Names in Teal are regions of the country.
Regarded as one of the most interesting and pleasant cities in Europe,
tourist Vienna is timeless, romantic and enchanting. Founded by the
Romans, Vienna became a capital of the Hapsburg Empire and one of the
preeminent European capitals. The Imperial City is such a
fascinating destination that we have created a comprehensive,
illustrated, multi-page Guide to Vienna that can be found here.
While we provide several recommendations below on some of the best
places to visit in Vienna, we recommend exploring our detailed guide to
sample the many wonders of Vienna. We have articles on the best
places to visit, the best museums, best churches, Vienna's best shopping
,the best daytrip from Vienna and more.
Below, is the short version of the best places to visit in Vienna for
those of you in a hurry.
You should focus the start of your visit on the city's "historic
center", the area within the mid-19th century construction known as the
Ringstrasse, an important thoroughfare that surrounds Vienna's Old Town.
Many of the city's leading attractions are inside of or scattered along the
edge of this two and half mile long road, which replaced the city walls and
battlements that once protected Vienna's core from the Ottoman Turks and
There is much to see and do in Vienna in addition to admiring the city's
visual history and architectural treasures.
Be sure to see:
The Hofburg - a stunning castle/palace with sections dating from the
13th century. The Hofburg became the formal palace of the
Hapsburgs at the peak of their power and the family endlessly tinkered
with the architecture of the building over successive generations.
Hofburg (the Imperial Palace) is extremely impressive and not to be
The beautiful Stephansplatz surrounds the noted
Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) that towers over the city
The Cathedral has many notable features, but most visitors climb the
south tower for an incredible view of the Vienna.
The Karlsplatz sets the stage for the
Karlskirche (St. Charles's Church), regarded by many as the finest
example of Baroque architecture in Vienna. The two front columns framing
the dome of the church make a dramatic and powerful statement.
A visit to Vienna would not be complete with without a stop at the
Oper - Vienna's famous
Opera House. If you are interested in opera, consider taking a
Vienna has numerous palaces, museums and galleries to attract your
attention, so be sure to budget your time wisely.
Belvedere Palace (outside the Ring) consists two stunning buildings
separated by lovely gardens
Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) was the summer home of
the Hapsburgs and, along with its gardens, is extremely elegant. The
Schloss Schönbrunn is one of the most beautiful palaces of Europe.
If these locations have you thinking about a trip to Vienna, be sure
to explore our detailed
Guide to Vienna that
features numerous photos of the Imperial City.
Click to see our detailed
Guide to Salzburg.
or continue reading for a concise review of the best places to visit in
Mozart's hometown celebrated the Master's 250th birthday in 2006 and his
music continues to be a fundamental part of the ambiance of this charming
town. Music is an integral part of this city's essence and those
interested in Mozart may want to see the his statue in Mozart Square (the
Mozartplatz), visit his birthplace in the Old Town or the official
Mozart Residence across the Salzbach River from the Old Town.
Old Town, a wonderland of Baroque architecture, is includes the majority
of the important sights in this historic town. Large areas of the Old Town
are pedestrian-only, which makes its exploration even more delightful.
During your tour of the Old Town, be sure to explore Cathedral Square for
its beautiful and historic Cathedral (the Salzburger Dom).
Continue across the street to explore the impressive
Residenz Palace, the former home of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg
and a treasure trove of art, furnishings and other historical artifacts from
Also, budget time to tour the
Hohensalzburg Fortress (often called the Festung), which has dominated
the Salzburg skyline for over a thousand years. In addition to
beautiful views of the city, you will also find the castle, its furnishings
and armaments quite interesting.
When you have seen enough monuments and historic buildings, stop in a
cafe (such as Demel) for a delicious treat or wander along the Getreidegasse
to experience the city's best shopping .
Reserve some time viewing the
and its delightful gardens on the right bank of the Salzach River (across
the river and north of the Old Town, but south of Saint-Julien Strasse). The
gardens are beautiful when they are in bloom and this is an excellent
location for snapping some prized vacation photos.
Salzburg has a number of quality museums, mostly focused on art.
For more information, see the city's official tourism
St. Gilgen if your schedule permits and you are in the looking for a
memorable example of idyllic life in the Austrian countryside. The village
is about 25 miles east of Salzburg on the banks of Wolfgangsee Lake and
makes a pleasant day trip
If you find the Hohensalzburg fortress interesting, you might be interested
in Castle Werfen, one of its sister fortresses, about 30 miles south of the
city. It is one of the most scenic of Austria's hilltop castles.
Twice chosen to host the Winter Olympics, Innsbruck is one of the "ski"
capitals of Europe. In summer, the area is a hiker's paradise with twenty
five holiday villages to use as destinations for outings. In addition to its
natural assets, Innsbruck is blessed with notable cultural attractions.
Innsbruck's setting and scenery are gorgeous - don't miss it.
The historic center of Graz is considered one of Europe's best preserved
"Old Towns". A city of narrow lanes, numerous architectures, and beautiful,
ornate courtyards, Graz beckons the tourist to explore its paths. Be sure to
see the Chateau Eggenberg, the marvelous clock tower at the
Glockenspieplatz, the Italian renaissance Landhaus, and the Cathedral and
The Danube Valley is one of the major attractions of Austria and a unifying
theme for the country. The best way to see it is from the water,
sitting on the deck of a river cruiser or one of the sightseeing boats that
ply its channel. If you have the chance, take an extended river cruise
that explores the Danube Valley. If you do, you will find a pleasant
way to explore beautiful countryside, dramatic castles, and delightful
Other towns in Austria that may be of interest include:
- Klagenfurt, the regional capital of Carinthia, is an 800 year old city
whose Old Town is graced with more than its share of stately mansions,
historic houses, museums and galleries.
- The city sits nested along Lake Wörthersee, known for its
swimming, recreation, as well as housing Gustav Mahler's
"Composer's Lodge" on its south bank. In addition, Klagenfurt is
surrounded by beautiful countryside, more than 20 castles and numerous
castle ruins. Some of the castles are now being used as hotels and serve as
pleasant bases for exploring this interesting area.
- More information on Klagenfurt can be found at this
- Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland, is an interesting baroque town
where Joseph Haydn worked for over thirty years while composing some of his
most famous works. Haydn labored in the Chapel Church of Prince Nicholas
Esterhazy during its peak in the 18th century. If you are a "Haydn" fan, be
sure to visit the Esterhazy Palace and the Haydn Church (Bergkirche).
- See this site for more
- Bregenz, in Vorarlberg, Austria's westernmost province, is a two thousand
year old town on the banks of delightful Lake Constance (the Bodensee.) A
visit to Bregenz offers relaxing vistas, good recreational opportunities and
a summer music festival with performances on a stage floating in the Lake.
- For more information on the Bodensee, try this
- Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, is nestled along the bank for
the Danube River. It has an interesting Old Town, especially the
Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall), which dates from the early 16th century.
Be sure to see the Linz Castle dating from the 8th century, but rebuilt
and redesigned numerous times. Today the castle functions as the Upper
Austrian Castle Museum and contains an interesting collection of
medieval items. Also see the Lentos Museum of Modern Art featuring works
by Klimt, Schiele and others in a dramatic new building that overlooks
the Danube. Linz was designated as the European Cultural Capital for the
- For more information on visiting Linz, see the city's
The Wachau and Melk
- The landscape between the towns of Melk and Krems is called the
Wachau and is named after the Wachau River whose watery fingers tie the
area together. The Wachau area is a visual treat, although it is better
known as one of Austria's premier wine growing regions. The Wachau
combines agriculture, urbanism and historic sites in a blended and
seemingly naturally integrated setting so unique that it has been
awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Melk is the premier town in this area and there are many reasons to
visit it environs. The leading attraction, however, is Melk's
scenic, Benedictine Abbey, which in one form or another has been perched
on a hilltop above the town and the Danube River for over one-thousand
If you plan to visit the Wachau, you should also visit Krems,
an interesting market town, and Dürnstein, where Richard the Lionheart
was held captive during his return from the Third Crusade. For more
details on the Wachau, Krems, Dürnstein and Melk, see our daytrip
to this region described in the ThereArePlaces
The official tourism website for Austria is
Austria.Info. The site provides additional details on our recommended
best places to visit, as well as details on the locations that did not make
our list. Websites for individual cities are usually referenced in our
detailed guides on these locations.
For country facts on Austria, as well as travel information related to
visas, driving rules, safety, medical conditions, visas and other
travel-related information, see this page on
Austria Travel from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State
Department. Regardless of your home country, we think you will find
the information provided to be useful when planning a trip to Austria.
If you need information about another travel destination, try our
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces
Map of the
leading tourist destinations in Austria