Whether you want to ski your way through a winter wonderland or soak in the wonders of one of the world’s greatest cultural meccas, Austria is a dream destination. From trendy sidewalk cafes to stunning Baroque architecture, this small European treasure packs endless wonders within its borders.
While Vienna is a true bucket-list destination, it is just one of the countless destinations that are worth exploring in this diverse country. To truly experience the best of Austria, you’ve got to hike the rolling hills, hit the lively streets, and meet the welcoming locals.
Feeling inspired? Here are 10 places to visit in Austria (that aren’t Vienna).
You will immediately recognize this region from the Sound of Music.
Famous for its sparkling lakes, lush forests, and snow globe-ready villages like St. Wolfgang and Hallstatt, this place will fulfill all of your Alpine dreams.
Since back to the early 19th century, the alpine region of Salzkammergut has been popular with locals and tourists alike. With the dramatic mountainscape in the background, the sparkling alpine lake of Hallstätter See is easily one of the most beautiful hiking destinations in Europe.
One of the most picturesque places in Europe, the lakeside village of Hallstatt will take your breath away at every turn. Walk the Hallstatt Skywalk for a stunning vista from 350 meters (1150 feet) above the storybook buildings of the town center.
If you can pull yourself away from the view, get down to the Salzwelten Hallstatt and take in the 7,000 years of surprisingly interesting salt mining history.
Planning Tip: Spending Christmas in Europe is one of my favorite winter excursions! If you’re lucky enough to be spending December in Austria, grab my guide to visiting the gorgeous Christmas markets here.
Famous as the birthplace of Mozart and the set of the Sound of Music, Salzburg is one of Austria’s top destinations.
Packing 4,000+ events in their cultural calendar every year, this city is a second-to-none cultural mecca.
From buskers on the street to world-class performers in gilded opera houses, it is easy to see why Salzburg is known as the Stage of the World. Come prepared to have your socks knocked off by the countless talented Salzburgers.
Located in the Nordkette Range, the capital of Tyrol is one of Austria’s most beautiful sites. Nestled in the mountains beside sparkling alpine lakes, Innsbruck is a nature lover’s paradise.
During the summer, you can hike the depth of the valleys and up to the tallest mountain peaks.
In the colder season, this winter wonderland is a skier’s favorite. Hop on a cable car for an unforgettable view or get your heart racing mountain biking through the rough terrain.
This vibrant college and one-time European Capital of Culture has a unique southern atmosphere. Known for its Renaissance and Baroque architecture, Austria’s second-largest city has a thriving arts scene and lively nightlife.
Climb to the top of the peak of Schlossberg that overlooks the city, soak in the culture at the Kunsthaus, then head down to Glockenspielplatz for some world-class people-watching.
Planning Tip: Trying to decide when to go to Austria? Here’s your guide on the Best Time to Go To Austria.
Famous for having some of the most beautiful ski resorts in the world, the idyllic peaks of Alpbach are one of the best places to visit in Austria all year long. As one of the preserved villages of Tyrol, exploring the alpine village is like stepping back in time.
Less than an hour from Innsbruck, Alpbach is the perfect day trip for skiing or hiking or you could spend a week just soaking in the serene setting.
Planning Tip: While Austria is famous for its ski resorts and Christmas markets, it’s an equally gorgeous summer destination! In fact, it’s one of the Best Destinations to Travel to in August for fun in the sun!
Zell am See
Another slice of heaven for nature lovers, the alpine wonderland that is Zell am See will knock your ski boots off. Travel up to Mitterberg to take in the picture-perfect video of Lake Zell and the village of Zell am See
One of the biggest draws of the region is Schmittenhöhe, a spot famous for its ski slopes and paragliding. For a more relaxed pace, hike around Mirror Lake at Plett Saukopf or take a day trip around Lake Zell.
No trip to Austria is complete without visiting the highest waterfalls in Europe. Located about two and a half hours from either Salzburg or Munich, it’s an easy (and very worth it!) detour to add to your alpine adventure.
In the depths of Hohe Tauern National Park, this 380m (1250 feet) tall waterfall will take your breath away. Plan a full day to travel the park and admire famous mountains like the 3,657m (12,000 feet) tall peaks of Großvenediger.
The three-tiered wonder is divided up into sections called the Bottom Falls, Middle Falls, and Top Falls. There are plenty of vantage points along the way so plan time to explore.
While it’s the Regional Capital of Upper Austria, Linz is often overlooked for Vienna and Salzburg. Though it doesn’t have the classic architecture of other popular cities around the country, it deserves a spot on every Austrian travel itinerary.
Explore the heart of the city around Hauptplatz and take in the historical sites of Altstadt.
Once you’ve seen the core of the city, go to see what makes this a pillar amongst Europe’s key industrial cities. In the Voestalpine Stahlwelt museums, you can check out the Stahlwelt, or Steel World, on an interactive factory tour.
One of Austria’s most beloved summer spots, Klagenfurt is the gateway to the fairytale villages that dot the shores of the Wörthersee. Take a trip around the lake to explore Velden am Wörthersee, Pörtschach, and Maria Wörth.
Spend an afternoon on the beautiful shoreline of Strandbad Klagenfurt then take in a theatre show or opera at the Stadttheater.
Got your perfect itinerary for Austria ready to go? Read up on everything that you’ve got to know before you go to Austria.