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Things to do in Austria

Things to do in  Austria

Welcome to Austria

Often known for the art it inspired, Austria mixes quaint Alpine charm with abundant opportunities for arts and culture, set against a sweeping Sound of Music landscape. The capital, Vienna, beckons with its rich musical history, plentiful cafes, and emphasis on the arts. A walking tour through the city reveals a mix of architectural styles, from Gothic and Renaissance to art nouveau, which serve as testament to Vienna's ability to seamlessly blend old and new and St. Stephen's Cathedral, with its fairy-tale appearance, is a particular must-see. In the city center, join the ranks of artists and thinkers such as Beethoven, Sigmund Freud, and Gustaf Klimt by tucking into apfelstrudel and sipping a famously thick hot chocolate at one of Vienna's many cafés. If you've got music on the brain, a nighttime visit to the Schonbrunn Palace or the State Opera House will only highlight the immortality of classical tunes. Further afield, its from Salzburg—the picturesque birthplace of Mozart, with its river cruises and fortresses—that the mountain landscape of Bavaria unfurls. Many tours take travelers through the valley for visits to salt mines, wine tastings, and bicycling; and getting back to nature is a year-round option, with ski opportunities in the winter and hikes in the summer. Alternatively, soak up one of the world's happiest destinations in comfort during a train trip through the country to see the imposing Austrian Alps, deep lakes, and idyllic villages.

Top 15 attractions in Austria

Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)

Built to rival the opulence of Versailles, Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) was once a summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs. Today, this baroque palace is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historic monuments in Austria.More

Hofburg Imperial Palace (Hofburg Wien)

Formerly the winter residence of the Austrian royal family, the Hofburg Imperial Palace (Hofburg Wien) is now a lasting tribute to the glory of the Habsburg Empire. It’s one of Vienna’s most magnificent baroque palaces, located within Vienna’s UNESCO-listed historic center. Visitors to the Hofburg can explore the Imperial Apartments, visit the Sisi Museum and the Silver Collection, or watch a performance at the world-famous Spanish Riding School.More

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)

With its dark Gothic spires, intricately tiled roof, and imposing bell tower, St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) is one of Vienna’s star attractions. Centrally located on Stephansplatz square in the city’s UNESCO-listed historic center, the cathedral is architecturally stunning both inside and out. It’s also a site of great historical significance—Emperor Friedrich III and numerous other Habsburg dignitaries were buried here.More

Mirabell Palace and Gardens (Schloss Mirabell und Mirabellgarten)

Part of Salzburg’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed historic center, Mirabell Palace (Schloss Mirabell) enjoys a rich royal history, as well as a place in movie legend: it was one of the filming sites forThe Sound of Music. Built by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in 1606, the palace is most famous for its magnificent baroque gardens.More

Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper)

A masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, the Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) is a hallowed venue for opera fans. Each year, the auditorium hosts 350 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna State Ballet (Wiener Staatsballett) performances, as well as the Vienna Opera Ball.More

Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)

Just an hour’s drive outside of Salzburg lies the alpine town of Berchtesgaden and the historic Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus), Adolf Hitler’s mountaintop chalet and the former southern headquarters of the Nazi party. Perched atop Mt. Kehlstein, Eagle’s Nest offers a dark history and panoramic views of Germany’s Bavarian Alps.More

Schlosspark Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Palace Garden)

Schönbrunn Palace was once the royal summer residence, and its spectacular baroque-style garden, or Schlosspark Schönbrunn, has been open to the public since the late 1700s. Today, the UNESCO-listed grounds are a popular venue for concerts and scenic strolls, and include an iron-and-glass palm house, hedge maze, and viewing terrace.More

Salzburg Old Town (Salzburger Altstadt)

Salzburg’s Old Town (Salzburger Altstadt or Altstadt Salzburg) is the historical and navigational heart of the city, a maze of medieval streets stretching along the banks of the Salzach River. The birthplace of Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg’s atmospheric Altstadt is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site and overlooked by the hilltop Hohensalzburg Fortress.More

Kursalon Vienna (Kursalon Wien)

Vienna’s most beautiful concert hall, the 19th-century Kursalon Vienna (Kursalon Wien sits on the edge of the Stadtpark (City Park near the gilded statue of composer Johann Strauss, whose music is enjoyed in the concert hall each evening. Recently given a facelift, the Kursalon’s lavish interiors have returned to their former glory.More

St. Peter's Church

Also known as Peterskirche, St Peter's Church in Vienna is the second oldest church in the city. The original church building was rumored to have been established by Charlemagne, but it burned down in 1661. The new church, inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, was consecrated in 1733 and a relief plaque on the outside of the church tells the legend of Charlemagne. St Peter's Church was the first domed structure in Vienna and features an ornate interior with colorful frescoes and gold stucco. Most notable for visitors are the gilded pulpit with a representation of the Holy Trinity atop the canopy, a gold and silver sculpture of the Martyrdom of St. John opposite the pulpit and the fresco in the cupola depicting the Coronation of the Virgin.Over the years, the 18th-century paintings in the church grew darker and the interior began to turn gray, but a massive renovation project from 1998 to 2004 restored the frescoes to their original bright colors.More

Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere)

Built in the 18th century as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, the magnificent Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere) is among the many treasures of Vienna’s Baroque era and a UNESCO World Heritage–listed monument.More

Hohensalzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg)

Built in 1077, Austria’s Hohensalzburg Fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg) is one of the largest fully-preserved castles in Central Europe. Here you can enjoy incredible countryside views and guided tours of the baroque state rooms, lookout towers, and museum collections.More

Albertina Museum

Housed in former residential apartments in the vast Hofburg Imperial Palace complex, Vienna’s Albertina museum is home to an incredible 1.5 million prints and over 50,000 drawings. The permanent collection of graphic art is considered the finest in the world, with works by Dürer, Raphael, Rembrandt, and Schiele.More

Hellbrunn Palace (Schloss Hellbrunn)

Built in the early 17th century, Hellbrunn Palace (Schloss Hellbrunn) served as a summer retreat for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Its baroque exterior conceals an exuberant interior made for entertaining, though the real draws are the whimsical trick fountains (Wasserspiele) in the gardens, which spew water from unexpected places.More

Historic Center of Vienna

The Historic Center of Vienna is the beating heart of Austria, and the home of top attractions such as Vienna’s city hall, Parliament, and the lively Museum Quarter. Also known as the First District or Inner City and preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area is rich with baroque castles and gardens, as well as the 19th-century Ringstrasse, a beltway of grand buildings, monuments, and parks that encircles most of the inner city. There are enough landmark sites here to keep you snapping photos all day long.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Austria

The Original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg
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Kursalon: Strauss and Mozart Concert Including 4-Course Dinner
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Melk Abbey and Danube Valley Day Trip from Vienna
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Top Destinations

Top Destinations

Recent reviews from experiences in Austria

Sound of Music Fun!
Karen_L, Feb 2023
The Original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg
Did not expect to see so much of the Austrian country side and loved every minute of it.
The tour to Hallstatt is...
Azizi_M, Dec 2022
Private Scenic Transfer from Salzburg to Vienna with 4h of Sightseeing
Melk is not suitable after 3 pm during winter.
Wonderful Experience!
Caitlin_S, Nov 2022
Hallstatt Half-Day Tour from Salzburg
I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to see the Austrian countryside without having to drive themselves.
Great trip with fantastic guide!
Scott_M, Oct 2022
Private Hallstatt Tour with tour end in Vienna
This is a great way to see the countryside of Austria and end in Vienna.
Quaint and beautiful
Sonia_H, Mar 2023
Hallstatt Half-Day Tour from Salzburg
Unfortunately, the tour doesn’t allow enough time to visit the Salt Mine (3hrs req’d).
Say Trip to Salzburg
Colleen_C, Jan 2023
Salzburg Small-Group Day Trip from Vienna
It gave us a taste of the Austria countryside and Salzburg was an amazing town to visit.
Fantastic, informative and fun trip.
Carol_G, Dec 2022
Skip-The-Line Salt-Mines and Bavarian Mountains Tour from Salzburg
The bus journey was not too long and gave us a chance to see a different part of Salzburg and some wonderful views of the mountains.
Christina_L, Nov 2022
Hallstatt and Alps Day Trip from Vienna With Skywalk
The town is quaint and everything you want to see in a small quiet Austrian town.
"Remember" Mauthausen
Lynn_S, Nov 2022
Mauthausen Concentration Camp Day Trip from Vienna
Be sure to visit the quarry to see the steps and the "Parachute" area.
Excellent day trip for a good intro to Budapest
Andrew_S, Nov 2022
Budapest Small-Group Day Trip from Vienna
This was a very efficient way to see Budapest if you can’t stay for more than 1 day.
An authentic Austrian experience. Keep an open mind.
Theodore_S, Oct 2022
Danube River Cruise with Dinner and Viennese Songs in Vienna
I got a hearty hot meal, some Austrian culture, and got to see the city, warts and all.
Two hours on the fringes of evil
SteveChawkins, Oct 2022
Historical Hitler Walking Tour of Vienna
Here's the art school where a Jewish professor turned down the crestfallen young painter's application; there's the balcony where years later he rallied 200,000 roaring Austrians, united in anti-Semitism.
Amazing Trip!
Katherine_D, Jul 2022
Private Day Tour of Salzburg, Hallstatt and Melk from Vienna
Our tour guide was amazing and super flexible with the itinerary so we could maximize our time in the places we wanted to see most!
Worthy of your time and money
Jenni_H, Jul 2022
Sound of Music Tour by minivan
As an American tourist only English speaking, Fritz our guide communicated with us exceptionally!