Austria is a country capable of satisfying a varied typology of tourists : from art and architecture lovers to nature lovers; from tireless sportsmen, to dreamers, who find the classic fairytale landscapes in the small villages of Carinthia and Tyrol. Moreover, for this very reason, Austria attracts visitors all year round , since for every season, it offers the right proposal of activities. Furthermore, especially from Italy, it is very convenient to reach the Austrian country , either by car, simply crossing the border, or by train or plane, especially towards large cities.
So let’s find out together what to see in Austria: cities, regions, attractions and recommended itineraries!

The main cities of Austria

1 – Vienna
Vienna is the capital of Austria and currently has about one million and 900,000 inhabitants. It is a city that develops in the heart of the country and is above all a destination of history and culture. It is considered one of the most romantic cities in the world , so it is certainly suitable for couple travel, but for the care of its services, such as the efficiency of the means of transport, it is also suitable for families. For a first approach, we recommend a welcome tour in Italian with a local guide.
Once you arrive, you cannot miss a visit to the Imperial Palace of Schonbrunn (better to book online), which hosted Princess Sissi, as well as a walk along the main street, full of shops, which ends with the Cathedral of Santo Stefano. . Do not miss the taste of the Sacher cake.

SEE ALSO : What to see absolutely in Vienna

2 – Salzburg
Salzburg was the birthplace of Mozart and its presence can be felt in the narrow and crowded streets of the city: in souvenir shops or pastry shops, with Mozart’s famous marzipan balls, everything refers to the famous composer. In this regard, the Mozart concert on the Fortress with dinner is not to be missed.
Salzburg has about 150,000 inhabitants, plus the numerous visitors who flock to its square every day, always full of stalls where you can buy bretzels or flowers. Among the main attractions, the Salzburg Cathedral, Mirabell Palace or Hellbrunn Palace, famous for its water features. For an overview of the city, we recommend a hop-on hop-off bus tour.

SEE ALSO : Christmas in Salzburg: Offers, program and tips

3 – Innsbruck
Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol and is a jewel nestled in the Alps. It has more than 310,000 inhabitants and is a destination that, due to its cultural and naturalistic value, is it can be visited all year round and by different travelers, both couples and families. In winter, the city comes alive with Christmas markets, while in summer it offers various hiking trails.
Its historic center is famous for the unmissable Golden Roof , while in the immediate surroundings of Wattens it is possible to visit the famous KristallWelten, or the Crystal World created by Swarovski , full of brilliant jewels and sculptures. It is recommended to purchase the entrance ticket online given the large turnout. Innsbruck is also the cradle of Tyrolean cuisine, which can be tasted in the typical “stube”.

SEE ALSO : What to see in Innsbruck

4 – Graz
Graz is a fairly large city with more than 400,000 inhabitants and which is the capital of Styria, in the southern part of Austria. In fact, it is considered the second largest city in the country , although this does not deny that it was also given the name of “Green City of Austria”, thanks to its wonderful parks and gardens, as well as to its underground motorway, which does not disfigures the landscape.
Of interest, we undoubtedly have the historic center, but above all the hill accessible by funicular, which houses the centuries-old Clock Tower . A quick visit, for couples and families, on a complete tour of Austria, cannot be missed.

5 – Linz
Halfway between Vienna and Salzburg, Linz is a pretty town overlooking the banks of the Danube River. From the year in which it was nominated European capital of culture , in 2009, it has been transformed and innovated, so it can welcome different types of visitors in every season, also due to its proximity to other points of interest.
Linz has just over 200,000 inhabitants and its historic center is characterized by the presence of important attractions such as the Old Town Hall, the Nibelungen Bridge, or the Linz Castle which, in some places, reproduce the appearance of Nordic cities.

6 – Villach (Villach)
Villach, also known as Villach, is a small town in Carinthia that serves as a gateway between Italy and Austria. It has just under 60,000 inhabitants and is located right on the border, once you have passed Tarvisio.
The town, as well as for its picturesque old town, is very popular thanks to the presence of two wonderful lakes, Lake Ossiach and Lake Faak, which offer activities and walks especially in summer. But Villach is also a very popular destination in winter , when it is stormed for its ski areas of Gerlitzen and Verditz. Also not to be missed is the thermal complex, active all year round.

7 – Klagenfurt am Worthersee
Despite being the capital of Carinthia, the center of Klagenfurt is really very small, but infinitely pretty. Arriving in its center, there is immediately an explosion of colors, given by the buildings and the decorations of the streets. The symbol of the city, which has just under 100,000 inhabitants, is a winged dragon called Lindwurm , which is located in the center of Neue Platz.
Klagenfurt gives the image of being very fresh and sparkling, so it is well suited to both young people and families, lovers of culture but, above all, of nature. The main attraction is Lake Worther , along whose banks it is possible to take beautiful walks, or to do sports.

8 – Hallstatt
Hallstatt is a small town in Austria with less than a thousand inhabitants and located in the Salzkammergut region, not far from Salzburg. It is a truly enchanting location , which develops on the western shore of the lake of the same name.
A visit to Hallstatt means first of all a romantic journey, lost in the suggestiveness of the place , and then to discover nature, thanks to the nearby Waldbachstrub waterfalls and the Echerntal valley. Also not to be missed are the salt mines, reachable thanks to a funicular, and the foundry, today considered one of the oldest in Europe.
Perfect as a day trip from Salzburg or Vienna

9 – Kitzbuhel
Kitzbuhel, in the heart of the Alps, andconsidered the queen of Austrian skiing and well known in Europe and the rest of the world thanks to the Hahnenkamm race.
It has about 8,200 inhabitants and is frequented every year not only for the possibility of practicing winter sports, but also for its historic center with a medieval character, albeit very lively and full of activities.
Once in the city, it is also possible to visit the Kitzbuhel Museum , which traces the history of skiing, also offering a fantastic view of the city, thanks to its panoramic terrace.

10 – Melk
Melk is a small town of just over 5,000 inhabitants located in Lower Austria. It develops along the banks of the Danube but its main attraction, which every year invites thousands of visitors to the city, is its famous Benedictine abbey and its library . In addition to being a medieval masterpiece, the library of the Benedictine monastery is well known for having inspired The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco : Adso da Melk, one of the protagonists of the novel, had studied right inside.
Today, following renovations, the complex has undergone some changes, but still retains its charm. Furthermore, from the terrace of the abbey you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Danube and the city.

10 sights: Austria’s most important sights
Grossglockner High Alpine Road

The Swarovski Crystal World of Innsbruck

Nock Road and Villach Thermal Baths

Salzgkammerkut and Traun

Lake Carinthian lakes and elegant centers


  1. Schonbrunn Palace : famous imperial palace in Vienna, it was the seat of the imperial house of Habsburg. The Imperial Palace complex encloses a vast garden and the large building that was the seat of the Hapsburg Empire – more info
  2. Grossglockner High Alpine Road : one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in Europe, near Salzburg, offers hikers thrills and spectacular views of the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria
  3. The Swarovski Crystal World of Innsbruck : Not far from the capital of Tyrol, Wattens, an impressive world made only of Swarovski crystals with gardens, fountains, children’s play areas. We recommend purchasing the entrance ticket online
  4. Nock road and Villach thermal baths : in Carinthia, you can decide whether to dedicate yourself to nature, along the Nock road, which leads to the discovery of alpine huts and glaciers, or relax, perhaps at the Villach spa, after a walk in the center
  5. Lake Worthersee : a few kilometers from Klagenfurt is Lake Worthersee, ideal for relaxing walks and sporting activities
  6. Tyrolean castles : Although they are never majestic, the castles of Tyrol are very impressive and worth a visit. Among the most popular, the Ambras castle, perched on a small mountain and surrounded by a small but beautiful garden, and the Tratzberg castle, completely immersed in the woods
  7. Linz and Hallstatt : after a day spent in the beautiful historic center of Linz, characterized by the castle of Frederick III, we move to the enchanting city of Hallstatt, which overlooks the lake of the same name, creating a postcard show
  8. Salzkammergut and Lake Traun : the Salzgkammerkut is a tourist area that includes several villages and nature trails, including the climb to the Schafberg peak. Not far away, there is also the Traun lake, on which stands a small but spectacular castle, the Ort castle. Beautiful tour between lakes and mountains from Salzburg.
  9. Graz and Mount Dachstein : the medieval city of Graz, very young thanks to its six universities, boasts a historic center protected by UNESCO. Furthermore, in its vicinity, it is possible to walk nature trails on the Dachstein mountain
  10. Carinthian lakes and its elegant centers : not only Lake Worthersee, near Klagenfurt, but also the small lakes of Millstatt and Velden which, in addition to providing the possibility of numerous bathing and sporting activities, are surrounded by elegant cities in the such as shopping, such as Spittal and, indeed, Velden

The main itineraries in Austria
Austria is a very varied country, for this reason, the itineraries can be very different from each other , truly satisfying all types of travelers, from those who love art and culture, from those who want to experience a holiday dedicated to sport and adrenaline, up to families with children

  1. The big cities : a tour between the 2 main cities of Austria, Vienna and Salzburg. At least 5 nights are recommended (3 in Vienna, 2 in Salzburg, train connections). The tour is dedicated to Imperial Palaces and castles with beautiful gardens, characterized by the strong presence of their illustrious characters: Princess Sissi and the composer Mozart.
  2. Christmas markets : this is the time of the year when Austria is at its peak. In addition to the big cities (Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck), we suggest making stops in Klagenfurt and Graz. The two cities are connected by direct train (2 h), recommended minimum time 5 nights
  3. The best of nature : in the summer Carinthia and Salzburgerland are tinged with green and lovers of nature and summer sports can find mountain trails and various activities. We recommend the car and at least 5 nights stay. Base towns Rennweg am Katschberg, Spittal an der Drau or Bad Gastein
  4. Romantic and evocative Austria : in addition to Vienna and Salzburg, this itinerary includes a stop in two very small and often little-mentioned villages. These are Linz, the capital of Upper Austria and Hallstatt, which overlooks the lake of the same name. Car recommended and at least 6 days
  5. All sport : Alpine sports are one of Austria’s greatest attractions. The region most frequented by ski enthusiasts is Tyrol, both for its proximity to Italy and for the famous Kitzbuehel ski area. A week in the locality is the minimum, a car is recommended to get around

Where it is
Austria is located in the so-called Mitteleuropa , or Central Europe. From Friuli Venezia Giulia and Alto Adige it is possible to reach Austria directly by simply crossing the border. In addition, Austria borders Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary.

When to go to Austria: best time to travel
Austria is a very small country and, therefore, its climate is fairly uniform throughout the territory . However, due to the landscape features and the attractions they have to offer, we will group the nine Laender into three macro areas .
However, keep in mind that, due to the variety of activities on offer, Austria can be visited all year round . Then the choice of the best period depends a lot on the type of holiday you want to experience: between visits to historic cities, trekking in nature and holidays in the snow.

  1. South-West Region (Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Carinthia) : to fully enjoy what it has to offer, the recommended periods are summer and winter, as they are full of events and opportunities to practice sports. Spring and autumn, on the other hand, are the least active seasons
  2. Central Region (Salzburg, Styria, Burgenland) : and the region of landscapes, so the best times to visit it are spring and autumn, with mild and pleasant temperatures. However, summer is the season in which the numerous events dedicated to music take place, therefore fans cannot help but plan a visit during this period.
  3. Northeast Region (Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Vienna) : winter makes this region of imperial cities truly magical, also thanks to the beautiful and opulent Christmas Markets or, for example, the Vienna New Year’s Concert, which gives off to the season of music festivals

The main tourist regions
Austria, despite being a small state, boasts nine regions. However, only six of these are known, thanks to the large cities and the most often proposed itineraries . Furthermore, each of them is distinguished from the others by the characteristics of its tourist offer, which makes Austria a country suitable for every need.

1 – Laender of Vienna
The Laender of Vienna is of course the most important region, as it is home to the country’s capital and is the only one to have a mayor .
Vienna is a city that can be visited all year round, because its history and its architecture are of such importance that they cannot be relegated to a single seasonality. Of course, as often happens, it is during the Christmas period that the city expresses its maximum splendor , thanks to the beautiful decorations and the Christmas markets.

  • Main cities : Vienna (capital)
  • Main attractions : St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hofburg, Schonnbrunn Castle, Prater, Town Hall, Vienna Opera
  • Best time : Vienna can be visited all year round thanks to the wide range of activities on offer – find out more

2 – Salzburg
On the one hand, Salzburg is naturally known for its capital, namely Salzburg, which in addition to being a beautiful city full of important monuments, such as Hohensalzburg Castle, is also pervaded by the history of the composer Mozart : his birthplace , the very famous marzipan balls, the numerous annual festivals. Here, everything speaks of him.
But in the surroundings of this lively city there is a region rich in nature , thanks to the Grossglockner mountain and all the itineraries that wind around it. Do not miss the characteristic town of Hallstatt , which can also be visited thanks to several half-day tours departing from Salzburg, including transport.

  • Main cities : Salzburg (capital), Bad Gastein
  • Highlights : Salzburg Old Town, Salzburg Salt Mines, Bad Gastein Ski Area, Grossglockner Nature Trail, Liechtenstein Gorge, Eisriesenwelt Cave
  • Best period : all year round, thanks to the variety of attractions, both natural and cultural

3 – Tyrol
The Tyrol is the most widely known region, first of all because it is one of those bordering Italy , so it is easy to reach. In addition, its typical houses adorned with flowers, represent the typical landscape of Austria.
However, Tyrol is also very popular for its numerous attractions, available all year round : from the enchanting cities such as Innsbruck and Lienz, to the long ski slopes, which in summer turn into well-traveled trekking routes for nature lovers. and not only.

SEE ALSO : Travel to Tyrol: useful information and recommended itineraries

  • Main cities : Innsbruck (capital), Kitzbuehel, Lienz, Wattens, Kufstein
  • Highlights : Innsbruck Golden Roof, Swarovski Kristallwelten, Ambras Castle, Tratzberg Castle, Lienz Old Town, Kitzbuehel Ski Area
  • Best time : all year round. In summer for visiting the cities and hiking in nature, in winter for practicing alpine sports and for enjoying Innsbruck’s Christmas markets

4 – Carinthia
Probably, Carinthia could also be called the Lakes Region since it includes the most important lakes in Austria , including Millstatter See and Worthersee. And it is precisely around these lakes that numerous activities develop, such as nature trails or water sports.
But even simple walks and shopping in the main cities are very often sought after attractions: Klagenfurt, Villach, as well as Spittal, in fact, attract many visitors for their center and their monuments.

SEE ALSO : What to see in Carinthia: cities and attractions not to be missed

  • Main cities : Klagenfurt (capital), Villach, Spittal, Rennweg am Katschberg, Velden
  • Highlights : Klagenfurt Old Town, Worthersee Lake, Nockalmstrasse, Villach Thermal Spa, Millstattersee Lake, Hochosterwitz Castle
  • Best time : all year round. From spring to autumn, to be able to take the nature trails with a favorable climate, in winter for the numerous ski resorts in the surrounding area and the Christmas markets of the cities

5 – Styria
Styria is the most mountainous region of Austria and its landscape is dominated by woods and hills that blend with the surrounding towns.

Graz and its capital , as well as boasting a fascinating medieval-style historic center, and also a very modern creative center. In addition, it is also popular for its proximity to the thermal baths , which make it a very trendy and sought-after destination.
But Styria is also impressive for its ancient buildings , such as Admont Abbey and Steinz Castle, an ancient hunting ground.

  • Main cities : Graz (capital), Admont, Riedersburg
  • Highlights : Graz Old Town, Eggenberg Palace, Dachstein Mountain, Admont Abbey, Mariazell Basilica, Steinz Castle, Riedersburg Castle.
  • Best time : all year for the proposed activities. Spring and summer for visits to the cities and trekkin excursions, in autumn for the landscape is tinged with the colors of the foliage in the woods, in winter for winter sports

6 – Upper Austria
Thanks to its impressive views, Upper Austria is one of the most romantic regions in the country . Just think of its most iconic town, namely Hallstatt, which overlooks the lake of the same name: this town is visited throughout the year, by over 30,000 visitors a day and its panorama is the most photographed in the region .
The same goes for the Ort Castle, on Lake Traun, which represents a small jewel on a stretch of water. Naturally, the capital Linz , which in the past also had the honor of hosting the composer Mozart, is very popular.

  • Main cities : Linz (capital), Hallstatt, Bad Ischl
  • Highlights : Linz Old Town, Hallstatt Lake, Ort Castle, St. Florian’s Monastery, Bad Ischl Kaiservilla
  • Best time : in summer, to be able to appreciate the landscapes, even along scenic trails. In winter there are numerous ski resorts for winter sports

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants : 8,902,600
  • Capital : Vienna
  • Languages : Austrian German
  • Local currency : euro (€)
  • Climate : mainly alpine, with average temperatures around 15 °
  • Distance from Italy : 1,300 km from Rome to Vienna (1h 45 minutes by flight)

What to do in Austria: activities, excursions and tours

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