Austria is a multifaceted nation. It's colorful mix of old-world architecture, and religious, historic and military sites juxtaposed alongside unparalleled natural wonders – alpine valleys, snow-capped mountains, sapphire lakes – and modern, vibrant city life. The capital, Vienna, encapsulates Austria’s many personalities: classical music and choir performances, Gothic cathedrals and powerful military architecture peacefully existing alongside a youthful, modern culture and a burgeoning arts and nightlife scene. But don’t mistake Vienna for the nation’s only worthwhile destination. Make your visit to Austria as diverse as possible by taking in the rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes and mountain meadows in regions like the Danube Valley, the quaint ski resort towns in the eastern Alps, and the modern arts and architecture in cities like Linz and Salzburg. From unforgettable architecture and religious sites to the simple pleasures of the great outdoors, Travel + Leisure’s Austria travel guide will point you to the nation’s can’t-miss sights.
Things Not to Miss in Austria
• Skiing at alpine resort towns like Semmering, Bad Gastein, Zell am See and Heiligenbut • Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, in Vienna • The Schlosskonzerte, a stunning marble concert hall in Salzburg • The Cathedral Pummerin in Vienna • The Stift Melk abbey in Melk • The Ars Electronica museum in Linz • The Festung Hohensazlburg cliff-top military fortress in Salzburg
When to Go to Austria
Austria travel brings different pleasures with each season, from the snow-crested ski hills of winter to the warm temperatures of summer, perfect for sightseeing. Skiers will want to visit Austria in the winter months for freshly powdered slopes. Adrenaline junkies can also visit in the summer months for hiking trails, mountain biking and swimming in the lakes scattered throughout the mountains. If you travel to Austria in the summer months, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the nation’s many music festivals, most of which are held between May and October. Austria sees its warmest weather between April and October, and tourism peaks in July and August, while ski resort towns see their highest traffic between November and February.