Austria

Things to do in Austria

No matter what the season, it is impossible to run out of things to do in Austria, whether you’re looking for ski slopes to hit in the winter or powerful historical sights to visit in the summer. Austria is chock full of stunning cathedral architecture. Stephansdom (or St. Stephen’s Cathedral) in Vienna is a marvel of Gothic architecture both inside and out, with dazzling stained-glass windows and a tiled roof decorated with chevrons and Austrian eagles. Vienna’s Schloss Schönbrunn is another can’t-miss sight – guided tours of the palace will take you through the grand legacy of the Habsburg family as you tour 26 sumptuous and perfectly preserved rooms. If you’re wondering what to do in Salzburg, the Festung Hohensalzburg is a main attraction. This 900-year-old military fortress is a powerful reminder of the country’s former military prowess and offers sweeping views of the Salzach River and the mountains. Salzburg’s marble, stucco and frescoed Schlosskonzerte music hall is also an exquisite venue for chamber-music concerts.
Snow bunnies looking for things to do in Austria should take note of the abundance of ski slopes and resort towns available for a winter visit. Some of the best ski towns in Austria include Heilegenblut, a small village whose easily accessible mountains attract tourists in both winter and summer; Semmering, a favorite among Vienna residents that offers fabulous ski slopes in winter as well as a relaxing spa; Bad Gastein, known for its 19th-century feel, its first-class skiing as well as its year-round therapeutic spas; Zell am See, famous for the sapphire-blue Zeller See lake and its picturesque snow-capped peaks; and Innsbruck, where you can visit the late-medieval old town and Habsburg palaces when you’re not hitting the slopes.

This Neoclassical style palace-turned-art museum was built in 1744. Twenty-one Habsburg staterooms, such as the Hall of the Muses, are decorated with Albertina Gold, which is gold leaf made with a blend of gold, copper, and silver alloys.

What to Expect: Salzburg's Christkindlmarkt is one of Europe's oldest markets; there are documents from the 15th century describing the fine crafts being sold by elderly women in front of the Salzburg cathedral during Advent season.

The kaiser of kaiser rolls sells a tiny portion of his production at retail from his plant, squeezed between car dealerships on the outskirts of Tulln.

Founded in 1692 by court painter Peter Strudl (who would later become Baron of Austria), the Academy of Fine Arts remains one of Vienna's most prestigious schools. Over 900 students attend the academy, where they are immersed in a variety of art disciplines in a research-oriented environment.

Downtown, the Contemporary Art Tower, a World War II anti-aircraft tower with concrete walls thicker than most sidewalks, has been converted to a showroom for projects by James Turrell and Jenny Holzer, among others.

Few experiences rival the biweekly sledding night.

Olympic Pedigree: Dating back to the 1935 World Championships, the track in Igls also hosted the luge and bobsled competitions during both the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games.

 

The first in Vienna to offer wines by the glass (a Riedl glass, anyone?) this tiny yet groundbreaking wine bar is well known among locals and yet could easily be overlooked by the average passerby. Though tucked in a passageway near St.

Hajszan’s eponymous Heurige, a renovated grape-pressing house, has become one of the city’s hippest destinations.

A nearly 40-year-old bar that lures skiers with copious helpings of Jägermeister and rock ’n’ roll.

Founded in 2002 in Vienna's First District by Francesca von Habsburg and run by the fourth generation of art collectors in the prominent Habsburg-Lorraine family, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary is not a prototypical museum.