Are you thinking about visiting Austria? Here are the Top 10 must see attractions in Austria in no particular order:
1. Drive Grossglocker Alpine road:
Drive to the highest peak in Austria along this 48 km incredible road with sharp corners sweeping through amazing alpine scenery. Named after Austria’s highest mountain ‘Grossglocker'(3798m), this road takes you upto 2504 meters above sea level. Every turn has dramatic scenery with numerous short hikes along the way leading to amazing waterfalls and incredible lookouts. There are a few restaurants and picnic spots along the drive. There is also an option to go down to the base of Pasterze glacier, by either hiking down or taking their unique funicular railway. A 34 euros fee is charged at the entrance to the road and you will be provided a booklet that includes mile by mile information on stops along the way. With everything packed together on this short drive, it makes for an unforgettable day when in Austria.
2. Enjoy Hallstatt:
Hallstatt is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most beautiful towns in Austria. This is a perfect place for both adventure seekers and those looking for some relaxation. Sitting right beside the most romantic lake in Austria, Hallstatt is home to about 900 residents. You can easily spend a day or two canoeing in the lake, biking around town, and hiking to the breath taking nearby glacier. This little town where you can enjoy lakeside restaurants, street food kiosks and little art and souvenir shops is walk able in 20-30 minutes.
3. Visit Schlegeis Reservoir:
This stunning lake is about 40 mins drive from the town of Mayrhofen. Even though it is a man made lake, the surrounding mountains and scenery make it very much natural. A big dam controls the water level and you can walk along the dam or even take a tour inside it. Hiking around the lake is also possible with a paved flat track all the way and takes about 2 hrs total. If you feel more adventurous, and want to do longer/difficult hikes, Olperer hutte is a great option with great views all the way up. Total time to Olperer hutte and back is about 3-4 hours. The road to this amazing lake is only open to visitors from June to October. There is a 12 euros toll for private cars, or you can take a bus from Mayrhofen which is about 16 euros for a return trip.
4. Explore Dachstein Ice cave:
From outside you will see a small hole in the middle of a big rocky mountain. As you walk in, the temperature starts decreasing rapidly and you will see amazing, unique ice formations. A cable car takes you to the first plateau and then about 15 minutes of steep walk brings you to this wonderful cave. All of this is included in the tour and you will enjoy a great aerial view of the lake below from the entrance to the cave. Since the air temperature in the cave remains below freezing even in summer, the ice formations are maintained through out the year.
5. Visit Vienna:
The capital of Austria is very rich in imperial history and culture, yet very modern. You can easily spend a day strolling around the city, visiting its main attractions that include Graben, Hofburg Imperial Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral to name a few. Take break from various sites and people watch while enjoying an ‘Eiskaffe’, Vienese afogato (coffee and ice-cream), which can be found almost everywhere around central Vienna. You could also bike around the Ringstrasse, which is a road with a bike path that circles the city. Vienna has very good, hassle free bike rentals/returns at every corner where you can ride, stop, visit the attractions, and repeat.
6. Go Tobogganing in Abtenau:
Just about half an hour outside Hallstatt, a charming little village of Abtenau has this awesome activity not many people know about. A gondola takes you up the Karkogel mountain from the parking lot where you can enjoy a great view of the valley below. Spend some time at the lookout point, enjoying the breathtaking Austrain alps and then come down in the toboggan. Tobogganing downhill in their yellow aerodynamic car is really fun. You can control your speed and feel the fresh Austrian breeze on your face. Depending on your speed, its 10-15 mins down to the starting point. This is open from May through October and about 13 euros for the ride up on the cable car and toboggan down.
7. Take the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg:
This tour takes you to most of the locations pictured in the movie ‘Sound of Music’. From the famous Gazebo to the beautiful lakes of Austria, this tour covers it all. Also a great way to learn the historic and cultural side of Salzburg. Read reviews and book your tour at Viator.com.
8. Explore the oldest salt mine in the world:
Salzwelten has apparently has been in use since 70BC and is considered the oldest salt mine in the world. A funicular rail takes you up the nearby mountain where you can explore this underground salt mine. Here you can take a guided tour to learn about the history, geology and process of salt mining. There is also a look out point in Salzwelten which has amazing views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
9. Visit Innsbruck & Swarovski Crystal World:
Capital of the state of Tirol, Innsbruck is an urban city in a natural setting. Enjoying the history and art while walking around the old town, you can be awe inspired by the mountain peaks emerging up in the background. While in Innsbruck, don’t miss out on visiting one of the biggest collections of Swarovski stones at Crystal world which is about 20 minutes away from town. If you do not want to pay the steep entrance fee, just go to see the popular artificial waterfall located near the entrance, which is free to visit.
10. Visit the Hintertux Glacier
This is the only year round ski region in Austria. Even in the summer it has miles of groomed ski slopes. Skiing is not the only attraction here, you can take a cable car up to 3,250 m above sea level and enjoy fantastic 360 degree views from the top. The cable car is in three phases, the 1st stop has a nice restaurant and great views. You can even hike your way down from here. The 3rd phase ends at the summit where you can play and slide in the snow while again enjoying great views all around. Also when in the area, visit ‘The Nature Ice Palace’ where you can enjoy the turquoise blue color of the glacier ice, frozen waterfall, ice crystal formations and many more. Stay in the town of Mayrhofen.
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10 must see attractions in Austria