The 5 Best Road Trips in Austria

The High Alpine Road in Austria lives up to its name
The High Alpine Road in Austria lives up to its name | © bugto / Getty Images
Exploring Austria by car is packed with adventure. From high alpine scenery in the west to the flat landscapes in the east, these Austria itineraries introduce you to various road trip options.

Vienna to Innsbruck via Berchtesgaden

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Road in Berchtesgadener
Road in Berchtesgadener | © Animaflora / Getty Images

This four- or five-day trip allows you to see three of the best cities in Austria, whilst also passing through some incredible rural landscapes along the way. After you’ve seen what the capital has to offer (see our guide for inspiration), you can take the route through Berchtesgaden towards Salzburg. Although this drive is fairly lengthy (around three hours), it allows you to experience the beautiful Lake Königsee on the border with Germany, as well as stunning mountainous trails. Then, head to Salzburg, which can easily be explored in a day or two. Next, it’s on to Innsbruck via the Autobahn A-12, passing through the Ziller Valley on the way.

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Zell am See to Graz

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Zell am See, Austria
Zell am See, Austria | ©  Westend61 / Getty Images

As with the first route, this road trip gives you the chance to take the glorious Grossglockner High Alpine Roa, as well as plenty of opportunities to ramble in the Hohe Tauern National Park. The A2 Autobahn will take you straight to the humble city of Graz. Allow time to stop off at Hochosterwitz Castle, one of Austria’s most famous medieval fortresses.

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Innsbruck to Vienna via Hallstatt

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Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck, Austria | © John Elk III / Getty Images

Although ambitious, this route reveals aspects of the country both urban and rural. Beginning in the charming city of Innsbruck and ending in the capital, Vienna, you will take in glittering lakes and cosy coffee houses. After you’ve seen the sights of Innsbruck, take the two-hour trip to Zell am See, a popular rural destination where you can enjoy a range of outdoor activities in summer. The next day, hit the road again for two hours to the village of Hallstatt – a place so pretty that it was recreated by the Chinese – and from here head to Salzburg. The last leg of the trip takes you from Salzburg to the wine valleys of Melk and, finally, to the capital, Vienna, where you can celebrate your arrival with one of the city’s famous cakes.

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Bregenz to Innsbruck

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Lake Constance
Lake Constance | © foto-ruhrgebiet / Getty Images

The town of Bregenz, on the shores of the beautiful Lake Constance, is an idyllic place to begin this relaxed tour. In order to get to Innsbruck, you must pass through the B200, a winding road that offers panoramic alpine views. Those who want a pit stop could do so in Lech am Arlberg, a charming resort town that is popular with skiers and hikers.

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Grossglockner High Alpine Road

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Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Grossglockner High Alpine Road | © DieterMeyrl / Getty Images

This winding route is known as the High Alpine Road, which takes you from Salzburg to Carinthia, passing through gorgeous scenery of the Hohe Tauern National Park, with views of almost 40 mountains. The highest point of the road is a staggering 2,504m (8,200ft), and the views are, well, you can imagine how good they are. You can also enjoy the thrills and spills of the hair-raising twists and turns. The landscape is varied during the one-hour trip, with miles of gorgeous hills, cliffs, meadows, lakes and, of course, the Alps.

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These recommendations were updated on July 22, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.