20 Things to do in Austria: Best places to visit (+ map)

kam v rakousku / co navštívit a vidět v rakousku

Austria, with its breathtaking nature and rich history, is one of the best countries to visit in Europe. There’s so much to do, from visiting the Austrian lakes to walking through the vineyards. Looking for tips on things to do in Austria? We’ve rounded up the best places to visit and see in Austria.

The article also includes a map where you can find all the things to do in Austria. You can download and edit the map to plan your trip to Austria more easily.

Things to do in Austria: Best places to visit

1. Vienna – things to do in Austria

From majestic palaces and churches to beautifully landscaped parks, there are many reasons why Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

In addition, Vienna is home to a wide range of cultural attractions and activities, including some of the world’s most famous art galleries, a lively music and theatre scene and many international festivals. Over 450 annual balls are held here in a year alone.

sights in Vienna / things to do in Vienna / Schönbrunn Palace

A museum at every turn. That’s one way to describe how many museums you can find here. From world-famous art museums such as the Belvedere, the Albertina and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, to interactive museums focusing on nature, history, military or technology.

Wander the streets of the historic centre with its landmark St Stephen’s Cathedral, visit the imposing Schönbrunn Palace and enjoy views of the city from the world’s oldest Ferris wheel.

Learn more about Vienna: Get inspired by the things to do in Vienna. To make itinerary building easier, we’ve written an itinerary of what to see in Vienna in 3 days. Here are tips on how to enjoy Vienna with children.

2. High Tauern and the Grossglockner Alpine Road

The High Tauern National Park is famous for its unspoilt nature and impressive peaks, including the highest in Austria, the Grossglockner at 3,798 metres.

Thanks to the Grossglockner Alpine Road, you can enjoy the view of the High Tauern from the comfort of your car. It is one of the best experiences in Austria.

There is a fee to enter the high mountain road, but you will be richly rewarded with views in all directions. You will see places that are normally inaccessible.

Grossglockner alpine road Austria
Grossglockner Alpine Road / Hohe Tauern

The Grossglockner Alpine Road is considered one of the most famous and beautiful panoramic roads. It will take you through a 48 km long section with more than thirty turns, where you will overcome an elevation of 1,748 metres.

Hotels High Tauren 😴

vysoké taury ubytování
Das Alpenhaus Kaprun

4* hotel with half board + Sommercard included

vysoké taury ubytování
Hotel LukasMayr

3* hotel with half board at a good price

Don’t miss the detour to the Pasterze glacier, which is best viewed from the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe lookout. There are free-roaming marmots, beautiful waterfalls and turquoise lakes in the surroundings.

More information: We have written a separate article with tips for things to do and hiking trails in the High Tauern in Austria. Here you will find the latest information on opening times and prices for the Grossglockner Alpine Road.

Pasterze glacier and Grossglockner peak on the left
Pasterze glacier and Grossglockner peak on the left

3. Admont Monastery Library

The Admont Library in Upper Austria is not just any library. It is the largest monastery library in the world and one of the most beautiful.

The interior of the library is breathtaking, with high ceilings, rich decorations and frescoes adorning the ceilings. These frescoes, the work of Baroque artist Bartolomeo Altomonte, depict education and science as a means to achieve true enlightenment and spiritual knowledge.

monastery library admont / things to do in austria

Here you will see more than 200,000 volumes, including many rare and old prints, manuscripts and incunabula.

In addition to the library, the Admont Monastery is also known for its art collections, including Gothic art, and its beautiful gardens, which are open to the public.

More information: For the latest news and information on admission fees, please visit the official website of the Admont Monastery.

monastery admont austria

4. Wolfgangsee

When you say Austria, it is the Austrian lakes that come to mind for many. And Wolfgangsee is one of the most beautiful, with turquoise and crystal clear water like the sea in Croatia.

View from Zwölferhorn Sankt Gilgen and Wolfgangsee
View from Zwölferhorn to Sankt Gilgen and Wolfgangsee

Moreover, it is located near Salzburg in the Salzkammergut and is very easily accessible for us from the Czech Republic.

Enjoy a swim in the crystal clear water or a boat trip, follow one of the many hiking trails and enjoy the charm of the traditional lakeside villages of Sankt Wolfgang, Sankt Gilgen and Strobl.

Hotels Wolfgangsee 😴

These accommodations include a SommerCard, which gives you free admission to the tubing hill, lake ferries, and area attractions. All guests will receive their card on the day of arrival, along with a leaflet explaining what the card includes.

ubytování wolfgangsee
Wolf & Schaf Apartments

Newly furnished apartments in St. Wolfgang

ubytování wolfgangsee
Hotel-Garni Schernthaner

Family hotel in the centre of Sankt Gilgen

Don’t miss the Schafberg tubing hill, one of the best around the lake. Not the cheapest, but the views are worth every euro. In a few moments, you can climb 1,200 metres to a jagged peak, which not only offers a view of the Wolfgangsee, but also the Attersee and Mondsee lakes.

Read more: We’ve put together a detailed guide on things to do at Lake Wolfgangsee.

Schafberg, Wolfgangsee
Sankt Wolfgang / things to do at Wolfgangsee

5. Salzburg – things to do in Austria

Salzburg is a city of music, history and stunning architecture. In addition, it is surrounded by majestic Alpine peaks that guarantee some of the best views in the area.

Visit the stunning Mirabell Castle and explore the beautifully landscaped gardens full of statues, fountains and colourful flowers. For the best view of the city, climb the Hohensalzburg, one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe.

salzburg austria

When visiting Salzburg, you can’t miss a stroll through the historic centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its Baroque buildings. It is full of museums, cafes and restaurants.

If you are a Mozart lover, don’t miss his birthplace, the Mozart Geburtshaus.

salzburg austria

6. Hallstatt

Hallstatt is an iconic Alpine town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled at the foot of the lake between distinctive mountains, with a dominant church that towers over the surrounding Alpine houses from the 16th century.

It is located in the Salzkammergut by the Hallstätter See lake, which you can partially circumnavigate and encounter breathtaking views of the city along the way.

hallstatt things to do in austria

Take the cable car (you can also walk with a view of the lake) up to the “Welterbeblick” Skywalk with a bridge, from where you have a fantastic view of Hallstatt and the surrounding area.

A short walk from the viewpoint is the Hallstatt Salt Mine, where you can take a train ride, ride on wooden slides and watch various projections and videos.

When in Hallstatt, don’t miss the Krippenstein peak, which is the easiest to reach by cable car. Here you can visit the beautiful ice cave, enjoy the view from the iconic “Five Fingers” lookout or just stroll along the groomed trails with views of the surrounding peaks.

Hallstatt is incredibly popular. In high season, head out early to park up and enjoy the atmosphere without the crowds. Or head here in the low season, when the surrounding peaks are partly shrouded in fog, creating a dreamy backdrop.

Read more: We have written a detailed guide on things to do arount the Dachstein mountains (Hallstatt, Krippenstein, Hoher Dachstein).

Krippenstein / things to do in Dachstein / Dachstein hiking
View from Dachstein-Krippenstein

Accommodation Dachstein 😴

ubytování dachstein rakousko
COOEE hotel

Modern hotel near Gosau with half board

ubytování dachstein rakousko
Alpine Club

Apartments in Schladming, ideal for families

7. Zell am See – Kaprun

Zell am See and Kaprun are lively and bustling resorts, surrounded by Alpine peaks and perfectly placed for exploring the surrounding area. And that there is so much to discover!

View from Schmittenhöhe to Zeller See and Zell am See
View from Schmittenhöhe to Zeller See and Zell am See

Head for adventure on Austria’s Kitzsteinhorn glacier, high above sea level at 3,202 metres, where you can ski all year round. Or enjoy the view from the Summit World 3000 lookout, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Alps.

Walk through the Sigmund Thun Klamm gorge, which runs along wooden bridges and footbridges along steep rock faces, offering views of wild water, waterfalls and deep pools.

Sigmund Thun Klamm excursions in the surroundings of Zell am See

One of the best hikes in the Zell am See – Kaprun area are the Wasserfallboden and Mooserboden dams at an altitude of 1,672 – 2,036 metres. It can be reached by local bus and the largest open inclined cable car in Europe.

Read more: Here is our detailed travel guide to Zell am See.

mooserboden austria
Mooserboden, Austria

8. Graz

From impressive architecture and green parks to a lively cultural scene, welcome to Graz, Austria’s second largest city.

Graz is a city of innovation, where traditional Austrian culture mixes with a modern lifestyle, reflected in its gastronomy, shops and cafés. It is a city that both history buffs and those looking for a modern and lively atmosphere will love.

graz austria

When visiting Graz, don’t miss the view from the Schlossberg, which rises on a cliff above the old town. Apart from walking, you can also get here by train or glass elevator, and you can also go down the tunnel.

Explore the UNESCO-listed historic centre, whose streets are lined with well-preserved medieval houses.

graz austria

Other attractions in Graz include the Kunsthaus, a contemporary art museum that will impress you with its futuristic architecture from the outside. In the evening, don’t miss a visit to the artificially built Murinsel island with its café, which is interestingly illuminated.

On the outskirts of the town is the Mariatrost Basilica. If you like the Basilica of the Virgin Mary on Svatý Kopeček in Olomouc, you’ll like it here too – a richly decorated basilica on a hill from where you can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding area.

kunsthaus graz austria
Kunsthaus in Graz

9. Krimmel Waterfalls

In addition to the beautiful sights and attractions, Austria also hides the largest waterfalls in Europe – the Krimmel Waterfalls.

These cascading waterfalls reach a height of 380 metres and are divided into three levels. All levels are connected by a 4 km long paved trail with 11 stops along the way. You’ll be so close to the falls that you won’t be left with a dry thread.

Krimmler Waterfalls / things to do in Zell am See

The higher you go, the fewer hikers you will meet on the trail. You reach a valley with a restaurant, where you can walk to the alpine pastures around the wild Krimmler Ache river. The road is wide, well maintained and suitable for strollers.

The waterfalls can be reached via the Gerlos Strasse toll road – you can already see the falls in the distance as you walk along the road.

Read more about the most beautiful places in the Austrian Alps.

Krimmler Waterfalls / things to do in Zell am See

10. Zillertal Alps

The Krimmel Waterfalls lie in the north of the Zillertal Alps, which are famous for their glaciated peaks, long valleys, clear lakes and far-reaching views.

Our favourite place in the Zillertal Alps is the Schlegeis Stausee, a high mountain reservoir surrounded by alpine peaks and unspoilt nature.

schlegeis stausee

You can walk freely around the dam or take a hike to one of the hiking huts in the area. The most famous one is Olpererova hut, which takes about 1.5-2 hours to reach. In addition to the mountain hut with a terrace, there’s a small, suspension bridge where everyone takes that iconic photo of the dam.

And if you want to enjoy skiing almost all year round, head to the nearby Hintertux glacier.

Read more: Here are tips for things to do and hiking routes in Tyrol, Austria.

hintertux zillertal alps austria

Accommodation Zillertal Alps 😴

ubytování tyrolsko
Thermal-Badhotel Kirchler

Popular hotel with wellness and half board

ubytování tyrolsko
VAYA Zillertal

4* hotel with wellness and half board

11. Wörthersee

Wörthersee is one of the most popular recreational lakes in Austria, located in the south of Austria in Carinthia. Here you will enjoy a lively atmosphere and warm, azure blue water that is ideal for swimming, windsurfing, water skiing and other water sports.

worthersee austria

The surrounding area of Wörthersee is hilly, with hidden viewpoints in the forests and kilometres of hiking trails. Some places, such as the Pyramidenkogel lookout tower, offer views of the high Alpine peaks.

If you like golf, there are several golf courses around the lake.

When visiting the lake, don’t miss the town of Klagenfurt at the eastern end of the lake, with its beautifully preserved old town and the Minimundus World Heritage Park. There is also a nice botanical garden.

Read more: Get inspired by the things to do in Carinthia or enjoy a holiday at one of the lakes in Carinthia. Here is a detailed guide to Lake Wörthersee.

worthersee things to do in austria

12. Innsbruck – things to do in Austria

Innsbruck, the capital of the Austrian state of Tyrol, is famous for its combination of Alpine nature and history. It lies literally in the heart of the Alps, where it is surrounded by majestic mountain peaks.

Stroll through the old town, which hides many historical monuments. One of the most famous is the Golden Roof, a gilded balcony from which Emperor Maximilian I watched the street bustle.

Or take the Hungerburgbahn cable car from the city centre directly to the Nordkette mountain range, part of the Karwendel Alpine Park, the largest park in Austria. The views from here are breathtaking.

Innsbruck is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders, with several world-famous ski resorts nearby, such as Nordkette, Patscherkofel and Stubai Glacier.

13. Wachau

The Wachau is a picturesque region in Lower Austria, situated between Melk and Krems on the Danube River. The whole area is famous for its beautiful landscape, historical monuments and winemaking. These are the reasons why the Wachau was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.

wachau austria

Enjoy views of the vineyards that line the sloping banks of the Danube, visit picturesque villages or sample local wines such as Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.

The region is ideal for hiking, cycling or boating on the Danube. But besides that, it hides beautiful sights. When visiting Wachau, don’t miss the Melk Monastery, an impressive Baroque monastery with beautifully landscaped gardens and a magnificent library.

monastery melk wachau austria

You can also explore the village of Dürnstein, above which are the ruins of the castle where the English King Richard the Lionheart was supposedly imprisoned during the Third Crusade. In addition, there are magnificent views of the valley surrounded by wooded hills.

If you’re looking for a quieter spot, head to the Benedictine monastery of Göttweig, which literally peeks out over the dense forests.

wachau austria

14. Gesäuse National Park

The Gesäuse National Park is part of the Ennstaler Alps, which are not among the highest, but still absolutely breathtaking.

The park is located in the north of Austria between Admont and Hieflau. It is characterized by lush green forest combined with rugged limestone peaks. Both climbing enthusiasts and those who like to wander through the beautiful nature will find their place here.

View of Hochtor, the highest peak of the Gesäuse National Park
View of Hochtor, the highest peak of the Gesäuse National Park

If you like the High Tatras, you’ll like it here too, except that there are no crowds. There are fewer hiking trails and the trails are more moderate to difficult. But it will reward you with perfect tranquillity and breathtaking views.

15. Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle is a majestic medieval fortress that towers over the town of Werfen, about 40 kilometres south of Salzburg.

This impressive castle, built in 11th century, it served various purposes, from a defensive fortress to a prison and hunting lodge.

hohenwerfen castle where to go in austria

The castle is located on a steep hill, so it is easily visible from a distance and offers a spectacular view of the surrounding Salzach Valley and the Alps. The castle can be reached on foot or by cable car.

16. Achensee

The Achensee is one of Austria’s most beautiful lakes, offering everything for a perfect holiday. Crystal clear water surrounded by alpine peaks and beautifully landscaped surroundings suitable for walking and cycling.

The lake is called the “Tyrolean Sea” because it is the largest lake in Tyrol with a length of 9 kilometres.

achensee things to do in austria

If you love hiking, you’ll find something to do here. The lake is bordered by the Rofan Mountains and the Karwendel mountain range opposite. Hundreds of kilometres of marked and maintained hiking trails await you here.

Read more: We have written a separate guide for Lake Achensee in Austria.

achensee things to do in austria

Hotels Achensee 😴

ubytování achensee
Das Rotspitz hotel

Traditional hotel with good price/quality ratio

ubytování achensee
Travel Charme Fürstenhaus

4* lakeside hotel with wellness

17. Eisriesenwelt

If we talk about the most beautiful places to go in Austria, the ice cave Eisriesenwelt near Salzburg can not be missed. It is the largest ice cave in the world and a visit to it will literally take your breath away.

The total length of the Eisriesenwelt cave system is more than 40 kilometres, but the hiking trails are only accessible in the first kilometre, where the ice formations are the most prominent and impressive.

ice cave werfen things to do in austria

Access to the cave involves a relatively steep cable car ride and a subsequent hike (about 20 minutes), during which you can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding area. The tour is guided and lasts about an hour. It is around zero in the cave, so don’t forget to pack warm clothes.

Inside you will descend 700 steps and then the same number of steps to climb. Visiting the cave is not suitable for people with limited mobility or smaller children.

Come as early as possible in the season. There is a large parking lot, but it fills up early.

More information: Here is a link to the official website where you can buy tickets online (they are cheaper if you book in advance).

ice cave werfen things to do in austria

18. Dam Kölnbrein – things to do in Austria

Kölnbrein in Carinthia is the highest dam in Austria. It reaches a height of 200 metres and the crown of the dam is over 600 metres long.

In addition, it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain landscape. There is a viewing platform from which you can admire the reservoir and the surrounding Alps. Around the dam there are hiking trails of different difficulty levels.

kölbrein carinthia austria
maltatal malta hochalmstrasse

The Kölnbrein Dam is reached via the toll road Malta Hochalmstraße, which offers breathtaking views in its own right.

19. Swarovski Christ Museum


Swarovski Kristallwelten is a unique museum and adventure park located in Wattens, near Innsbruck in Tyrol. The museum opened in 1995 to celebrate the centenary of Swarovski and has been growing in popularity ever since.

Upon entering the grounds, you are greeted by a giant head made of greenery, with a fountain representing the ‘guardian’ of Kristallwelten.

The museum consists of several “Chambers of Wonders” designed by different artists and designers. Each chamber offers a unique installation or artwork that uses Swarovski crystals to create stunning visual effects.

In addition to the indoor exhibitions, Kristallwelten also offers beautifully landscaped gardens where you can see more artworks and crystal installations. There is also a Swarovski shop, a café and a playground for children. Check out the official website for more information.

20. Silvretta high mountain road

The Silvretta Mountain Road takes you through one of the most beautiful areas in the Austrian Alps – the Silvretta Mountains, dominated by crystal-clear lakes, green valleys and Alpine peaks over 3,000 metres.

silvretta things to do in austria

The road leads from Partenen in Montafon to Galtür. Its length is 22.3 km.

One of the attractions of the Silvretta Hochalpenstrasse are lakes. At the Bielerhöhe Pass you will pass Silvretta Stausee and then Vermunt Stausee towards Partenen.

silvretta things to do in austria

On the other side of the Silvretta mountain road lies the popular Kops Stausee lake. Unlike the previous two lakes, you can only get here on foot or by bike.

More information: Here is a link to the official website of the Silvretta Alpine Road, where you can find out the latest information about entrance fees and opening times.

silvretta things to do in austria

Best things to do in Austria – map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map with tips on things to do and the best places to visit in Austria. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places mentioned in the Austria travel guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

These were our tips for the things to do and the best places to visit in Austria. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about Austria

VIENNA: See tips on things to do in Vienna (including entrance fees and opening times) and an itinerary of how to spend 3 days in Vienna. In the article Vienna with kids we share tips on how to enjoy Vienna with the whole family.

AUSTRIAN ALPS: Get inspired by our tips on things to do in the Austrian Alps (hiking routes, excursions).

Or head straight to Tyrol or Lake Wolfgangsee. Other popular destinations in the Austrian Alps are the Dachstein mountain range or the beautiful Lake Achensee. Zell am See is also a great holiday destination.

If you want to enjoy the beautiful untouched nature, take a look at things to do in the High Tauern.

Get inspired by the things to do in Carinthia or enjoy a holiday at one of the lakes in Carinthia. Here is a detailed guide to Lake Wörthersee.

Summary: Things to do in Austria

What are the best places to visit in Austria?

For beautiful sights and renowned museums, visit Vienna, Salzburg or Graz. In search of beautiful nature, head to the Austrian Alps – the Zillertal Alps, the High Tatras, the Dachstein Mountains – just to name a few areas with beautiful and unspoilt nature. Or enjoy the crystal clear water of Austrian lakes such as Wolfgangsee, Wörthersee and Achensee.

Where to go in the nature in Austria?

If Austria is famous for anything, it’s its nature, which is absolutely breathtaking. You can still drive here perfectly and still have something to admire. From the adrenaline-fuelled views around Krippenstein and Hoher Dachstein to the lonely trails in the Gesäuse National Park. Thanks to the Silvretta and Grossglockner mountain roads, you can also reach places that are normally inaccessible.

What are the most interesting attractions and sights not to miss in Austria?

The Swarovski Kristallwelten is a unique museum with crystal installations and visual effects located in Tyrol near Innsbruck. The Admont Monastery, which houses the largest monastery library in the world, is home to magnificent frescoes and decorations. The Baroque Melk Monastery will inspire you with its spiritual atmosphere, rich decoration and beautifully landscaped gardens typical of grand palaces.

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