Are these the best things to do in Austria? We’ve spent quite some time there, and we certainly think so!
In 2007 and 2008, we spent about six months jumping in and out of Austria. It’s a small country, but one that we love to return to. We’ve travelled from the smallest of towns (like Sankt Anna am Aigen) to the famous boutique cities (Innsbruck and Salzburg spring to mind) and, of course, the capital, Vienna. This, then, is our pick of the best things to see and do.
1. Discover Vienna.
There’s always more to see in this tranquilly beautiful capital, from the architecture to the parks to the world-class museums in Museumsquartier. A Third Man tour is highly recommended.
Listen to our free Vienna audio guide here.
2. Ski or hike in Innsbruck.
Flying into Innsbruck is as much a treat for you as it is a challenge for the pilot, as the city is positioned between two rows of mountains — which are great for skiing in winter and hiking in summer.
3. Get around by train.
The train network in Austria is excellent, and the carriages are clean, comfortable and usually equipped with power sockets. There are lots of discounts available on the rather pricy tickets, or use a Eurail pass.
4. Eat at a heuriger.
These farm restaurants can only sell locally-produced food; usually a variety of cold-cut meats, cheeses and pickles. Accompany your meal with a glass of local wine, and you’ll be in heaven.
5. Go wine-tasting.
You can visit the wineries themselves, or go to a local vinothek (wine-tasting room and shop). Many towns (including some very very small ones) have a vinothek, where you can try local wines and wines from further afield for a small fee.
6. Head to the countryside.
Austria’s cities are incredible, but the small towns nestled in valleys and on hillsides have a charm of their own.
7. Visit Melk.
Made famous by Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, Melk’s sumptuous monastery sits high and impressive, overlooking the Donau and a small but interesting town below.
8. Eat wiener schnitzel.
Preferably in Wien (otherwise known as Vienna). It’ll be served with fries or cold potato salad, and will quite likely be the size of a large plate. Make sure you’re hungry before you order one! Wash it down with beer or Almdudler: Austria’s local softdrink is hard to find outside of the country, and it’s really good.
9. Go to a Christmas market and drink gluhwein.
Christmas markets pop up all over Europe in late November, but Vienna’s are a bit different. For one thing, there’s not just one market; several are scattered throughout the city –- and the setting is incredible. Warm yourself up with a glass of gluhwein (mulled wine) or a hot chocolate.
But that’s only nine things to do in Austria! You must know some more — add your ideas or questions in the comments.