One week itinerary in Austria: best things to do and see
You’re planning to spend 1 week in Austria? You’re looking for the best itinerary?
Then look no further!
In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you this 6, 7 or 8 days itinerary in Austria.
During your trip, you will visit Vienna, Salzburg, Hallstatt and Graz as well as must-see attractions such as Melk Abbey or the lakes of Salzkammergut.
In addition to the best places to visit for each stage of the itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.
So, how to spend a week in Austria? Where to stay?
Let’s find out!
1) Vienna (3 days)
To start your one-week trip in Austria the easy way, just land in Vienna. The capital of Austria is the best-connected city in the country.
Depending on your arrival time, I recommend heading straight to your hotel to drop off your luggage and rest if you need to. You can take a quick stroll around the neighborhood to immerse yourself in the Austrian atmosphere.
For your first full day of sightseeing, you should start with Vienna’s main tourist attraction: Schönbrunn Palace.
This magnificent Baroque building is a UNESCO World Heritage site. During your visit, you can explore the state rooms and imperial apartments in what used to be the Habsburgs’ summer residence.
Schönbrunn Palace is also famous for its vast and beautiful garden, a lovely place for a walk.
If you’re interested, you can also visit the greenhouse, the zoo (tickets available here!) or the Vienna Imperial Carriage Museum all located within or near the palace grounds. You’ll need to pay extra for all of these activities, as they’re not included in the palace entrance ticket.
There’s also a guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace that includes access to the interior and gardens. Click the button below to book:
The visit to Schönbrunn Palace is also included with the Vienna Pass. It gives priority access to many monuments and also allows you to use the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses.
It’s simply the best pass for visiting Vienna during your week in Austria!
Buy your Vienna Pass directly with the button below:
In the late morning, head to Naschmarkt, Vienna’s permanent market. It’s the perfect place to have lunch and enjoy fresh, local products.
Then continue your sightseeing day by visiting Karlsplatz and admire St. Charles Church. I also recommend going inside for a unique experience!
Indeed, inside you can take a panoramic elevator to admire the ceiling frescoes up close. I’ve never seen anything like it in a church, and it’s quite surprising.
For the rest of the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll through Vienna’s historic center to discover the main tourist monuments like the Opera or the Rathaus, Vienna’s city hall.
And to end the day beautifully, head to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna called Stephansdom in german. Climb the 343 steps of the tower to enjoy an exceptional panorama of the entire city. Preferably do it at sunset!
Don’t forget to grab your ticket in advance here so you’re all set for the experience!
For your second sightseeing day in the capital, head to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. And now you might think “horse riding, but I’ve never done that before!” Don’t worry, you won’t have to ride a horse, just watch and admire.
Every morning, this world-renowned institution in the art of horse training opens its doors to spectators for training sessions.
In addition to the show, the venue where the session takes place, the Imperial winter riding arena, is well worth a visit!
If you plan on attending to a training session, entry is included in the Vienna Pass so make sure to book your tickets in advance using the following button:
For the rest of the morning, you should visit the Hofburg Palace. Like Schönbrunn Castle, the palace served as a residence for the Austrian imperial family during the winter months.
The visit will allow you to see the bedrooms and the emperor’s workroom. But not the emperor.
There is also a part of the imperial palace that houses the Empress Sisi Museum and an impressive silverware collection. Everything is included in the entrance ticket you can purchase right here:
The Vienna Pass also grants you access to the palace.
You can then start your afternoon by going to Europe’s largest baroque library, the Austrian National Library. The State Hall, with its 200,000 ancient volumes, is just stunning.
Entrance is free with the Vienna Pass.
Then, you should have a look at the Albertina Museum. There you can admire a significant collection of works by Monet and Picasso as well as 20 recently restored staterooms.
Included with the Vienna Pass. Otherwise, you can purchase tickets in advance directly with the button below:
If you don’t feel like spending the afternoon indoors, you can also replace one of the 2 visits I mentionned above with a small Danube cruise!
The most popular one is the 1-hour outing that you can book by clicking the button below:
Finally, to end the day with some relaxation, head to Prater, Vienna’s massive public park. Don’t hesitate to take a ride on the Ferris wheel, one of the city’s symbols and by far the most spectacular way to watch the sun set over Vienna.
You can buy your tickets directly here.
If you’re not a big fan of rides or if you’re scared of heights, I recommend a softer but equally classic option in Vienna: attending an opera or a classical music concert.
Several venues such as the Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), the Musikverein, the Volksoper, or Schönbrunn Palace’s Orangery offer this type of performance at various prices:
- Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at the Musikverein
- A concert featuring 30 musicians from the Mozart Orchestra in the Musikverein’s Golden Hall
- Ticket for a concert at Schonbrunn Palace
- A classical music concert in Vienna’s magnificent St. Peter’s Church
- A classical music concert performed by a string quartet at St. Anne’s Church
- A performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at St. Charles Church
- Mozart and Strauss concert at Vienna’s Kursalon with musicians, singers, and dancers
- A concert by the Vienna Residence Orchestra, one of the world’s best chamber orchestras, at the Auersperg Palace.
Definitely one of the unforgettable experiences to have during your one-week stay in Austria.
If you’re looking for a extensive list of the best things to do and see in Vienna, check out my article here: Visiting Vienna.
To visit Vienna in 2 days, you should get the Vienna Pass.
Access to all the main monuments and museums of Vienna is included, as well as unlimited hop-on hop-off bus transportation.
Buy your Vienna Pass directly with the button below:
Where to stay in Vienna
2) Salzburg (2 days)
For the second stop on this 6, 7 or 8-day itinerary in Austria, I’m taking you to Salzburg.
You’ll need to rent a car since it’s clearly the fastest way to get around when you plan on spending one-week in Austria. Plus, it allows you to make stops along the way to visit certain places that you wouldn’t see if you took the train.
You should use Rentalcars.com for 3 reasons:
- All the rental companies are listed, so you can easily compare prices.
- The comprehensive insurance protection is much cheaper than the ones offered by most rental companies. And, as an extra bonus, their reimbursement process is super efficient! I speak from experience after having used it a few times during my holidays in Sicily.
- Cancellation is often free.
If you know your travel dates in Austria you should book your car now to get the best possible rate! To compare prices and book your car, click on the button below:
Once you’ve picked up your rental car (preferably rent it at the airport, it’s more convenient), hit the road towards Salzburg. It takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes to drive from Vienna to Salzburg.
On the way, I recommend 3 stops to visit some of the most beautiful sites and natural landscapes you can see in Austria:
1) 1 hour and 20 minutes from Vienna, you’ll find the famous Melk Abbey.
Overlooking the Danube on its rocky outcrop, you can’t miss it. I recommend taking the time to visit it, especially for its world-renowned enormous library. The place is simply stunning.
Outside, you’ll enjoy a view of the Danube and its surroundings.
2) Before arriving in Salzburg, about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Melk, is where you’ll find the Salzkammergut lake region, famous for its beautiful alpine lakes. Definitely one of the most beautiful Austrian landscapes.
First, stop at Lake Attersee, the largest in Austria. Then continue to Lake Mondsee, a very well-maintained lake suitable for water activities.
You can easily spend an afternoon in the region and take the opportunity to have a picnic and hike around.
You’ll arrive in Salzburg in the late afternoon.
The next day on this 1-week vacation in Austria will be entirely dedicated to the city of Salzburg.
Start the morning by climbing up to Hohensalzburg Fortress, the city’s iconic landmark. Once the protector of the city and the local archbishops, it is one of the best-preserved castles in all of Europe.
You can buy your entrance ticket for the fortress in advance by clicking here ! Otherwise, the entrance is included with the Salzburg Card mentionned in the Voyage Tips Advice.
In order to reach it, you can choose the sporty option by climbing the hill on foot, or simply by taking the funicular! You’ll find it on Festungsgasse street. This option also offers a lovely view during the ascent.
In the fortress, you can visit:
- The Golden Hall and the Golden Chamber, both adorned with beautiful wooden sculptures
- The dungeons and the torture chamber for a darker experience
- The Festungmuseum, a museum dedicated to the life of the princes archbishop
- The Rainermuseum and its collection of Austrian weaponry
After leaving the fortress, walk down to Nonnberg Abbey, about ten minutes away on foot. The place is world-famous for being the inspiration for the popular film “The Sound of Music”. This is the place in the movie where the main character Maria was a novice before she married the Baron!
Fans of the film will know what I’m talking about! Every day there are guided tours available for you to follow in the footsteps of the movie locations. For enthusiasts, I’m providing the link right here.
After this little movie interlude, head back to the historic center of Salzburg to visit the DomQuartier, a popular cultural attraction in the city.
The entrance ticket to the Dom (buy it here!) gives you access to several historical sites such as St. Peter’s Church, the residence of the princes archbishop and the cathedral. A great way to combine visiting the city and learning more about its history.
After a well-deserved lunch break following a busy morning, you should then head to #9 Getreidegasse. There you will find Mozart’s birthplace. It is a museum nowadays. If you are interested, you can of course visit it (and the visit is included with the Salzburg card).
When you’re done, don’t hesitate to stroll down Getreidegasse to admire its traditional houses and wrought iron shop signs, one of the main reasons for the street’s fame.
It’s also the perfect place for a bit of shopping or grabbing a drink.
Finish your day in Salzburg at Mirabell Castle. and especially by wandering through its magnificent gardens. You’ll find it on the other bank and can get there by crossing the bridge at the east-end of Getreidegasse.
The gardens offer a stunning view of the city and the cathedral. A must-see with its numerous fountains, the rose garden, the orangery, and even the dwarf garden made up of white marble garden gnomes – quite unusual, right?
And if you’re still craving more information about Salzburg, I got you covered! Check out my article: Top 17 must-see places in Salzburg.
To visit Salzburg in 1 day, purchase your Salzburg Card directly here:
All the places I mentioned in this itinerary are included in it. This will save you a lot of money.
Where to stay in Salzburg
- Stadtalm Naturfreundehaus: Hostel located near the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art. Dormitory beds from €25, breakfast included. Access is not very easy as it is on top of a hill, and the rooms are a bit small, but the view, on the other hand, is extraordinary. This is the best price for a hostel in Salzburg. Other ones start at €50, which is a bit expensive for a simple dormitory bed.
- Motel One Salzburg-Süd: Hotel located 4 km from the center of Salzburg. A bus stop right in front allows you to reach the center in just 10 minutes (and remember, with the Salzburg Card it’s free). Spacious and modern double room from €100 per night, breakfast at €9.5. Strong Points: quiet location, comfortable bedding, excellent breakfast. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money!
- H+ Hotel Salzburg: Located 15 minutes walk from Mirabell Palace. Modern and comfortable double room from €120 per night, breakfast at €17. Strong points: breakfast room with mountain views, comfortable beds, shops, and restaurants nearby.
- Hotel Sacher Salzburg: 5-star hotel located in the heart of Salzburg’s old town and by the river. Comfortable and spacious double rooms, each uniquely furnished, from €400 per night, breakfast at €35. Strong points: central location for walking to all sights, very friendly staff, excellent bedding, high-quality and plentiful breakfast, view of the fortress. The best hotel in Salzburg for a luxury stay!
3) Hallstatt (1 day)
For the third stop on this one-week trip in Austria, hit the road to reach Hallstatt located about 1h20 by car.
Hallstatt is an extremely cute little village, considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. An absolute must-see!
The downside of its popularity is that it can be quite touristy, and you may find yourself sharing the space with a large international crowd, many of whom Chinese. In fact, the Chinese were so taken with it that they even built a replica in southern China!
Start by walking around the village and don’t hesitate to venture into the narrow alleys and climb the various staircases.
You can also visit the Catholic Church, whose cemetery offers a lovely view of the lake below.
If you’re not scared by the idea of a few decomposed bodies in display, you can also visit a rather astonishing place: the ossuary. It contains hundreds of decorated skulls of the deceased from Hallstatt.
A decade after their passing, the residents of the town have the unique opportunity to be remembered this way. Those who opt for this unconventional practice can have their skulls meticulously exhumed, restored, and artistically adorned before being showcased. This exceptional tradition sets Hallstatt apart and adds an intriguing aspect to your Austrian road-trip.
After visiting the village, head to the Hallstatt Skywalk. You have the option to either hike up (it’s a bit of a climb, but manageable) or opt for the funicular. Upon reaching the summit, the awe-inspiring panorama of Hallstatt and its surroundings will simply take your breath away!
For the afternoon, I have 2 itineraries tailored to suit your preferences:
1. For the calm version:
Visit the world’s oldest salt mine, located near the Skywalk.
Enter the mines and discover one of Hallstatt’s main tourist activities.
After your visit, head back to Hallstatt and take a walk by the lake or a small cruise.
2. For the sportier edition
After going up to the Skywalk, head back to Hallstatt and take the car to Obertaun, a few kilometers away.
There you’ll get to visit the ice caves of the Dachstein massif. You’ll have to take a cable car.
Not just one but 2 caves: the Giant Ice Cave and the Mammuth Cave.
You can choose to visit one or both. Allow about 1 hour for each visit.
Then take the cable car up to the second level to reach “The 5 Fingers”, a panoramic platform hanging 400 meters high on a cliff! Needless to say, the view over the Dachstein massif and Lake Hallstattersee below is just incredible.
You will find every information you need to visit Hallstatt in my article: The 6 best things to do and see in Hallstatt.
If you want to visit Hallstatt and learn about its history, you should book a 2 hour guided tour. The cool thing is that the guide is a photographer and he will also take pictures of you facing the most beautiful spots.
The fee includes the printing of about ten pictures.
Book your Hallstatt tour with a photographer by clicking the button below:
Where to stay in Hallstatt
Hallstatt being a tiny village means that there is not much accommodation and that the prices are fairly high… although not as high as the 5 Fingers 😋
If you plan on visiting the place you should book your accommodation in Hallstatt now!
- Heritage Hotel Hallstatt: Located in the historic center of Hallstatt. Modern and bright double room from €190 per night, breakfast at €17. Strong points: the location of the hotel, right in front of the ship’s platform (convenient if you have suitcases), the calm and the size of the rooms.
- Fenix Hall : Double room combining rustic and modern design, starting at €200 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: comfort of the place, the very nice welcome and great tips offered by the owner, the location. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money!
- Apartments Wallner: Large, modern, very clean and fully equipped apartments! One of them even has a magnificent view over the lake. Starting at €210 per night. Strong points: the location, the private car park (free and very convenient in Hallstatt!), the host’s readiness.
- Seehotel Grüner Baum: Located in the historic pedestrian center of Hallstatt. Warm, comfortable and spacious double room starting at €300 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the location, the rooms with view on the lake, the terrace by the same lake, the magnificent setting, the delicious breakfast, the high quality of the reception. The best hotel in Hallstatt for a luxury stay!
Where to stay in Obertraun
If you are on a tight budget or if the hotels in Hallstatt are full, you should stay in Obertraun, a pretty village also located on the lake and just a 10 minute drive from Hallstatt.
Super conveniently, from Obertraun, you can also take the lake shuttle to Hallstatt. Fast, cheap and you’ll even get to enjoy a boat ride on the lake!
- Haus Marie: Suites and apartments with views of the Dachstein Massif starting at €90 per night. Strong points: the sight, the free and private car park, the generous garden with barbecue and picnic area, the spacious accommodations, the hospitality of the guests.
- W & S Executive Apartments – Obertraun : Situated just 2 km from the lake, in Obertraun. All apartments include a living area, kitchen and private balcony. Very well equipped, you’ll even find a washing machine and a dishwasher at your disposal. They are very modern and stylish. Starting at €95 per night + €25 cleaning fee per stay. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money! I highly recommend it if you want to sleep in Obertraun and visit Hallstatt comfortably!
- Seeblick Krippenstein: Hotel offering recently renovated and therefore modern and comfortable double rooms, starting at €100 per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the view over the mountains, the location near the cable car to the ice caves, the fine breakfast, the warm owners.
- Dormio Resort Obertraun: Modern, fully equipped cottages starting at €130 per night (up to 4 guests!). Each one has a balcony and a terrace. The Dormio also has a wellness center with indoor pool, sauna, steam room and a large garden with a playground for children. The perfect place for a family holiday in Austria.
4) Graz (1 day)
After discovering Vienna, Salzburg, and Hallstatt, let’s head to Graz for the second-to-last destination of your 1-week road trip in Austria.
The journey between Hallstatt and Graz takes about 2h20. You should leave early in the morning to make sure you’ll enjoy your day in Graz.
Once there, start the tour with a climb to the Schlossberg, the hill overlooking the city. 3 options to get there: by foot, elevator or funicular.
From up there you will get a beautiful panorama of the whole place and will be able to spot the 2 symbols of the city: the Clock Tower and the Bell Tower.
Then carry on with your day by strolling through the historic center of Graz.
You should start with Hauptplatz, the main and most lively square in Graz, then wander along Herrengasse street.
On the main shopping street, you’ll find numerous shops, cafés, and stunning historical buildings such as Gemaltes Haus or Landhaus.
When visiting Graz, there’s one museum that simply cannot be missed: the Landeszeughaus.
It houses the world’s largest collection of weapons and armor: 32,000 pieces over 4 floors! If you’ve been to the Royal Armory in Turin, Italy, or the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta, in Malta, you will have a tiny idea of what it can represent!
This is definitely a must-see attraction in Graz, and I highly recommend it.
On your way out of the Landeszeughaus, pass by Graz’s St. Giles Cathedral and The Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II, 2 places whose interiors are definitely worth a look.
After a morning of exploring Graz and enjoying a nice lunch to refuel, I suggest crossing the Mur river to reach the other side.
To do so, you can pass through the Murinsel, a unique structure resembling a giant shell that connects the two riverbanks. The artistic structure was created in 2003 when Graz was chosen as the European Capital of Culture. Nowadays, it has become one of the main attractions in Graz.
Once you cross the Mur river, you will find the Kunsthaus, the most unique and futuristic architectural landmark in Graz and the city’s contemporary art museum.
Also designed in 2003, the Kunsthaus has a distinctive appearance with its blue coloring and what appears to be tentacles on the roof, which some may find controversial. Nonetheless, it remains a must-see in Graz. If you’re into contemporary art, make sure to pay it a visit.
I can’t give you details about what you’ll see there, as the exhibitions are temporary and only last for 1 to 3 months. So this will be a surprise!
To wrap up your day in Graz, make sure to check out Eggenberg Castle. To reach it, take tram line #1, as the castle is not located in the city center.
The castle was built with a very specific logic, based on the concept of time and seasons: there are 365 windows for each day of the year, 4 towers to represent the 4 seasons, and so on. Make sure to check out the renowned Hall of Planets or the old gallery, both of which are located inside the castle.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Museum of Archaeology and the Mint Museum, both located inside the castle.
Another great suggestion is to take a stroll in the expansive castle park (in addition to the interior visit, around 2€).
Check out my tips for visiting Graz in my article: Top 8 Things to See in Graz.
Where to stay in Graz
As with other cities in Austria, accommodations tend to be on the pricier side.
I can’t emphasize enough: book as early as possible to get the best deals!
Here is my selection of the best hotels to stay in Graz:
- Hotel Daniel Graz: Located a 10-minute walk from the historic center. Modern and pleasant double rooms starting at €77 per night, breakfast for €25. Strong points: the location, the good breakfast, the friendliness of the staff.
- Hotel Mercure Graz City: Located 400 meters from the clock tower. Spacious and comfortable double rooms starting at €100 per night, breakfast for €18. Strong points: the comfort of the rooms, the location, the quality of the breakfast.
- Hotel Weitzer Graz: Located in the heart of the old town. Spacious and well-equipped double rooms starting at €120 per night, breakfast for €25. Strong points: close to all places of interest, the hearty breakfast, the impeccable service.
- Augarten Art Hotel: Located 1 km from the historic center. Tram station nearby to reach the center. Elegant and design double rooms starting at €180, breakfast for €15. Strong points: the hotel’s decoration with numerous works of art, the comfort of the rooms, the swimming pool, the kindness and availability of the staff. The best hotel in Graz for a luxury stay!
5) Back to Vienna (1 day)
And now you’ve reached the final leg of your 6-7-8 day trip to Austria. Unfortunately, it’s not the most exciting part since it involves simply traveling to Vienna. From Graz it takes about 2 hours.
If you have plenty of time before your flight, you can head to the airport or take a quick trip to Vienna for a last taste of the city.
There’s still plenty to see, like MuseumsQuartier or Capuchin Crypt. You can also do some shopping on Kärntner and Graben streets, if you need to buy some souvenirs.
Check out my article on the best things to do in Vienna (click here) for more ideas on how to spend your time in the city!
7 day itinerary in Austria
If you only have 7 days to visit Austria, you can skip either Stage 3 in Hallstatt or Stage 4 in Graz depending on your preferences.
More activities for 1 week in Austria
If you feel like adding other activities on your week-long trip to Austria, I’ve selected some really cool ones for you.
Feel free to click on the links to access details and make your reservations:
1) Towards Salzburg and surroundings:
- A 15 or 30-minute paragliding experience to admire Austrian landscapes from above.
- A paragliding flight from Mount Gaisberg at an altitude of 1287 meters
- A paragliding experience from Mount Bischling at an altitude of 1834 meters
- A paragliding initiation in thermal flight with twists and turns and acrobatics (still at Mount Bischling)
- Canyoning – Beginner Level
- Canyoning – Intermediate level
- Canyoning – Advanced Level / And for the experts among you, you should absolutely try canyoning in the Fischbach Gorge. Book here!
- A rafting trip down the Salzach River – Beginner level / For those who’ve done it before, the “athletic” variant can be booked here!
- Supsquatch on the Salzach River, a kind of giant paddleboard that you ride on with several people.
- A zip line descent: 1,600 meters long and 143 meters off the ground! With a top speed of 130 km/h it is one of the fastest in Europe!
Another exceptional activity: ever thought about booking a private helicopter tour? You can find the information here!
And if you’re looking for a full list of all the sporty fun you can have in Austria, just click here to check out this site!
If you need help planning your one-week itinerary in Austria, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below.
🚗 Rent a car
🗽 Book entrance tickets and guided visits
🏄 Book your sports activities
🚤 Book your rental boat
🌍 Take a travel insurance
🙎 Book a tour
🚅 Book your train tickets
✈️ Book your flight
You’re traveling in Austria? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Austria: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Austria are listed there.
- 20 Best Things to Do in Austria: all best places to visit and activities
- Itinerary: One week in Austria – The perfect itinerary for your 7-8 days trip to Austria
- Graz: TOP 10 best places to visit
- Hallstatt: TOP 6 things to do during your stay
- Innsbruck: The 15 best things to do and see
- Linz: TOP 12 places to visit and must-see attractions
- Salzburg: The 17 best things to do
- Vienna: TOP 25 tourist attractions