Travel in Austria


It may be small but when it comes to attractions, Austria is a proper heavy-hitter, a land of picture postcard landscapes, stunning lakes, vibrant cities, incredible architecture, awe-inspiring mountains and world-class resorts.

Like to take it easy? Take a relaxing stroll through Salzburg old town or a Vienna river cruise. Sports enthusiast? Hit the slopes at Seefeld or St Anton am Arlberg, or grab a bike and tackle the punishing Grossglockner Alpine Road. Culture vulture? Have a night at the Vienna State Opera, or marvel at magnificent St. Stephen's Cathedral.

There's a huge amount to see and do here – so start planning your Austria travel 2016 and get ready to get stuck in.

Austria tours and reviews

Travel to Austria with Contiki

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  • Will

Vienna & Budapest ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Vienna & Budapest
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“This contiki was definitely worth every cent. You do so much and it pays for hotels, travel, some tour guides and museums, breakfast and dinner some/most days, and you do things you never normally would.

I never would've gone to Schonbrunn Palace and watched a classical concert in vienna, or gone to this awesome amusement park just outside Vienna. I never would have gotten a local tour guide across Budapest, especially with all people around my age, and I never would have gone inside the Hungarian Parliament building and saw the President.”

  • Paige

Austria Ski Plus★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Austria Ski Plus
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“This Contiki is amazing, you snow board/Ski all day every day come back to the Contiki hotel have dinner and then everyone gets drunk together at the Contiki bar. The Contiki staff are amazing and so friendly. The bus trip from London to Austria is 20 hours so if you can't sit on a bus for 20 hours i suggest you catch a plane over to austria. I recommend to get the food board option the Chef Jamie is amazing like 3 course meal every night and these meals are like 5 star meals i was shocked! I highly recommend this tour its amazing!”

Things to do in Austria

There's a lot more to Austria than Mozart. Here's our pick of the top things to do in Austria.

La Tomatina Festival

Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.

Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.

See all trips that visit Barcelona

San Fermin

Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.

Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!

See all trips that visit Seville

Primavera Sound

Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.

See all trips that visit Madrid

FIB Benicassim

Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.

Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.

See all trips that visit Ibiza

Bilbao BBK Live Festival

Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.

Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.

See all trips that visit Barcelona

Islamic fortress of Alhambra

Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.

Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.

See all trips that visit Gibraltar

Top 5 festivals in Austria

Austria is a country that likes to party, with festival scene that is alive and kicking. This is our top 5 pick of the country's best.

1. Nova Rock, Nickelsdorf – Known for it's all-star lineup, Nova Rock is a powerhouse amongst music festivals in Austria, with rock and heavy metal firmly on the agenda. Previous headliners include giants like The Prodigy, Kiss and Metallica, though we're betting it was David Hasselhoff's set that really kicked off.

For more information on the Nova Rock festival, click here.

2. World Bodypainting Festival, Pörtschach – This weeklong festival on the shores of lake Wörther transforms the idyllic town of Pörtschach into a buzzing, colorful playground for creativity. Take a body painting class, dance in the sunshine to the many DJs and soak in the beautifully funky world of body art.

For more information on the World Bodypainting festival, click here.

3. Salzburger Festspiele, Salzburg – Established in 1919 as a celebration of Mozart’s enduring legacy, the Salzburger Festspiele has expanded over the decades into an internationally renowned festival of opera and drama.

For more information on the Salzburg festival, click here.

4. Vienna Festival – An estimated 180,000 people descend on Vienna during Wiener Festwochen, a six-week celebration of culture and the arts. Everything from drama to dance and opera is on the roster, with the highlight being a series of classical concerts held in the Vienna Konzerthaus.

For more information on Vienna festival, click here.

5. Electric Love Festival, Salzburg – For a less classical experience, the Electric Love Festival is one you shouldn't miss. Packed full of loved-up vibes and head-nodding beats, some of the world's best DJs head to the picturesque setting of the Salzkammergut Lake District each year.

For more information on Electric Love festival, click here.

Top 5 museums and galleries in Austria

With over 100 museums in Vienna alone, planning the cultural side of your Austria travel itinerary can be daunting. Luckily, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and picked the best Austrian culture vulture experiences. And amazingly, none of them involve Mozart.

1. Belvedere Museum, Vienna – Housed in a complex of magnificent Baroque palaces, the Belvedere museum is worth the trip for its setting alone. Its extensive permanent collection - ranging from medieval and Baroque periods right through to impressionism and contemporary art - includes the world's largest collection of works Gustav Klimt, making this one of the most essential places to visit in Austria.

For more information on the Belvedere Museum, click here.

2. Leopold Museum, Vienna – The Leopold Museum is located in Vienna's beautiful MuseumsQuartier, and houses one of the world's largest collections of Austrian modern art. Highlights are its huge Egon Schiele Collection as well as works by the likes of Oskar Kokoschka and Gustav Klimt.

For more information on the Leopold Museum, click here.

3. Natural History Museum, Salzburg – This strikingly modern building houses a spectacular collection of modern art, from such masters as Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and Andy Warhol. It's located in the MuseumsQuartier, meaning easy access to other major Vienna museums.

For more information on the Natural History Museum, click here.

4. Mumok, Vienna – One of the undisputed Kings of the Art Nouveau movement, no trip to Barcelona is complete without visiting the Gaudi Museum. Located in Park Güell, the museum was Gaudi’s residence for almost 20 years and displays many examples of furniture and other objects he designed.

For more information on the Mumok, click here.

5. Old Viennese Schnaps Museum – When his distillery opened for business in 1875, little could Friedrich Fischer have imagined that six generations later his family would still be producing schnapps according to his original recipe. A tour of the factory buildings offers a fascinating insight into the distillery business, as well as an opportunity to sample some of the Austrian national spirit. It's by appointment only, so be sure to book tickets in advance, and a taxi to get you home afterwards.

For more information on the Old Viennese Schnapsmuseum, click here.

Weather in Austria

As you'd expect from a country covered largely with mountains, the climate in Austria is predominantly alpine. Winters bring heavy snowfall, with sub-zero temperatures offering excellent conditions for skiing, while other highlights of visiting Austria in winter are Austrian Christmas markets (known locally as 'Christkindlmarkt').

Summers are generally warm with plenty of sunshine, though the mountainous nature of the country means that Austrian weather can be hard to predict. Although the country lacks coastline, many consider Austrian lake life to be the equal of any beachside holiday in the world, with the more Mediterranean climate of the southeast making that the summer region of choice.

Vienna Weather

Salzburg Weather

Graz Weather

Innsbruck Weather

Austrian food

With produce to rival the world's finest and a host of incredible regional and traditional delicacies waiting to tempt the taste buds of visitors, it's a mystery why Austrian cuisine isn't on the podium rubbing shoulders with its French and Italian counterparts.

Lovers of meat, cheese and bread will find themselves at home here, while Austrian vineyards produce some exceptionally quaffable vino. Beer lover? Try an unpasteurised 'zwickelbier' from Salzburg's Stiegl brewery.

Typical Austrian food has something to delight even the most discerning of palettes. We've compiled a list of Austrian must-try classics.

Spanish festivals

Spanish festivals

Käsekrainer – No night out in Austria is complete without a visit to the sausage stand, and the käsekrainer is the must-try street food item. It's a sausage containing chunks of cheese that melt as the sausage is cooked, and is served either in a bun or cut into chunks on a plate, with the mustard of your choice. Just don't let its other name 'eitriger' ('puss-sausage') put you off.

Best eaten at –Würstelstand am Hohen Markt, Hoher Markt 1, Wien 1010

Tafelspitz – You may have had boiled beef, but never quite like this. Tafelspitz is a well-loved Austrian traditional food, and the secret is in the broth - add root vegetables and spices then simmer slowly until perfection, before serving with roast potatoes, horseradish and apple sauce. Job done!

Best eaten at –Zum fidelen Affen, Priesterhausgasse 8, 5020 Salzburg

Wiener Schnitzel – Not without good reason is the Wiener Schnitzel the most famous Austrian food. Essentially a very thinly hammered veal steak, it's breaded then deep-fried in butter until tantalisingly crisp and golden brown. Served with potato salad and a good squeeze of lemon, it could be one of the culinary highlights of your Austria travel 2015.

Best eaten at –Gasthaus Lendplatzl, Lendplatz 11, Graz 8020

Eier im Glas – Had your fill of apfelstrudel? Check out topfenstrudel, Austria's answer to the cheesecake. A layered desert similar to its more famous sibling, it's filled with delicious sweet cheese then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Try it with a 'Wiener Melange', a cappuccino-like Viennese coffee.

Best eaten at –Ungar Grill, Burggasse 97, 1070 Wien

Topfenstrudel – The epitome of sweet street food treats, churros are the equivalent of a Spanish doughnut, sprinkled in cinnamon sugar and served with melted chocolate for dipping.

Best eaten at –Cafe Sacher, Philharmonikerstrasse 4, 1010 Vienna

What to pack

What to pack for Spain?

Sunglasses - That Alpine sun can be fierce, especially if you're hitting the slopes in winter. Sunnies are essential.

Sensible walking shoes - With such a wealth of museums, palaces and galleries, you're going to be clocking up some serious miles here. Save the high heels for your night at the opera.

A camera - Vienna and Salzburg are among the world's most beautiful cities, so photo-ops run at an all-time high here.

Swimsuit - Whether it's a summer lake dip or a post-ski hot-tub session, a swimsuit is essential.

An adapter plug - Austria uses the European standard 2-pin plug

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