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Best things to do in Austria

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Austria

Top 15 things to do in Austria

1. Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

A former residence of the Habsburg monarchs, Schonbrunn Palace reflects centuries of imperial Austrian history. Emperor Leopold I commissioned the palace at the end of the 17th century, but it was not for another 50 years that the palace became a focal point of court life, playing host to many European statesmen. The gardens are landscaped according to Baroque standards, forming a unit with the palace, and remain almost unchanged since the 1700s. The grounds include the oldest zoo in the world, Schonbrunn Zoo, home to more than 700 species of animals. You can explore the 1,441-room palace by purchasing a ticket; you'll find many different ticket options, which vary according to how many rooms you want to visit. Whichever option you choose, you'll follow an audio guide through the Rococo-styled rooms, listening to the stories related to each.
Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
Tours from $12 › Learn more about Schonbrunn Palace

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. Belvedere Palace, Vienna

The former residence of Austrian Prince Eugene of Savoy, Belvedere Palace represents a historic complex housing important Austrian art. The two Baroque palaces, Upper and Lower Belvedere, are set in a park among decorative fountains and Baroque sculptures. Each palace is home to collections of expressionism, impressionism, contemporary art, medieval art, and Baroque art. The Upper Palace is best known for the Klimt Room, where you'll find an impressive exhibit of the works of Gustav Klimt, including "The Kiss." In addition to the two palaces, visit the orangery and the palace stables for an additional glimpse into Austrian art.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Tours from $17 › Learn more about Belvedere 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. St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

Intricate in design and architecture, St. Stephen's Cathedral is a cultural icon and symbol of Austrian identity. With a multicolored tile roof and tall Romanesque towers, it has become one of the most recognizable images of the city. Consecrated in 1147, the cathedral stands on the remains of former versions, which were destroyed by fire, siege, and World War II. The cathedral's repairs and rebuilding can be seen today in the mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Join a guided tour to learn more about the iconic building's history. Separate tours lead you through the main cathedral, the catacombs, the treasury, or up one of the towers for a view of Vienna from above. Choose an inclusive tour to see all of the parts of this site.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $11 › Learn more about St. Stephen's Cathedral

6. Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna

Located on the grounds of the majestic Schonbrunn Palace, Schönbrunn Zoo mixes rich history and the animal kingdom. Wander through this World Heritage Site for sightings of giant pandas, koalas, orangutans, tigers, penguins, and more.  Visit the Amazon rainforest, or catch a polar bear feeding in the polarium. The zoo, the oldest in the world, opened in 1752 as a menagerie. You'll find an interesting architectural mix here, with original buildings from the Baroque era mingling with modern zoo architecture.The zoo offers several themed tours, as well as the chance to customize a guided tour according to your personal interest, if you book in advance.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $5 › Learn more about Schönbrunn Zoo

7. 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

8. Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off - optional Guided Walking Tour, River Cruise & Night Tour

FROM $32
Vienna is famous for its imperial heritage, reflected throughout the beautiful city centre and its landmarks. See Vienna´s top highlights such as the famous Ring Street, Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, Hofburg Palace, St Stephan’s Cathedral, Parliament, Vienna State Opera and the Prater Amusement Park. Soak up 360-degree views of Vienna’s top sights with a 1 to 2-day Big Bus hop-on, hop-off Sightseeing tour on our unique double-decker buses. Pass Schönbrunn Palace, St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Belvedere, the Opera House, Museums Quarter and more. Enjoy your choice between a Classic, Premium, and Deluxe ticket, with access to 2 carefully planned routes, audio commentary on board, free WIFI, and one English guided city walk into the city center. Explore this beautiful city at your own pace and hop-on and off as often you want to explore and visit Vienna’s must see attractions.
Suggested duration: 1h 50min
Tours from $32 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Hofburg, Vienna

Once home to Vienna's monarchy, Hofburg gives a fascinating look into imperial life through a display of personal items of former Habsburg monarchs. Along with the historical museums, the palace--called the Vienna Hofburg--now houses the president of Austria and offices of the federal government. In the Imperial Apartments, you'll discover the apartments of Franz Joseph and his wife, Elisabeth. Visit the Imperial Silver Collection for a glimpse into the lavish lengths to which the monarchs went to entertain. You'll see about 7,000 relics of the imperial dining culture, such as exquisite kitchen linens, the imperial table, and ornate centerpieces. The Sisi Museum features more than 300 personal items of Empress Elisabeth. Through her parasols, beauty recipes, and death mask, you'll gain an understanding of this often-misunderstood monarch.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $32 › Learn more about Hofburg

10. 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

11. Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna

In a palatial building, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien exhibits the Habsburgs' extensive art collection, which was amassed over centuries. Designed by architect Gottfried Semper, the museum is mirrored by an identical building on the opposite side of the Ringstrasse, which houses the Naturhistorisches Museum. Discover works by artists like Vermeer and Rembrandt, as well as a large collection by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. An audio guide offers an in-depth exploration of close to 600 works in the museum, including commentary on the building itself. In addition to the masterpieces on display, the museum includes a reference library of more than 256,000 manuscripts, maps, and historical prints relating to art and cultural history.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $16 › Learn more about Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

12. Vienna City Center Small-Group Walking Tour

FROM $74
Vienna is home to a number of gorgeous landmarks, from the Hofburg Palace and Town Hall to the Austrian Parliament Building and St. Stephen's Cathedral. Discover these classical sights, as well as some of the city’s hidden gems, on this approximately 2,5-3 hour, walking tour. As you wander around the city center, your guide will regale you with stories about the city’s history, architecture, and the many famous residents who have called Vienna home.
Suggested duration: 2h 30min
Tours from $74 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Prater, Vienna

Best known for the Wurstelprater amusement park, Prater is a public park whose history dates back to 1162. The land passed through the hands of noble families for several centuries, until Emperor Joseph II opened the park to the public in 1766. Visit the Krieau, a horseracing track, and see Austria's largest stadium, Ernst Happel Stadium. The main pathway, known as Hauptallee, is closed to vehicles and lined by horse chestnut trees. Take a ride on the park's Ferris wheel or try out bumper cars, carousels, roller coasters, and ghost trains. The amusement park even features a Madame Tussauds wax works cabinet.
Suggested duration: 5h 30 min
Tours from $11 › Learn more about Prater

14. 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

15. Vienna's Highlights: Food, Coffee and Market Walking Experience

FROM $124
Get a thorough introduction to Vienna’s dynamic food and drink scene with a local showing you the best places to stop for all manner of sweet versus savoury. Walk through the Grätzls (neighbourhood) with your guide and discover their favourite, only locals know markets and get an insight into traditional Viennese coffee culture in some of our your guide’s most beloved coffee spots, discovering historic gems and locals only hotspots. 
Suggested duration: 6h
Tours from $124 › More about this tour at viator.com ›