Navigation Menu
Austria Travel Guide

Austria Travel Guide


With high capped snowy mountains, pristine alpine lakes, dark forests, rolling hills, grand palaces and fairy-tale castles, Austria belongs on the front of a postcard.

It is a mecca for snow sports enthusiasts, hikers and nature lovers, and also draws music fans, gourmet food lovers and romanticists from around the world due to a rich cultural heritage, an enticing dining scene, and iconic cities which were the center of European high culture during the Hapsburg dynasty.

Located at the base of the Alps, which consume two-thirds of the territory in this mountainous country, naturally,  Austria’s tourism industry relies heavily on its snow. Hundreds of villages throughout the country, such as Igls near Innsbruck, provide access to well organized and connected ski areas for downhill skiing, and as they were villages before they became ski bases, they all retain their traditional look and have a very rustic charm.

Cross country skiing is also quite popular here, as is snowboarding, and thousands of snowboarders flock to Innsbruck every year; Innsbruck being regarded as Europe’s snowboarding capital.   Famous Austrian snow resorts include Kitzbuhel, Saalbach, Zell am See and Sankt Anton.

Ski snow RF

During the summer, adventure junkies head to Tirol to partake in canyoneering, hiking and mountain biking, which are also popular pastimes in the Wildschonau Valley, Fiss and Alpbach. Nature lovers have several national parks and lakes at their disposal; the cold lakes of the Salzkammergut or the warmer ones in Carinthia are perfect for long hikes, as is Lake Constance and Lake Millstatt in the Lesach Valley.

The only word to describe Vienna is classic. An Imperial city with striking architecture, plenty of palaces (the Hofburg Imperial Palace), a gothic cathedral (St Stephen) surrounded by horse drawn carriages, baroque facades, museums, concert halls and coffee houses (Cafe Central, Cafe Braunerhof), Austria’s capital is instantly appealing.

Tradition and innovation come together in Vienna, a city where Strauss waltzes are still popular amongst 20-something ball-goers (300 grand balls are held between the start of January and mid February), a city which boasts the largest Museum Quarter in the world, and one where the Vienna Philharmonic and the Opera (Staatsoper) are just as popular as the world renowned mega clubs (Flex) with international DJs.

Vienna Things to do

Music is a huge part of Austrian culture, and music festivals and concerts are held year-round in celebration of Austrian composers such as Motzart, Strauss and Schubert.  The Salzburg Festival in August is the most prestigious of these events. Another classic city with baroque architecture, museums and palaces, Salzburg easily competes with Vienna.  The city’s claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of Mozart, however it is more commonly recognized as the backdrop for the Sound of Music.  

Other towns and cities relevant to travelers with historical landmarks and significance include Innsbruck (Golden Dachl and Hofkirche church), Graz (City hall with Renaissance steeples; clock tower of the Schlossberg), Linz (St Martin – the oldest church in Austria), Bad Ischl, Mayerling Melk (famous abbey) and Bregenz (annual festival). For information on toll fees and road travel in Austria, you can visit for detailed guidance and resources.

If you are heading to Austria for Winter Sports go between December and March.

If you are traveling with plans of hiking, travel during May through September.

The best time of the year to travel to Vienna is May through July and also September.

Getting around Austria is super easy; public transport is efficient, extensive and fast, and includes trains, buses, Postbuses (serving Alpine valleys and rural areas), and trams as well as an underground system in Vienna and Salzburg. Cycling is popular throughout Austria, and most major towns have a network of cycling lanes.

Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) have established a well developed railway network with modern trains which operate to and from Vienna and offer travelers safety and comfort.  Südbahnhof, the South Railway Station, is one of the largest railway stations in Vienna, and is the gateway for rail journeys to Villach, Graz, Burgenland, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and many other destinations in Eastern Europe.

Pros: Activities and holiday possibilities throughout both Summer and Winter, as well as musical entertainment year-round. The Austrian city of Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Cons: Austria is relatively expensive and as such careful budgeting is required.

Travel Documents: Citizens or the Untied States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and a large list of other countries do not require a visa to travel to Austria so long as your visit does not exceed 3 months.

Bordered By: Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Travel Time: New York to Vienna: 8 hours 45 minutes nonstop.  London to Vienna: 2 hours 15 minutes nonstop.

Language: German

Currency: Euro

Cost: Plan on around $900 for one week of hiking.

 Have you been to Austria?  Do you have anything to add?

Great resources I used for information on Austria included Rudy Maxa’s ‘100 countries, 5000 ideas” and TravelMail’s Austrian Destination Guide by Anna Melville James.
Photo Source for Featured Photo: Ski-i
Photo Source for Austrian Map: Deposit Photo



  1. Great overview! I semi-lived in Austria for about 2 years, and I’ll be spending time there again next year. It’s a really great country for the things you mention (especially outdoor activities) and the transportation system is excellent. I didn’t find it too expensive (I think it’s a little cheaper than Germany, for example), and if you make lunch your main meal of the day and take advantage of the very good value lunch menus available almost everywhere, it can be more reasonable. One thing I don’t so much like about Austria is that it’s still a very conservative and Catholic country, and I find that many (of course not all) people outside of the cities can be quite hostile to foreigners.

    • Thanks Sam! I only spent a few weeks in Austria but could have easily spent a few years; such an amazing country! I was on an organized tour of the country while I was there so didn’t really experience many people outside of the main cities; shame to hear they can be hostile towards foreigners – will have to go back and change their minds :D

      Will definitely keep your lunch tip in mind for our next trip there – thanks!!

    • Hi Sam,

      Shame you found our people to be hostile towards foreigners. A major problem is that lots and lots of Austrians are afraid of speaking any other language besides German. Yes, we have English in School but more often than not classes are taught in German and older people don’t speak English at all –> you should meet my Grandad tho, he speaks a language called Denglish (Deutsch&English) lol
      Another issue is that a lot of people here feel that our beautiful country is being exploited, not by the people, but our own government. Whilst most people are fine with travelers they do have issues with migrants (who don’t adjust and learn the language)and asylum seekers. Again, they don’t blame the people (well most anyway) but our government who does zero to help the situation. But I guess that’s an issue known to every nation!
      Enough rumbling now haha
      Where about in Austria did you live? I am from Tyrol, a wee village not too far from Kitzbühel and am little travel addict :P

  2. Great resource Meg, we’ve so much of Europe still to see and this has inspired us to consider Austria as an itinerary option for next year! Sam’s comment about eating out for lunch instead of supper is a great idea! I’ll be utilizing that top tip for sure!

    • Thanks Charli – I hope you get there, Austria is an amazing country! And one with plenty of opportunity for phenomenal photography so you would have a ball!

      Safe travels :)

  3. Great guide! I would love to visit Austria–the mountains look beautiful!

    • Thanks Jenna! I could spend a lifetime in Austria – one of those few truly magical places left in the world!

  4. Austria is a great country and yes, skiing is fabulous!

    • I have to learn how to ski lol! Austria would be the best country for it!!

  5. It’s so great to see you covering my home country, it makes me a little homesick really. The only other thing I probably would have added is food. We Austrians absolutely LOVE our food and as Sam rightly pointed out, it’s definitely available at very reasonable prices if you just know where to look!

    • Thanks Claudia! Love AUstria – so many more features coming when we have the opportunity to head back! Will have to involve ourselves more into the food scene when we do get back; we’re not huge foodies, but trying to pay more attention to local cuisines! I do remember that Austria had some pretty great deserts :D!

  6. I love how you formatted the paragraph. Like Claudia Said I would’ve added more about the food, they have lots of selection, and I agree with Sam too lunch is the time to eat out not at dinner. They also have a very good selection, food there is just Scrumptious.

    Ethan- You don’t know what you have, till you don’t have it and can’t get it back

    • Thanks Ethan – glad you enjoyed the guide! I do need to start paying more attention to food – admittedly we’re not huge foodies though trying to jump into each local scene more and more as we go along :)

      So glad you enjoyed your time in Austria – stunning country :)

    • Really trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..

  7. Great overview, thanks a lot! I’m currently planning a trip to Austria and I’m gonna use this guide as a basis.
    BTW, awesome pictures!

    • Have an amazing trip! Let us know if we can off any more help :)

  8. My best friend lives in Vienna. In fact he just bought an apartment in downtown Vienna which he puts on AirBnB all the time. It’s a beautiful city. They have this interesting type of hotdog where the bun completely covers the bottom. Practical! However, if you are in Europe, you absolutely have to come to Munich (München). I live in Munich and absolutely love it. I’ll never live anywhere else. Megan if you’re ever in Munich, I’ll give you some tips.


    • Fantastic that you have a friend you can visit in Vienna! Really is one of the most amazing cities in the world :) Have been to Munich once during winter, and loved how magical everything was under snow. Though would love to head back to experience the change of season in summer, so will definitely let you know :) Thanks Ken!

  9. Austria looks beautiful! I can’t wait to visit there! Vienna looks so beautiful!

    • Hope you have the chance to visit soon! Vienna is one of our favorite cities across Europe – so classic and beautiful :)


  1. Be There Before Bond | Mapping Megan - […] Austria […]
  2. Travel as an Elite Athlete: Interviewing Australian Olympian Caroline Buchanan - Mapping Megan - […] have been to so many picturesque places, but Austria, Andora and Curacao would have to rate as most beautiful.…
  3. Travel as an Elite Athlete: Interviewing Australian Olympian Caroline Buchanan - Mapping Megan - […] Austria […]

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *