St. Anton Austria
St. Anton in Austria

The 5 Best Places to Visit in Austria for Culture, History, Nature, and More

Austria is a kaleidoscope of culture, nature, history, and art that’s bound to interest any type of traveler who wishes to visit. From the snow-capped Alps mountains to the cultural treasures of Vienna, the capital, there are so many things to do in Austria — you might just need to extend your trip to see it all!

However, before you start packing your bags, it’s important to figure out if you need a visa for Austria. One of the best ways to go about this is to check here for more information about the types of visas for Austria. Gute Reise! (Have a good trip!)

Salzburg

Topping our list is one of the most beautiful cities in Austria, where history, art, and the beauty of the Alps converge. Start in Salzburg’s impressive Baroque-style Old Town, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and brings in thousands of visitors every year.

One of the most beautiful places in Salzburg is the Fortress Hohensalzburg, located on the Mönchsberg mountain and with a grand panoramic view overlooking the city below. Visitors can conveniently walk to the castle from the city center along a specially-lined path, and at the castle, there is a museum with historical relics and weapons from years past. 

Visiting Salzburg in the summer? You’re in luck! The Salzburg Summer Festival is held for several weeks between late July to August as the city turns into the world capital of musical culture. More than 200 events are held, including concerts, theater shows, opera performances, and much more. Why Salzburg exactly? It was here that the legendary musician and composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born.

Innsbruck

Most travelers use Innsbruck as a convenient starting point to access ski resorts in Austria, and it’s no surprise why: Innsbruck is surrounded by the Alpine mountain ridge on all sides. It is here that the largest ski resort in Austria is located, where the Winter Olympic Games were held twice. However, Innsbruck has so much more to offer than just ski resorts. 

Innsbruck was once the capital of Tyrol, an important region of western Austria. Plenty of historic sites have survived to this day, including the colorful Baroque buildings found in the Old Town. A popular site with locals and travelers alike is the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), the house where Emperor Maximilian used to live. The Emperor used to sit on the balcony and observe festivals, shows, and other important events that happened in the city. Thankfully, the balcony has been preserved to this day and continues to dazzle tourists with its beauty. 

Vienna

Vienna has been an imperial city for over 500 years and, of course, is the current capital of Austria. Naturally, such a multifaceted city is chock-full of grandiose architecture, beautiful cobbled streets, and museums that will enlighten any interested traveler about the history of this great city. 

Likewise, Vienna is a city in which everyone will find something to their liking, from colorful and expressive street art to mingling with high society at sophisticated operas, and even intrepid travelers who want nothing more than to enjoy a cup of authentic Viennese coffee and take in the atmosphere of the Austrian Capital. A city that’s ideal for lovers of art and high society, visitors have a unique opportunity to partake in the Viennese Ball, which runs from January through February. There’s no better city to feel like a prince or princess, even just for a day. 

Hallstatt

Let’s take a moment to escape the bustling capital and visit a small fairytale village, Hallstatt, nestled on the shores of a lake. This charming town is located in the west of Austria and only has a population of 758 people, but despite this, the town is one of the trademarks of Austria thanks to its breathtaking landscapes. The region where Hallstatt is located is very picturesque no matter where you look, from the azure waters of the surrounding lake to the majestic mountains in the background. Of course, we can’t forget about the picture-perfect row of houses greeting all those who come to visit, or the many narrow streets where it’s easy to get lost — in the best way possible. 

It is also here in Hallstatt that the world’s oldest salt mine is located. Minerals have been mined here from the 15th to the 20th century, and nowadays it is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can go down into the mine only with a guide — if you feel like putting on your best miner hat and coveralls, and descending in a trolley! You can even see a salt lake cave that is illuminated and creates an incredible scene. The cave is the only 5ºC, so don’t forget to wear warm clothes. Travelers looking for a quiet place with incredibly beautiful nature should put Hallstatt at the top of their list. 

Graz

Graz is a city in southeastern Austria and is the second-most populous city in the country after Vienna. In this city, medieval castles and ultra-modern buildings, skyscrapers and picturesque villages, and old and new harmoniously coexist. It is here that history and modernity intertwine and create an ideal city that combines both medieval and contemporary Austria.

Travelers will be surprised at how original and unique the city center looks. Next to historical Baroque buildings, the “alien ship” (as described by locals) Kunsthaus Graz contemporary museum stands out above the rest. Graz, which was chosen as the European Capital of Culture in 2003, clearly solidifies its status with Murinsel, a man-made island in the form of a shell, as well as a museum dedicated to pop culture icons and bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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