Are you looking for ideas to fill your vacation with activities that are as fun as they are culturally enriching? Or perhaps you’re planning a trip to Austria soon, but need some help in deciding where to stay and what to see. Either way, we can help! Armed with the insider knowledge from locals, intrepid travelers, and fellow explorers of all things cool, COENDOH has compiled this list of 11 top-rated tourist attractions in Austria. If you’re itching to explore this exciting country and see what it has to offer visitors, keep reading for some excellent ideas about where to stay and what to do when exploring the land of mountains, music, and Mozart.
Hallstatt and the Dachstein Salzkammergut
One of the most famous destinations in the Austrian Alps, the Dachstein Salzkammergut is a stunning alpine landscape of lakes, plains, and mountain peaks. The Dachstein itself is the highest peak in this part of Austria and the towering Dachstein Ice Cave is one of the most spectacular sights in the region. The Dachstein Salzkammergut is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous not only for its dramatic landscape, but also for being home to some of the oldest salt mines in the world. The Hallstatt salt mine is one of the most impressive and well-known sights in this region of Austria.
Salzburg Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
If you’re looking to explore one of Austria’s most beautiful, but less well-known, cities, make your way to Salzburg. This stunning medieval city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its many beautiful architectural styles that span centuries. The Baroque style is the most prominent architectural feature of Salzburg’s Old Town and can be found in a number of different places, including the famous Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Residenzplatz, where the Archbishop’s Palace is located.
The Vienna Hofburg: Austria’s Imperial Palace
The Vienna Hofburg is the official residence of the Austrian president, but it was originally built over 800 years ago as the Imperial Palace for Emperor Frederick II. Though the palace has evolved and been added to over the centuries, it remains one of the most stunning architectural examples of Austrian Baroque architecture. Today, visitors can tour the stunning palace, including the Sisi Museum, which tells the story of the building’s most famous resident, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sisi.
The Spanish Riding School, Vienna
The Spanish Riding School, or Spanish Riding and School of Classical Dressage, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Vienna. Founded in 1572, this school is the oldest riding school in the world and the stables house some of the world’s most well-trained Lipizzaner stallions. Visitors can book a tour to see the stables and watch the famous “white horses” perform a show. But be warned: it is said that guests who don’t tip the stallions are doomed to return to the school for eternity!
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
If you’d love to see where one of Austria’s most famous monarchs lived, make your way to Schönbrunn Palace. This beautiful Baroque palace was the main residence of Austrian rulers from 1699 to 1918, including Empress Sisi and Emperor Franz Joseph I. Today, the palace is open to the public, and visitors can tour the beautiful rooms, walk in the gardens, and visit the preserved world of Sisi, who famously loved to garden.
Innsbruck’s Hofburg and Hofkirche
Innsbruck is another stunning Austrian city, famous for hosting the Winter Olympics in 1964. But Innsbruck is also home to the Hofkirche, the city’s most iconic building. Built in the late 1300s, this church was originally the mausoleum of the House of Habsburg, Austria’s royal family. Though the mausoleum was destroyed in the 19th century, the church became a cathedral when Austria gained its independence in 1918. The Hofkirche also houses a museum that tells the story of the church and the royal family.
Melk Benedictine Abbey
This stunning Baroque abbey is one of the most important religious monuments in Austria. The Benedictine Abbey of Melk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was originally built in 1089. Since then, the abbey has been renovated and expanded several times, but the Baroque style is still very evident. Today, the abbey is home to a religious school and is open to the public. Visitors can tour the abbey and see the stunning chapels, the library, and a number of historic paintings and sculptures.
Skiing at Kitzbühel and Kitzbüheler Horn
If you’re visiting Austria in winter and love winter sports, make your way to Kitzbühel, a famous Austrian ski resort in the Tyrolean Alps. Kitzbühel is famous for its popular ski races, including the World Cup Skiing Giant Slalom and the Austrian Alpine Ski Championships. In addition to hosting these fantastic events, Kitzbühel is also home to a number of ski resorts, including the Kitzbühel Horn, the Hahnenkamm, the Mühlegg, and the Gschwandtkogel.
Belvedere Palace, Vienna
This stunning Baroque palace is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vienna. The Belvedere Palace was built in 1716 as a summer residence for Prince Johann I, the Prince of Liechtenstein. Today, the palace is a museum and visitors can tour the beautiful Baroque building, including the famous gardens, which feature works by Gustav Klimt and other famous Austrian artists.
Medieval Burg Hochosterwitz
If you’re interested in learning more about Austria’s fascinating history, head to Hochosterwitz, a small Austrian town known for its historic Medieval castle, Burg Hochosterwitz. This stunning castle was built in the 11th century and has been renovated over the centuries. It is now open to the public and houses a museum about the castle’s history and a bakery, which is famous for its homemade cinnamon rolls.
The Grossglockner Road to Franz-Josefs-Höhe
End this list of top tourist attractions in Austria with a drive through the spectacular Austrian Alps to the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. This road was built in the 1930s and is one of the highest paved roads in Austria, reaching an altitude of 3,064 meters (10,001 feet). The road ends at the beautiful Franz-Josefs-Höhe, an Alpine summit with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. When you’re done exploring the mountains and valleys, you can make your way to Austria’s capital, Vienna, to see some of the world’s most spectacular palaces and museums. And when you’ve had your fill, you can head to Hallstatt, hidden away in the Austrian Alps, for a taste of the real, authentic Austrian experience. What are you waiting for? Book your flight and start planning your itinerary today!
Austria has many wonderful tourist destinations, and you may find yourself overwhelmed by all the amazing options. But if you narrow your search to the sites listed here, you will have a much easier time deciding where to go. No matter where you decide to go, you’ll have a great time!
You can book a car rental within Austria at any of the major rental companies, including Avis, Hertz, Alamo, Europcar, and Budget. Even though public transportation is available in every major city, many tourists prefer to rent a car so they can explore more of the country. Rental companies typically offer a wide range of different models, so you can find the right fit for your budget, driving experience, and amount of luggage you need to transport. Thank you for reading through the list of 11 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Austria.