Tucked between the mountains and meadows of central Europe lies Austria. This beautiful country is steeped in culture and history. Austria’s Baroque architecture, rolling hills, and local hot spots provide something for every traveller.
Austria is famous for having some of the best skiing resorts in Europe. But, it’s also a popular destination in summer. When visiting a country with so much to offer, it’s easy to miss out on the best of Austria.
As part of our series of guides about travelling Europe, we’ve created a list of our favourite places to see in Austria.
Best Places to See in Austria
If you find yourself wondering where to go in Austria, we’ve put together a few historical, natural and cultural sights to explore. Whether you’ve visited the country before or are a first-timer, this guide will help you narrow down the list of must-see places in Austria.
One of Austria’s most monumental mediaeval castles stands on the rim of the historic Zollfeld plain. Hochosterwitz Castle was built around 860 during the Osterwitz dynasty and is still in possession of the Khevenhüller family.
No major renovations have been done on Castle Hochosterwitz since the 16th century. Its original architecture remains one of the most impressive sights in Austria.
The castle is open to the public from April to November. Tourists can walk through the 14 castle gates, visit historical exhibitions, enjoy authentic Carinthian food at the restaurant, and shop for medieval memorabilia at the castle’s gift shop.
Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens
A treasure to Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens is a favourite among Austria’s tourist attractions. The Schönbrunn estate dates back to the middle ages. Since then, several European aristocrats passed down the estate until the fall of the monarchy in 1918.
Although the palace was home to many residents since its creation, the external and internal structures remain mostly unchanged, preserving its original grandeur. The estate is open to day visitors for tours and events.
Visitors to Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens can select their desired tour from various options. If you’re looking for the best option, the Imperial Tour gives you access to 22 suites in the palace and a look at the different stylist eras of the estate.
Make the Most of Your Visit to Schönbrunn
To make the most of your days in Vienna, why not book a guided tour of the Schönbrunn Palace and gardens?
This Schönbrunn tour includes priority access – so you can skip the long lines. You’ll also have a live local guide to walk you through the palace and gardens. Your tour will include entrance to more than 22 rooms in the palace. After that, you can wander through the French-inspired Schönbrunn Gardens.
Karlskirche is the most praised Baroque church in Vienna. The church was the last structure designed by J.B. Fischer von Erlach, the architect of the Schönbrunn Palace. After his death, his son resumed work on the church until its completion.
His iconic work is emphasised by the strategic directing of natural light and the use of marble and gold leaf to make this church one of the most beautiful places in Austria. Karlskirche operates as a Catholic church and is open for visitors to enjoy.
The addition of a panorama lift sets Karlskirche apart from other similar structures. It takes tourists 33 metres up to witness the details painted on the ceiling of the church’s dome. From the top, visitors have an unbeatable view of the city and the surroundings below.
The church’s superb acoustics are displayed frequently. Karlskirche often hosts classical music concerts, many of which pay tribute to the great composer Vivaldi, who is buried next to the church.
The Mountain Villages of Tyrol
The Alpine regions hold some of the most beautiful places to go to in Austria. They are famous for their unique views and world-class winter sports terrain. The lively mountain villages become popular tourist attractions during the winter months and host markets and festivals.
In summer, visitors and locals enjoy the natural beauty of the meadows and clear mountain streams. All year round, Tyrol is a beautiful Austrian vacation spot!
Here are a few of our favourite mountain villages in Tyrol:
Kirchberg in Tyrol
Nestled in the green meadows of Brixten Valley lies Kirchberg village. Kirchberg is a favourite destination for nature lovers. The area is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and even golfers in summer.
Kirchberg’s golf courses are surrounded by the region’s picturesque mountains and lakes. This area is the perfect location for both relaxation and adventure.
Kirchberg holds a unique ‘international hot air balloon week.’ It is celebrated annually, and guests can spectate from the ground or join in and experience Kirchberg from the skies.
Known as the “cultural capital,’’ the mediaeval town of Lienz lies at the foot of a mountain range. The mediaeval buildings paired with Mediterranean flair give visitors to Lienz a unique experience.
The town of Lienz has a selection of boutique stores, cafés, and small businesses. Lienz hosts various events throughout the year, like the Christmas market in November and December and a street theatre festival in summer.
Visitors can choose from a selection of hiking and biking trails, castles, waterfalls, and even an Alpine rollercoaster to keep busy in Lienz. The town also has two skiing locations, both easily accessible by cable car.
Sölden is the perfect location for winter sports fans to experience the best of Austria. Although its village is very small, Sölden’s mountains, glaciers, and meadows make up Austria’s biggest district.
Visitors to Europe can find some of the best skiing resorts in Austria. Sölden’s affordability and exceptional ski slopes attract up to two million guests per year. James Bond fans might recognise the slopes of Sölden as it was featured in the 2015 movie ‘Spectre.’
The best part about Sölden’s ski area is that it’s accessible to skiers for most of the year. So, you’ll have more freedom to plan your trip.
Best Places to Visit in Austria – Which One Will You Add to Your List?
We’ve gone through just a few of Austria’s places to visit. This wonderful country has something for every tourist: from relaxing mountain retreats to action-packed holidays.
Austria’s rich culture, history, and well-preserved architecture is something every traveller should experience. We also recommend exploring the world-class ski slopes to experience the best of Austria.
With so much to see, it can be easy to miss out on a few famous places in Austria. But, hopefully, our list has made your next trip to Austria a little easier to navigate.