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7 Best Castles in Austria

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Burg Hochosterwitz in Carinthia, Austria

Burg Hochosterwitz in Carinthia, Austria. Photo courtesy of Austria National Tourist Office / Michael Stabentheiner

The seven best castles in Austria to visit on vacation will evoke visions of fairy tales, stories of grandeur and intrigue, and legends of kings and queens.

Set on the edge of high cliffs or against dramatic mountainous backdrops, perhaps nestled in a valley close to vibrant city life or towering over the open countryside, each will reflect a unique vision of the past. Whether as a family vacation or romantic getaway, you can wander the hallways, stand in turrets, or stroll through magical gardens.

With castles, ruins, and distinctive landscapes across Austria, each can meet your appetite for historic grandeur and cultural opulence.

  1. 1. Hohenwerfen Castle
  2. 2. Schloss Ort
  3. 3. Riegersburg
  4. 4. Burg Kreuzenstein
  5. 5. Burg Hochosterwitz
  6. 6. Liechtenstein Castle
  7. 7. Festung Hohensalzburg
  8. Explore the Best Castles in Austria

1. Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle in Werfen, Austria

Hohenwerfen Castle in Werfen, Austria. Photo courtesy of Salzburug Burgen & Schlösser

Located south of Salzburg, the Hohenwerfen Castle, on the edge of a rocky crag, stands guard over the market town of Werfen. Take a funicular to this medieval fortress, popular for its stunning view across the landscape, before you witness the spectacular falconry demonstrations that take place each day on Linden Meadow.

The birds display all their glory and you will also catch sight of eagles and vultures. Stroll around the grounds, learn about the many prisoners who met their fate behind the castle’s walls, or admire the fascinating Berchtesgaden Alps and their breathtaking peaks surrounding the structure.

2. Schloss Ort

Schloss Ort on Lake Traunsee in Austria

Schloss Ort in Gmunden, Austria. Photo courtesy of Tourismus Salzburg GmbH

Constructed in the 11th century, the beautiful castle of Schloss Ort lies on a small island, connected to the mainland by a long bridge.

The castle offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Traunsee Lake in the distance, which you can enjoy from the bridge or stately rooms that will give you a taste of royal life.

The grounds and views offer the perfect setting for any occasion and provide a wonderful way to experience past grandeur and exceptional scenery.

3. Riegersburg

Riegersburg Castle in the Austrian state of Styria

Riegersburg Castle in Styria, Austria. Photo courtesy of Tourismus Salzburg GmbH / Popp Hackner

Set on a dormant volcano in the state of Styria, the Riegersburg Castle stands in royal magnificence above the quiet town.

This famous attraction is truly breathtaking, with its red-tiled roof adding color and contrast to the green valley, blue sky, and cream-colored walls that give way to white-walled interiors.

The castle holds exhibitions highlighting various activities and talents, ranging from weaponry to medieval practices, with stories retold to captivated audiences. Take in a falconry show, spend time with hawks and kites, and experience the quintessential ambiance of the castle’s tavern.

4. Burg Kreuzenstein

Burg Kreuzenstein near Leobendorf in Lower Austria

Burg Kreuzenstein in Lower Austria, Austria

Visit lower Austria and step inside Burg Kreuzenstein, designed in a Romanesque-Gothic style for a creative twist on the idea of the perfect castle. It lies just above the village of Leobendorf to offer an incredible view across the landscape.

Once a strong fortress, you can now step inside to find a magnificent chapel with a mighty oak door and picturesque stained-glass windows. Admire the Gothic-winged altar and beautiful mosaic work in the domed vault.

Wander the castle’s keep and kitchens, and explore the armory and oval-shaped fortress wall to enjoy a unique ambiance.

5. Burg Hochosterwitz

Burg Hochosterwitz ear Sankt Georgen am Langsee in Carin

Burg Hochosterwitz in Carinthia, Austria

Noted as one of Austria’s most impressive medieval castles, Hochosterwitz is an iconic state landmark set on dolomite rock near Sankt Georgen am Längsee.

Pass through 14 gates as you wind your way through turrets and towers to reach the top of the stronghold and take in all its glory. A number of gates are simple in design, while others are extremely intricate, all telling a different story to passersby.

Enter the castle and admire family portraits that line the walls, with historical memorabilia safely set in showcases. Then visit the elegant church, with its exquisite main altar. The inclined railway offers a thrilling way to reach the top.

6. Liechtenstein Castle

Liechtenstein Castle on the southern edge of the Vienna Wood in Austria

Liechtenstein Castle in Maria Enzersdorf, Austria

A classic example of the Middle Ages and Neo-Gothic architecture, the Liechtenstein Castle can be found in the Vienna woods, perched precariously on the edge of a steep cliff. It stands as one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture and commands amazing views over Vienna.

The castle has a romantic atmosphere accentuated by the possibility of themed tours or night visits that allow you to absorb the full ambiance of the storybook setting. The chambers are opulent and filled with rich memories of a dramatic past. Kids can experience their own adventure with a family-focus tour and couples can wander arm in arm through the charming gardens.

7. Festung Hohensalzburg

Festung Hohensalzburg in Salzburg, Austria

Festung Hohensalzburg in Salzburg, Austria. Photo courtesy of Tourismus Salzbur GmbH / Guenter Breitegger

With commanding views over Salzburg, the Hohensalzburg is one of the most important fortresses in Austria and a popular destination for visitors. A prominent feature of the city’s skyline, the castle invites guests to discover the Golden Chamber, with its gilded artifacts, opulent decor, and captivating paintings.

The Golden Hall possesses columns that demand attention, with decorated ceilings that lead to the Gothic Royal Apartments. Learn how the cistern provided water for animals and how the granary was never without its fill of meat and wine. Take your time to bask in the marvelous history and magnificent panoramas.

Explore the Best Castles in Austria

Hohenwerfen Castle in Werfen, Austria

Hohenwerfen Castle in Werfen, Austria

Marvelous architecture in picturesque settings, dramatic landscapes surrounding dreamy fortresses, and fascinating history in every keep, the castles of Austria are unique in design and display, yet all offer a memorable experience with a fairy-tale twist.

Find more inspiration for your trip with our Austria tours and vacations to discover more featured itineraries you can customize or browse inspiration in our Austria travel guide.

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