The 20 Best Things to Do in Austria (Bucket List)
You’re planning to visit Austria on your next trip and you’re looking for the best places to visit?
You’re at the right place!
In order to help you plan your stay, i have prepared this guide of the 20 best things to do in Austria, with all the must-see attractions of the country.
So, where to go in Austria? What are the best points of interest?
Let’s find out!
- The 20 Best Things to Do in Austria (Bucket List)
- Visit Austria: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
- 1. Vienna
- 2. Salzburg
- 3. Hallstatt
- 4. Innsbruck
- 5. The Swarovski Crystal Workshop
- 6. The Grossglockner Road
- 7. The Eisriesenwelt cave
- 8. Krimml Falls
- 9. Melk Abbey
- 10. Graz
- 11. The Semmering railway
- 12. The Salzkammergut lakes
- 13. Admont Abbey
- 14. The Dachstein Massif and its suspension bridge
- 15. Linz
- 16. St. Florian Monastery
- 17. Skiing in Austria
- 18. Relaxing at a spa in Austria
- 19. Attend a classical music concert
- 20. Minimundus
- Things to do in Austria: the tourist map
- You're traveling in Austria? These articles will help you!
- Visit Austria: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
Visit Austria: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions
If you’re going to Austria, you need to visit Vienna, the capital.
Constantly rated as one of the most pleasant cities to live in, it’s also culturally prolific.
Vienna is THE city of museums, with more than a hundred to choose from! If you add to that lots of theaters, operas, palaces, and churches, you get one of the must-see destinations in this tourist guide to Austria.
Here are the best places to visit in Vienna:
- Schönbrunn Palace (get your tickets here!), used as a summer residence by the Habsburg imperial family. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Hofburg Palace: the Habsburgs’ former winter residence now houses the Austrian president’s offices. A must to learn about the life of Empress Sisi.
- The MuseumQuartier, a district that covers over 60,000 square meters. There are some great (obviously) museums here, like the Leopold Museum and the Mumok.
- Belvedere Palace, where you’ll find works from Klimt, another world-renowned Austrian artist .
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral on the central square of Vienna.
- The Naschmarkt, Vienna’s biggest market.
You will find every information you need to visit Vienna in my article: The 20 Best Things to Do in Vienna.
Salzburg is another city you should visit during your trip to Austria.
The city is famous for being the birthplace of one of the most celebrated music composers in history: Mozart. In fact, Salzburg hosts one of the world’s largest classical music, opera, and theater festivals every year.
But no matter when you visit Austria, there are Mozart concerts happening all year round in various locations throughout Salzburg.
During your stay in Salzburg, make sure to visit:
- The Hohensalzburg Fortress (get skip-the-line tickets here!) overlooking the city, was built to protect the princes and archbishops from outside attacks.
- Mozart’s childhood home, where he was born in 1756 and spent his younger days. You’ll find it on Getreidegasse, number 9. The place is now a museum dedicated to the Austrian composer.
- Salzburg’s old town, a Unesco World Heritage Site (always a good tip for a place you don’t want to miss during your trip).
- The Mirabell Palace and its gorgeous garden with fountains and terraces.
Prepare your trip to Salzburg with our article, read it here: The 12 Must-Sees in Salzburg.
Hallstatt is an incredibly charming and picturesque village that is definitely worth a visit in Austria.
It has all the elements of a postcard-perfect setting, with its lake and surrounding mountains, narrow streets, flowered balconies, and a church reflecting in the lake’s waters.
No wonder it’s considered one of the most beautiful places in Austria and therefore very touristy all year round.
The village’s main attraction is its Skywalk, a panoramic platform perched above the void.
To access it, you’ll take a funicular from the bottom of the village. Once at the top, it’s simply stunning, especially if you’re afraid of heights like me! But the view is so breathtaking that it’s totally worth it!
It’s also in Hallstatt where you’ll find the world’s oldest salt mine, which you can still and should visit today.
This little village is an unavoidable part of your trip to Austria!
If you want to know everything about Hallstatt and prepare your trip, you should read my article: The 6 best things to do in Hallstat.
Innsbruck is the capital of one of Austria’s iconic regions: Tyrol. The city, in addition to being famous for its winter sports scene, has many other great things going for it, making it one of the must-see places in Austria.
The main tourist activity is the funicular that takes you to Hungerburg Station with its scenic and particularly “Instagrammable” views. The resort is also the starting point for a variety of hiking tours.
From Hungerburg, you can then take the cable car to the top of Hafelekar, the highest peak in the Nordkette Massif at 2,300 meters above sea level (me and my fear of heights…). Rest assured, once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning, awe-inspiring views!
You should book your tickets online by clicking here!
Awesome places you don’t want to miss in Innsbruck:
- Exploration of the historic center on pedestrian paths
- The little golden roof, “Goldenes Dachl” in german. A golden balcony built at the time of the emperor’s wedding that eventually became the emblem of the city.
- The Imperial Palace and its sumptuous ballroom.
- Ambras Castle, located on the heights of Innsbruck.
You can find detailed information about Innsbruck in my article: The 15 best things to do in Innsbruck.
5. The Swarovski Crystal Workshop
Just 15 kilometers away from Innsbruck, in Wattens, is a very popular tourist site in Austria and the Tyrol region: the Swarovski Kristallwelten or in other words, The Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
To get into this underground museum, you’ll litteraly have to walk under the head of a giant of greenery built into the hillside. A green giant whose mouth spits out a waterfall. True story.
Inside, you will find 14 galleries called “Chambers of Wonders” that display the crystal through light effects and a very unique atmosphere. I promise that the experience will be brilliant!
As expected, you will find a Swarovski boutique at the end of the tour with a whole collection of jewelry and accessories.
Get your entrance tickets for the Crystal Worlds tour by clicking on the following button:
6. The Grossglockner Road
A great classic on an Austrian road trip is to take the Grossglockner road, in the Hohe Tauern national park. It’s a bit like the Austrian Route 66 (the chilly, heavily rotating version :p).
This mythical road connects the Salzburg region to Carinthia. Over exactly 48 km and with its 36 hairpin bends, it delivers exceptional panoramas of the entire mountain range.
The entire stretch of road has been landscaped to make the most of it with viewpoints, parking lots, restrooms, restaurants and information points. You can also enjoy hiking on one of the many trails while observing the life of the local inhabitants: very cute marmots and chamois!
This excursion will take you to the highest point of the park, the Kaiser-Franz-Josephs Höhe. Here you will get a breathtaking view of the Pasterze Glacier and the Grossglockner, the highest peak in Austria.
Note that the Grossglockner road is only accessible from May to November and that access to the road is chargeable, €35 for a car, regardless of the number of passengers.
It’s admittedly not cheap, but it’s an activity not to be missed in Austria and the expense is worth it when you consider the beauty of the scenery.
The official website of the Grossglockner route gives you all the details and allows you to buy your access ticket in advance (in various languages).
7. The Eisriesenwelt cave
About fifty kilometers from Salzburg, in the Tennen massif, I warmly recommend you visit the Eisriesenwelt cave. Covering 42 kilometers in length, it is the largest accessible ice cave in the world and one of the main tourist attractions in Austria!
To get there, go to Wefen and follow the path to the visitor center parking lot. You will then have to ride the cable car and take a short walk to access the cave entrance.
Inside, pictures are not allowed and you will only have carbide lamps to give you light.
A unique opportunity to admire strange natural sculptures and magnificent ice palaces through the numerous chambers of the ice cave. Undoubtedly, it is one of the finest natural attractions to explore in the country.
You will find all the information to organize your visit to the Eisriesenwelt cave on the official website (in English). The caves are open to visitors from May to October only.
8. Krimml Falls
Let’s continue this Austrian travel guide with another natural delight you should not miss if you are in the region of Salzburg, the waterfalls of Krimml
Located in the Hohe Tauern National Park and standing 380 meters high, they are the highest waterfalls in Central Europe and the fifth largest in the world.
A well-designed 4-kilometer path, dotted with viewpoints at various levels, provides access to all 3 falls.
To reach the highest of the Krimml Falls it takes about 1 hour on foot, possibly more since the climb is a bit rough at the final tier.
If you feel like it, you can then keep hiking inside the national park on one of the many hiking trails.
The official website (in English) is right here. Access to the waterfalls available from mid-April to October.
9. Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey is one of the most illustrious abbeys in Austria. Home of monks of the Benedictine order for over 900 years, it was originally a fortified castle.
Built on a rocky hilltop above the Danube river, the abbey is a magnificent example of Baroque architecture. It is an impressive and grandiose edifice that still serves as a place of worship (did I say it was an abbey?) but it also doubles as a school with nearly 900 students.
Once inside, marvel at the church, the emperors’ staircase, and the imperial apartments transformed into a museum. However, the true gem of Melk Abbey is the monumental library, which greatly contributes to its prestigious reputation.
Outside the abbey is a lovely view of the Danube below and its surroundings, and a well-kept garden for strolling or even a picnic..
Conveniently located at approximately an hour by car from Vienna, it is a must-see during a stay in Austria.
Graz, capital of the province of Styria, is the second largest city in Austria.
I strongly recommend exploring this one-of-a-kind city, as it seamlessly blends ancient structures with futuristic architecture. An experience you won’t want to miss!
During your stay in the city, you will be able to see:
- The Schlossberg, a hill that offers an impressive view of the entire city of Graz. You’ll find a funicular that provides effortless access to the top but you can also walk to it if that’s your thing. It feels good, healthy and it warms you up!
- The Landeszeughaus where over 32,000 armor pieces are on display. An exceptional museum to visit and find yourself transported back to the days of knights and dragoons.
- The Joanneum Universal Museum which chronicles the history of this Austrian region.
- Hauptplatz, a cute looking plaza with its typical Austrian houses and plenty of (slightly less typical) food trucks to have a try at some Austrian delicacies. When it comes to testing culinary traditions, Voyage Tips is there and I do my job with passion!
If you want more details about the best things to do in Graz, Austria you should read my article: The 8 best things to do in Graz.
11. The Semmering railway
The Semmering Railway line that connects the towns of Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag since 1854 is a Unesco World Heritage site.
It is indeed the first ever mountain railway line built in Europe.
More than 20,000 workers were involved in the construction of the 16 viaducts, 15 tunnels and 100 bridges the line passes through. A true feat for the time!
The Semmering railway runs past the Austrian mountains all along its length and allows you to gaze at the stunning landscapes.
A most unusual activity that I highly recommend as it’s the best way to appreciate this sensational setting. Definitely one you should give a go during your stay in Austria.
12. The Salzkammergut lakes
The Salzkammergut region is famous for its numerous Alpine lakes making it one of the best spots to check out in Austria if you’re into hiking.
Packed with 76 dark green lakes and delightful villages nestled on the shores, the region features some of Austria’s most beautiful scenery. The village of Hallstatt and its lake I mentioned earlier is actually one of them.
These are my top picks of the most beautiful lakes to see in the Salzkammergut region:
- Lake Atter, (Kammersee in german) the largest in Austria.
- Lake Traunsee with equipped bathing areas, ideal for swimming.
- Lake Irrsee, one of the hottest in Austria. Water temperature can rise up to 27° C!
- Lake Mondsee, pretty well equipped and offering a wide range of water activities such as sailing or water skiing.
- Lake Wolfgang (Wolfgangsee in german) also well equipped and offers a boat rental service.
13. Admont Abbey
Admont Abbey is one of the oldest monasteries ever built and is home to the largest monastic library in the world. Two excellent reasons to go check it out if you plan on visiting Austria!
A good number of the nearly 200,000 books from around the world that reside there, such as Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopedia or Martin Luther’s Bible, are extremely rare and valuable historical testimonies. Also featured is an important collection of manuscripts dating back to the medieval period.
Built in the typical Rococo architecture, the edifice, in addition to being the largest monastic library in the world, is also magnificent. The marble floor is surmounted by 7 domes adorned with beautiful frescoes.
Its proportions: 79 meters long, 14 meters wide and 13 meters high are staggering.
The library has been undergoing a 4-year renovation and now welcomes many visitors. If you want to take pictures inside, note that there is an extra charge added to the price of the visit. Definitely worth discovering during your travel to Austria.
14. The Dachstein Massif and its suspension bridge
To get on with sightseeing in Austria, I now suggest an activity suitable for the most adventurous among you that are not afraid of heights.
Within the impressive Dachstein Massif, you have the opportunity to embrace both elevation and vastness by traversing Austria’s highest suspension bridge.
Soaring 400 meters above the ground and playfully nicknamed the “Stairway to Nothingness“, this 100-meter-long bridge is an absolute must for adrenaline enthusiasts.
After successfully crossing the bridge, you’ll encounter another thrilling challenge: descending onto the transparent glass platform via a staircase consisting of 14 steps. From there, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the magnificent Austrian Alps. Keep going, you’re almost there! You’ve come this far, and the stunning scenery awaits!
To reach the suspension bridge, you need to go through the Dachstein scenic route to reach the cable car station… that will take you to the start of the Skywalk.
After Vienna and Graz, comes Linz, the capital of the Upper Austria Lander and the third most populated city. It is obviously part of our top things to see in Austria.
It’s a particularly modern and contemporary city.
You’ll be able to visit the Lentos Museum, a contemporary art museum and the ARS Electronica Center, an interactive museum focused on electronic technology where you’ll get to do lots of cool science experiments.
Linz also has a very nice historical center with its central square, typical facades, renaissance buildings and many cafes and restaurants to stop by and relax.
Also worth checking out in Linz is the New Cathedral (Mariendom in german). It’s the largest in Austria, it can fit nearly 20,000 visitors. I recommend you go up to the top of the bell tower for an overview of the entire city.
If you want to know everything about Linz and prepare your trip, you should read my article: The 10 best things to do in Linz.
16. St. Florian Monastery
If you are still wondering what to see in Austria, after Melk Abbey and Admont Abbey, you should go take a look at St. Florian Monastery.
It is the largest Baroque abbey in the Upper Austria Länder and one of the oldest still active. The abbey is dedicated to Saint Florian, a christian martyr said to protect against fires and floods, and is governed by the Order of Saint Augustine.
It is also known for hosting and educating what you could call an institution in Austria; the St. Florian Boys’ Choir. They’re famous all over Europe, even going on international tours.
Inside the monastery, 2 artefacts are a must-see: the Bruckner organ with its 7,343 pipes and the huge, richly decorated library holding 150,000 books.
17. Skiing in Austria
I’m sure you were asking yourself “Did he forget about it?”. Come on! I wouldn’t be talking about the top things to do in Austria if I forgot about the national sport: skiing!
So sure, if you’ve decided to go to Austria in winter, you can obviously go skiing. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to resorts: quiet and family-friendly or trendy and posh, you can do it the way you want it.
It is in the Tyrol region that you will find the majority of ski resorts and the largest ski areas in Austria.
The biggest ones are Mayrhofen, Kitzbuehel, and Arlberg. All told, the 10 largest resorts total nearly 1,900 kilometers of trail, enough for some serious amount of skiing.
After effort comes comfort… or party! If you’re looking for the trendy version of a ski resort, Ischgl is the place to go. Not exactly your typical family resort, it’s also known as the “Ibiza of the Alps”.
If you find yourself at the ski resort of Wildkogel, you just have to try out the world’s longest slide. With a 1,300 meter drop and 14 kilometers long, it takes 30-50 minutes to get down. An ideal break between 2 skiing sessions.
18. Relaxing at a spa in Austria
Another essential activity you have to try during your tour of Austria and especially after long days of sightseeing, is to take a quick trip to one of the numerous spas in the country.
Austria has indeed many water sources with therapeutic properties.
The most renowned of the Austrian spas:
- The Aqua Dome and its flying saucer-shaped pools
- The Alpentherme Ehrenberg and its 6 saunas, each of wich comes with a different atmosphere
- The Alpentherme Gastein with its slide area for children
- The Therme Laa Spa and its 60,000 square meters dedicated to relaxation.
19. Attend a classical music concert
Mozart was born there. What is a trip to Austria without a classical music concert? A mistake you will not make.
In addition to Mozart, Vienna is one of the birthplace of classical music, so you'll have no trouble finding a live performance that appeals to you, from the extensive range of choices. There are over 15,000 music-related events each year.
The most mythical venue in Vienna to hear a concert is the Musikverein, internationally known for the Golden Hall and its an extraordinary acoustic quality.
You can book your tickets to attend a Mozart tribute concert at the Musikverein by clicking here!
It also hosts the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra every year. Broadcast live on TV all over the world, tickets are sold out one year in advance!
Other venues such as Schönbrunn Palace, Auersperg Palace and Karlskirche also host a variety of concerts (at also a variety of prices) that you can enjoy during your stay in Austria.
You can check out this neat website showing, listed by venue (including the Musikverein), all the concerts and live performances held in Vienna. For each concert you will also be able to check the prices (starting at €50 for the cheapest seats).
Finally I'll wrap up this top 20 things to do and see in Austria, with an activity that will appeal to both adults and kids.
While in Austria, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Minimundus Park.
This vast park exhibits nearly 150 scale models (1/25 scale) of the most famous monuments around the world. You will find the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal and many more (about 147 more).
Interesting tidbit: the replica of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome was built in 6 years, using the same marble that was used for the real one! And it actually cost them €730,000 to make!
A very pleasant family excursion in Austria that will let you tour the world in half a day.
Prepare for your visit to Minimundus via the official website.
Things to do in Austria: the tourist map
Just to help you visualize the country a little more clearly, I've made you an Austria sightseeing map listing the places to check out that I mention in this top 20 things to do in Austria. You can display the map legend by clicking the button with a small arrow at the top left corner.
Now, you know all the best places to visit and things to do in Austria!
If you need help to plan your trip to 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