places to visit in Austria

Top 20 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Austria

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In addition to the fresh mountain air and idyllic scenery, the European country is home to culturally sophisticated cities, quirky places, and breathtaking architecture! I’m a huge fan, and from my time exploring this refined and picturesque country, here are my favourite spots…

1. Vienna

Vienna pretty places

Beautiful Vienna opera house

As the capital, Vienna is perhaps the city most associated with Austrian life, but I think that doesn’t make it any less attractive. Every time I visit, the elegant city is buzzing with excitement—street theatre, ballets, operas, musicals, art galleries, and shows make it a dynamic and lively city to explore! 

But I love that this modern flavour doesn’t detract from the tradition in this splendid city. There are several imperial palaces and some stunning museums that proudly overlook majestic squares, and I would highly recommend visiting Hofburg, the once impressive home of the Habsburg rulers.

This fusion of fast-paced modern living and serene historical architecture makes Vienna a truly spectacular city. I defy you not to fall in love with it—it’s a stunning gem!

My favorite highlights…

  • The city has a musical heritage like no other, and I loved watching a concert in Vienna. I caught a performance at the Golden Hall or in one of their beautiful historic churches for an exquisite and cultured experience.
  • Visiting the world-famous Schönbrunn Palace and the stunning Rathaus Vienna/City Hall.
  • Attending the world-famous Vienna Opera Ball at Wiener Staatsoper (the State Opera House).
  • Going for a Viennese coffee, a strudel, and people-watching in the gorgeous historic centre.
  • Sipping cocktails while enjoying beautiful views at the 25Hours Hotel rooftop bar, The Dachboden Loft (in the 7th District, the city’s hipster district).

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2. Hallstatt

Hallstatt - the best places to visit in Austria

Winter in Hallstatt

Hallstatt Main Square Austria

Now famous with Instagrammers, this small scenic town overlooking the serene waters of Hallstatt Lake is one of my favourite places in Europe. I also think it looks spectacular in both summer and winter. 

The town is filled with chocolate box pretty 16th-century Alpine houses, and its winding cobbled alleyways are home to quaint cafes and independent shops. Some intriguing places make this area particularly interesting and offer you the chance to indulge in rock climbing, hiking, and boating.

I recommend visiting The Beinhaus (bone house), which displays stacks of human remains taken there due to the shortage of grave spaces. Although it sounds morbid, the experience is very different; there is something extraordinary and humbling about visiting the Beinhaus.

In my opinion, the ice and salt caves, with their impressive subterranean salt lake, are also worth visiting and truly spectacular (the funicular railway connects Hallstatt to Salzwelten).

My highlights…

  • Taking a stroll along the lakefront, filled with such picturesque scenery, it looked like it was straight out of a storybook.
  • Exploring the extraordinary ice caves and seeing frozen waterfalls and incredible ice formations.
  • Check out the salt mine, considered the oldest in the world. Children will also love it there as they have a thrilling miners’ slide!
  • Hiring a traditional wooden salt boat and exploring the lake!
  • Going to Five Fingers Viewpoint, which offers one of the most spectacular views in the Alps!
  • Seeing the colorful half-timbered houses in the central Market Square and having dinner at a beautiful open-air restaurant terrace around the lake.

3. Salzburg 

Salzburg - the best places to visit in Austria

Salzburg Architecture

Salzburg Austria

I completely fell for Salzburg’s charms; this is also the place for music fans! It also celebrates its accolade as Mozart’s birthplace by allowing visitors into the home where Mozart was born and running exhibitions there.

Salzburg may be home to Mozart and all things extravagant. Still, for an astounding 70% of overseas visitors, The Sound of Music remains the primary reason for travel to the city, with tour companies all over the town offering their version of the Sound of Music tour. I highly recommend going on one; they are a lot of fun! 

Also brimming with exceptional galleries and museums, a rich array of restaurants, and a diverse selection of shopping opportunities, from farmer’s markets to upmarket stores, I defy you not to fall in love with this utterly charming city, just like I did!

My favourite highlights…

  • Going on a Sound of Music Tour, which was hours of kitsch fun!
  • Wandering around the beautiful Old Town, one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps, was brimming with stunning baroque architecture.
  • Hearing famous Mozart pieces performed inside the historic fortress castle at the impressive Mirabell Palace and Gardens. 
  • Wandering down Getreidgasse, a charming Medieval shopping street filled with interesting independent shops.
  • Going for a Mozart Dinner Concert at the Baroque Hall of St Peter`s Abbey.
  • Experiencing Salzburg’s Beer Halls, my favourite was Augustiner Bräustübl Tavern, which had a garden attached to a monk’s brewery.

4. Innsbruck

Innsbruck - beautiful places to visit in Alps

Innsbruck main street - stunning places to explore in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought this was a stunning Alpine gem! The snow-topped mountains and tall, colourful buildings make it a postcard-worthy alpine destination. It has several well-managed ski resorts and excellent winter sports facilities, perfect for those who love to hit the slopes.

I recommend visiting Ambras Castle, the Folk Art Museum, and the Court Church. Some trendy hip bars are at the centre of a thriving nightlife, so I suggest making the most of these, too.

Serenity has its place here, though, as well, and I fell in love with the gentle pace of life and the many luxurious thermal spas!

My favorite highlights…

  • Hanging out in the gorgeous Old Town, filled with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants. 
  • I visited Tyrol Panorama, which had a museum and incredible views of the surrounding areas.
  • Taking a cable car to Nordkette Mountain Range and seeing stunning Alpine scenery. 
  • Swimming in Lake Achensee, Tirol’s largest lake.

5. Vorarlberg

 

Beautiful mountain lake in Vorarlberg Austria

Stunning Alps mountain scenery in Vorarlberg

The mountainous region of Vorarlberg boasts beautiful scenery and stunning architecture, and I was seriously wowed by this place when I visited! It’s more than just a new place to explore; it’s seriously a delight for your eyes to witness, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves walking, biking, skiing, and photography!

I personally think the mountains of Vorarlberg present a unique and artistic view for any hiker, explorer, or artist. The landscapes between Lake Constance and the mountains are perfect for long walks, especially with the mountains reaching up to 2,000 metres.

Vorarlberg has several natural wonders. One of my personal favourites is the Verwall area in Montafon. Verwall in Vorarlberg is one of the largest European Protection Areas in the Natura 2000 network.

I love that the views you can enjoy as you hike along its routes are as beautiful and diverse as the mountains! 

6. Graz

Graz - beautiful cities to visit in Austria

Graz Austria - great places to explore in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite being Austria’s second-largest city, I loved Graz’s relaxed location. Although the town is overflowing with beautiful architecture, I love that the city has a youthful vibe. This is down to its young, friendly population and the handful of impressive modern buildings dotted around.

There are many great things to do in Graz. This city has a vibrant arts centre that complements its Renaissance courtyards and baroque palaces. Thanks to the large student population (around 50,000 students spread across four University campuses), the nightlife in Graz is booming! 

Of course, if you’re not much of an art person and don’t see yourself dancing in the late evenings, I suggest visiting the Schloss Eggenberg Parkland Palace Gardens, a relaxing place for frolicking among peacocks! 

7. Zell am See

Zell am See Winter Ski Resort

Zell am See Austria - prettiest villages in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you visit Zell am See, I can tell you you will see some fantastic sights! The first one likely to capture your attention is the beautiful bluer-than-blue lake, Zeller See! 

You can dive into the gorgeous lake and cycle around its picturesque, plant-filled shores. Hiking and skiing in the mountains are also available. If you have or rent a car, I recommend driving up high onto the very scenic and famous Grossglockner Road.

More than a million visitors worldwide visit Zell am See every year in search of new sites and adventures. When the sky’s blue is reflected in such a clear lake, it’s a genuinely gorgeous sight!

8. Mostviertel

Mostviertel - one of the best places to explore in Austria

Pretty landscapes of Mostviertel Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I personally think Mostviertel is Lower Austria’s most captivating region. It combines rolling green meadows in the North with snow-laced rugged peaks in the South.

This combination of landscapes contributes to the region’s endless charm and boasts Europe’s largest continuous area of pear orchards. Its chocolate-box scenery makes it a wonder for adults and children alike and offers museums, monuments, family activities, and the chance to ski. I would suggest trying Hotel Kartause Gaming or Zur Linde for hotel options in this area.

9. Alpbach

Alpbach Austria - fantastic places to visit in Austria

Alpbach Austria - beautiful Austria landscapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alpbach has been voted the prettiest village in the country, and when I visited I immediately saw why! The sweet village is nestled between a cluster of majestic snow-capped mountains, allowing access to the perfect ski slopes while maintaining a solid alpine tradition.

Alpbach is full of picturesque wooden farmhouses, cattle fields, and locals skilled in traditional crafts. If you fancy a taste of how this country used to be and enjoy the experience of time standing still, then in my opinion, Alpbach is the place for you! 

I would suggest trying Bikepension Gästehaus Larch Alpbach or Alphof Hotel Alpbach for places to stay here.

10. Tirol

Cafe 3440 on the Pitztal Glacier in Tirol Austria

Tirol - one of the best places to go in Austria

Within beautiful Tirol lies the historic old town of Innsbruck, which I’ve mentioned above, but I think this incredible region is worth exploring! 

I personally think it’s a truly stunning spot steeped in folklore, mountains, and ski resorts and makes a fantastic destination to visit in this country, either summer or winter – the scenery is truly breathtaking!

Expect miles of walking and hiking trails across nature, fresh air, and clear mountain streams. History lovers can also enjoy the record-breaking suspension footbridge that is Highline179 and I would highly suggest visiting.

This remarkable structure is 114 meters high and 406 meters long; it connects Ehrenberg Castle to the remains of the 17th-century Roman Fortress Claudia in the market town of Reutte.

My must-do highlights

  • Visit the suspended terrace of Café 3440 (pictured above), which sits 3,440 m above sea level and offers incredible uninterrupted panoramic views of the beautiful Alpine scenery.
  • Go on the Nordkette Cable Car, gondola lift from Innsbruck to the Nordkette, which offers more gorgeous views.
  • Go hiking, rock climbing, and cycling to make the most of the Alpine scenery.

11. Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Beautiful views of Grossglockner Road Austria

Grossglockner Road - best place to visit in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think this famous winding, precarious, beautifully scenic road is wow-inducing! It will lead you to the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park as well as up the giddy heights of the Grossglockner (Austria’s tallest mountain), passing through the Pasterze glacier.

In my opinion, it’s an ideal way to experience the landscape at its best, as you’ll pass through mountain forests, alpine meadows, ice plains, and sheer cliff faces.

You can hire a vintage car, take a bus, ride a motorcycle, go by bike, or venture by foot; either way, the experience is jaw-dropping! Villa Orania and Schiefe Alm Hotel Bad Gastein are gorgeous accommodation options in the area.

12. Nationalpark Gesäuse

Stunning views of Gesaeuse Austria

Gorgeous views of Gesaeuse National Park Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The newest of this country’s beautiful National Parks, beautiful Gesäuse, is set in mountain ridges, deep valleys, and dense forests. I think it’s the perfect location for exploring unspoiled nature and is a favourite for rafting connoisseurs and hikers.

Of the six mountain peaks over 2000 meters in the park, Hocktor is the highest and most popular among visiting hikers – reaching a staggering 2369 meters in height.

I personally think artists, photographers, and travel bloggers would reap the benefits of visiting such a beautiful setting – if you can reach the top! 

13. Saalbach-Hinterglemm

The beautiful resort of Saalbach-Hinterglemm Austria

Beautiful views of Saalbach-Hinterglemm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the district of Zell am See, you can find a municipality known for its skiing, mountain biking, and other rough and challenging outdoor sports. It’s located in the Saalbach Valley, which has some breathtaking views at any time of day, especially if you’re coming in from Bründlkopf.

This peaceful location primarily consists of small towns and has several transport links – including Zell am See, which is around 20km away.

The town itself is primarily orientated towards tourism, but that doesn’t make it any less of a perfect place for exploring and taking on the outdoors and all it has to offer, I stayed in an eco-hotel here for a few days and I fell in love with the uncrowded, beautiful and tranquil landscapes here! 

14. St. Gilgen

St. Gilgen Austria - great places to visit in Austria

St. Gilgen Austria - gorgeous mountain scenery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A stroll through the village of St. Gilgen (in Salzburg) is a welcome breath of fresh air for any travel. The town takes you by the northern shore of Lake Wolfgangsee and is coupled with elegance and fashionable flair.

It is a village teeming to the top with traditions, culture, architecture, and unique tourist locations. I thought it was utterly charming, especially if you’re looking for a place filled with Austrian tradition!

The legendary Oxen Cross island can be found nearby, next to Fürberg Cove; both can offer any holiday explorer a sight to behold.

Finally, I recommend taking the Zwölferhorn Mountain cable car up to the peak directly from the village. It’s a seriously stunning view! 

15. Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle - one of the best places to go in Austria

Many consider it the most impressive medieval castle in the country and with good reason. It stands proudly on top of a 160-meter-high Dolomite rock formation, and I personally think it looks like something out of a fairytale!

Between Easter and the end of October, visitors are allowed inside certain parts of the castle each year and I would highly recommend a visit if you’re here during these months.

I would suggest walking along the 620-metre pathway through 14 intriguing fortified gates before you reach the stunning façade of the castle. Try the Art Lodge or Chalet Hotel Senger if you want to stay near here.

16. Krems an der Donau

Krems Austria - most beautiful cities in Austria

A beautiful view of Krems Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Krems an der Donau is a postcard-pretty riverside town in Lower Austria’s Danube’s Wachau Valley tourist region. It is renowned for its wine production and beautiful historical center (which has earned it a UNESCO Heritage Site status) and I loved this place! I thought it was charming, relaxed, and highly photogenic! 

Situated at the gateway to the World Heritage cultural landscape of the Wachau, it displays one of the most stunning stretches of river valley in Europe so don’t forget to bring your camera!

For elegant and unique places to stay I would suggest trying Wein-Gut Hutter or Gourmethotel Am Förthof.

17. Kitzbuhel

Kitzbuehel Austria - amazing places to visit in Austria

Kitzbuhel - most beautiful towns in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re an avid skier and looking for one of the top ski resorts in the country then I would say you need to look no further than Kitzbuhel!  Legends, including three-time Olympic medallist Toni Sailer, have been born on these slopes so you’ll be in great company! 

But pretty Kitzbuhel began its life in the 16th century as a mining town catering to silver and copper mining. Today, in my opinion, it still has a charming historical feel and has kept some of its medieval architecture.

18. Thayatal National Park

Thayatal National Park - one of the most beautiful places to go in Austria

Nice scenery of Thayatal Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thayatal National Park lies close to the border and the Czech Republic. This unique location is the country’s smallest national park and one of central Europe’s last natural valleys.

The park itself is technically two parks split across the border. The landscape consists of a deep canyon with steep slopes and numerous rock formations. The Thaya River (or the Dyje River if you’re across the border in the Czech Republic) cuts across the canyon, making for truly spectacular views.

I personally think this deserves a place on this list for its incredible scenery, its numerous hiking trails, its well-preserved castle ruins, and its wildlife spotting including the European otter, the black stork, and the Wild Cat.

19. Dürnstein

Gorgeous views of Durnstein Austria

Durnstein Austria - a beautiful town to explore in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was a huge fan of this almost impossibly photogenic spot! Durnstein sits on the Danube and is known for its beautiful buildings and scenic riverside location.

It’s also a historical hotspot for anyone wishing to visit the castle where the Lionheart, Richard the First of England, was once imprisoned! 

However, I would recommend that you plan your trip to this wondrous area in the summer when it’s busy with visitors and tourists and has a real buzz about the place. Durnstein essentially entirely closes up in the winter.

I think it’s a dream for photographers, with large, sweeping landscapes, high hilltops, and stunning architecture. The castle’s ruins sit high up on the green hills against the blue backdrop of the sky, making for some perfect shots.

20. Faaker See 

Faaker See Austria - where to stay in Austria

Faaker See Austria - stunning mountain scenery

Faaker See is an alpine lake in the state of Carinthia. It’s the state’s fifth-largest lake and one of the most beautiful – famed for its glorious clear azure water.

When I visited I fell completely in love with this beautiful spot and its tranquil vibe and I loved that the lake stretched on for miles! 

Popular with locals and tourists alike, here you can bathe, and go boating, but I would suggest also just kicking back and taking in the beautiful scenery! Enjoy! 


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