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Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Austria Road Trip Itinerary: A Complete Guide to 2 Weeks in Austria

This Austria road trip highlights the finest culinary and alpine areas of Austria. We designed this route for travelers who want to authentically and deeply experience Austria.

You’ll eat in Almen (alpine pasture huts) and Hütten (mountain huts), drink wine in Buschenschänke (wine taverns), hike in five mountain ranges, and sleep in unique and memorable accommodations. And if you’re uninhibited, maybe spend some time in a Therme (thermal spa). 

This Austria travel itinerary requires a minimum of two weeks. You’ll begin your trip in Vienna and end in Innsbruck. If you plan on doing a full-loop back to Vienna, add 6 hours of driving time to your last day. If you’re interested in a shorter route, read our 1 Week Austria Itinerary.

We also recently created this 10-day Bavarian Alps & Tyrolean Alps itinerary, starting in Munich.

From Vienna, you’ll first drive south to Austria’s culinary heartland, South Styria. After wining and dining in South Styria, your trip continues to the city Graz and then to the Northern Limestone Alps in Salzburg.

Next, you’ll drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road and experience the best-kept secrets of Hohe Tauern National Park. Your trip then continues to the Zillertal Alps in Tyrol and eventually to the Rätikon Alps in Vorarlberg. 


Itinerary Overview

  • 1 Night in a Thermal Spa Hotel
  • 2 Nights in Gamlitz, South Styria (or Wachau Valley, Lower Austria)
  • 2 Nights in Filzmoos, Salzburg
  • 2 Nights in Matrei in Osttirol, East Tyrol
  • 2 Nights in Mayrhofen,Tyrol
  • 2 Nights in Lech am Arlberg, Vorarlberg
  • 2 Nights in Brandnertal, Vorarlberg
  • Optional: 2 Nights in Innsbruck, Tyrol

When to Do this Austria Road Trip

Summer, or Early Fall. 

Related: 


Driving in Austria

If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, make sure to purchase a vignette (toll sticker). The toll sticker is compulsory on Austria’s motorways and expressways. It must be displayed on the inside of your windshield. Here’s more info about pricing and your options.


Renting a Car in Austria

We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals in Austria. 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.

Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.

Check car rental rates here.

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Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Austria Road Trip Itinerary

  • Arrive in Vienna 
  • Day 1: Therme Experience
  • Day 2: Riegersburg and Gamlitz, South Styria
  • Day 3: South Styria
  • Day 4: Graz and Filzmoos
  • Day 5: Dachstein Mountains 
  • Day 6: Grossglockner High Alpine Road
  • Day 7: Innergschlöss and Hohe Tauern National Park
  • Days 8 and 9: Mayrhofen and the Zillertal Alps
  • Days 10 and 11: Lech am Arlberg and the Lechquellen Mountains 
  • Days 12 and 13: Brandnertal and the Rätikon Alps
  • Day 14: Innsbruck
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Wengau Alm, Wengerau in Werfenweng, Austria

Austria Road Trip Itinerary Map

2 Weeks in Austria
Austria Road Trip Destinations
Hofburg, Vienna, Austria

Vienna

Capital of Austria

Before you start your road trip across Austria, you may want to spend a few days exploring Vienna.

You absolutely do not need a car in the city, as public transit is excellent. And, it’s a hassle to figure out where to park legally. So, we recommend picking up your rental car after visiting the city.

Vienna is one of the most immaculate cities in Europe. You’ll be romanced from the moment you arrive. Though there are many things to do and see, I find that Vienna is never stressful.

You can explore slowly, taking in the sites between breaks in traditional coffee houses. 


Explore Vienna

We’ve written a lot about Vienna, so explore these posts at your leisure. 


Stay in Vienna

Budget | Comfy apartments at Siebertgasse is a cheerful, and light-filled apartment-style accommodation in the 12th district, close to the Margaretengürtel U-Bahn station (U4). Each apartment has a kitchen and dining area. We love the airiness, the pastel accents, and the minimalist design of these apartments. This is a great place to stay if you’re an independent traveler, who craves exploring a city on your own terms.

Midrange | Hotel Schani Salon is an excellent hotel located on Mariahilfer Straße, Vienna’s biggest shopping street, a few steps away from the Neubaugasse U-Bahn station (U3). We love this Vienna hotel, because of the bright, modern rooms, the friendly vibe, the communal lounge and bar, and the helpful staff. Breakfast is healthy and varied.

Luxury | Altstadt Vienna is a boutique 4-star hotel in the charming Spittelberg quarter, close to Kunsthistorisches Museum. This contemporary-art-filled hotel features uniquely designed interiors and a hidden rooftop terrace (open from March until October). A wonderful breakfast is served in the Red Salon daily. In the afternoon, complimentary tea and homemade cakes are served in front of the open fireplace.

Luxury | The Leo Grand is advantageously located in the inner district of Vienna, steps away from Peterskirche, Stephansdom, and the Graben. This top-rated hotel features luxurious rooms with romantic, pastel-colored furnishings and decor. Stay here for the unbeatable location, helpful personnel, and fairy tale vibes. Breakfast is available at an extra charge. 

Luxury | The palatial Hotel Imperial harkens back to imperial times with its grand, antique-filled interiors and sumptuous rooms and suites (fit for royalty). This 5-star hotel is set on the Ringstrasse boulevard in the heart of Vienna, walking distance to the Vienna Opera House, the Kärntner Strasse shopping street, Karlskirche, and the Musikverein concert hall. This hotel features a cocktail bar in the historic Hallensalon, rooftop fitness center with a sauna, on-site restaurant (Opus) and café (Café Imperial). Breakfast available.

Look for accommodation in Vienna.

 
Rogner Bad Blumao Hundertwasser Architekturprojekt 2, Austria

Day 1: Therme Experience

Let’s officially kick off this Austria road trip. We recommend spending your first whole day at a Therme, aka an Austrian spa. You’re on vacation after all. 


Experience a Therme

A Therme is a thermal spa complex that houses thermal pools, various saunas, resting and silent rooms, and a cafeteria. They typically offer massage, spa, and wellness treatments as well.

But unlike spa complexes in other parts of the world, you don’t need to have a treatment in order to access all the pools and saunas.

Related: How to Visit an Austrian Therme

Typically, the price structure is broken down into a 3-hour pass, all-day pass, or an evening pass. Sauna access is an extra charge. 

The sauna complex in a Therme is an adults-only area. For hygienic purposes, saunas in Austria are always textile-free. That means bathing suits are strictly prohibited in the sauna.

Get ready to take it all off and rock your birthday suit. In most saunas, genders are integrated. It’s not creepy, I promise!

If you stay the night at a Therme spa hotel, access to the thermal spa and sauna area is included. Hotel guests usually have access to exclusive spaces as well. You’ll be supplied with slippers, bathrobes, and towels.

It’s one of the most relaxing things you can do. So, if you need some time to get over your jet lag, or just want to integrate wellness and relaxation into your trip (in a super authentic way), this is it. Remember to bring your Kindle.


Stay in a Thermal Spa Hotel

Choose one of these Thermen, and book an overnight. 

 

Therme Linsberg Asia in Lower Austria

Therme Linsberg Asia combines great lighting with impeccable design. Because it’s adults-only, the pool and sauna areas flow together seamlessly. 

Book your Stay at Therme Linsberg Asia.

 

Rogner Bad Blumau in Styria

The Rogner Bad Blumau Hotel and thermal complex, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Need I say more? If you love art and want to bathe and steam in basically a huge Huntertwasser installation, stay here. You can read about our experience in our Rogner Bad Blumau Hotel Review.

Book your Stay at Rogner Bad Blumau.

 

St Martins Therme & Lodge in Burgenland

St Martins Therme & Lodge is a blissfully tranquil thermal spa hotel with an “Austrian Safari” theme. The whole complex is surrounded by water. I spent my birthday here and have never felt more relaxed. Staying overnight in St. Martins is a treat. However, it’s a bit out of the way. The other two Thermen above are almost directly on the route.

Book your Stay at St. Martins Therme & Lodge.

 

Photo Credit: Rogner Bad Blumau © Hundertwasser Architekturprojekt 

 
Riegersburg Castle, Styria, Austria

Day 2: Riegersburg and Gamlitz, South Styria

After a relaxing day/night at the Therme, your Austria road trip continues south to Südsteiermark (South Styria), Austria’s unofficial culinary and wine capital.

While you’ll certainly find great food everywhere in Austria, South Styria combines respect for tradition with a spirit of innovation. Food is (dare I say) more interesting and creative here. 


Visit Riegersburg

On your way down, you can visit Riegersburg, a picturesque medieval castle enthroned on top of a mighty volcanic rock. The castle and town of Riegersburg are located in the Styrian region of Vulkanland, which is also a wine-growing region.

For great views of the castle and the surrounding wine country, visit a local wine tavern (Buschenschank). We recommend visiting Wippel for wine, food, and great views, or Buschenschank Bernhart for wine and Jause (meat and cheese platters). 


Gamlitz, South Styria

Continue driving to Gamlitz, the heart of South Styria. We recommend using Gamlitz as your base for exploring this region for several reasons.

First, it’s central. Second, you can take advantage of the free Gamlitz Taxi Service, which will usher you between your accommodation and the wine tavern (Buschenschank), winery (Weingut), or restaurant (Wirtshaus) of your choice.

Your hotel will call the taxi for you and make any necessary reservations (at least ours did – Jaglhof). 


Eat Dinner in Gamlitz

For dinner, you can decide between eating at a Wirtshaus (restaurant), Heuriger (wine tavern), or a Buschenschank (rustic wine tavern). 

One of the loveliest ways to experience Styrian wine culture is in a traditional wine tavern. Buschenschänke are taverns run by winemakers.

Some wine taverns are open all year round, while others are only open during certain months. By law, Buschenschänke can only serve cold food and their own wines. A Heuriger, by contrast, can also serve warm food and other wines. 

We ate dinner at Buschenschank Hack – Gebell. We were blown away by the quality and taste of the cheese and meats. We ordered two different Jausen (platters). We used the free Gamlitz taxi to get here. 

If you’re looking for a more formal meal, consider Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger, Wirtshaus Maitz, or Kogel 3. We recommend making a reservation. 


Stay in Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger in Gamlitz

Domaines Kilger is a Styrian winery that operates the restaurant and Jaglhof. Here are 5 reasons to stay here: 

  1. Dream Location. The hotel isn’t located in the town center of Gamlitz, but rather on a hill surrounded by vineyards. After a few days of wandering about this region, we can confirm that the views from Jaglhof are simply the finest. 
  2. Divine Sunrise and Sunset. The outdoor terrace is perfect for watching the sunset.
  3. Luxurious Mattress and Bedding.  
  4. On-site Restaurant (closed Sunday and Monday). 
  5. Private Wine Tasting. Guests can request a private wine tasting of Domaines Kilger and Schiefer wines.

Book your Stay at Jaglhof.

Look for accommodation in Gamlitz.

 
Rolling vineywards in South Styria, Austria

Day 3: South Styria

Day 3 of your Austria itinerary is all about relishing the tastes, smells, and sites of South Styria. We wrote this wine tasting guide to South Styria where we explain how wines are classified in this region, which wineries to visit, tips for wine tasting, and more. 


South Styrian Wine Road

You can spend the day driving the South Styrian Wine Road, which starts in Ehrenhausen and ends in Leutschach. There are many (too many to name) wineries located along the route. 


Wine Tasting in Kitzeck im Sausal

You can also head to Kitzeck im Sausal and visit Weingut and Buschenschank Schauer (winery and wine tavern), Kilgers Stupperhof Kitzeck (wine tavern), Weingut Kodolitsch (winery), and Kogel 3 (restaurant).


Stay a Second Night in Gamlitz

Stay another night at Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger in Gamlitz.

Look for accommodation in Gamlitz.

 
Ramsau am Dachstein, Styria, Austria

Day 4: Graz, Ramsau am Dachstein & Filzmoos

Your Austria road trip continues to Graz, the charming capital of Styria, and then northeast to Filzmoos. 


Visit Graz, Capital of Styria

Driving Time: 45 min
Total Kilometers: 49 km

Graz is actually Austria’s second-largest city, though it feels more like a town. The Styrian capital impresses immediately with its beautiful architecture and laid-back atmosphere.

We recommend eating lunch here and walking around 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.

Eat lunch at Der Steier and treat yourself to coffee and cake at Tagescafe Freiblick, a rooftop café located in the Kastner & Öhler department store.


Walk around Ramsau am Dachstein

From Graz, drive 2 hours to Ramsau am Dachstein.

Ramsau am Dachstein is located on an elevated plateau in Styria, between the Dachstein mountain range and the Enns Valley. The center of Ramsau, known as “Ramsau Ort,” is a small village with a striking church and a few stores, eateries, and hotels. 

Ramsau offers sweeping views of the limestone Dachstein South Wall. We recommend hiking the 5 Huts Trail, or the shorter Bachlalm to Neustadtalm circuit trail, before continuing on to Filzmoos.


Drive to Filzmoos

Drive 16 minutes to Filzmoos in Salzburg.

Facing the Gosaukamm, which forms part of the Dachstein mountain range, Filzmoos is a lovely base for exploring the magical Northern Limestone Alps. 


Stay in Filzmoos

Budget | Hotel Bergglück is a traditional Austrian bed and breakfast in Hachau, located 3.8 km from the town center (5 minute drive). Stay here for the attractive price point and mountain views.  

Midrange | Das Anja Alt Filzmoos offers rooms and apartments in the heart of Filzmoos. Stay here for the intimate setting, excellent location, and lovely rooms. 

Top Choice – Luxury | meiZeit Lodge is a tastefully-furnished boutique hotel in the town center of Filzmoos. Stay here for the generous breakfast buffet (included in rate) and relaxing wellness facilities (Finnish pine sauna, bio herbal sauna, infrared relaxation loungers, relaxation zone, and vital drink bar). This charming accommodation also serves a complimentary afternoon cake selection between 3:00 and 5:00 pm. 

Look for accommodation in Filzmoos.

 
Rötelstein, Filzmoos, Austria

Day 5: Filzmoos and the Dachstein Mountains

Hike to Alm Pasture Huts in the Dachstein Mountains

What makes Salzburg a particularly delightful hiking destination is the region’s Alm culture. An Alm is a high alpine pasture where livestock graze freely in the summer months.

During the hiking season, mountain pasture huts (Almhütten) welcome hikers and make for divinely sinful lunch breaks.

To learn more about alpine transhumance, read The Alps in Summer: 10 Things you Need to Know Before Visiting.

Start your day by driving to Hofalm, accessible by a toll road from Filzmoos (5 EUR/car). From Hofalm, we recommend hiking the Hofpürgl Hut to Sulzenalm circuit trail. This gorgeous circuit tour runs along the base of the Bischofsmütze and Gosaustein in the Dachstein Mountains.

Along this route, you will visit the Hofpürglhütte mountain hut, the Rinderfeld meadows, the Sulzenschneid/Eiskarlschneid spur summit, and the Sulzenalm mountain pasture.

Make sure to eat lunch in the Sulzenalm mountain pasture at either Wallehenhütte or Krahlehenhütte.

Another option is the Rötelstein Peak hike (experienced hikers only).


Stay a Second Night in Filzmoos

Budget | Hotel Bergglück 

Midrange | Das Anja Alt Filzmoos 

Top Choice – Luxury | meiZeit Lodge 

Look for accommodation in Filzmoos.

 
Driving the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austrian Alps, Austria

Day 6: Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Your Austria road trip dramatically crescendos as you drive the awe-inspiring Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Großglockner Hochalpenstraße) today.

The road is typically open from early-mid May until the end of October (opening times).

Driving Time: 3:30 hours (Filzmoos to Matrei in Osttirol)
Total Kilometers: 182 km


Drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road

The 48-km Grossglockner High Alpine Road 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.

The alpine road stretches between Fusch an der Großglocknerstraße in Salzburg with Heiligenblut am Großglockner in Carinthia. 

The drive from Filzmoos to Fusch an der Großglocknerstraße is about 1 hour. You’ll pay a 40 EUR toll (see pricing table) to access the road.

Here’s everything you need to know about driving the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße, including where to stop, hike, and eat. 


Stay in Matrei in Osttirol

After exploring all the beautiful places on and off Austria’s most majestic road, you can either stay the night in Heiligenblut, the southern gateway to the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße, or continue the drive to either Lienz or Matrei in Osttirol.

Budget | Zedlacherhof is a lovely and authentic place to stay when you’re on a budget. Located in Zedlach village, 4.5 km from the town center of Matrei in Osttirol, this family-run guesthouse is advantageously surrounded by mountains. The hosts are extremely welcoming and helpful.

Midrange | AlpenParks Montana Matrei is located directly in Matrei and offers both double rooms and family studios. The breakfast is excellent and the alpine views are superb.

Luxury | Natur- und Wanderhotel Outside combines alpine charm with modern sensibilities. Located in the center of Matrei, this 4-star hotel checks all the boxes: spa and wellness, regional sourcing of ingredients, gourmet food, and fresh design.

Look for accommodation in Matrei in Osttirol.


Or Stay in Gschlösstal

Tomorrow, we recommend hiking the Innergschlöss Glacier Trail. If you want to spend the night at the trailhead, you can stay at Matreier Tauernhaus (where we stayed).

This traditional Austrian guesthouse is located at the entrance of the Gschlösstal valley. This is where you’ll take the shuttle to the small hamlet of Innergschlöss, in order to start the Glacier Trail. If you decide to stay in Matreier Tauernhaus, you’ll have a pretty stress-free day (plus free parking). 

Book your Stay at Matreier Tauernhaus.

 
Innergschlöss Glacier Trail, Venediger Group, Hohe Tauern, Austrian Alps

Day 7: Innergschlöss Glacier Trail, Gschlösstal, Hohe Tauern National Park

Drive to Matreier Tauernhaus in Gschlösstal

Your Austria road trip continues to the stunning Gschlößtal valley in East Tyrol.

If you’re staying in Matrei in Osttirol, it’s a 15-minute drive to Gschlößtal valley.


Innergschlöss Glacier Trail

From Gschlöss Valley, embark on one of Austria’s finest day hiking trails: the Innergschlöss Glacier Trail (Gletscherweg in German).


Stay a Second night in Gschlösstal or in Matrei in Osttirol

Budget Matreier Tauernhaus in Gschlösstal

Budget | Zedlacherhof

Midrange | AlpenParks Montana Matrei

Luxury | Natur- und Wanderhotel Outside

Look for accommodation in Matrei in Osttirol.

 
Olpererhütte suspension bridge, Zillertal Alps, Austria

Days 8 and 9: Mayrhofen and the Zillertal Alps

After experiencing the hidden splendors of Hohe Tauern National Park, it’s time to journey further West to the town of Mayrhofen in Zillertal Valley.

Note: there’s a toll on this route (explained below).


Drive to Mayrhofen

Driving Time: 2 hours
Total Kilometers: 90.4 km

Südportal Felbertauerntunnel – Mautstelle (Toll Station)

After leaving Matreier Tauernhaus, continue driving on 108 (north) in the direction of Südportal Felbertauerntunnel.

You have to pay a toll of 11 EUR (private cars) to drive through the tunnel. See current pricing here.


Explore Mayrhofen and Hike in the Zillertal Alps

Mayrhofen is a quintessential alpine town in Tyrol. Lively and charming, Mayrhofen is the perfect base for exploring the celebrated Zillertal Alps.

There are plenty of restaurants, cafés, outdoor clothing stores, and hotels to keep you busy when you’re not out hiking.

Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Mayrhofen in Summer.

And, here’s a guide to the popular Olpererhütte day hike.

Quick summary of things to do in Mayrhofen in summer and early fall:

  1. Eat cake at Konditorei Kostner 
  2. Grab a Schnitzel Semmel at Butcher Hans Gasser 
  3. Eat dinner at Hotel Neue Post
  4. Hike to Olpererhütte
  5. Walk around Speicher Zillergründl to Hohenau Alm
  6. Hike from Speicher Zillergründl to Plauener Hütte 
  7. Visit Stilluptal Valley

Stay 2 Nights in Mayrhofen

Budget | Landhotel Rauchenwalderhof is a cozy and traditional guesthouse in Mayrhofen with an attractive price point. Guests love the location, outdoor swimming pool, and hospitality. Breakfast is included.

Midrange | We stayed in the 4-star Alpenhotel Kramerwirt, a family-run hotel in the center of Mayrhofen. This traditional Austrian hotel exhibits a high standard of hospitality, food, and comfort. We loved the spaciousness, light, bedding, and design of our sunkissed “Superior Room.” In the evening, local bands and ensembles perform on the outdoor patio. Their breakfast buffet is also outstanding. As soon as you finish breakfast, you’ll be excited for the next morning.

Luxury | ElisabethHotel Premium Private Retreat- Adults only is a luxurious hotel in Mayrhofen featuring beautiful spa facilities, outstanding cuisine, and alpine-modern furnishings. This is the best place to stay in Mayrhofen for a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway.

Look for accommodation in Mayrhofen.

 
Formarinsee, Lech am Arlberg, Austria

Days 10 and 11: Lech am Arlberg

Drive to Lech am Arlberg in Vorarlberg

The fastest way to get to Lech am Arlberg from Mayrhofen is via St. Anton am Arlberg via the A12 (Inntal Autobahn).

However, a more scenic route is via the Bschlaber Landesstrasse (L246) and the Hahntennjoch saddle, which cuts through the Lechtal Alps.

The Bschlaber Landesstrasse connects Inntal valley and the Lechtal valley.

When you reach Lechtal, turn right and make a quick detour to LechZeit hotel and restaurant in Elmen for lunch.

They serve their full menu between 11:30 am and 2:00 pm and a limited menu between 2:00 pm and 5:30 pm.

Driving Time: 3 hours
Total Distance: 195 km


What to Do in Lech am Arlberg

Lech am Arlberg is a famous ski resort town. While everyone associates Lech with winter, we think summer is the best time to visit.

Lech is a particularly enjoyable destination because it’s wedged between the Lechquellen Mountains to the west and the Lechtal Alps to the east. Both ranges are accessible directly from the town via cableways and seasonal buses.

We recommend the following day hikes:


Stay 2 Nights in Lech am Arlberg

Budget | Lech Hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation in Lech am Arlberg, offering clean and cozy single, double, and triple rooms. Guests have access to a shared kitchen and shared lounge. Bathrooms are shared as well. The room rate is unbeatable. 

Midrange | Hotel Garni Schneider is a top-rated, affordable bed and breakfast, situated next to Rüfikopfbahn in the center of Lech. Bedrooms are nicely decorated, spotless, and comfortable. Guests also have access to a wellness area (Finnish sauna, steam bath, Kneipp basins, and relaxation room) and free private parking.

Luxury | Der Berghof is a sophisticated, 4-star superior hotel in the center of Lech. This hotel delivers an unparalleled experience in terms of style, comfort, wellness and cuisine. Bedrooms are designed with premium materials and furnished with extraordinary attention to detail. The wellness area features 5 modern saunas, a cold water basin, and a footpath. The breakfast was extraordinary.

Luxury | Hotel Auenhof is a family-run 4-star hotel, situated along the River Lech, facing Omeshorn. With its dreamy location and extraordinary staff, Hotel Auenhof outshines other Lech accommodations in terms of its hospitality and atmosphere. The highlight of staying here is the gourmet multi-course dinners, which delight with their creative ingredient combinations, flavors, and presentations. Many hotel restaurants strive to be innovative, but none so successfully as Hotel Auenhof. As a guest, you’ll also enjoy the generous, complimentary afternoon snacks and a very nice wellness area.

Look for accommodation in Lech am Arlberg.

Read Next: Best Hotels in Lech am Arlberg

 
Cows grazing near Lünersee, Rätikon Alps, Austria

Days 12 and 13: Brandnertal and the Rätikon Alps

This Austria road trip itinerary continues west to Brandnertal, a valley in the Austrian State of Vorarlberg.

Brandnertal is the gateway to the Rätikon, a limestone mountain range that straddles the border between Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. 


Drive to Brandnertal

Driving Time: 50 Minutes 
Total Kilometers: 50.2 km


Take the Lünerseebahn to Lünersee Lake

  • Roundtrip Prices (as of Summer 2023): 21.50 EUR for Adults (see current pricing)
  • Operating hours: daily 8 am – 5  pm

Lünersee Walks and Hikes

Once you ascend to the lake, you have several options. 

  1. You can walk the easy circuit trail that wraps around the entire lake – 2 hours, 6.1 km (easy)
  2. You can hike the circuit trail and then ascend to Gafalljoch ridge (2239 m) – 3 hours, 8.7 km (moderate).
  3. Or, if you’re looking for a challenge, you can hike to Schesaplana (2964 m) – 7 hours, 11.2 km – the highest peak in the Rätikon Alps (difficult).

Learn More: Lünersee Hiking Guide


Where to Eat around Lünersee

There’s a mountain hut located at the Lünerseebahn top station called Douglashütte. The food is excellent and the service is swift.

On the other side of the lake, there’ a small alpine pasture hut called Lünersee Alpe. Their menu is very limited, so if you’re hungry, definitely eat at Douglashütte. And, then grab a mid-walk beer or beverage at the Alm.


Stay 2 Nights in Brandnertal

We suggest basing yourself in the town of Brand in Brandnertal, or on the high alpine plateau Tschengla, which overlooks Brandnertal

Budget | Hotel Lün is a top-rated modern alpine hotel in Brand, offering double rooms as well as apartments with fully equipped kitchenettes and dining areas. Highlights of staying here are the spa area, the breakfast buffet, the fresh and cheerful design.

Midrange | Pension Bergkristall is an apartment-style accommodation in Brand, next to the Dorfbahn Cable Car Station. If you’re planning to base yourself in Brandnertal for a few days, or even a week, you’ll feel very comfortable here. Breakfast is available upon request.

Luxury | Aktiv-Hotel Sarotla is a stylish and modern hotel with excellent spa facilities, spacious rooms with balconies, and a fabulous hotel restaurant and bar. Guests can participate in guided hiking and cycling tours free of charge.

Luxury | The 4-star Schillerkopf Alpine Resort is an exceptional place to stay when you’re ready to take a vacation from your vacation. Positioned on the Tschengla Plateau, high above Brandertal, you’ll be treated to mountain and valley views whether you’re in your bedroom, in the dining room, or in the garden. 

Staying in Schillerkopf is also a culinary experience. Each day, guests are pampered with a 4 chapter Gaumenpoesie (“poetry of the palate”) package. In a nutshell that means that your stay includes a bountiful breakfast (7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.), followed by a lunch buffet (12:00 p.m.), followed by a late afternoon dessert buffet (3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.), followed by a 6-course dinner accompanied by live music. So, basically, you don’t want to leave. 

The 4 chapter concept pays homage to the literary genius Friedrich Schiller. Like reading a novel, you progress through the day, one culinary chapter at a time. 

Look for accommodation in Brandnertal.

 
Innsbruck Old Town, Tyrol, Austria

Day 14: Innsbruck

Drive to Innsbruck

Driving Time: 2 hours
Total Kilometers: 146 km

If you want to end your Austria road trip on the highest of notes, we recommend detouring to Ötztal Valley to visit the Aqua Dome Therme.

You can visit for a few hours, or spend the night in the thermal spa hotel.

Learn everything you need to know about visiting Aqua Dome in How to Visit Aqua Dome and our Aqua Dome Hotel Review.


Innsbruck

Innsbruck is the capital of Tirol. Wedged between the Karwendel Mountains and the Tux Alps, Innsbruck is a stunner.

Spend a few hours walking around the Altstadt (Old Town) and you’ll be completely mesmerized. 

Your Austria travel itinerary concludes here in Innsbruck. While in the area, check out the Wolfsklamm Gorge, open between May and October.

Also, read our Innsbruck Hiking Guide, which summarizes our favorite trails in the area, including Nockspitze and Hundskopf

We recommend staying in:

Budget-Midrange | Motel One Innsbruck is located near the Innsbruck Train Station, a mere 10-minute walk into the Innenstadt (Inner City of Innsbruck). This modern 3-star hotel offers snug rooms with views overlooking the city and mountains. Don’t miss the top floor bar. Perks: luggage storage and 24/7 reception. Breakfast and underground parking are both available for an extra charge.

Midrange | NALA individuellhotel is a quirky hotel with uniquely-designed rooms, a sun terrace, fitness room, breakfast (extra fee), and nearby parking (extra fee).

Midrange-Luxury | Faktorei is a boutique hotel housed in a 15th century town house with 12 sun-drenched minimalist rooms, a garden, terrace, and bar. Private garage parking is available, but must be reserved in advance (extra fee). Breakfast is served in the hotel’s adjacent café (extra fee).

Top Choice – Luxury | Altstadthotel Weisses Kreuz is a contemporary hotel with an atmospheric bar in Innsbruck’s pedestrian zone. Stay here for the delicious breakfast, stylish design, professional staff, and location. No on-site parking.

Top Choice – Luxury | Set in a historic building in the center of Innsbruck, the exceptional Weisses Rössl is a boutique hotel with a 600-year-old Tyrolean restaurant. Expect a delicious breakfast. Paid public parking is located nearby.

More Innsbruck Accommodations: Montagu Hostel (budget), Hotel Innsbruck (luxury), or Hotel Zach (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Innsbruck.


Heading Back to Vienna

It’s about a 6-hour drive from Innsbruck to Vienna. 

We recommend breaking up your trip in Salzburg City, or somewhere in the Salzkammergut Region.

We didn’t include Salzburg in our itinerary, because we’re not fans. It feels like a bloated tourist bus stop.

That’s just our opinion, though. If you’ve always wanted to see Mozart’s birthplace and Sound of Music filming locations, by all means, go.


Where to Next?

Northern Italy: Dolomites Travel Guide and Dolomites Road Trip

Slovenia: Slovenia Travel Guide and Slovenia Road Trip

Germany: Germany Travel Guide and Garmisch-Partenkirchen

 
Innsbruck, Austria
@moonhoneytravelers
  • Sunrise views from the Schäfler Hut in the Alpstein Mountains in Switzerland. 
This is we’re you’ll wake up on day 2 of the 3-day Alpstein High Trail (itinerary is on the blog - moonhoneytravel.com).
If you prefer longer treks, @alpenventuresunguided is offering a new 6-8-day self-guided, hut to hut hike in the Appenzell Alps next summer (June - September). 
📍Appenzell Alps, Switzerland 
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  • Our 3-day Appenzell hut to hut hiking itinerary is finally published on the blog. We called it the “Alpstein High Trail” because it follows the high trails of the Alpstein massif. Hiking this route was one of the highlights of our year.
📍Appenzell, Switzerland 
📷 The beginning of stage 3. 
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  • Autumn is the most enchanting season to visit the Wachau Valley in Austria (1 hour train ride / drive from Vienna).
📆 This is what this lovely wine region looked like today (November 1, 2023).
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  • A dreamy afternoon in South Tyrol, Italy. We’re seriously thinking about booking a winter trip here to see what it’s like when the mountains and treetops are blanketed in snow. 
📍@my_arbor
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  • Sunrise atop Mount Schäfler in the Alpstein, Appenzell Alps, Switzerland. 
#hiking #hikingswitzerland #swissalps #switzerland #visitswitzerland #switzerlandtrip #alpstein #appenzell #appenzellerland🇨🇭 #appenzellinnerrhoden #appenzellalps #alpsteinview #alpsmountains #feelthealps #thealps #hikingtrails #sunrise
  • A restorative and unforgettable stay at @my_arbor in South Tyrol, Italy. 
📍San Leonardo, Brixen (near the Dolomites)
📷 @moonhoneytravelers 
#brixen #plosebrixen #plose #southtyrol #myarbor #myarborhotel #myarborplosewellnesshotel #spahotel #wellnesshotel #italytravel #italytrip #northernitaly #northernitalytrip #southtyrolian #visitsouthtyrol #hotels #treehotel