Austria, one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations, attracts tourists year-round. Visitors are drawn as much for the scenic beauty of this Alpine republic’s provinces as they are for splendid cities like Vienna, the historic capital, and beautiful Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. See what are the best places to visit in Austria!
The glorious imperial home of the old Habsburg dynasty that once reigned supreme over the heartlands of Central Europe, Vienna is a medley of majestic Baroque facades, elaborate palaces and romantic parks. In the center of town the mighty Hofburg spreads its grand and neoclassical wings around the manicured Heldenplatz, while the totemic institutions of the Museumsquartier stand nearby, bursting with works by Klimt, Picasso and Warhol. Then there’s the winding web of streets that forms the Vienna Innere Stadt (old town); home to vaulted cafes and art deco tea houses where the spectres of Freud, Wittgenstein and Trotsky still lurk in the alcoves. Yes sir, Vienna’s simply not to be missed!
Dreaming spires, green hills and romantic gardens make up a city loved by millions of visitors from all over the world. Salzburg means “salt castle”, referring to its massive fortress and the white gold from the mountains in the South. It is the capital of a federal province of Austria with the same name. The city′s magnificent Baroque town centre is rated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and can easily be explored by foot. A classic music festival, the city′s most famous son Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the heart-warming musical “The Sound of Music” created the area′s fame and popularity with music enthusiasts all over the world.
Centered on a gorgeous Old Town of Baroque palaces, Innsbruck is a sight to behold. Weaving between the cobbled lanes and old imperial palaces, visitors here can spy out sights like the Golden Roof and the grand whitewashed Hofburg. Summer and winter activities abound, and it’s understandable why some visitors only take a peek at Innsbruck proper before heading for the hills. But to do so is a shame, for Innsbruck is an attraction itself. Its late-medieval old town, presided over by a grand Habsburg palace and baroque cathedral, and big mountain views make a spectacular combination of the urban and the outdoors.
A glorious Old Town heart and a lively student vibe make Graz one of Austria’s best-loved and most fun-loving cities. Anchored on one seriously attractive Innere Stadt that fuses everything from Renaissance to Gothic to Slavic architectural styles between its cobbled streets and sea of red-tiled roofs, the center here is awash with fascinating historical sites, like the Schlossberg hill, complete with one curious clock tower, and the Styrian Armoury, where a whopping 32,000 guns, swords, suits of armor and more stand testimony to the city’s onetime place on the frontier between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe.
5. The Grossglockner
Grossglockner is the highest mountain in Austria and one of the most striking elevations in the Eastern Alps. The mountain is home to small villages, numerous animals, and rare plants. The Glockner is cloaked in secrecy and the stuff of legend. The Grossglockner Road, at the foot of the mountain, was constructed between 1930 and 1935 and is one of the most magnificent mountain roads in Europe. Although its importance as a route through the Alps has declined, it’s still a splendid highway through one of Austria’s most outstanding attractions.
A region which straddles the banks of the Danube, rich in history, blessed with a mild climate and outstanding white wines, the UNESCO cultural heritage site of Wachau is a magical Austrian land. Wachau is characterized by gently rolling hills, abundant vineyards, medieval villages and the picturesque banks of the Danube. The mild climate, influenced by the river valley, sunny wine slopes and the special geology mean that excellent wines are produced here. The Wachau also boasts a high density of restaurants and inns, where you can enjoy top quality regional cooking at reasonable prices and which promise a delicious balance of local ingredients and creative flair.
7. Zell am See
Austria’s quintessential Alpine lake town, the spot has become a veritable outdoorsy paradise, drawing millions of adventure travelers each year. Here you will find some of Austria’s finest sailing, hiking, mountain biking, scenic driving and skiing. Since 1961, the city has been declared as a climatic health resort thanks to the excellent climatic conditions that thrive here. Take a cable car to the glacier of Kaprun and the funicular down to the snow plateau.