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Best attractions in Austria: Top 25

Austria remains the most desirable vacation destination for many tourists. Attractions of Austria beckons lovers of diverse cultures from all over the world. Each tour booked by you is accompanied by an interesting story about the sights. Professional guides will reveal in the fullness of the centuries-old history and traditions of the country. Perhaps, after getting acquainted with the monuments of architecture, this state will forever remain a great love, which intricately intertwined and the sights of Austria, and its history and modernity.

What to see first in Austria

Regardless of whether your companions guides in Austria, friends or relatives, you need to decide in advance what places you want to go to. You should plan your itinerary based on the number of days you will spend in the picturesque European country, your interests (nature, educational tourism, sports entertainment, etc.), and whether you are going to travel with children.

1. St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Vienna)

Mosaic roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral

Every country has its age-old symbols in which the spirit of a nation is concentrated. The sights of Austria are headed by St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The majestic spire of St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one such iconic concept. Suffice it to say that the spire of the Cathedral rises 136 meters. It can be admired from any part of Vienna. The cathedral is made in the Gothic style, it rises monumentally on the main city square.

For tourists the Cathedral is interesting in its history and architectural beauty. Austrians themselves revere the relic because of the abundance of cultural rarities stored inside.

These include:

  • Handmade church utensils.
  • Icons, many of which are more than a century old.

The Austrians respectfully refer to the cathedral as “Steffi”. Its history is truly unique. For seven centuries it has been an integral part of Austrian culture. The architecture of the building is impressive.

It has everything to strike the imagination of the tourist:

  • Stained glass windows.
  • A mosaic roof.
  • Pointed towers.
  • The noble moldings.
  • The oval windows.

The cathedral was founded in 1359.

Conceptually it consists of two towers: North and South. The North tower remained unfinished, its height is only 70 meters. The temple is available for viewing, in both towers for tourists arranged observation deck.

To understand how much the Austrians love all the sights of Austria and their “Steffi”, it is enough to remember that, after a devastating fire in 1945, the cathedral was restored almost entirely by charitable donations of ordinary citizens.

Official website:

2. Hofburg Palace (Vienna)

Hofburg Palace Imperial Residence

What could be more interesting to the tourist than the residence of the imperial family? Vienna cherishes the Hofburg, which is the winter residence of the Habsburg dynasty. It is a medieval castle, whose history stretches back many centuries. The first mention of the residence dates back to 1279.

Currently the palace has been restored. All 2,600 rooms have been fully reconstructed in it. Moreover, the current president uses some premises of the Hofburg for his personal residence. The history of the Hofburg is interesting because at different times the castle was completed by someone from the imperial dynasty. For example, the Swiss Gate appeared during the reign of Ferdinand I.

The Empress’ chambers, with their evocative splendor, appeared under Rudolf II. Leopold I built the castle into a famous wine cellar. A grandiose Spanish riding school was built on the castle grounds under Charles VI. Interestingly, the Lipizzan horses, famous throughout the world, still perform in this arena. With awe and shudder tourists take the information that in 1938 on the balcony of the castle Hitler proclaimed the Anschluss, which marked the annexation of Austria to Germany.

Official website:

3. Belvedere Palace (Vienna)

Belvedere Palace with Garden

What to visit in Austria? The blessed Belvedere palace complex! It was erected by order of Prince Eugene of Savoy. It took place in the 18th century, and the summer residence in Landstrasse has remained a jewel in Austria ever since. The Belvedere never fails to shine with its beauty. It is the finest Baroque work by Lukas von Hildebrandtom. The prince felt protected and at peace here, his chambers are the epitome of luxury and comfort. Maria Theresia did not hesitate to purchase the Belvedere immediately after the prince’s death.

The Belvedere has remained virtually unchanged since the 18th century. The Austrians periodically carry out restorations, carefully preserving the historic appearance of the ensemble. The Baroque composition is formed not only by the architectural complex, but also by the adjacent gardens. The Austrian Gallery, known around the world as a repository of rare masterpieces, is also located in the palace.

For Austrians, the name of Belvedere is associated with significant events:

  • The signing of the Vienna Protocol in 1941.
  • The signing of the Austrian Declaration of Independence in 1955.

To touch the historic facades of the Belvedere is to feel the living breath of Austrian history.

Official website:

4. Schonbrunn Palace (Vienna)

Flower on the square in front of Schoenbrunn Palace

In 1996, Schoenbrunn became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The magnificent palace, the main imperial residence of the Habsburgs, is surrounded by a park-like setting. The exquisite sophistication of the building rivals the sumptuous fountains and statues that surround the palace.

When pondering what to visit in Austria, note how much the Austrians cherish the spirit of history and everything that makes up the uniqueness of the Schoenbrunn residence. The park has several pseudo-Roman ruins that make a lasting impression on tourists.

The first mention of the palace dates back to the 14th century in the annals of the monastery of Klosterneuburg. It came under Habsburg jurisdiction in 1569. It was named after Emperor Matthias in 1612 when he discovered the Schöne Brunnen, which translated means “beautiful springs”.

During the reign of Maria Theresia, the palace became the summer residence of the imperial family and was filled with sophistication that only a woman could bring to the interior. The Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur company is currently in charge of the palace’s reconstruction program and is committed to preserving the historical appearance of the building and maintaining its utilities.

Official website:

5. Mozart House (Vienna)

The building with the inscription "The house where Mozart was born

It is known that the great Mozart traveled extensively around the world. He gave away his talent generously to people, but his beloved Vienna gave him a special inspiration. Of all the places where he lived Mozart, the only apartment he lived in has been preserved in the same form. Its address is Domgasse 5. The composer’s apartments consisted of four rooms and two offices. It was here that the opera “Le nozze di Figaro” was written, which is especially dear to Austrians.

The period of residence in this apartment was marked by the secular popularity of the young Mozart. Countless adventures of love and fountain of inspiration formed the basis of the composer’s spiritual life. Mozart gladly accepted numerous invitations to perform at various palaces, salons and concert halls.

But more often than not he returned to this apartment, where he continued to create. Major reconstruction of the apartment was made in 2006. Nowadays there is a museum in the apartment, which occupies an area of 1000 square meters. The composer’s world is reproduced here delicately and subtly.

Official website:

Feel the atmosphere of Austria in this beautiful video!

6. Herberstein Castle (Styria)

The courtyard of Herberstein Castle

If you don’t know what to visit in Austria, pay attention to Herberstein Castle. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it sits on a block of stone. The castle rises above sea level by more than 400 meters. In translation from German its name means Bitter Stone. A panoramic view of the mysterious gorge opens from any point of the castle.

The first mention of this amazing structure dates back to the 13th century. It was then that the famous Herberstein diplomatic family officially began to own the residence. A powerful arsenal of weapons was a reliable defense of the castle. During four centuries it never fell into the hands of enemies. The Herbersteins defended their possessions not to the death, but to the death.

The uniqueness of architecture is in the variety of styles. Connoisseurs distinguish features of the Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic. Herberstein were not disposed to the screaming luxury, so the castle looks ascetic and restrained. But its advantage is the park ensemble with the Rose Pavilion, which is included in the list of “Attractions of Austria”.

The dynasty includes high-born titles, including counts and barons. Membership in the diplomatic corps was hereditary in this dynasty. A prominent representative of the family name is Sigmund von Herberstein, who spoke many languages. He made his career as a diplomat at the court of Kaiser Maximilian I. Nowadays Herberstein is the pride of Austria, so the castle is carefully preserved for posterity.

7. Schonbrunn Zoo (Vienna)

The enclosures of Schönbrunn Zoo

The sights of Austria excite the imagination of travelers. Tourists visiting Austria should think in advance about what to see in Austria. For example, they will be interested to know that zoos exist in this country since the 16th century. Schoenbrunn Zoo was founded in 1570. But previously it was considered only a menagerie. It received the status of a zoo in 1752 by order of Emperor Franz I.

The architecture of the zoo is interesting. Its construction is represented by 13 compartments, forming the form of a cut cake. Since 1799 the ordinary people could come to the zoo for free. The zoo was enlarged by exotic animals from America and Africa where Joseph II organized expeditions.

Tourists listened with great pleasure to the story that in 1906 a baby elephant was born here. This is a unique event, because until now, elephants had never been born in captivity. The zoo is now privatized, with Dagmara Schratter as its owner. In 2002 the zoo celebrated its 250th anniversary. On this occasion, a 5 euro coin was issued, on which the central pavilion of the zoo and several animals on its background are depicted.

Official website:

8. Neusiedlersee-Zewinkel National Park

The water vastness of the Neusiedlersee-Zewinkel National Park

What to see in Austria? The Neusiedlersee-Sewinkel National Park, of course! Sightseeing in Austria was added in 1932, when this park on the shallow lake Neusiedler See was organized. The area of the reserve is 35,000 hectares. It is a protected natural complex, which is a nesting place for many species of birds. For tourists, the reserve is interesting because of its diverse landscapes. In particular, they enjoy getting acquainted with reed beds, meadows and Central European steppes.

Most of all it is interesting to visit the reserve during the seasonal migrations of birds. Their number increases several times here. The reserve was awarded the status of a national park in 1993. The protected area together with the park is part of the world network of biosphere reserves of UNESCO. Natural, natural beauty is carefully protected by the government. The condition and the number of birds is constantly monitored.

Interestingly, the park is on the border with Hungary and Austria. Therefore, the natural complex has been merged with the Hungarian reserve Ferté-Hanság, which is adjacent to this protected area from the Hungarian side. Here you can observe the life of birds and animals in natural conditions. But just as interesting to travelers are the crystal clear waters of the lake in the reeds and reed beds.

Official website: http://www.nationalpark

9. Ice Giants Cave Eisrizenvelt (Werfen)

Pass to the entrance of the Ice Giants Cave Aisrizenvelt

The glacial cave is 407 m deep. And the volume of ice protrusions on the vaults of the cave exceeds 25,000 cubic meters. The cave is located at an altitude of 1641 m in the Alps. Nature has surprisingly placed it inside the famous mountain Hochkogel. It seems that the secrets of the universe are collected here. And if you have not yet decided what to see in Austria, the cave should be part of your plans.

The cave consists of many mysterious passages that were naturally laid out here by the river. The limestone rocks have been eroded by the waters for several thousand years.

The ice growths on the walls and vaults were formed by the natural melting of the alpine snows. As snow avalanches slid down and compacted in the cave, water did its work. Over the centuries the snow masses were transformed into blocks of ice. Although tourists are allowed no further than 1 kilometer into the cave, they have enough fairy-tale experiences to last a lifetime.

There are magnificent stalagmites, many of which have their own names:

  • Chimira Castle.
  • A large ice embankment.
  • The Ice Palace.
  • Friggy’s Veil.

The cave is located near the town of Werfen. Moreover, the interest of locals in it does not dry up as well as the curiosity of tourists.

Official website:

10. Carinthia district

One of the mountain lakes of Carinthia

The resort area of Carinthia with its blessed climate and pristinely beautiful nature attracts those who think what to see in Austria. They are fans of skiing. Carinthia is the southernmost region of Austria, which borders Slovenia and Italy. The second name of Carinthia, the “Austrian Riviera,” is firmly rooted around the world.

The region is full of magnificent sparkling snowy valleys and mirror-like lakes. Tiny spa towns nestled along the lakeshores and picturesque mountain slopes are known for their exquisite hotel services.

Beach tourist infrastructure here meets the highest criteria. At the same time tourists are attracted not only modern ski slopes, but also the sights of Austria. They have the opportunity to get acquainted with the palaces and castles, for which the land of Carinthia is famous.

Tourist routes that run through Carinthia are of interest not only to fans of outdoor activities. It is also a great place for lovers of refined solitude and true connoisseurs of mountain landscapes. The capital of Carinthia is Klagenfurt. Here is the longest lake Werther See, which has a length of 20 km. It is squeezed between the northern mountains, so its beauty is admirable at any time of year.

Sightseeing in Austria: what else to see while in Austria

If time, energy and financial resources are not enough only for the main attractions, it is definitely worth to go on tours of Austria to places that are not as well known, but no less amazing in beauty and history. And do not forget to leave time to rest, so that you are always full of energy and open to learning new sights.

11. The Tauern (Tyrol, Carinthia and Salzburg)

The mountain landscape of the Tauern

The Tauern is considered to be the largest nature reserve in Europe. The area of the protected area exceeds 180,000 hectares. With a relatively short history, the reserve has become one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. The main value of the reserve is the pristine beauty of the mountains. Here, the peaks of snow-capped mountain peaks delight with snowy shimmers, so the National Park is rightly called the most picturesque part of Austria.

There is plenty to see and do here:

  • Glacier fields.
  • mountain rivers.
  • Alpine meadows.

The rumbling mountain waterfalls Krimmer and Golling sparkle in the sun with billions of splashes at any time of year. Both the sky and the sun reflect in them, so they are a blessedly beautiful picture. The tourist business here is fine-tuned to perfection, and the client centers are in Matraite, Niedernzill, and Malnitz.

12. The Dachstein mountain range (Alps)

Lake in the Dachstein mountain range

Dachstein occupies an area of 600 square kilometers. It is the second highest mountain in the Alps. Around the world this tourist route is known as the City of the Three Lands, as the array is located on the territory of the three Austrian regions: Upper Austria, Styria and Salzburg. Climbing up the cable car, you can see from above the wild, untouched by man beauty of the mountains. It seems that the tops rest against the sky.

The large number of caves gave birth to many legends in these places. Folk legends tell that there are a lot of good spirits here. Tourists love to hear stories about them, but most of all their imagination is shaken by the panoramic views of Lake Gosausee. It gives the impression of a blue bowl, buried in the white-silver mountains.

Picturesque green slopes frame the lake on all sides. Only if you look closely, you can see traces of civilization. Tiny campsites offer some of the best service in the area, so you’ll remember it for a long time.

The freshness of the local air is amazing. Just a few days later a person feels a burst of new energy. Clean and fresh water in the lake is provided by melted streams, which always flow down the mountains.

13. Karl-Marx-Hof (Vienna)

Facade of the Karl-Marx-Hof house

The Karl-Marx-Hof house is not on the list of “Landmarks of Austria”, but it is interesting in its own way. In 1927, the Social Democratic Party of Austria took the initiative to create a common house for the poor. Its goal was to defeat poverty. The ruling party practically succeeded in this task. In parallel with the introduction of the luxury tax, construction began on a house that was 1,100 meters long. It had 98 entrances and 1,382 apartments. The apartments were compact in size, with the largest reaching 60 square meters.

The house was built and the socio-economic situation in the city relatively improved. It became a monument to the city authorities’ desire to worry about the poor. But in 1934, during the February Uprising, the house suffered serious damage and was not repaired until 1950.

Interestingly, the famous movie “The Night Porter” was filmed on the basis of this very house. We can say that this building is a kind of prototype of modern residential complexes, in which, in addition to private apartments, common areas with services are arranged.

Official site:

14. The Alps

Alpine Landscape

There are many reasons to visit Austria. There are many sights and natural beauties. But the main reason why tourists come here is the Alps. Their length is 500 kilometers. For the lovers of skiing there is a paradise. They are prepared for them campsites and hotels with high quality services. There are 70 areas for skiing. And all of them are divided by the level of tourist skills. Safety is paramount here.

Austrian service is considered a standard of service. Therefore the world celebrities gladly come to the Alps to see all the sights of Austria.

Skiing tourism is well thought out to the smallest detail. Tourists are especially pleased that the ski pass is paid as a lump sum. This allows you to change slopes almost every day, enjoying more and more new alpine scenery. To all the pleasures that the ski resort promises, is added divinely clean air and magnificent landscape panoramas, which are opened here to all tourists.

15. Imperial crypt (Vienna)

The last resting place of the emperors

The Imperial Crypt is the resting place of the emperors of the Roman and Austrian empires, as well as the emperors of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Above the crypt is the Church of the Capuchins. Emperors have been buried here since 1633. A total of 12 emperors and 19 empresses are buried here. Among those buried here are the second wife of Napoleon 1 Marie-Louise, as well as Emperor Maximilian of Mexico.

In addition, many members of the Habsburg family were also buried here. More than 140 noblemen rest in the imperial crypt. The respect for the imperial family can be seen in the thorough ritual symbolism with which the crypt is full. There are many mourning sculptures and images.

Tourists are fascinated to learn that, according to ancient tradition, the hearts of the Habsburgs were buried in silver vessels, and not in sarcophagi.

The first emperors to rest in the crypt were Empress Anna and Emperor Matthias. The last to be buried here was Emperor Franz Joseph I. All the hearts of the Habsburgs are buried in the crypt of hearts, which is located in the Augustinian church. The funeral ceremony with the burial of the hearts took place from 1654 to 1878. The crypt is currently cared for by the Capuchins.

16. Casino of Baden (Lower Austria)

The neo-Renaissance building of the Casino of Baden in Lower Austria Bwag

A land of mountains, rich architecture and musical geniuses, charming Austria. Vienna’s attractions include hundreds of museums, art galleries, the Cathedral and dozens of other cathedrals, and many opulent palaces. Autumn balls, the Vienna Opera, and classical music festivals are known throughout the world. Along with the large and opulent cities of this country, there are small and distinctive, supplementing the true image of Austria. One of these is Baden near the Vienna Woods, famous for its thermal springs and the famous casino, which has become a popular holiday destination. Architecturally, this magnificent construction is considered to be the most beautiful gambling establishment in all of Europe. Today, in the elegant setting of the casino, the most fervent visitors can plunge headlong into the world of gambling.

Official site:

17. Schloss Hohensalzburg (Salzburg)

Medieval Castle Hohensalzburg on top of Mount Vestung

Among the oldest castles in Europe, the Hohensalzburg Castle not only ranks high among the best preserved ones, but also thanks to its enormous dimensions - which is why medieval history buffs love to visit it. This castle is the heart of old Salzburg; its history goes back 9 centuries, during which the appearance of the building has remained virtually unchanged. That is why today you can get the most accurate picture of the life of the medieval Austrian nobility, as well as visit one of the interesting exhibitions, the Princely Chambers with their preserved unique interior, the Golden Hall, covered with leather with gold embossing. During the tour, visitors are told about the main milestones of the castle’s history and the lives of its inhabitants.

Official website:

18. Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Vattens)

Exhibit of the Swarovski Crystal Museum Zairon

When choosing where to go in Austria to dilute the experience of exploring the many palaces and castles with something new and original, we recommend opting for the Swarovski Crystal Worlds. This is a fabulous world - a world of crystals, crystal figures, paintings, sculptures and sparkling mazes. The fantasy museum created by the artist André Heller consists of 14 rooms of the “underworld”, which is guarded at the entrance by a giant with crystal eyes and water erupting from his mouth. Visitors to this unreal world can take an extraordinary journey through a colorful, sparkling maze, where the boundaries of dream and reality are blurred. Visiting the underground city, in addition to visual sensations, involves all the human senses, and impresses with mysterious sounds and aromas.

Official site:

19. Castle Hochostervitz (Carinthia)

Austrian landscape with Castle Gochosterwitz in Carinthia
Hochosterwitz Castle on a dolomite rock 160 meters high

In the southern federal state of Carinthia, on a steep 160-meter-high hill and its slopes, stands one of the most picturesque forts in the country, the Hochosterwitz Castle. To get inside the castle, you have to overcome a serpentine road with 14 fortified gates - not a single enemy in the history of thousand years could not take the castle, so its buildings even today keep their original appearance. The palace complex includes two courtyards - inner and outer, as well as the central residential palace and a number of other buildings. Within the walls of the residential castle you can explore medieval interiors, paintings, a collection of armor and weapons, and see the wooden statue of the once famous keeper of the castle, a real man who was over 2 meters tall.

Official website:

20. Innsbruck (Tyrol)

The colorful facades of Innsbruck's medieval houses along the riverfront of the Inn

Not only the monuments of antiquity, but also some festive events attract tourists to the Austrian city of Innsbruck. It is located in the historic Tyrol region, located near the border with Switzerland - which is why some attractions of Switzerland and Austria if you want can be covered in one trip. Innsbruck, on the other hand, is visited for skiing fun, walks through the historic area, and, of course, for a visit to the grand Christmas market at Catholic Christmas. This is when Innsbruck opens in all its magical beauty, lit by millions of neon lights, beckons the smell of mulled wine and traditional donuts “kiahln”. Strolling through the streets of its Old Town, you can hear live brass music, buy Christmas toys and wooden souvenirs at the Christmas market.

21. Eggenberg Palace (Graz)

View from the park of the 17th century Eggenberg Castle Palace in the Austrian city of Graz

On the outskirts of the large Austrian city of Graz sits the largest aristocratic residence in Styria, the baroque Eggenberg Castle, built in the 17th century. The palace was built by Prince Eggenberg at the time of the great scientific discoveries, and its decoration is based on the true traditions of Buddhism. For example, the castle has only 365 windows - exactly as many as there are days in the year, and in each of them the sun looks out. In the park, located around the castle, there are 12 gates - this number corresponds to the number of months in the year, as well as four towers, symbolizing the four elements. Nowadays, part of the palace rooms are used to display an archaeological collection with bronze jewelry, weapons, and ancient ceramics.

Official website:

22. Monastery in Melk (Melkom)

Benedictine Monastery in Melk in Baroque style on the rocky bank of the Danube River in the Wachau Valley
Inner courtyard of the Benedictine Monastery in Melk

Austria is known for its large cities, with their ancient stately buildings. At the same time, there are small towns and provinces in which the heart and soul of Austria lives. The most beautiful small towns of Austria sometimes keep their unique, little-known history, which is revealed only to those who want to see this country from a new perspective. For example, the provincial town of Melk is the western gateway of the Wachau Valley, a World Heritage Site. The Abbey, founded here in 1089, brought fame to the city, and the Benedictine monastery is the city’s calling card. It is famous for its marble hall with frescoes and its library with hundreds of thousands of books. Particularly beautiful is the monastery park, one part of which has preserved the features of the Baroque, and the other was redesigned in the 19th century in the English style.

23. Hohenwerfen (40 km from Salzburg)

Hohenwerfen Castle is surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges

Another magnificent building, which seems to have escaped from the pages of an old fairy tale, complements the architectural sights of Austria. Hohenwerfen Castle is one of the most beautiful fortifications in the country, not so much for its architecture as for its dizzying, magical views of the surrounding countryside. It stands on a 155m high hill, surrounded by wooded hills, above the Salzach valley. Once the residence of the princes of Salzburg, and now his walls are a number of museums and exhibitions. For example, a special success enjoys a museum falconry, gun show, castle tavern, folklore and local history museums. There are guided tours to the foot of the hill, on which the castle is located, and the top is climbed by special funiculars.

Official website:

24. Krimmler Falls (Krimler-Ache River)

Krimmler Falls in the High Tauern National Park

Serene mountain lakes, crystal waterfalls, pristine protected parks, unspoiled mountain landscapes, amazing snowy valleys - all these treasures have gathered in their lands Austria. Natural attractions are a great and important treasure of this country. One of these treasures is the Krimmler waterfall, located in the nature park Hohen Tauern. It is the largest European waterfall with a height of 400 meters, thanks to which it is also called the European Niagara. Three consecutive water cascades rush down the rocky slopes, the highest point of which is 1460 meters, and at the end of their way they turn into the turbulent mountain river Krimmler-Ache. Glacial meltwater makes up the bulk of the water that feeds the falls.

Official website:

25. Lake Facker See (Carinthia)

The turquoise water of the alpine Lake Facker See in Carinthia Thomas G. Graf

When going on a sightseeing trip by car, any traveler explores the horizons of possibilities open to him and wonders what to see in Austria by car. Traveling from Vienna to Venice, in the Austrian state of Carinthia you can visit the beautiful turquoise lake, whose waters have an amazing color due to particles of limestone that create a blue “glow”. Not only the lake is beautiful, but also its surrounding areas - picturesque alpine meadows, fields, pristine forests and the peaks of the surrounding cliffs Karavanken. The lake is equipped with a wonderful tourist center with bars, clubs, supermarkets and cafes, you can also go fishing, wander the forest trails or horseback riding. Next door to Austria is Italy, a country that has had a huge impact on Western culture and cuisine. Be sure to visit that country as well! Read about Italy attractions and be inspired for your next trip to the countries of the European continent.