5 DAYS IN AUSTRIA ITINERARY
Are you planning a perfect 5-day Austria itinerary and wondering about the best things to do, how to get around, or where to stay? Then this post is for you – here I share my tips for how to spend 5 days in Austria.
Though it may be small in size, Austria is packed with breathtaking scenery, charming towns, and romantic cities. Many travelers consider it the most romantic country in Europe, and it’s not hard to see why.
While we all wish we could explore every corner of this magnificent country, sometimes time (and our schedules) can be a limiting factor. That’s why I’ve put together some of my favorite places and travel tips to help make the most of your trip, no matter how long you’re able to stay.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the amazing sights Austria has to offer, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Check out my thoughtfully curated itinerary that covers many of the best places and attractions in Austria.
So get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and culture with this Austria itinerary for 5 days.
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READY TO FIND OUT WHAT TO DO IN 5 DAYS IN AUSTRIA – ITINERARY
BEST TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 5-DAY AUSTRIA ITINERARY
Let´s start with some travel tips. I will try to keep it short and sweet.
Best Way to Get Around
Exploring Austria is an absolute breeze!
You’ve got a ton of transportation options at your fingertips, whether you fancy buses, trains, cars, or guided tours. Plus, getting from one end of the country to the other is a complete piece of cake. Just be sure to set aside enough time to travel between your must-see spots- especially if you decide to hit the open road.
Trust me, I speak from experience! I couldn’t resist stopping repeatedly to marvel at the jaw-dropping vistas and snap some envy-worthy photos. Get ready to be blown away by all Austria has to offer!
- Whether you rent a car or get there on your own, you will need a toll sticker (of course, you can also avoid toll highways).
- The cheapest is the toll sticker for 10 days, which costs around $10 (9,90€).
- BUT there are some private roads that cost extra. I paid around $11 twice more for two private roads (which seriously annoyed me because that is what the toll sticker should be for in my opinion).
- You can find out about the private roads and avoid them, but if you are spontaneous, then this sucks.
- These roads, side streets, and highways are generally very good in Austria. They are modern, and it is fun driving in Austria (watch out for the speed cams though).
- Gas is quite cheap (some of the cheapest in Europe), so when you are in Bavaria or Italy, or Switzerland before/after, try to refuel in Austria.
- While I drive in my own car/van in Austria, I do use DiscoverCars if I need to rent a car in other destinations (like Albania), because they find the best deal for me. Click here to check out rental prices in Austria.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
- Austria´s public transportation is quite good. When I researched, I found it to be a bit expensive, though – at least train rides from one place to another.
- However, public transportation in city centers, like Salzburg or Vienna, is very cheap. So, even when you are getting around by car, I suggest leaving your car in the (hotel) parking lot and then getting bus tickets.
What is the Best Time to Visit Austria?
I personally enjoy off-season traveling but have visited some of Austria during its peak seasons, too.
- If you are a winter sports lover, then winter is the best time (or love Christmas Markets, which are big in Austria and especially in Vienna).
- Austria in the summer months can be busy – like really busy. I would avoid the summer months if possible (especially July and August).
- I suggest visiting somewhere between April and the beginning of June, September, or early October.
- In Central Europe, we can never be sure about the weather. But I guess, in general, the weather is mild and sunny in spring and fall. Prices for accommodations also drop at that time (unfortunately, Austria can be really pricey), and the crowds are mostly gone.
Is Austria Expensive?
Austria is quite an expensive travel destination. Though it is a little more affordable than Switzerland or Scandinavian countries, it is – overall speaking – more costly than countries in Southern or Eastern Europe.
Accommodation and transport will probably be the main costs. Still, you can save money by staying outside the city center or traveling during the shoulder season (this Austria itinerary is great for any time of the year).
Dining out constantly might also eat into your budget, so if you need to watch your expenses closely, book accommodations with kitchen access so you can prepare a few meals yourself. There are some affordable supermarkets where you can get your groceries.
Cutting back on your meat consumption and alcohol will also help you with your budget.
You will get free, delicious water from the mountains in many places throughout the country. My tip is to bring a good refillable water bottle so you do not spend any money on the water.
Also, city cards might help you save money. You can buy them in some cities and have access to activities without any extra costs. Depending on the number of activities you plan to do, I suggest calculating if they will work for you.
Is Austria Safe?
In general, Austria is a very safe country. Of course, life in the city tends to bring more crime with it.
- I recommend keeping your wallet and purse very close to you in cities like Vienna because pickpocketing is common.
- And avoid side streets in the dark – especially as a solo female traveler, you should always be more cautious.
- If you road trip Austria, do not leave valuables in the car on display.
Of course, using common sense is important to any traveler, even in Austria. But there are no extra precautions I take when I am in Austria. Just be cautious.
HOW TO SPEND 5 DAYS IN AUSTRIA
Okay, after the basic travel tips, it is time to talk about the best places to visit in 5 days.
VIENNA – 2 DAYS
Vienna is one of my favorite cities in Europe. So pretty, so compact, and so romantic. It is a great place to start your Austria trip or to end it – whatever you decide, DON´T skip visiting Vienna.
Vienna is a must-see destination for anyone looking to delve into the heart of Austrian culture. From its world-renowned museums, historic buildings, and monuments to its celebrated cafes and vibrant nightlife, there’s no shortage of things to do in Vienna.
Whether you’re looking for a place to relax and recharge or prefer the hustle and bustle of city life, Vienna is sure to delight. Don’t forget to take some time out of your day to visit some of the city’s most famous sites, like the Schönbrunn Palace, Museum Quartier, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. End your night with a waltz at one of Vienna’s iconic balls – you won’t be disappointed!
If you’re looking for some architectural eye candy, Vienna is the place for you. As someone who doesn’t know much about architecture, even I was blown away by the stunning buildings scattered throughout the city. Whether you’re flying solo or with your squad, Vienna has plenty to offer.
You should spend two full days here, to really understand how gorgeous it is and see the main sights.
THINGS TO DO IN VIENNA IN 2 DAYS
- Visit the Stephansdom Cathedral: Picture a Gothic masterpiece so tall it could high-five the clouds. Welcome to the Stephansdom Cathedral, a place that’s been throwing shade on Vienna since the Middle Ages. Just remember to behave – it’s a hallowed place, not a Halloween party.
- Head to the Austrian Parliament: Here’s where Austria’s bigwigs make their big decisions. Imagine if Hogwarts was for politicians instead of wizards – that’s the Austrian Parliament. Just don’t ask for a magic show; they mainly do speeches and bills here!
- Stroll the Museum District: Imagine if culture had a buffet, and you’ve got the Museum District. Stuff your brain with modern art, ancient artifacts, and every historical tidbit in between. It’s like time travel, only without the jet lag.
- Have fun at the Viennese Prater: Rollercoasters, giant wheels, and carnival games – oh my! The Viennese Prater is like Disneyland’s quirky Austrian cousin. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll forget the German word for ‘vertigo.’
- Marvel at Schönbrunn Palace: Now, this is what MTV Cribs looks like for 18th-century emperors. Schönbrunn Palace is part-Royal palace, part-giant garden, and 100% Instagram gold.
- Enjoy the Hundertwasser Village: Straight lines? Not in the Hundertwasser Village! It’s as if Dr. Seuss and Picasso teamed up to design a village. Your camera won’t know where to focus, and neither will your eyes.
- Visit The Hofburg: Home to Austrian emperors for over six centuries, The Hofburg makes Downton Abbey look like a starter home. Just don’t get lost in its 2600 rooms – that’s more than most people have socks!
- Learn about history at Schloss Belvedere: Two words – art and gardens. Schloss Belvedere is like a historical beauty pageant, strutting its Baroque architecture and Klimt’s artworks. Just don’t try to crown it – the palace is prickly about its roof.
Unfortunately, Vienna is quite expensive, but I think it is worth it! To read a more detailed Vienna guide, click here.
WHERE TO STAY IN VIENNA
HOTEL SACHER: Find luxury at its best at Hotel Sacher near Hofburg. The hotel is rated the best in the city, and its central location is perfect if you want to limit driving around or using public transportation.
MERCURE VIENNA FIRST: One good medium-priced accommodation to stay in Vienna is Mercure Vienna First. It was the place I stayed at when I visited Vienna the last time.
I also have a more detailed guide on the best accommodations in Vienna which you can check out.
BEST TOURS / ACTIVITIES TO BOOK IN VIENNA
SALZBURG – 2 DAYS
- It takes about 3-4 hours by car to get to the next beautiful city, Salzburg, and about 2-3 hours by train.
Salzburg is one of the prettiest cities (or THE prettiest city?!) in Austria – and home to several really stunning castles and fortresses. I am not ashamed to admit it, but I have a little crush on this city, so it does not surprise I recommend spending some of your 5 days in Austria here.
Salzburg is an absolute must. Birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, this fairytale-like city oozes historical charm and will transport you back in time. The sound of music fills the air as you explore its cobblestone streets, ancient fortresses, and Baroque-style palaces.
Don’t forget to take a trip up the fortress hill for breathtaking views of the city below – you’ll never forget the sight!
Accommodations are quite expensive, but with your Salzburg Card, you can at least save some money on activities.
THINGS TO DO IN SALZBURG
- Stroll the old town: The Old Town of Salzburg is like your great-grandma’s attic – crammed with antiquities, bursting with stories, and likely to make you say, “They don’t make ’em like this anymore.” It’s like stepping into a charmingly cobbled time capsule!
- Visit Hohensalzburg Fortress: Hohensalzburg Fortress has been standing guard over Salzburg since 1077, and boy, does it have some stories to tell! And, with the views it has, it might as well be showing off. Just remember, it’s a fortress, not a theme park!
- See the St. Erhard Kirche: St. Erhard Kirche is the kind of place where hushed whispers and stained glass meet. With its modest charm and silent spirituality, it’s a great spot to explore or just enjoy a game of “spot the saint”!
- Admire the Mirabell Palace and Garden: Imagine a place where beauty and harmony are law, and you’ve got Mirabell Palace and Garden. It’s like a rom-com set, with blooms, fountains, and a castle! You half-expect Hugh Grant to pop out from behind a tree!
- Visit the Cemetery at St. Peters Abbey: Pay a visit to the final resting place of some of Salzburg’s most distinguished inhabitants at St. Peter’s Abbey Cemetery. It’s like a ‘who’s who’ of the afterlife. And, as they say, it’s dead quiet!
- Enjoy the Views from Kapuzinerberg: Kapuzinerberg is basically Salzburg’s own rooftop bar, minus the cocktails. The hill offers views for days! It’s a great spot to ponder life’s mysteries, like why we drive on parkways but park on driveways.
- Visit Schloss Hellbrunn: Schloss Hellbrunn is a palace that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a bit like if Willy Wonka had been an archbishop – with trick fountains, whimsical gardens, and a penchant for fun. Just remember, it’s all in good jest!
These are a few of my favorite activities in Salzburg. I also have a more detailed post on Salzburg where I have more info on prices, duration, and attractions.
WHERE TO STAY IN SALZBURG
HOTEL RADISSON BLU: If you want to stay in the old town – and prefer a luxury hotel – then the Radisson Blu most likely is the perfect choice for you.
STAR INN PREMIUM SALZBURG: If you are looking for a good but more affordable hotel in the city center, then the Star Inn Premium Salzburg would be a good pick.
IBIS BUDGET AIRPORT SALZBURG: I normally opt for hotels in the city center – however, since I was driving my own car, I decided to stay outside the main city center. So, I ended up at Ibis Salzburg Airport. There was enough free parking, and I had to walk for about 7 minutes to the bus stop, which was perfect for me.
Depending on your arrival time, I suggest staying one or two nights before heading to the next pretty place in Austria. If you are in a rush, you surely can visit the main attractions in one day – but it would be less enjoyable.
BEST TOURS/ACTIVITIES IN SALZBURG
HALLSTATT – 1 DAY
- From Salzburg, you can get to Hallstatt quite easily. By car it takes about 1,5 hours, by public transportation it takes about 2,5 hours.
Ah, Hallstatt. This picturesque village is one of the most beautiful places in Austria. Nestled between glistening lakes and snow-capped mountains, it’s no wonder why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a popular destination for travelers from around the world.
Make sure to visit the iconic 16th-century church that overlooks the lake or stroll along the waterfront promenade. Don’t forget to stop by one of the many cafes or restaurants for a cup of coffee or some traditional Austrian cuisine – you won’t regret it!
No matter how long your trip is, I guarantee that Austria will leave you feeling captivated and enchanted.
Hallstatt is particularly popular with Chinese tourists, who come for a day (or even just a few hours). Hallstatt is extremely small, so you could “finish” it in two hours. But I suggest planning a full day so that you can include a few more activities.
THINGS TO DO IN HALLSTATT
- Stroll the Lake Promenade: This isn’t just a walk, it’s a parade of natural beauty. With the lake on one side and charming houses on the other, the Lake Promenade has more eye candy than a Hollywood red carpet event!
- Roam the Streets and Visit the Market Square: Imagine a place where quaint houses compete for your attention with tiny shops selling the cutest souvenirs. That’s Market Square for you.
- Hike and See Hallstatt from Above at Skywalk: The Skywalk in Hallstatt isn’t just a hiking trail, it’s a stairway to heaven! Be warned, the views from up here are known to cause jaw-dropping and spontaneous outbursts of ‘Wow!’
- Learn About the History at Salzwelten Hallstatt: Step into Salzwelten Hallstatt and travel back to a time when salt was the hottest commodity around, not Bitcoin! Here, history isn’t just told, it’s relived.
- Pay a visit to the Cemetery and Catholic Church: In Hallstatt, even the cemetery is postcard-pretty. But don’t worry, despite the old bones, it’s very much alive with history and stories.
- Walk the Upper Stairs: This isn’t just a flight of stairs, it’s a journey into Hallstatt’s lofty heights. Yes, your legs will protest, but your eyes will thank you. Just remember, what goes up, must come down. Watch your step!
Austria´s nature is stunning, but if you are only in Austria for 5 days, I will focus on these places (you’ll find the best scenery in Switzerland).
WHERE TO STAY IN HALLSTATT
Unfortunately, there are not many hotels in Hallstatt, and hotels can be booked quickly.
Heritage Hotel Hallstatt is a well-reviewed hotel just in the heart of Hallstatt. All rooms and suites at Heritage Hotel offer views of the town and Lake Hallstatt. All rooms are individually furnished and have cable TV, a minibar, and tea and coffee-making facilities. This 4-star property looks like a perfect choice for your overnight stay in Hallstatt. Check out rates and availabilities here.
If you prefer an apartment, with a fully equipped kitchen, Historic Lakeview Apartment has a terrace, city views, a seating area, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries. Find rates and availabilities here.
P.S. if you book via Booking.com, you can often cancel up to 24 hours before your arrival without any costs. Check out hotel rates in Hallstatt here.
CONCLUSION: BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AUSTRIA IN 5 DAYS – ITINARARY
Personally, I think it is tough to give exact times because we all travel differently, and everyone has different focuses when traveling. However, this 5-day Austria itinerary is how I would spend my time in this country.
It is such a beautiful country and surely deserves more time. Still, realistically we all have only a limited time to spend in a country (especially in an expensive country like Austria), so I hope you enjoy your trip. If you have a few more days in the country, you can see more of this beautiful country.
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