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7 Best Places to Visit in Austria

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Aggstein Castle on the Danube river in Dürnstein, Austria

Aggstein Castle on the Danube river in Dürnstein, Austria

A perfect dance between elegant cities and epic countryside, Austria, as the home of stately adventures and luxurious discoveries, has incredible must-see destinations.

With grand boulevards, dramatic monuments, enticing museums, and delectable cuisine, you can find captivating splendor. From idyllic villages to opulent palaces, legends stretching from the eastern Alps to the River Danube, the country is sure to entice, no matter your travel preferences.

Whether you prefer coffee culture accompanied by the music of grand composers in the cities, history surrounded by alpine peaks and lakes, architecture, or antique markets, the following are some of the best places to visit in Austria.

  1. 1. Vienna
  2. 2. Salzburg
  3. 3. Innsbruck
  4. 4. Graz
  5. 5. Klagenfurt
  6. 6. Villach
  7. 7. Dürnstein
  8. Explore the Best Places to Visit in Austria

1. Vienna

Belvedere Palace, Vienna

Belvedere Palace, Vienna

Vienna embodies the regal reputation of greater Austria, with Baroque streetscapes leading to unparalleled imperial palaces. The city can immerse you in a cinematic setting, where artistry takes the shape of canvases and building facades, fountains and pastries.

Coffee-house culture remains a staple that adds an undeniable vibrancy to daily life as locals continue to push the boundaries of design, while surrounded by preserved regal grandeur, galleries brimming with masterpieces, and the soul-stirring music of composers, from Mozart to Strauss.

Highlights: The Hofburg • Schönbrunn Palace • St. Stephen’s Cathedral • Belvedere Palace

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

2. Salzburg

Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg

Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg

Salzburg is a dream of Austrian alpine beauty. With Baroque grandeur and a serene connection to the surrounding mountainside, you can stroll down picturesque streets lining the banks of the River Salzach or venture into the Alps for views over the stunning valley.

From medieval alleyways to arcaded courtyards, the shadows of Mozart to the echoes of The Sound of Music, Salzburg captures the manicured splendor of Austria with endless panoramas that sing along to classical songs.

Highlights: Old Town • Fortress Hohensalzburg • St. Peter’s Abbey • Residenzplatz • Hellbrunn Palace • Mirabell Palace

3. Innsbruck

Innsbruck under the setting sun, Tyrolean Alps

Innsbruck under the setting sun, Tyrolean Alps

Bucolic pastures, epic mountain peaks, and timeless Baroque grandeur spring into the limelight in Innsbruck, one of Austria’s most romantic places.

The city acts as a microcosm for greater Austria, where late-medieval lanes connect to the opulence of the Habsburg empire and the Baroque cathedral imitates the surrounding mountains more than 6,500 feet above sea level.

As a crossing point that connects to Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, the city represents the layers of Austrian history and the captivating splendor of the untouched scenery.

Highlights: Old Town • The Nordkette • The Court Church • The Hofburg

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

4. Graz

Grasse, the famous red tiled roofs

Grasse, the famous red tiled roofs

Lush parks, rooftops draped in red tiles, and Baroque palaces that cast shadows over Renaissance courtyards, Graz can instantly steal your heart.

Student life creates a vibrant ambiance along the cobbled lanes and riverbanks. The layers of history peel back to reveal foundations dating to the eighth century CE.

Whether finding Italian influence, basking in the charm of the diverse historical architecture, or enjoying the open-air theater of café culture, Graz creates a new perspective of Austria.

Highlights: Old Town • Schlossberg • Styrian Armoury • The Landhaus • Graz Art Museum

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

5. Klagenfurt

Hochosterwitz Medieval Castle, Klagenfurt

Hochosterwitz Medieval Castle, Klagenfurt

Klagenfurt is at the heart of the Wörthersee lake region and can immerse you in the limitless beauty of greenery, woodlands, and charismatic villages edging the water’s shores.

The lively ambiance offers a welcoming atmosphere throughout the year, where historical buildings, quiet lanes, and arcaded courtyards lead to trendy boutiques and stylish galleries.

With antique fortifications and castles, hints of the ancient market, and access to the neighboring towns, Klagenfurt feels like the center of Austria’s allure.

Highlights: Hochosterwitz Castle • The Pilgrimage Church of Maria Saal • Neuer Platz • The Landhaus • Wörthersee

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

6. Villach

Villach of the Drava River

Villach of the Drava River

The relaxed city of Villach stands proud along the frontier near Italy and Slovenia, with a spectacular position surrounded by dramatic alpine peaks.

You can enjoy a summer adventure of cycling and hiking, or take to the slopes in winter with a ski or snowboard excursion. Beyond the action that calls to a variety of visitors, Villach’s history runs deep, with foundations leading back to a fortified Roman camp.

From the Old Town square straddling the Drava river to the grand churches, Villach quietly demonstrates its power, prestige, and beauty.

Highlights: Paracelsus Hof •  Holy Cross Church • Parish Church of St. Jakob • Schillerpark • Finkenstein Castle

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

7. Dürnstein

Durnstein, Wachau Valley

Durnstein, Wachau Valley

Idyllic only scratches the surface of Dürnstein’s splendor. While only a small town edging the winding banks of the Danube and forested hills, the charismatic ambiance connects the beauty of the landscape with colorful architecture and the celebrated vineyards of the Wachau Valley.

With castle ruins and a powerful abbey, it is easy to feel enraptured by the rich history and grand atmosphere spilling out from the cobbled lanes into the surrounding scenery.

Highlights: Aggstein Castle • Dürnstein Castle • Wachau Valley • Maria Langegg Monastery

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Explore the Best Places to Visit in Austria

Flachau ski resort, Austria

Flachau ski resort, Austria

Austria's glamour, natural beauty, and charisma should not be surprising, but its prestige as a must-see destination can often catch visitors unaware. Every region displays a unique character, with new, captivating things to do, from sipping wine to visiting a celebrated art museum.

For more helpful information on how you can explore the scenery, culture, traditions, and cuisine you crave to experience, you can browse our Austria travel guide. When you are ready to plan, discover our featured Austria tours and vacations.

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