A Guide to the Top Places to Visit in Austria in Summer and Winter

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Austria is among the highest-rated travel destinations for tourists all across the globe. Lying in the valleys of the Eastern Alps, this Central European country offers some of the most mesmerising sceneries you can ever experience.

Austria is certainly the place to be if you are looking for a relaxed holiday with your family. Moreover, there is no shortage of adventure sports and other activities that will get your adrenaline going.

Top Places to Visit in Austria - An Overview

Here are some of the top places to visit in Austria that you can look into for your next European holiday:

Best Places to Visit Austria in Summer Best Places to Visit Austria in Winter Best Places to Visit in Austria with Family
Zell am See-Kaprun Vienna St. Johann in Tirol
Zillertal Kitzbühel Burgenland
Graz Salzburg Carinthia 
St. Anton am Arlberg Ötztal Valley Vorarlberg

Best Places to Visit Austria in Summer

1. Zell am See-Kaprun

Zell am See is a small quaint Austrian town situated on Lake Zell. Located to the south of Salzburg city, it has numerous places for tourists, with the most notable one being the Romanesque St. Hippolyte Church which was built in the 10th century. You can also find multiple lifts and trails that lead towards the ski Schmittenhöhe Mountain ski slopes.

Some of the most popular destinations in the city are –

  • Schmittenhöhe: A popular skiing destination here, it is busy both in the summer and winter. It is particularly known for its extensive cable car system. The mountain itself is approximately 1965 m above sea level and is a part of the incredible Kitzbühel Alps.
  • Gipfelwelt 3000: This place is quite accessible and can be reached easily with comfortable cable cars. The Gipfelwelt 3000 is another popular place to visit in Austria, with tourists coming in all year round. It has an observation deck around 3,000 m above sea level along with a dining space and a snow play area. You can catch marvellous panoramic views from the Zell Basin to Hohe Tauern National Park.
  • Lake Zell: In the midst of the Austrian Alps is this small freshwater lake called Zell (named after Zell am See city). The city itself is unique as it is located on a small delta that protrudes and juts into the lake.
  • St. Hippolyt Church: The architecture of this place is magnificent and has been built in the Romanesque style. Dating back to the 10th century, it is famous for its woodwork, especially the carvings in the interior. It is still used for weddings and choirs during Easter and Christmas.

2. Zillertal

The Ziller Valley is located in Tyrol and is one of the widest valleys in the south of the Inn Valley, which leads to the Zillertal Alps. Interestingly, it is among the most strongly glaciated sections of the Alps, which makes Zillertal one of the top places to visit in Austria in Summer.

  • Olpererhütte Hike: A long hike that could take up to 5 hours, it is a prominent hiking trail in the region. The place offers spectacular scenery that is incredible to witness, with snow-covered mountain peaks on one side and a jade-coloured bluish-green lake on the other side, not to forget alpine flora and fauna. You can also enjoy excellent traditional Swiss and Austrian food here.
  • Sommerberg, Hintertux: It is also called GletscherFlohSafari. Here, you can explore the top of the Hintertux Glacier, where you can also experience the chill of winter in the midst of the blazing summer. You can also visit Lui’s glacier bug park or go snow tubing or guided glacier tour.
  • Zillertal Nature’s Ice Palace: A natural ice palace where the temperature is maintained at 0°C, it is among Austria’s top places to visit if you wish to enjoy kayaking and stand-up pedalling. You can also take a short tour around the ice palace. 
  • Schlegeis Stausee: The Schlegeisspeicher is located in the Zillertal Alps. It is an artificial lake in the municipality of Finkenberg, a small town near Mayrhofen. Situated on the South Tyrol border, it is a popular reservoir and among Austria’s best places to visit.

3. Graz

Graz is the capital city of Styria and, after Vienna, the second-largest city in Austria. One of the best places to visit in Austria, it is also popular as the city of colleges and universities, housing thousands of students from all across the globe. In the centre of the city is the old town’s mediaeval square Hauptplatz, where you will find numerous restaurants and shops with Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

Some of the most popular destinations in the city are –

  • Schlossberg: Also called the town castle hill, it also doubles up as a public park and has several entertainment spots there. It is a great place to catch the surrounding view here while enjoying snacks and drinks at any of the various cafes and restaurants here. 
  • Uhrturm: It is a historical landmark in Graz and has an incredible mediaeval clock tower that was built around 1560. It also has a garden, where you can unwind and enjoy the panoramic view. 
  • River Mur: This river goes through Salzburg, Graz, and Hohe Tauern National Park. What’s remarkable is that it doesn’t stop here, but rather continues through Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary before merging with the River Danube. You can enjoy the brilliant scenery here and engage in sightseeing on the shores.  
  • Kunsthaus Graz: It is a futuristic museum where you can get to see contemporary art and exhibitions. This is one of the top places to visit in Austria for art lovers.

4. St. Anton am Arlberg

St. Anton am Arlberg is another popular tourist destination and one of Austria’s best places to visit. Along with the neighbouring villages of Schnann, Pettneu am Arlberg, Strengen, and Flirsch, this village forms recreation destinations that are truly stunning and unique.

Here are some of the most popular destinations in the city –

  • Schnann: It is a hiking spot where you can enjoy the scenery while staying in a home resort managed by local farmers. You can enjoy domestic life with the cattle or look at the meadows and the hills, all while enjoying delicious cheese fondue and wine here. 
  • Pettneu am Arlberg: Known both for its summer and winter hikes, it is located between Landeck town and Arlberg Pass from where you can enjoy the view of the mighty Lechtal Alps. In the evening, you can visit Lourdes Kapelle, one of the popular tourist destinations in the village.  
  • Strengen: Although it is a village, the municipality has a gamut of local hotels where you can enjoy a laid-back time and go for a hike in the mountainous tracks.
  • Flirsch: This is a holiday resort in the Stanzertal Valley and is a must-visit place in this region for foodies. With its fantastic eateries, you can enjoy local wines like Riesling, Syrah, and Müller-Thurgau here. 

Best Places to Visit Austria in Winter

1. Vienna

Who doesn't know about Vienna and its romantic Gondolas! Vienna, Austria's capital city, lies on the Danube River and is among the most renowned cities in Europe. Its famous residents include legends like Mozart, Sigmund Freud, Beethoven, and more, so it naturally has an intellectual and artistic legacy. The city has many imperial palaces and historical buildings, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Austria.

Listed below are the most popular destinations in the city to explore -

  • Schönbrunn Palace: Built and rebuilt over the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the principal summer residence for the Habsburg rulers. Designed by the architects Nicolaus Pacassi and Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, it contains incredible decorative art and majestic gardens that have established its place in the UNESCO World Heritage list. 
  • St. Stephen's Cathedral: The seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn O.P, it is also among the most important religious buildings in the country as it is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna. The significance of the church and its brilliant architecture make it a worthwhile tourist spot. 
  • The Hofburg: It was the Habsburg dynasty's former principal imperial palace and was built in the 13th century. Today, it is a museum and a hotspot for many cultural and political events.

2. Kitzbühel

A small alpine town situated towards the east of Innsbruck, Kitzbühel is located in Tyrol, the western Austrian province. It's an extremely fashionable winter resort with notable mediaeval European architecture. It is also popular for the Hahnenkamm downhill race that is conducted annually. If you go to the country in winter, you should certainly include this in your list of Austria’s top places to visit.

Some of the best tourist spots here are –

  • Kitzbüheler Innenstadt: It is a small town with multiple shops, restaurants, and hotels that you can visit and hang out. This is a wonderful lodging place for its ski resorts as well as the Hahnenkamm downhill race! 
  • Schwarzsee: If you are interested in hiking and watching sceneries, Schwarzsee is one awesome place where you can enjoy the natural landscape and water bodies. The primary attraction here is Lake Schwarzsee (translating to ‘Black Lake’), which is actually a clean greenish lake and quite popular as a site for swimming.
  • Die Bergbahn Kitzbuhel: This is one of the top-rated places in the region for winter sports. Besides numerous spots for skiing (due to the presence of various slopes), it also has facilities for mountain biking, down hiking, and so forth. You can enjoy a wide variety of winter sports here among the snow-capped mountains.
  • Streif-Wanderweg: It is a great spot for hiking and skiing, with many tourists thronging to this place specifically for that reason. Streif-Wanderweg is the venue for incredible races like Startschuss, Mausefalle, and the Steilhang.

3. Salzburg

Salzburg, situated on Austria and Germany's border, is among the top places to visit in Austria. It is a great place to enjoy the view of the Eastern Alps from here. Moreover, the city is bifurcated by the Salzach River. On the left-hand side are the mediaeval and baroque buildings of the old city of Altstadt. On the right-hand side is the new 19th-century town or the Neustadt. Of these two, Altstadt is famous for being the birthplace of famed composer Mozart, who also has a museum dedicated to his name. 

Check out the top place Some of the places to visit are –

  • Fortress Hohensalzburg: It was built in the 11th century and sits on top of the Festungsberg hill at a height of 506 m above sea level. The fortress is 250 m long and 150 m wide and belonged to the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. It is a great site for history buffs, who can check out interactive exhibitions and different chambers to learn the region’s history.
  • Schloss Hellbrunn: It is a palatial Baroque villa near Morzg, towards the south of Salzburg. Designed by Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus von Hohenems as a residence, it is now a historical landmark as well as a lovely Christmas market in the region.
  • Mozart's Birthplace: Also known as No. 9 Getreidegasse, it was the birthplace of the mediaeval musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It has been converted into a museum where the musical instruments, letters, portraits, and other artefacts of the celebrated musician are kept. 
  • Salzburg Cathedral: It is a 17th-century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg and has been dedicated to Saint Vergilius and Saint Rupert. As a place of great religious importance, it’s also worth visiting for its architecture, shadow play ‘Vanitas’, baptismal font, and so forth.

4. Ötztal Valley

If you love to enjoy nature with the right balance of relaxation and action, Ötztal Valley should be on your list. One of the best places to visit in Austria, this valley appears relatively untouched by urban development, meaning that you can find spectacular landscapes here. 

Some of the places worth visiting here are –

  • Similaun: Stretching to a height of around 3,600 m, these are among the highest of the Austrian Alps and quite popular. With numerous ski resorts located in the area, it is a popular spot for skiing and seeing surrounding peaks.
  • Stuibenfall Waterfall: The tallest waterfall in the region, it is also one of the most spectacular sightseeing places here. Instead of viewing the waterfall from one place, you can engage in rope-climbing close to the waterfall and even view it from a suspension bridge. 
  • Lake Gepatsch Stausee: This is an artificial lake between the majestic Ötztal Alps peaks and the Gepatschspeicher Lake in the Kaunertal Valley. As you can guess, this is a great spot to utilise your camera, with the lush mountains combining with water to create a magnificent view.

Get Your Travel Insurance from Policybazaar.ae

As covered in the article above, there are many spectacular places to visit in Austria. However, to make the most of your journey, you should buy travel insurance as it will financially protect you in case of any unexpected events on your trip. With a proper travel insurance plan, you can be covered in case you face any unforeseen adversity like a medical emergency, cancelled flight, lost luggage or documents, and more.

You can easily search for and find the best travel insurance plans for Austria on policybazaar.ae. Policybazaar UAE offers top-rated travel insurance plans from the leading insurance providers in the country. With us, you can compare the plans in one place and make the best choice for yourself - all right from the comfort of your home!

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