Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday

Hallstatt


Planning to visit Austria? It’s a beautiful country with incredible scenery, charming villages and vibrant cities.


In this Austria travel guide, you’ll find tips on things to do in Austria and suggestions for where to go in Austria to experience the best of this wonderful country.


All the Austria travel blog articles featured below are written to help you plan an Austria vacation you’ll always remember.


Let’s get your Austria trip planning started!


Where is Austria?

Austria is perfectly positioned at the heart of central Europe and shares borders with eight countries – Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Liechtenstein.


Austria map


Cities in Austria

Austria’s cities are bursting with magnificent architecture, culture, fashion and gourmet delights. For art lovers, they are amongst the best places to visit in Austria. Why not include a city stay in your Austria travel plans?  My favourites are:

  • Vienna - this 72-hour itinerary will help you decide the best things to do in Vienna, the Austrian capital. Will you visit one of the most famous Austria tourist attractions, Schonbrunn Palace?

  • Salzburg - Another beautiful city in Austria, Salzburg is renowned for its connections to Mozart and as the setting for the famous movie “The Sound of Music” but there’s much more to this destination.

  • Innsbruck - If you like to mix city stays with visits to the mountains, Innsbruck is one of the best cities in Austria to do just that.  Its location at the foot of the Alps means you can be in the city for lunch and hitting the slopes by mid-afternoon.


Wolfgangsee


Austrian Alps and Lakes

No visit to Austria would be complete (in my opinion) without spending some time in the countryside. Enjoy the fresh mountain air of the Austrian Alps and the crystal clear waters of the Austrian lakes.


Amongst the most beautiful places to see in Austria are these gems:

  • Hallstatt - This fairytale village, nestled between the mountains and a lake, is one of Austria’s most-visited and most photogenic.

  • Salzburg Lake District - With more than 50 lakes in the Salzkammergut lakes region, the chocolate box scenery will take your breath away.

  • Zell am See - A popular ski resort in winter, in summer Zell am See is popular for its lake activities and beautiful alpine walks.

  • Kitzbuhel - Regarded as Austria's most glamorous ski resort, Kitzbuhel is surrounded by stunning countryside and its Old Town has buildings in every colour of the rainbow!


Schoenbrunn PalaceSchoenbrunn Palace. Photo courtesy austria.info


Things to do in Austria

Whichever part of the country you decide to visit, you’ll never be left wondering what to do in Austria? 


Visits to museums and galleries, concerts, coffee houses, palaces and abbeys are just some of the many things you can include in your Austria sightseeing list.


And even if you only have time to visit Vienna, there are lots of things to see in Austria that can be reached on a day trip from the capital.


Planning your Austria travel itinerary

Once you’ve decided which destinations to include in your itinerary, you’ll need to choose how you plan to travel around Austria. Train is always a good option as the Austrian railways provide a frequent and reliable service around much of the country.


Joining an organised tour is a popular way to see Austria, with a huge number of tour itineraries available.


If you’d prefer to be a bit more flexible and hire a car, this suggested 3-week itinerary can be modified to suit the amount of time you have to spend in Austria.


Salzburg in winterSalzburg in winter. Image © Salzburg Tourism


Winter vacations and Christmas in Austria

Twinkling lights, Christmas markets and the delicious aromas of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine are synonymous with Christmas in Austria .  My suggestions for the best places in Austria to spend Christmas or a winter holiday include:


Flights to Austria

Now that your Austria travel plans are starting to take shape, you’ll need to start looking for flights to Austria.  Vienna is home to the country’s main international airport but Munich (Germany) is a good option if you plan to visit central and eastern Austria. You can read my tips for getting the best value flights in this article.


Click here to get a free copy of my Austria Travel Guide and scroll down to read all my articles about Austria ......

 

Visiting Vienna was something that I'd long wanted to do. On previous trips to Europe it had just seemed a little bit too far east to fit into our itinerary, but this time I was determined to visit the much-talked about capital of Austria. With its abundance of culture and famous cuisine, not to mention those Viennese coffees, there was plenty to look forward to. This is my 3 days in Vienna itinerary.

With its abundance of stunning architecture and rich history, Vienna is the jewel in Austria's crown.  As the home to the Vienna Boys' Choir, the beautiful Lippizaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the city has a rich cultural flavour but it also proudly boasts a strong cafe and culinary scene, too.  

My first introduction to Swarovski crystal came on a Contiki tour of Europe way back in 1988.  As part of our tour, we were taken to the Swarovski crystal factory in Wattens, just outside of Innsbruck, to have a look at the gorgeous products, and of course, like many on the tour, I came away with my very own piece of Swarovski crystal. A couple of years, and a few purchases later, I joined the Swarovski Collector's Society (now called the Crystal Society) and I'm still a member today.  Over the years, I have added to my Swarovski collection and have been lucky enough to return to Wattens on a number of occasions. 

Although it's worthy of at least a couple of days' visit, it is possible to get a great feel for Salzburg in just 24 hours. This beautiful Austrian city, made famous by Mozart and the classic movie, The Sound of Music, has a long, proud history and plenty to offer the visitor.

Innsbruck, the capital of Austria's Tirol region, really is the city for everyone.  Where else can you have lunch in town, browse the shops and then move on to a mountain restaurant for a leisurely afternoon coffee?  There are plenty of things to do in Innsbruck, Austria to keep you entertained, no matter what your interests.

A few years ago, whilst looking for somewhere to stay in Austria after seven weeks on the move, we came across a little piece of paradise quite by accident. Our criteria was fairly simple – all we wanted was somewhere to chill out and relax for our last week away but it had to be somewhere that the kids could be occupied too!  Scrolling through a list of place names, we came across Zell am See, and it turned out to be a great choice because there lots of things to do in Zell am See, Austria to keep the whole family amused.

The picture-postcard country of Austria is a favourite amongst travellers and whilst it may be small in size, Austria is big on things to see and do.

In winter, the beautiful Austrian Alps offers some of the best skiing in Europe with world famous resorts such as Kitzbuhel, and the ski resorts are all very accessible. The Tyrolean capital, Innsbruck, is just a 25 minute funicular ride to the ski fields so there's more time for skiing on the huge array of ski runs.

 

Twinkling fairy lights, softly falling snow, the smell of freshly roasted chestnuts tickling your nostrils, a mug of hot Glühwein (mulled wine) to warm your insides, brass bands marching through the streets……. it sounds like a fairytale, but this is real. This is Christmas in Vienna.