Vienna is the obvious go-to choice when visiting Austria for the first time – famed for its diverse and exciting cultural scene. However, there is much to be found beyond the capital, with mountainous landscapes and picturesque towns waiting to be discovered.
A Skier’s Paradise
Although France and Switzerland are often considered the finest destinations in Europe for winter sports junkies, Austria is a worthy rival. Beginners or less confident skiers should try Alpbach – one of Austria’s most pretty towns – and only a 40-minute drive from Innsbruck. Alternatively, for more challenging slopes, head to St.Anton, a destination considered one of the finest resorts in Europe for serious and advanced skiers.
See Some of Europe’s Most Beautiful Countryside
On par with Italy, Switzerland, and France in terms of natural beauty, Austria has a diverse and a beautiful countryside full of rolling hills, jagged mountains, and serene lakes. Take the wondrous Gruner See, for example – a meadow in Styria that transforms into a lake in the summer months, or the sprawling mountainous landscape that surrounds Innsbruck.
Vienna isn’t the most raucous of cities, however, it can get crowded with tourists in the summer months. Visiting Salzburg, Innsbruck or some of the smaller towns and villages will be a far more peaceful experience. Camping or staying in a cosy cabin tucked away in the woods are both great options when visiting Austria and guaranteed to give you a relaxing time away.
Vienna trumps with its incredible cultural scene, but some of the smaller cities boast impressive galleries and museums. Salzburg’s Museum of Modern Art has one of the finest collections in Austria, with an ever evolving collection of works from some of the finest modern artists; and the Swarovski Crystal museum, located just outside Innsbruck, will be one of the most unusual spectacles you’ll come across. Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hunderwasser’s work is probably the best example of weird yet wonderful architecture in Vienna. As well as his famous wobbly apartment block, he also designed some of the buildings around the Rogner Bad Blumau, making for wonderfully surreal surroundings.
Beautiful Towns and Villages
Vienna is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, however, if you venture out to the countryside, you’ll discover some gorgeous little town and villages, boasting ‘The Sound Of Music‘ style scenes. Hallstatt, a quaint lakeside town with just 800 residents, has much to offer in terms of natural beauty and cultural sites. Check out our guide to the top ten things to do when visiting.
Discover Beautiful Spas
During the colder months, Austria transforms into a winter wonderland, with thick snow falls and quaint Christmas markets. When the temperature drops, there’s nothing more comforting than escaping to the steaming pools of a spa set in a snow-tipped mountainous area when the frost starts to set in. There are lots of swimming pools with saunas and steam rooms attached in Vienna, but the most alluring are outside the cities, blending into natural surroundings. The Aqua Dome thermal spa resort (pictured) is a perfect example, boasting salt water baths with Alpine views, and a sauna and steam room.
The Viennese culture of coffee houses, classical music and ballroom waltzing is well explored. Get to know a different side of Austria by visiting Tyrol or Salzburgerland – both places with rich identities. For example, in some regions of East Tyrol, there is an age old tradition known by locals as ‘Krapfenschnappen.’ Taking place on All Saints Day, ‘Krapfenschnappen’ is a custom that involves boys and men, dressed in traditional attire, being ‘rewarded’ with delicious pastries after dancing.
Austria is a fantastic place for walking and hiking, something that you may miss out on if you visit Vienna. The mighty mountains of Tyrol are a great place to start, with the capital, Innsbruck, being a popular choice. A diverse landscape, astounding views and network of distinct trails will delight keen ramblers.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.