Are you planning your perfect 5-day Austria itinerary and wondering about the best things to do? How to get around, where to stay?
It can be overwhelming planning a trip to a country but I am pretty certain that this is a great itinerary that covers many beautiful places and attractions.
HOW TO HAVE AMAZING 5 DAYS IN AUSTRIA
Austria is small, but extremely beautiful! The country has stunning scenery, as well as beautiful towns and romantic cities. If I had to name the most romantic country in Europe, I would probably say it is Austria.
Well, I am aware that no one asked me, but I still think that this country is bursting with romance. But, no worries! I mostly visited as a solo traveler and never felt out of place.
Austria´s beautiful cities with their historic castles and fortresses, the pretty villages and towns in combination with the Austrian Alps, and the gorgeous lakes surely deserve more than 5 days.
However, given that most of us cannot travel endlessly, here are some of my favorite places and some travel tips.
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BEST TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR AUSTRIA ITINERARY
Let´s start with some travel tips. I will try to keep it short and sweet.
Best Way to Get Around
Austria is a small country, so getting around is quite easy, whether you opt for public transportation, going by car, or taking guided tours.
You can get from one side of the country to the other quite fast – and though getting around is easy, plan in enough time for traveling place to place.
This is especially true if you travel by car. I stopped many times to soak in the beautiful scenery and snap pictures along the way.
By Car: Whether you rent a car or get there in 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€).
BUT there are more private streets that cost extra – I was not aware of that (and thought I was all set with my toll sticker). I paid around $11 twice more for two private streets (which seriously annoyed me).
You can find out about the private streets and avoid them, but if you are spontaneous, then this sucks.
However, the streets, 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).
By Public Transportation: Austria´s public transportation is quite good. When I did some research, 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 when in the city center.
What is The Best Time to Visit Austria?
If you are a winter sports lover, then of course winter is the best time (or if you love Christmas Markets, which are big in Austria and especially in Vienna).
I personally enjoy off-season traveling, but have visited some places during their peak-seasons before.
Austria in the summer months can be busy – like really busy. So, if possible, I suggest visiting somewhere between April and the beginning of June, or in September or October.
In Central Europe, we can never be sure about the weather, but I guess, in general, the weather is mild, sunny, and nice between April and June, and September and October.
Prices for accommodations also drop at that time (unfortunately, Austria can be really pricey).
Is Austria Expensive?
Austria is a quite expensive travel destination. Though it is not as expensive as Switzerland or Scandinavian countries e.g. it is – overall speaking – more expensive than countries in Southern or Eastern Europe. Accommodation and transport will probably be the main costs but 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 budget closely, do book accommodations with kitchen access so you can prepare a few meals yourself. There are some affordable supermarkets where you can get your groceries.
You will get free, delicious water from the mountains at many places throughout the country. So, my tip is to bring a good water bottle and enjoy the free water and not spend any money on water at least.
Cutting back with your meat consumption and alcohol will also help you with your budget.
Also, city cards might help you save money. Depending on the amount 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 is the city tends to bring more crime with it. In cities like Vienna, I suggest keeping your wallet and purse very close to you because pick pocketing is quite common. And avoid side streets in the dark – especially as a solo female traveler you should always be more cautious but of course, using common sense is important to any kind of traveler. Even in Austria.
If you road trip Austria, do not leave valuables in the car.
But there are no extra precautions I take, when I am in Austria. Just always be cautious.
HOW TO SPEND 5 DAYS IN AUSTRIA – ITINERARY
Okay, here are 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 and it is a great place to start your Austria trip (or to end it). Whatever you decide, DON´T skip this city.
I am no expert on architecture, but I was impressed by the numerous beautiful buildings that are everywhere in the city and it is so much fun to stroll the streets and admire the buildings. As mentioned at the beginning, it can be very romantic but it doesn’t have to be.
You should spend two full days here, to really understand how gorgeous it is and to see the main sights.
Things to do in Vienna
- Visit the Stephansdom Cathedral
- Head to the Austrian Parliament
- Stroll the Museum District
- Have fun at the Viennese Prater
- Marvel at Schönbrunn Palace
- Enjoy the Hundertwasser Village
- Visit The Hofburg
- Learn about history at Schloss Belvedere
Unfortunately, Vienna is quite expensive, but I think it is worth it! To read 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. Find out more about the rates for staying in this hotel here.
MERCURE VIENNA FIRST: One good medium priced accommodation to stay in Vienna is Mercure Vienna First. It was the place, I stayed when I visited Vienna the last time. Find out more about that particular hotel by clicking here.
I also have a more detailed guide on the best accommodations in Vienna which you can check out.
SALZBURG – 2 DAYS
From Vienna, it takes about 2-3 hours to get to the next beautiful city – Salzburg.
Salzburg is one of the prettiest cities (or the prettiest city?!) on this Austria itinerary – 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 and so it does not surprise I recommend spending some of your 5 days in Austria here.
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
- Visit Hohensalzburg Fortress
- See the St. Erhard Kirche
- Admire the Mirabell Palace and Garden
- Visit the Cemetery at St. Peters Abbey
- Enjoy the Views from Kapuzinerberg
- Visit Schloss Hellbrunn
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 SACHER SALZBURG: 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. The location is convenient because from there you can easily walk to most main attractions and it is one of the best-rated hotels in Salzburg. Check out rates for the hotel here
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. Its location makes it easy to discover Salzburg on foot. Check out rates for the hotel here
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. I wanted to avoid driving in the city center and also did not want the hassle that comes with finding parking spots in the city center – if you do not want to pay too much. 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 station which was perfect for me. Check out prices for the hotel here.
Depending on the time of your arrival, I suggest staying one or two nights (I seriously recommend at least 36 hours in Salzburg 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 fun.
HALLSTATT – 1 DAY
From Salzburg, you can get to Hallstatt quite easily – and the drive there is really scenic and thus a fun thing to do.
It takes about two hours (with some stops) to get to one of the most famous places in the country which is a must-see for any Austria itinerary but you can also quite easily get there by train/bus/boat.
Hallstatt is one of the most beautiful places in the country. And 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 you can include a few more activities.
Things to do in Hallstatt
- Stroll the Lake Promenade
- Stroll the Streets and Visit the Market Square
- Hike Hallstatt and See it from Above at Skywalk
- Learn About the History at Salzwelten Hallstatt
- Pay a Visit to the Cemetery and Catholic Church
- Walk the Upper Stairs
There are not many hotels in Hallstatt – so if you want to stay overnight, it is advised to book early. Find hotel prices in Salzburg here.
Austria´s nature is stunning, but if you are only in Austria for 5 days, then I would 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 – check out which hotels are available for your dates. 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: What to Do in 5 Days in Austria
Personally, I think it is really hard 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 but 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 and if you have a few more days in the country you can see more of this beautiful country.
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