Visit: September-October
Villach—beautiful Altstadt surrounded by the Alps and various lakes
Villach is one of the largest cities in the province of Carinthia and is situated between two mountain chains in the south of Austria not far from the border between Italy and Slovenia.
The central square is filled with numerous charming buildings and courtyards where you can find countless boutiques, galleries and street cafés.
Villach also has several historic churches, including the ornate Heiligenkreuzkirche dating from the 18th century and the Gothic parish church of St. Jacob which dates from the 14th century.
Numerous skiers and hikers in Gerlitzen, find their comfortable accommodation in Villach, which is easily accessible by car or train.
Also nearby Villach is the Affenberg Zoo, a fantastic family attraction in which you can observe Japanese macaques. At the medieval castle Landskron which has a panoramic view of the city, there is a falconry program.
When To Visit: December-April
Other destinations in Austria
Lake Constance—a large lake situated in Vorarlberg and shared with Switzerland and Germany
As one of the best places in Austria, the magical beauty of Lake Constance will leave you breathless. This lake extends across three countries; Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It is not just the third largest lake in Europe, but one of the most picturesque sights of the continent.
You can have a picnic day and enjoy the magnificent view of the surrounding area. In winter this place is famous for its thermal baths. You can also take a boat trip on the lake. Therefore, if you are wondering where in Austria you should go, you should definitely consider this place.
Kaprun—part of the Europa Sport Region
Kaprun is well known internationally for its outstanding mountain railroads. One of these is the Glacial Aerial Tramway Kaprun III, the third section of the cable car on the Kitzsteinhorn. It operates on a 113.6 m high supporting column, the world’ s highest supporting column of any cable car.
Since 2000, Kaprun’s most modern mountain transport technology has been overshadowed by the Kaprun disaster when a funicular in the Kitzsteinhorn was caught on fire in the middle of a 3.3 km long tunnel. 155 skiers and employees have died in flames and smoke as a consequence of the disaster and since then the tunnel has been closed. There is a monument in the old funicular.
Pinswang — one of the most ancient settlements of the North Tyrolean Ausserfern, on the border with Bavaria and a short walk or drive to the famous castles of King Ludwig
Pinswang is a scenic ancient mountain village in the Austrian Ausserfern in the north of Tyrol. It is situated on the boundary of the Allgäu region in Bavaria.
Pinswang is a peaceful, charming village in the northernmost region of the Austrian Tyrol, known as Ausserfern. With a population of about 430 inhabitants, Pinswang is situated in a lush green alpine valley between two large marketing cities. Reutte is located about 8 km to the south in Austria and Füssen approximately the same distance to the north-east in Germany. Pinswang is subdivided into two parts, Oberpinswang and Unterpinswang. The village government, school and church are all located in Unterpinswang.
Salzkammergut—a stunning cultural landscape among mountains and lakes
This picturesque tourist area near Salzburg offers the typical Austrian experience with sparkling blue lakes (76 lakes), stunning mountain ranges, charming villages and sophisticated health resorts. The fairytale village of Hallstatt is situated next to Lake Hallstatt and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of the most charming places in Austria.
Unquestionably one of the most stunning places in Austria, with the lovely pastel-colored houses of Halstatt, the underground salt lake Salzwelten and the ice cave on the Dachstein that will leave you speechless. The spa town of Bad Ischl and the romantic St. Wolfgang are two other popular destinations for tourists.
Best For: Nature, Culture, Spas, Adventure
When To Visit: September-October
Thermenland—the great spas of Styria, an easy daytrip from Graz or Vienna
(Styrian) Thermenland is in the province of Styria. To the east of the Thermenland is the Termenwelt in Burgenland. Both of them offer great spas.
The hot springs of Styria are very popular and they have a long tradition. You can get anything that a beauty spa could offer.
Typically, you come to this region from Graz or Vienna. There are buses and trains to all spas. However you may have to change your transport vehicle a couple of times.
Wörthersee—one of Austria’s warmest lakes
Canoeing, caving, beautiful churches and the hometown of Porsche are good enough reasons to visit Austria’s most popular summer destination for a couple of days. In the summer months, the lovely Worthersee lake offers numerous opportunities for swimming, boating and canoeing.
You can go to the colorful Griffen Stalactite Cave to get inspired and explore. Have a look at the old Gurk Dome from the 12th century and visit Gmund, the birthplace of Porsche.
Best For: Adventure, Nature
When To Visit: June-August
Zell am See—one of the most important alpine tourist towns in Austria
The world-class ski slopes, the crystal blue water of the Zell-Am lake and the picturesque Salzburg mountains make Zell Am one of the most beautiful places in Austria for both natural beauty and relaxation. We recommend adding this place to your travel plans when you visit Austria in March.
Cycling along the breathtaking lake or swimming in the spectacular blue waters of the lake are some of the most exciting experiences in this enchanting alpine town. You can admire the scenic beauty while having a coffee in one of the numerous cafes in the city center or you can enjoy some of the best panoramic views on the elevated path to St. Hippolyte’s Church.
Best For: Nature
When To Visit: June-August