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Best things to do in Austrian Alps

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Austria  /  Austrian Alps

Top 15 things to do in Austrian Alps

1. Schloss Hellbrunn, Salzburg

Built as a summer day residence for Markus Sittikus (who was both a prince and an archbishop), Schloss Hellbrunn is famous for its trick fountains. The palace was built from 1613 to 1619 as a place of celebration. Sittikus designed the fountains and water-powered figures in the palace's park to entertain and confuse his guests. The trick fountains spray at seemingly random moments, so be prepared to get a little bit wet. Visit the grottos to see representations of Greek mythology, and watch the water-powered show of Perseus freeing Andromeda and Apollo flaying Marsyas. Walk through the palace to get a feel for how the prince and his noble guests celebrated. The park was designed as a show of contrasts of light and dark, fire and water.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $30 › Learn more about Schloss Hellbrunn

2. Fortress Hohensalzburg, Salzburg

Perched atop a hill overlooking Salzburg, Fortress Hohensalzburg bears witness to more than 900 years of Austrian history, demonstrating the supreme power of the archbishops. Construction of this massive fortress began in the 11th century at the request of Archbishop Gebhard I of Helffenstein. The project continued over the centuries, finishing in 1501. Visit the regency rooms, torture chamber, illuminated lower church, and the fortress museum. At an altitude of 506 m (1,660 ft), the watchtower provides views of Salzburg. Purchase the Fortress Card to take advantage of the funicular ride up the steep hill, and delve deeper into the fortress' history with an audio guide.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $38 › Learn more about Fortress Hohensalzburg

3. Mirabell Palace, Salzburg

Built as a token of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich's love for his mistress, Mirabell Palace is perhaps best known as the backdrop of "The Sound of Music." The former palace was built in 1606 and now houses the offices of the mayor and municipal council. The boxwood gardens contain mythology-themed statues from 1730, as well as four groups of sculptures representing the four elements. If you're a fan of "The Sound of Music," don't miss the horse fountain, where the von Trapp children sang "Do-Re-Mi." A stroll through the gardens will jog many memories from the film.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $30 › Learn more about Mirabell Palace

4. The Original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg

Likely to sell out FROM $66
The hills are alive with The Original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg. Enjoy a day trip visiting the breathtaking landscapes and locations where the famous musical, 'The Sound of Music,' was filmed. The English-speaking guide not only shows you the highlights of the film, but also the historical and architectural landmarks in the city, as well as a part of the picturesque lake district.
Suggested duration: 4h
Tours from $66 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Salzburg Cathedral, Salzburg

The site of religious worship for centuries, Salzburg Cathedral still contains the same baptismal font in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized. The Baroque cathedral as it stands today was rebuilt in the 17th century, but a church had existed in this same spot since 774. Inside, visit the cathedral museum to see religious treasures, such as the Cross of St. Rupert and the Sacred Dove. Continue to the Cabinet of Curiosities for an exhibit of natural objects and artwork. This exhibit connects to the Long Gallery of St. Peter's Abbey, a 70 m (230 ft) corridor lined with paintings.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $9 › Learn more about Salzburg Cathedral

6. Mozarts Geburtshaus, Salzburg

Learn about the details of Mozart's childhood and his relationship with his family at Mozarts Geburtshaus. Exhibited instruments, documents, portraits, and family letters reveal his passionate interest in music--opera in particular. Start from the birth room on the third floor, where Mozart came into the world on January 27, 1756. Do not miss such rarities as his childhood violin or the clavichord upon which he composed "The Magic Flute." See the striking unfinished portrait of the composer that his brother-in-law painted two years before Mozart's death. Breathe in the atmosphere of the age on the first floor among original furniture from that time.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $7 › Learn more about Mozarts Geburtshaus

7. Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Heiligenblut

Explore the mountains and glaciers on Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria's highest surfaced mountain pass, totaling 48 km (30 mi) and reaching heights of 2,504 m (8,215 ft). Connecting Bruck and Heiligenblut and crossing Hohe Tauern National Park, this alpine road will take you through forests and meadows, over cliffs, and into the world of eternal ice. Take time to see some of the numerous waterfalls, and stop at panorama overlooks to snap a few photos. You'll have a chance to hike a range of different nature trails along the way. Two tourist centers with informative displays are available at the site.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
Tours from $632 › Learn more about Grossglockner High Alpine Road

8. Skip-the-Line: Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden Tour from Salzburg

FROM $99
Visit Kehlsteinhaus, better known as the Eagle’s Nest, on a half-day tour from Salzburg. Journey through the spectacular scenery of Königsee River Valley and the Bavarian Alps to Obersalzberg, and then continue to the clifftop Eagle’s Nest by shuttle bus and elevator. After bypassing the crowds with a skip-the-line ticket, tour Hitler’s former retreat with a knowledgeable guide, and soak up the alpine views before returning to Salzburg.
Suggested duration: 4h 30min
Tours from $99 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Swarovski Kristallwelten, Wattens

Enter Swarovski Kristallwelten, an underground museum, through a hole in the hillside and step inside a massive crystalline theater. This attraction was created in 1995 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Swarovski crystal company. Designed by multimedia artist Andre Heller, the crystal museum encompasses art, music, dance, and literature into one overwhelming experience. "The Giant," a face landscaped on the hillside with crystals for eyes and a water fountain for a mouth, greets you as you approach the entrance of the museum.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Tours from $143 › Learn more about Swarovski Kristallwelten

10. The Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), Innsbruck

At The Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), imagine how the Austrian emperor and his wife sat on the porch and watched tournaments on the square below. The symbol of the city, it overlooks the main street of Altstadt. The name of the place stems from the 2,738 fire-gilded copper tiles covering the roof. Emperor Maximilian I commissioned the three-story balcony to celebrate his marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza. Learn about Austrian history from the reliefs and murals depicting scenes of the emperor's life. Eight sculpted reliefs covering the second-floor balustrade illustrate how aristocrats amused themselves. Look for a flanking relief depicting the acrobatic and grotesque dancing of Moorish origin.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $6 › Learn more about The Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl)

11. Untersberg, Salzburg

Straddling the border between Germany and Austria, the summit of Untersberg offers spectacular views of Salzburg far below. The tabletop mountain has six different peaks with elevations ranging from 1,805 m (5,922 ft) to 1,973 m (6,473 ft). Take the cable car to 1,320 m (4,331 ft), or hike the well-marked trails to summit the mountain. Protected as a nature preserve, the mountain provides opportunities for outdoors activities, such as climbing and hiking. Follow the Nature-Quiz-Path to learn more about wildlife, mushrooms, minerals, and trees. Visit the ice cave at 1,570 m (5,151 ft), but dress warmly, as temperatures are below zero year-round.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $99 › Learn more about Untersberg

12. Salzburg Super Saver: Original Sound of Music and Salt Mines Day Trip

FROM $132
Salzburg Super Saver combines two half-day trips into one memorable day offering great value for money. Start the morning with a tour through the Bavarian mountains and visit the 450-year old Salt Mines before spending the afternoon discovering the film locations of the Sound of Music. The perfect choice if your time in Salzburg is limited.
Suggested duration: 8h
Tours from $132 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Salzburger Altstadt, Salzburg

Surrounded by Monchsberg fortress and with the Salzach River winding its way through this World Heritage Site, Salzburger Altstadt represents an architectural mix of buildings. The river splits the town into two halves connected by a series of bridges. The left bank of the Salzach, where Roman buildings once stood, is older. Most of the core is pedestrian-only, so enjoy a stroll through the historic town's many narrow streets. The city wears its history on its streets, with buildings from the Middle Ages, Romanesque, Baroque, and Renaissance periods. Visit the fountain in Residence Square, the city's most famous square, and Mozart Square, a hometown tribute to the classical music legend.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $70 › Learn more about Salzburger Altstadt

14. Hangar-7, Salzburg

Marvel at the collection of 25 historical airplanes, helicopters, motors, and Formula One racing cars at Hangar-7. The "Flying Bulls", an association of pilots and mechanics, founded this multifunctional building in 1999. Have a coffee at the lounge next to a P-38 Lightning--Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's service airplane. Watch the sunset reflected in the wings of the Mitchell B-25 from the café. Dine at Ikarus--a Michelin-starred restaurant. You'll also see two BO 105s--the world's only civil helicopter licensed for aerobatics.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $6 › Learn more about Hangar-7

15. Original Sound of Music Private Tour

FROM $549
Trace the footsteps of Maria and the Von Trapps on this 4-hour original 'Sound of Music' tour from Salzburg. Traveling by minivan, witness some of the musical’s filming locations, including the Mirabell Gardens, the lakefront Schloss Leopoldskron that served as the Von Trapp home, and more. Plus, visit the Salzkammergut region to see the incredible lake-and-mountain scenery of the opening titles. Upgrade to include a 1-hour apple strudel cooking class and tastings in a quaint Alpine hut after your tour. Receive the personalized attention of a driver-guide on this private tour.
Suggested duration: 4h
Tours from $549 › More about this tour at viator.com ›