MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN AUSTRIA
From sweeping alpine views to exquisite urban landscapes, Austria seamlessly blends diverse destinations, ensuring something captivating for everyone. And this post is all about the amazing spots to discover and the best places to visit in Austria.
Austria has always held a special place in my heart, and I find myself regularly returning to this beautiful country. The best places in Austria to visit seem to call out to travelers, offering a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty.
From the snow-capped alpine peaks to the historic streets of its cities, I’ve been fortunate to wander through some of the best places in Austria. Every trip deepens my appreciation for this nation’s unique allure and its treasure trove of destinations waiting to be explored.
Austria is an amazing destination year-round. During summer, its cities and towns are brimming with sightseeing opportunities, alongside plentiful hiking and outdoor adventures. Yet, as the winter months roll in, the nation transforms into a haven for winter sports enthusiasts and comes alive with enchanting Christmas markets. So, many of the destinations can be visited throughout the year.
So, after several trips throughout the country, I have compiled a list of the best places to see in Austria – for nature lovers, history buffs, or anyone who appreciates beauty!
TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN AUSTRIA
So, here are some of the most beautiful sights and places to visit!
Oh, Vienna! If there’s one place in Austria that holds a special place in my heart, it’s this vibrant city. From the moment I stepped into Vienna, the capital city of Austria, I was wrapped in its embrace of history, culture, and modernity. It’s without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Austria, and here’s why.
The city’s architecture is a visual treat. The grandeur of the Hofburg Palace, the intricate details of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the imperial charm of the Schönbrunn Palace, all tell tales of a time gone by. And the Belvedere? Oh, it’s not just a palace but a treasure trove of art, home to Gustav Klimt’s iconic “The Kiss.”
But Vienna isn’t just about historic sites. The modern side of the city is equally alluring. MuseumsQuartier, with its quirky art spaces and cafes, became my go-to hangout. The Vienna State Opera’s performances were breathtaking, and as for the Prater amusement park, its Ferris wheel offers gorgeous views of the city.
And can we talk about the coffeehouses? Sipping on a Melange, indulging in a slice of Sachertorte, and just watching the world go by is an experience I cherish.
Vienna is more than a destination; it’s a feeling. It’s a beautiful blend of the past and the present, and every nook and corner of this city has a story to tell. If you haven’t been, pack your bags and get ready to fall in love with Vienna just like I did!
Beautiful Salzburg! Nestled amidst the majestic Eastern Alps, this Austrian gem is a symphony of baroque architecture and natural beauty. The Hohensalzburg Fortress, perched atop a hill, offers panoramic views of the city’s spires, the Salzach River, and the surrounding mountains. It felt as if I had stepped into a fairy tale.
Walking the cobbled streets of the Old Town, I marveled at the splendid Salzburg Cathedral and the charming Getreidegasse, where the melodic chimes of Mozart’s birthplace beckoned. Music in the air, from street performers playing classics to the world-renowned Salzburg Festival that celebrates the arts. As a “Sound of Music” fan, you surely will also join a guided tour and want to explore this beautiful Austrian city from a different perspective.
Beyond the city’s musical heritage, Salzburg is a haven for lovers of the outdoors. Just a short drive away, the Salzkammergut lake district promised serene lakeside moments, while the Untersberg mountain beckoned for a hike.
In Salzburg, history, culture, and nature intertwine seamlessly. It’s not just a place to visit; it’s a place to feel alive, to be inspired, and to embrace the magic of Austria’s rich tapestry. For any traveler seeking a blend of enchantment and elegance, Salzburg is undeniably a must-see in Austria.
From the moment I glimpsed Hallstatt, nestled between the serene Hallstätter See and the towering Dachstein Alps, I knew I had discovered one of Austria’s most picturesque places. Often hailed as the most beautiful village in the world, Hallstatt’s charm lies in its quaint wooden houses, reflecting perfectly on the glassy lake beneath a backdrop of majestic mountains.
Exploring the village, I wandered into the ancient salt mines that tell tales of a civilization dating back over 7,000 years. The Skywalk, offering an eagle’s view of this postcard-perfect setting, was an experience I’ll still vividly remember.
Strolling through the Market Square, the heartbeat of Hallstatt, with its historic buildings and the iconic Evangelical Parish Church, was like stepping back in time.
Yet, what truly defines Hallstatt is its tranquillity. Taking a boat ride on the placid lake, the world seemed to stand still, and the surrounding beauty was almost surreal. For those in search of both history and unparalleled natural beauty, Hallstatt is more than just a destination; it’s an immersion into a dreamlike world. If ever there was a place that captures the essence of Austria’s enchanting allure, it’s undoubtedly Hallstatt. A must-see for every traveler’s bucket list.
The thunderous roar of the Krimml Waterfalls greeted me long before they came into view, hinting at the sheer power and majesty of Europe’s highest cascading falls. Located in the Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria, these falls tumble down in three massive stages, with a combined height of an impressive 380 meters.
Embark on the well-marked Wasserfallweg path, let the misty spray refresh you, and with each step, the views will become increasingly breathtaking. The trail, though steep in parts, offers various platforms and vantage points, each presenting the falls in a new, mesmerizing light. The experience is not just visual; the sound of cascading water, the coolness of the mist, and the scent of the surrounding alpine forest created an immersive sensory journey.
But Krimml Waterfalls isn’t just a visual spectacle. The ionized air, filled with negative ions from the cascading waters, is believed to have therapeutic effects, especially for respiratory health. Visiting the Krimml Waterfalls is not just about witnessing nature’s grandeur but also rejuvenating oneself in its midst.
For those searching for a blend of natural beauty and therapeutic wonder, the Krimml Waterfalls stand as an unmissable Austrian gem.
Innsbruck captivated my senses with its harmonious blend of urban sophistication and alpine charm. As the capital of Tyrol, nestled in the heart of the Austrian Alps, this small town boasts a unique juxtaposition of snow-capped peaks and vibrant city life. It is also the perfect place for exploring the nearby Alps of Austria.
The iconic Golden Roof, with its shimmering tiles, stands as a testament to the city’s rich history, while the futuristic Bergisel Ski Jump showcases its modern spirit.
Venturing through the city, I was drawn to the Old Town’s medieval architecture and atmospheric alleyways. The Court Church and its line of larger-than-life bronze statues left a profound impression on me. Beyond its cultural gems, Innsbruck is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The Nordkette mountain range, easily accessible by cable cars, offers panoramic views and thrilling ski slopes.
But Innsbruck isn’t just about historical sites or alpine adventures. The bustling Maria-Theresien-Straße, lined with cafes and shops, offers a taste of contemporary Austrian life.
With its impeccable blend of history, culture, and nature, Innsbruck is a mosaic of experiences waiting to be explored. For any traveler seeking the allure of an alpine city with a heartbeat of its own, Innsbruck is an undeniable must-visit.
ADMONT ABBEY LIBRARY
Stepping into the Admont Abbey Library felt like entering a realm where art, knowledge, and history converge in awe-inspiring harmony. Situated in Styria, Austria, this library is a jewel of Baroque architecture and is recognized as the world’s largest monastery library. Its opulent white halls, adorned with intricate gold details, house an impressive collection of nearly 200,000 volumes.
Ceiling frescoes painted by Bartolomeo Altomonte, capturing the stages of human knowledge, left me spellbound, while the library’s seven cupolas symbolize the seven stages of enlightenment, leading to true wisdom. The numerous sculptures by Josef Stammel add another layer of depth, particularly ‘The Four Last Things’ – a series of impressive representations of death, judgment, heaven, and hell.
Beyond its architectural and artistic marvels, the Admont Abbey Library stands as a testament to the importance of preserving knowledge and culture. It holds countless ancient manuscripts and texts, making it a haven for scholars and history enthusiasts.
For anyone with a penchant for art, architecture, or history, the Admont Abbey Library is not merely a place to visit; it’s an experience that transports you to a world where knowledge is celebrated in the grandest manner possible. A must-see on any Austrian itinerary.
As I approached Melk Abbey, perched majestically atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube River, I was immediately struck by its grandeur. This Benedictine abbey, located in the Wachau Valley of Austria, stands as a stunning example of Baroque architecture, its golden façade gleaming brilliantly against the azure sky.
Inside, I was welcomed by the opulent Marble Hall, with its intricate ceiling frescoes and elegant columns, leading to the awe-inspiring church, adorned with gold, red, and soft pastels. The library, a treasure trove of ancient manuscripts and frescoed ceilings, exudes an ambiance of reverence for knowledge. It’s said to house over 100,000 volumes, including some of the most precious medieval scripts.
Beyond its architectural marvels, Melk Abbey serves as a reminder of the significant cultural and spiritual influence of Benedictine monks throughout Central Europe. The meticulously maintained gardens, with their Baroque pavilion and meditative walking paths, offer moments of serenity against a backdrop of panoramic views of the Danube.
For anyone traveling through Austria, Melk Abbey is not just a destination but an immersion into a rich tapestry of history, art, and spirituality. It’s an emblem of Austrian heritage and a must-visit for those seeking profound beauty and inspiration.
GROSSGLOCKNER HIGH ALPINE ROAD
One of my most memorable experiences in Austria was driving the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. This panoramic route is nothing short of spectacular. Nestled amid the Austrian Alps, it winds its way through some of the country’s most pristine landscapes, offering jaw-dropping vistas at every turn.
The road climbs and curves, revealing valleys carpeted in green, glaciated peaks, and cascading waterfalls. As I ascended, the majestic Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain, loomed ahead, its snowy pinnacle contrasting sharply against the deep blue sky. The viewpoints and rest stops along the route, like the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, provided perfect spots to soak in the scenery and marvel at the Pasterze Glacier.
For anyone embarking on a road trip through Austria, this drive is a must. Not only does it offer unparalleled mountain views, but it also provides a sense of adventure as you navigate its winding paths and high-altitude stretches. To me, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road encapsulates the thrill of discovery, making it an essential highlight in any Austrian journey. The road itself, with its engineering marvel, and the landscapes it unveils, truly emphasizes why Austria is such a stunning destination.
During my travels in Austria, I stumbled upon the breathtaking Lünersee, nestled in the Vorarlberg region near the Swiss border. Situated at an impressive altitude of approximately 1,970 meters, Lünersee boasts a vibrant turquoise hue, set against a backdrop of imposing Alpine peaks. The crystal-clear lake mirrors the surrounding mountains, producing an ethereal, almost dreamlike vista.
After getting up via cable car, I was standing there in awe as the first views of the lake came without any effort!
I embarked on a lakeside hike, traversing a trail with a mix of gentle and slightly challenging stretches, perfect for a day out in the Alps. Each step unveiled fresh, awe-inspiring views of the lake and its majestic environs. Along the way, there are ample spots to rest, revel in the scenery, or settle down for a picturesque picnic.
Lünersee, as one of the Eastern Alps’ most expansive natural mountain lakes, is a haven for relaxation and exploration alike. Beyond the primary pathway, various trails ascend to elevated lookouts and cozy mountain shelters. The serene ambiance, paired with the spectacular landscapes, made my Lünersee visit an indelible Alpine memory. If Austria’s highlands beckon you, ensure Lünersee is on your itinerary; it epitomizes pristine natural beauty no nature lover should miss out on.
DRACHENSEE & SEEBENSEE
There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Austria – to see some, sometimes a bit of activity is required.
The Drachensee and Seebensee rank among Europe’s most picturesque lakes. With extensive experience exploring lakes, these stand out as must-visits. Tucked in the Tyrolean Alps, hiking to these lakes felt like venturing into a fairy tale. The Drachensee, aptly named “Dragon Lake,” is a pristine glacial lake situated at roughly 1,910 meters. Its azure waters, mirroring the nearby summits, evoke tales of dragons lurking below.
A short distance away lies the Seebensee, another mesmerizing alpine lake positioned at about 1,657 meters. From here, the panoramic sights of the Zugspitze and Mieminger mountain ranges are awe-inspiring. The trek, though presenting a few challenges, is mainly easy to intermediate, ideal for an Alpine day adventure – especially because the spectacular views make up for everything!
This expedition encapsulates the Alpine essence: unspoiled waters, towering peaks, and a tranquil ambiance. It was a day immersed in Alpine wonder, solidifying my conviction that Austria is home to some of Earth’s most striking landscapes. If you’re in the vicinity, don’t miss this trek. The allure and peace of Drachensee and Seebensee will linger in your memories long after your departure.
The best time to do the hike is in late spring, in the summer months, and in early fall.
This place is an extra tip for you!
The allure of Olpererhütte has always beckoned me, even though I haven’t seen it with my own eyes. Perched at an altitude of 2,388 meters in the Zillertal Alps, this mountain hut offers not just a refuge for trekkers but a vista that’s the stuff of dreams. The sight of the famous pedestrian suspension bridge against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks is one of Austria’s most Instagrammed views, and it’s easy to see why.
From what I’ve learned, Olpererhütte is more than just its iconic bridge. It’s an experience. The journey, whether you hike or ascend through the cable car, promises breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Alps, pristine alpine lakes, and verdant meadows. Once there, the hut itself offers a warm respite with traditional Tyrolean meals that are a reward after a day’s trek.
For those passionate about mountain vistas, Olpererhütte stands as a mesmerizing blend of human engineering and raw natural beauty. It’s a testament to the harmony one can achieve with nature, and even though I’ve yet to witness it firsthand, it remains high on my list of dream destinations in Austria.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON WHERE TO GO IN AUSTRIA
Austria undoubtedly boasts some of the best places to visit in Europe. From its serene lakes to towering alpine peaks, the country captures the essence of natural beauty and architectural splendor. Each region has its own charm, making them a must-see in Austria. Among the myriad of destinations, certain locales stand out as the most beautiful spots in Austria, with some even recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The country’s rich tapestry of history, culture, and nature comes alive in its most beautiful cities, each teeming with unique experiences waiting to be discovered. As someone who has traversed this magnificent land, I can vouch for its splendor.
If you ever get the chance, ensure you explore these gems. Austria’s beauty is not just in its landscapes but also in the stories and history embedded within its borders. It truly is a traveler’s dream.