7 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Austria
Home to the legendary walled capital of Vienna, Austria is a dramatic, cultured country, steeped in classical art, music and architecture.
The country's charm and captivating culture have made Austria one of Europe's most visited tourist destinations and it's no wonder: the country is filled with spectacular art, astonishing churches and palaces, memorable gastronomic experiences, and spectacular hiking and skiing.
Many of Austria's attractions can be found in the country's capital city, the "City of Music," as it's affectionately called.
These top-recommended cities for tourists range from the vibrantly creative Salzburg to the glorious imperial city of Vienna. Be sure to choose your attractions carefully to fit your interests and travel style.
For the best ideas on how to spend your time, check out our comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Austria.
The spectacular and beautiful Salzburg, Austria is the capital of the state of Salzburg, and the prince-bishop's seat and administrative center. The city lies in a narrow valley at the foot of the snow-covered peaks of the Salzkammergut, which is the main attraction for visitors, as well as for residents as they enjoy the beautiful, clear mountain air. Not surprisingly, given its wealth and splendor, Salzburg has some of the most popular and impressive sights in the country. Highlights include Mozart's birthplace, Hohensalzburg Castle, Schloss Hellbrunn and the baroque "Bergbau" by Giovanni Andrea Trezzi. But don't miss these things if you don't want to lose the art and culture of the city as well.
There are many reasons to visit Austria's capital city, but its famous coffee houses are one of the main attractions. The most famous of all is Cafe Central, which offers excellent coffee in a classic Viennese setting. Of course, while visiting Vienna, you will want to visit the world famous Sigmund Freud Museum, and the many other attractions in the city.
Read more 👉 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Vienna
The Austrian city of Graz is home to the Styrian Alps, which are protected within Austria's largest forest, the Schneeberg Forest Park. Known for its rich panoramas, excellent ski resorts, and sleepy old towns, this region is a good place to visit any time of the year. Within the city's metropolitan area, visitors can enjoy the high standards of Austria's second-largest lake, Lake Hallstatt, and visit the largest outdoor observatory in the world in Ebenhof. Other sites of interest in Graz include the Universitätskirche, the famous baroque astronomical clock, and the gothic-style Stiftskirche.
A popular family-oriented destination, Klagenfurt is Austria's largest city, with a fascinating historical center full of Italianate and Neo-Baroque architecture. Highlights of a visit include the Riesenrad Ferris wheel, a 30-meter-tall wooden wheel with gondolas on the inside rim that can take up to two dozen people, many of them children, for a short spin; the Riesenrad Trivialis wheel, a smaller replica of the Riesenrad; and the Schlitterbahn water park, with its rides, wave pool, water slide, and Ferris wheel. In addition to a host of water-related activities, Klagenfurt has a large zoo and a lively entertainment scene. Skiing and other winter activities are popular in Klagenfurt and the surrounding mountains, and the city is home to Austria's largest winter sport destination, the Glacierhotel Schilthorn. Surrounded by European skiing destinations, the hotel is located at the head of Austria's famous Kitzbühel Glacier.
Innsbruck was an important city in the Roman Empire and home to Emperor Maximilian I and his grandson, Ferdinand I, who built a magnificent new palace in 1533-1543. Innsbruck today is home to a variety of cultural venues, including the Museum Leopolda, the Mozarteum University of Music and Dramatic Arts, and a variety of impressive architecture. A favorite in the summer, the Innsbrucker Ferienwohnungen (rented houses for vacation purposes) offer unique apartments and rooms in town. The various festivals are well-regarded and many popular during the summer, and a highlight of a trip to Innsbruck is the St. Nikolaus' Christmas Market (held in December).
Located in the state of Carinthia in southwestern Austria, Hallstatt is considered to be the most beautiful and distinctive of the lakeside resorts that dot the country. Visitors love the shimmering lake that makes up the town of Hallstatt, where waterside villas are built in typical Austrian style. The steep-sided surrounding hills, rising from the lake to a height of some 2,800 meters, give the town an almost fairy-tale appearance, and the views along the lakeshore of the distant mountains are stunning. It's this scenery that makes Hallstatt the perfect place for a day or two of relaxation. At the center of the lake sits the fortified town of Hallstatt with its imposing castle and narrow streets. Despite this there's little in the way of sightseeing to keep you occupied, as most visitors stay either in one of the small guesthouses or in one of the luxury-hotels that face the lake.
Aussee is set on a lake in the southwestern foothills of the Austrian Alps. Although not as famous as its sibling, Salzkammergut, this town and surrounding area offers scenery and scenery and is quite pleasant for a visit. The beautiful landscape of the city gives a little taste of what you can expect to see further up the mountains. Although less crowded than Lake Constance, the Aussee is just as stunning. There are a few attractions to see in Aussee. Most people visit the meadows surrounding Aussee to walk among the colorful flowers of the spring, while others enjoy the nearby natural reserves. If you're a nature lover, you may want to check out the Tamaris Hochtor, a large glacial valley that winds among high mountain peaks. Be sure to enjoy the local specialty, cebiche, a type of preserved trout, and the perfect place to enjoy it is in a restaurant overlooking the colorful lake.