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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 10 attractions in Austria

#1
Kunsthaus Graz Art Museum (Kunsthaus Graz)

Kunsthaus Graz Art Museum (Kunsthaus Graz)

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Notable for its blob-like architecture, the Kunsthaus Graz Art Museum (or just Kunsthaus Graz) was built as part of the city’s 2003 celebrations as the European Capital of Culture. The museum was constructed as part of the 19th century Iron House building, one of the first cast iron buildings in Europe. The famous exterior is comprised of nearly 1300 iridescent blue acrylic panels with almost a thousand 40-watt lightbulbs, creating a massive screen in the middle of the city. Known to some locals as the Friendly Alien, the museum covers 27,000 square feet and specializes in contemporary art, design, new media, film and photography. It regularly hosts events and exhibitions that highlight worldwide trends in art.More
#2
Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)

Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)

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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
#3
Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl)

Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl)

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Amid the brightly painted buildings and historic monuments of Innsbruck’s Old Town, one landmark shines brighter than all the others. Standing proud over Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) is the dramatic focal point of the 15th-century New Court (Neuhof) building and glitters with 2,657 gilded copper tiles.More
#4
Bergisel Ski Jump

Bergisel Ski Jump

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An architectural landmark, legendary sporting venue, and tourist attraction all rolled into one, the Bergisel Ski Jump is one of Innsbruck’s most visited sites. As well as hosting international winter sports events, the ski-jump tower affords a spectacular panoramic view of Innsbruck and the surrounding Tyrolean mountains.More
#5
Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)

Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)

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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
#6
Hofburg Imperial Palace (Hofburg Wien)

Hofburg Imperial Palace (Hofburg Wien)

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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
#7
Forchtenstein Castle

Forchtenstein Castle

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A landmark castle in the Rosaliengebirge foothills of Burgenland, Forchtenstein has its origins in the Middle Ages although today it has an impressive Baroque façade. Its keep and tower date from the 13th century, when it was a constructed as a defence castle. In 1622 Emperor Ferdinand II awarded Forchtenstein to the powerful aristocratic Esterházy family, and they were responsible for extending it into today’s vast fortress, adding new wings and a chapel as well as decorating the interior with ornate patterns, coats of arms and scenes from mythology, plus colorful frescoes adorning the walls of the courtyard.Having survived unscathed through the Turkish invasions of the 16th to 18th centuries, the castle became the repository for the precious Esterházy trove of family heirlooms. Three permanent exhibitions are held there, and treasures on display include the largest collection of medieval weapons in Europe, Austria’s biggest horde of ancestral portraits and a curiosity cabinet full of Baroque artifacts ranging from priceless silver furniture to carved ivory, sleighs used by the Esterházy offspring and automata. Other Esterházy properties nearby at Eisenstadt and Lackenbach can also be toured, together with an auditorium constructed in a quarry at St Margarethen.More
#8
Mirabell Palace and Gardens (Schloss Mirabell und Mirabellgarten)

Mirabell Palace and Gardens (Schloss Mirabell und Mirabellgarten)

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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
#9
Heroes’ Square (Heldenplatz)

Heroes’ Square (Heldenplatz)

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A colossal piazza right at the heart of Imperial Vienna, Heldenplatz (or Heroes' Square) stretches out in front of the sweeping arcs of the Hofburg Palace, which was commissioned for the Habsburg Imperial Family in 1881. Constructed under the orders of Emperor Franz Joseph II as part of the city’s elegant Ringstrasse thoroughfare in the late 19th century, the square is dominated by two vast equestrian statues of Archduke Charles of Austria and Prince Eugene of Savoy, and completely surrounded by the Baroque beauty of Vienna’s most important landmarks.The Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, lived on this spot in various palaces from the 13th century until its demise in 1918; now the palace is home to several sublime Imperial collections in the Neue Burg, Sisi and art museums; the Imperial Apartments; the office of the Austrian President; the National Library; the Hofburgs’ private chapel; and the Augustinian Church, parish church of Vienna’s aristocracy. The Spanish Riding School is in the Winter Riding School and members of the Vienna Boys’ Choir perform at concerts in the Burgtheater.Originally Heldenplatz was enclosed at its southern flank, but this now stands open; the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is all that remains of the walls. In keeping with its role in the center of Viennese history, it was from a balcony overlooking the square that Hitler announced the Anschluss on March 15, 1938.More
#10
Salzburg Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg)

Salzburg Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg)

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Salzburg’s Cathedral (Dom zu Salzburg) is a restrained exercise in classic Italian Baroque, topped with green bronze domes. Mozart was baptized here, and the building was completed in 1628.Cathedral highlights include the light-filled atrium and dome, the crypt with its Romanesque foundations and tombs, and the statues of angels surrounding the altar.The Cathedral Museum tells the history of the Dom’s construction and artworks.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Austria

Private Eagle's Nest & The Hills are Alive

Private Eagle's Nest & The Hills are Alive

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From
US$850.09
per group
Vienna City Classic Walk with a Small Group

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Vienna City Classic Walk with a Small Group

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From
US$43.24
US$48.05  US$4.81 savings
Big Bus Vienna Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Big Bus Vienna Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

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From
US$27.72

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