Home to some of Europe’s most impressive mountain ranges, river valleys, and alpine lakes, Austria is first and foremost a destination for nature lovers and outdoor explorers.
Many Austria travel itineraries are limited to Vienna, Salzburg City, Innsbruck, and Hallstatt. This guide will introduce you to the most spectacular Austrian destinations, on and off the beaten track.
If you’re hoping to find new destinations to explore, this round-up of our favorite places to visit in Austria will inspire you.
To put this post in some context, Kati is Austrian and I (Sabrina) have lived in Austria for quite some time. Continue reading to discover the hidden wonders of Austria.
The Best Places to Visit in Austria
Austria Travel Tips
- Airports in Austria: Vienna International Airport (VIE), Innsbruck Airport (INN), Salzburg Airport (SZG)
- When to Visit: June – September (October) for hiking, January – March for skiing
- Unique Experiences: Bathing in an Austria Thermal Spa and hut to hut hiking in the Austrian Alps
- Beautiful and Historic Cities: Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, and Salzburg
- Where to Go Wine Tasting: South Styria and the Wachau Valley
- Recommended Itineraries: 7 Day Austria Road Trip, 2 Week Austria Road Trip, 10-Day Bavarian Alps and Tyrolean Alps Road Trip
- Car Rental: We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals in Austria.
This post links to products and services we love, which we may make a small commission from, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog!! – Sabrina and Kati
Austria Destinations Map
How to use this map | Click on each icon to display further information. Each color signifies a different Austrian state.
- Vienna: wine red
- Lower Austria: coral red
- Styria: orange
- Upper Austria: yellow
- Salzburg: green
- Carinthia: teal
- Tyrol: purple
- Vorarlberg: gray
1. Karwendel Nature Park
Nature Reserve in Tirol
The 727 km² Karwendel Nature Park (“Naturpark Karwendel” in German) encompasses the entire Karwendel massif, making it the largest protected area in Tirol as well as the largest nature reserve in Austria.
The 4-chain Karwendel mountain range is massive and can be explored from a number of towns and valleys, including Scharnitz and Seefeld in Tirol (in the west), Innsbruck, and Hall in Tirol (in the south), and Pertisau and Aachenkirch (in the east).
Beyond its impressive size, the Karwendel mountains are staggeringly gorgeous. Picture walls of limestone towering over idyllic green pastures and gurgling river valleys. Imagine dozens of chamois galloping down scree slopes.
And, envision mountain huts with sunny outdoor terraces, just begging you to gobble up Knödel (dumplings), Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes), and many other tasty Austrian specialties. That’s exactly what you’ll experience should you venture to this Tyrolean paradise.
Things to Do in the Karwendel Nature Park
- Hike the Karwendel High Trail, a 6-stage hut-to-hut hiking route.
- Walk through the Wolfsklamm Gorge, starting in Stans.
- Cycle or e-bike the Isarradweg from Scharnitz to Kastenalm along the Isar river.
- Visit the Großer Ahornboden (“Big Maple Tree Floor”), which is located at the end of the Risstal Valley, and hike to Gamsjoch Peak.
- Climb a via ferrata: Absamer Klettersteig, Innsbrucker Klettersteig, or Hundskopf.
- Hike the Seekarspitze – Seebergspitze Ridge, high above Lake Achensee.
- Summit Bärenkopf for the best view of Lake Achensee.
2. Hohe Tauern National Park
Protected Natural Area in East Tyrol, Carinthia, and Salzburg
Encompassing 1,856 square kilometers, Hohe Tauern National Park is the largest national park in the Alps. The park is divided into a core zone and an outer zone and stretches across the Austrian States of Carinthia, Salzburg, and Tyrol.
A great introduction to Hohe Tauern National Park is the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.
There are also many hiking routes that traverse the protected area, including the Glocknerrunde (Grossglockner Circuit Trail), the Venediger High Trail, the Wiener Höhenweg, and the beginning of the Alpe Adria long-distance hiking trail.
Another idea (actually a GREAT idea) is heading to Gschlösstal Valley and hiking the Innergschlöss Glacier Trail.
3. Wachau River Valley
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lower Austria
The Wachau is an enchanting stretch of the Danube river valley between Melk and Krems in Lower Austria. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Notable landmarks in the Wachau include the Melk Abbey, Schönbühel Castle, Aggstein, and the Dürnstein Castle Ruins, where Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned in 1193.
Because this is also a notable wine-growing region, we highly recommend visiting a few Heuriger (wine taverns) while you’re out exploring.
When to Visit the Wachau: Spring, Summer, Fall.
Learn More: Wachau Valley Travel Guide
Capital of Austria
Vienna is a destination for art, music, and architecture enthusiasts. The elegant Austrian capital invites visitors to revel in classical music, tradition, and beauty.
You can spend hours in traditional coffee houses savoring Viennese cakes and drinking coffees you’ve never heard of like Wiener Melange, Verlängerter, Einspänner. You can watch a world-class opera at the Vienna State Opera for 4 EUR.
Read about how to get Standing Room Tickets. You can gaze at the intriguing works of secession artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. And, you can visit palaces in every corner of the city.
We created a Vienna City Guide, which will help you figure out what to do, where to eat, and where to stay. And if you’ve already visited Vienna, why not check out our comprehensive list of Vienna Hidden Gems.
Alpine Village in Salzburg
Filzmoos is a small alpine town in the state of Salzburg.
Directly facing the Gosaukamm mountains, which form part of the Dachstein range, Filzmoos makes for a great Austrian holiday destination in summer, or winter.
In summer and early Fall, we highly recommend driving to Oberhofalmen via a tolled road and hiking the Hofpürglhütte to Sulzenalm Circuit Trail. At Sulzenalmen, savor the local cuisine in an atmospheric mountain hut.
Experienced hikers will love the Rötelstein peak hike.
From the village center, you can take the Papageno gondola to the top and hike along the ridge to the mountain hut Radstädterhütte. As you hike along the trail, it looks like the whole Dachstein mountain range is a magazine layout, and you’re walking across it.
The Papageno gondola ride is included in the SalzburgerLand Card, which is a 6-day or 12-day tourist card that grants guests free or discounted access to 190 attractions across the state of Salzburg.
When to visit Filzmoos: December – March (for skiing), mid-June – September (for hiking)
Where to Stay in Filzmoos
MeiZeit Lodge is a new hotel in Filzmoos that is quickly becoming the best base in the area for skiing as well as hiking. Guests praise the caring staff, the sunny terrace, the Fit & Well facilities (Finnish pine sauna, BIO herbal sauna, Infrared relaxation loungers, relaxation zone, and Vital drink bar), the generous and varied breakfast buffet, and the overall charm. A bonus of staying here is the complimentary afternoon pie and cake selection served daily between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.
6. Hall in Tirol
Historic Town in Tirol
Hall in Tirol is a town in the Inn Valley, just east of Innsbruck. Its historic center has been beautifully restored, making it a delight to explore on foot. Come here for an afternoon, or base yourself in Hall, when you want to explore Halltal and the Karwendel Nature Park.
Hall rose to prominence in the 13th century, because of the salt industry. It was actually the most important commercial center in North Tirol.
Between the years 1244 and 1967, salt was mined 9 km north of town in Hall Valley (Halltal). The relationship between salt and Hall in Tirol can still be seen in the town’s coat of arms, which shows two lions grasping a salt barrel.
Even the modern Parkhotel Hall in Tirol was designed to look like a salt barrel. Hall was even formerly called Solbad Hall, which means “Brinebath Hall.” You can learn more about Hall’s salt mining history in the Mining Museum.
Things to Do in Hall in Tirol
- Eat Lunch, or Dinner at Gasthaus Goldener Löwe in Hall in Tirol.
- Check out the Rathaus (Town Hall).
- Learn about Hall’s minting heritage in the Hall Mint Museum.
- Explore Karwendel Nature Park.
- Hike, or Climb (Absamer Klettersteig) to the Bettelwurfhütte.
- Hike to Hundskopf Summit.
- Visit the Wolf’s Gorge in Stans.
- Walk the Stone Pine Path (Zirbenweg), starting in Tulfes and ending in Igls.
Best Place to Stay in Hall in Tirol
Hotel kontor is a darling, boutique hotel in Hall in Tirol, which has been lovingly restored, yet retains its historic essence. Rooms are bright and charming. Breakfast is superb. And, the hosts are attentive and kind. What else could you want?
7. Mayrhofen and the Zillertal Alps
Alpine Town and Mountain Range in Tyrol
The town of Mayrhofen charms visitors with its Tyrolean architecture, live music, hearty Tyrolean food, and shops. It’s the best base for exploring the majestic Zillertal Valley and Alps.
We traveled to Mayrhofen to begin the celebrated Berlin High Trail, a multi-day trek through the Zillertal Alps. You can read our full Berlin High Trail trekking itinerary here.
How to Get to Mayrhofen: Take an ÖBB train to Jenbach Bahnhof. From Jenbach, take the Zillertalbahn (Zillertal Train) to Mayrhofen in Zillertal.
When to Visit Mayrhofen: Mayrhofen is an all-year-round destination. For summer hiking, we recommend coming here between mid-June and early-October.
Where to Stay in Mayrhofen
We stayed in the 4-star Alpenhotel Kramerwirt, a family-run hotel in the center of Mayrhofen. It’s a convenient 4-minute walk from the train/bus station. This authentic Austrian hotel exhibits a high standard of hospitality, food, and comfort. We loved the spaciousness, light, bedding, and design of our “Superior Room.” And that breakfast buffet – priceless!
Capital of Styria
Graz is the oh-so-darling capital of Styria. It’s actually Austria’s second-largest city, though it feels more like a town.
Graz impresses immediately with its beautiful architecture and laid-back atmosphere. Begin your day trip to Graz in the city’s Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The historical center sports splendidly medieval facades as well as visionary modern buildings. From the Old Town, head to Schlossberg (Castle Hill).
The uphill walk will take you to the iconic Uhrturm (clock tower), where you’ll have a great view of the city.
When to Visit Graz: Any time of the year. However, some attractions are closed during the winter.
Where to Stay in Graz
Aiola Living Graz is a modern, boutique hotel in the historic center of Graz. Boasting a stylish and vibrant interior and healthy breakfast, Aiola is the perfect base for exploring Styria’s capital.
9. Lake Lünersee
Alpine Lake in Vorarlberg
Lünersee (1970 m) is a large alpine lake in the Austrian State of Vorarlberg.
Made extremely accessible by the Lünerseebahn, the cableway that connects Brandnertal to the lake, this alpine destination is for everyone. People of all ages come here to walk, fish, hike and climb.
Lünersee is the starting point for many hikes in the Rätikon Alps – the limestone mountain range that straddles the border between Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. In a single day, you can even cross into Switzerland.
If you’re visiting for the day, you can hike the circuit trail around the lake (2 hours, 6.1 km). You can also hike to Gafalljoch ridge as part of your circuit (3 hours, 8.7 km). Experienced hikers should summit Schesaplana (2964 m), the highest mountain in the Rätikon.
When you’re hungry, head to Douglasshütte for lunch. This hut is conveniently located next to the cableway station. The food is delicious and the service is outstanding.
On the other side of the lake, you can grab a snack at Lünersee Alpe. Another option is to hike up to Totalphütte, a mountain hut positioned above the lake, on the trail to Schesaplana. Their Apfelstrudel is to die for.
How to Get to Lünersee: If you’re relying on transit, take a train to Bludenz. From the Bludenz train station, you can hop on bus line 81 to Lünerseebahn.
When to Visit Lünersee: Late May – Early October.
Learn More: How to Visit Lünersee
Best Places to Stay near Lünersee
Stay in Brandnertal (Brandner Valley) or Tschengla, an alpine plateau overlooking Brandnertal. In Brand, we recommend Pension Bergkristall (apartments), Hotel Lün (modern midrange hotel), and Aktiv-Hotel Sarotla (stylish luxury hotel).
We stayed in the all-inclusive Schillerkopf Alpine Resort, a 4-star Alpine Resort located on Tschengla Plateau. Amazing wellness facilities combined with a culinary-themed stay make this a fantastic retreat.
10. Gosau Lakes
Alpine Lakes in Upper Austria
Gosauseen are three lakes in the Dachstein mountains in Upper Austria: Vorderer Gosausee, Gosaulacke, and Hinterer Gosausee. You can spend a whole day walking, hiking or climbing around these scenic lakes.
The largest lake, Vorderer Gosausee, is easy to access, as it’s only a few minutes away from the parking lot.
Once you arrive, you can walk along a flat trail that circuits the lake. You can also hike to the other Gosau Lakes, Gosaulacke (969 m) and Hinterer Gosausee (1154 m), which takes 2:30 hours one-way.
At Hinterer Gosausee, you’ll find an alpine pasture hut, Hohe Holzmeister Alm, that serves food and refreshments to hungry hikers.
For more impressive views of the Dachstein and Gosaukamm ridge, ride the Gosaukammbahn cable car. From the top station, you can hop between mountain huts, walk to Zwieselalm (a good option if traveling with kids), or hike to Grosser Donnerkogel.
Experienced via ferrata hikers can climb the Donnerkogel route.
SalzburgerLand Cardholders get a single roundtrip use of the Gosaukamm cable car.
When to Visit Gosau Lakes: (May) June – October (November), depending on snow conditions.
Tip: You can stay directly at the lake at Gasthof Gosausee.
11. South Styria Wine Region
Wine Region in Südsteiermark
South Styria (Südsteiermark) is a region in the Austrian State of Styria (Steiermark), bordering Slovenia.
This is one of Austria’s most celebrated wine regions.
You can spend days visiting wineries and traditional wine taverns (Buschenschänke).
When to Visit South Styria: Summer and Fall.
Learn More: Wine tasting in South Styria
Where to Stay in South Styria
We stayed at Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger in Gamlitz. Overlooking rolling vineyards, this serene hotel offers unbeatable sunrise and sunset views. We loved the comfort of our bedroom (bedding, mattress, Nespresso machine, bathrobes, bathtub) and the delicious cuisine served in the on-site restaurant.
12. The Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Alpine Road in Salzburg and Carinthia
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Großglockner Hochalpenstraße in German) is a paved serpentine road that steers you into the heart of Hohe Tauern National Park and directly to the base of the Grossglockner (3,798 m), Austria’s highest mountain.
If you’re looking for beautiful places in Austria, this scenic road delivers beautiful landscapes at every turn.
Read our Grossglockner High Alpine Road post to discover the best lookout points and hiking trails along Austria’s most stunning mountain road.
When to Drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road: Early May to early November. See Opening hours.
Where to Stay along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road
The Grossglockner road stretches between Fusch an der Großglocknerstraße in Salzburg and Heiligenblut am Großglockner in Carinthia. You can drive in either direction, so you have a range of possibilities in terms of where to stay, including Heiligenblut and Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße.
Berggasthof Wallackhaus is located directly on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in the middle of Hohe Tauern National Park. Not surprisingly, the mountain views are to die for. Expect clean rooms and sumptuous food.
13. Felsentherme in Bad Gastein
Spa & Wellness complex in Salzburg
Bad Gastein is a spa and ski town in the Hohe Tauern mountains of Salzburg. If you’re planning a ski holiday in the Gastein Valley, head to the Felsentherme thermal spa complex after a long day on the slopes.
Or, if you’re visiting in summer and experiencing bad weather, Felsentherme is a great option for those moody, rainy days in the mountains.
The thermal waters of Felsentherme are sourced from 18 hot springs. There are several indoor and outdoor pools where you can swim and soak in the mineral-rich waters.
We highly recommend spending most of your time in the sauna area. The sauna complex is for adults only and is strictly textile-free (no bathing suits allowed). Here, you can enjoy 8 different saunas and steam rooms on two different levels along with pools, showers, and relaxation rooms.
Don’t miss the saline grotto. Surrounded by alpine scenery, there’s no better place to relax and unwind.
SalzburgerLand Cardholders get free access for four hours.
When to Visit Bad Gastein: December – March (for skiing) and late-June to late-September (for hiking).
Learn More: How to Visit an Austrian Therme
14. Lechtal Alps
Mountain Range in Tirol and Vorarlberg
The Lechtal Alps (Lechtaler Alpen) are a mountain range in Tirol and Vorarlberg, bounded by the Lechtal (Lech Valley) and the Inntal (Inn Valley).
Though it’s the largest range in the Northern Limestone Alps, these mountains are wildly unknown.
We loved trekking across this range whilst hiking the final 6 stages of the Eagle Walk (Adlerweg).
The Eagle Walk is a 33-stage hut-to-hut hiking trail that traverses the Austrian Stage of Tirol. You can read about our trek here: Hiking the Eagle Walk across the Lechtal Alps.
15. Hochkönig Mountains
Mountain Range in Salzburg
The Hochkönig massif contains the highest peaks of the Berchtesgaden Alps, a range shared by Austria and Germany.
The Hochkönig holiday region encompasses the towns of Maria Alm, Dienten, and Mühlbach.
This is a popular destination in both summer and winter. We visited several times in the summer, hiking segments of the Salzburger Almenweg (Salzburg Alpine Pasture Way).
When to Visit Hochkönig: December – March (for skiing) and late-June to early-mid October (for hiking).
Learn More about Salzburg: Best Hikes in Salzburg
Best Place to Stay in the Hochkönig Holiday Region
SEPP – Alpine Boutique Hotel is an adults-only hotel, with an on-site restaurant and bar, located in Maria Alm am Steinernen Meer. This standout hotel creates a one-of-a-kind experience through attention to detail, a relaxing atmosphere, laid-back brunch (served until 1 pm) with organic and local ingredients, a rooftop pool, and spectacular mountain views. SEPP is especially cherished for its friendly and attentive staff.
16. Schladminger Tauern
Mountain Range in Styria and Salzburg
The Schladming Tauern mountains are a subrange of the Austrian Central Alps and are located in the Austrian federal states of Salzburg and Styria (Steiermark).
The closest town, or transportation hub, is Schladming. This is one of Austria’s premier skiing destinations. However, summer is also an incredible time to visit. We hiked across the range on the Schladminger Tauern High Trail, a 5 stage hut to hut hike, and it was spectacular.
And, we returned a few years to do more day hiking in Schladming.
When to Visit Schladminger Tauern: December – March (for skiing) and late-June to late-September (for hiking).
Best Place to Stay in Schladming
Stadthotel Brunner is a dazzling modern and barrier-free hotel situated in the heart of Schladming. If you appreciate clean, yet creative interior design, you’ll love staying here. Moreover, Stadthotel Brunner is the perfect retreat for anyone who wants to integrate wellness, yoga, and Ayurvedic cuisine into their vacation. If you visit between mid-May and mid-October, the Schladming-Dachstein Summer Card is included in the hotel rate. This guest card offers many free benefits and discounts, including free use of local cable cars and buses.
Mountain Range in Salzburg
Tennengebirge (Tennen Mountains) is a small mountain range in the Northern Limestone Alps. Can you guess in which movie you’ve seen these rugged mountains? You know it!
They form the backdrop of the famous Do Re Mi musical scene in the Sound of Music. Watch the clip again, and take note of the castle in the background as well. That’s Burg Hohenwerfen.
This Sound of Music filming location is located on Gschwandtanger Meadow and it’s accessible by foot or car from the town Werfen.
Our favorite place in the Tennengebirge mountains is Wengerau in Werfenweng. From Wengerau, you can hike to the mountain huts Werfener Hütte or Dr. Heinrich Hackel Hütte. We wrote about the hike to Werfener Hütte in Best Hikes in Salzburg.
You can also revel in the alpine scenery whilst eating a delicious meal at Wengau Alm – no hike necessary. This alpine pasture hut is a mere 2-minute walk from the parking lot. The food and the views don’t disappoint.
When to Visit Tennengebirge: Late-June to late-September
Best Place to Stay in the Tennen Mountains
Travel Charme Bergresort Werfenweng is a 4-star superior mountain resort hotel with fantastic spa facilities, indoor and outdoor pools, stunning mountain views, and a great breakfast. The fresh interior was imagined by Italian designer Lorenzo Bellini.
18. Hohenwerfen Castle
Castle in Salzburg
Cradled by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the Tennengebirge, the 900-year-old Hohenwerfen fortress stands proud atop a steep rock overlooking the Salzach Valley. The fortified medieval castle was constructed in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard during the investiture conflict.
Gebhard was an ally to Pope Gregory VII who was in continuous conflict with King Henry IV of Germany (Holy Roman Emperor). The building of this castle along with Hohensalzburg and Petersberg Castle was meant to secure the route across the Eastern Alps against the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor.
Today, the castle is open to the public. Castle entry and the guided tour are included in the SalzburgerLand Card. While a visit to the castle is worthwhile, we were disappointed in the way in which guided tours were organized. You can only access the interior of the castle on a tour.
Though tours are only conducted in German, audio guides are available in multiple languages. That means that you’ll have to join a German-conducted guided tour whilst listening to your audio guide.
When to Visit Hohenwerfen Castle: Early April to early November. See opening hours.
Where to Stay near Hohenwerfen Castle
Berghotel Garni Burgblick Adults Only is a budget-friendly bed and breakfast in Werfen, with the best views of Hohenwerfen Castle.
Valley in Vorarlberg
Montafon is an alpine valley that stretches from Bludenz to Bielerhöhe in Vorarlberg, Austria. This 39-km-long valley is bounded by the impressive Verwall, Silvretta, and Rätikon mountain ranges.
For decades, Montafon has been a beloved skiing destination. In the 1920s, the great American novelist Ernest Hemingway spent winters writing, skiing, and playing cards in the valley.
While winter is the premiere season in Montafon, summer tourism is picking up each year, as insiders are discovering the region’s riveting hiking trails, lofty peak summits, charming Hütten, active dairy farms, and alpine lakes.
We love this region of Austria because it manages to exhibit a spirit of openness alongside its many deeply-rooted traditions.
When to Visit Montafon Valley: Summer (for hiking, climbing, and cycling) or Winter (for skiing). Restaurants and hotels close between the main tourist seasons.
Things to Do in Montafon Valley
- Hike the Montafon Hut-to-Hut Circuit (Montafon Hüttenrunde) across the Silvretta Alps.
- Hike the Hohes Rad Circuit Trail.
- Drive the Silvretta High Alpine Road.
- Eat Montafoner Sura Kees (Sauerkäse) at an Alpe (alpine dairy) like Vergaldaalpe in Gargellen.
- Drive winter away at a traditional Funken (bonfire) celebration. Learn more here and here.
- Watch the Alpabtrieb (pasture drive) processions in September.
- Visit Wormser Hütte for one of the best views of the Montafon Valley.
- Eat regional and local food at Löwen Gaststube in Tschagguns.
- Skiing and other winter activities.
Where to Stay in Montafon Valley
We recommend staying in Schruns-Tschagguns – the largest and liveliest village in Montafon Valley. We stayed at Löwen Hotel Montafon, a 4-star superior hotel in Schruns. This hotel enthralls with its alpine-chic interior design, massive spa and wellness area, and three restaurants. We’ve never encountered a more professional and synchronized staff as we did at Löwen. If you stay here, even rainy days are perfect days, because you can luxuriate in the wellness area all day.
20. Virgental Valley
Valley in East Tyrol and Gateway to the Venediger Group
Virgental Valley is a scenic valley in East Tyrol, extending from the town of Matrei in Osttirol. Virgental is also a gateway to the Venediger Mountain Group of Hohe Tauern National Park.
It’s an incredible base for hiking, as you can access several mountain huts and lakes from the valley.
The famous multi-day treks Venediger High Trail and Lasörling High Trail both begin in Virgental as well. It’s a peaceful and quiet destination, allowing you to absorb your natural surroundings and the clean alpine air. Furthermore, the landscapes aren’t corrupted by ugly chairlifts or cut ski slopes.
A string of small villages is located along the valley, including Hinterbichl, Prägraten, Wallhorn, Bobojach, Virgen, Mitteldorf, and a few more.
Where to Stay in Virgental
We recommend staying in Hinterbichl. From here, you can access several trails by foot and hike to Umbalfälle (waterfall), Clara Hütte, Essener Rockstocker Hütte, Neue Reichenberger Hütte, and other destinations.
We stayed at Heimat Hotel, where we were treated to a bountiful breakfast buffet, including homemade jams and chutneys, regional and organic cheeses and meats, and a muesli bar.
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Austria Trip Planning Essentials
When to Visit Austria
Summer and early Fall are our favorite seasons in Austria.
Getting around Austria
Austria has an excellent public transit system. We’ve used it extensively to travel throughout the country. We highly recommend using transit if you’re visiting cities (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, etc…), and/or doing hut-to-hut hikes.
Some areas like Mayrhofen, Schladming and Lech am Arlberg have wonderful seasonal transit systems in place (e.g. summer hiking buses). However, if you’re not visiting during the high season, bus frequencies are significantly reduced and it’s far easier to get around with your own vehicle.
If you’re planning on visiting multiple destinations across Austria, we recommend renting a car.
Use these road trip itineraries for trip planning inspiration:
- 2 Week Austria Road Trip – starting in Vienna
- 1 Week Austria Road Trip – starting in Salzburg or Munich
- 10-Day Bavarian Alps & Tyrolean Alps Road Trip – starting in Munich
We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.
If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, don’t forget to purchase a vignette at/near the border.
Hiking in Austria
Where to Hike in Austria
Read Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations for an overview of where to hike in Austria, with tips on specific trails and where to stay. Also check out Best Day Hikes in Austria and these region-specific hiking guides:
- Innsbruck Hiking Guide
- Salzburg Hiking Guide
- Filzmoos, Salzburg Hiking Guide
- Schladming, Styria Hiking Guide
- Lech am Arlberg, Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
- Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
- Vienna Mountains Hiking Guide
Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria
Austria is a premier hut-to-hut and long-distance hiking destination. The quality of the mountain huts are superb. We particularly love the high-alpine trails, which are called Höhenwege in German. We’ve summarized our favorite multi-day hikes in Trekking Austria. If you’re new to hut hiking, read this in-depth guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.
- Trekking Pack: Osprey Kyte 36 – women / Osprey Kestrel 38 -men
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
What to See & Do in Austria
- Visit a gorge like the Liechtenstein Gorge in Salzburg.
- Bathe in the thermal pools of an Austrian Therme like Aqua Dome in Tirol.
- Stay in a thermal spa hotel like Rogner Bad Blumau in Styria, EurothermenResort Bad Ischl in Upper Austria, or the Aqua Dome Hotel in Tirol.
- Hike to a mountain lake like Lake Tappenkarsee in Salzburg or Lake Drachensee in Tirol.
- Go Wine Tasting in South Styria.
- Marvel at the culture, music, and architecture of Vienna.
- Eat heartwarming mountain food in an Almhütte at Grosser Ahornboden in Tirol or Ursprungalm in Styria.
- Drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Hohe Tauern National Park.
- Visit the castles, monasteries, and wine taverns of the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And while you’re there, connect with us on Pinterest!