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23 Most Beautiful Places in Austria – A Local’s Guide

Are you looking for the most beautiful places in Austria? Then you are not alone. 

Austria is a stunning country in Central Europe, full of scenic mountains, picturesque vineyards, and some of the most beautiful cities in the world. However, there are quite a few hidden gems in Austria that only locals know about. 

Lucky for you, I lived the first 27 years of my life in Austria. To help you make the most out of your vacation, I have created this ultimate guide featuring the 23 most beautiful places to visit in Austria. When you’re finished, I think you will agree this European country is worth visiting!

23 Beautiful Places in Austria Recommended by a Local - Kids Are A Trip

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Best Places to Visit in Austria

1. Hallstatt

Hallstatt is the picture-perfect village that has become a major tourist attraction in the last 20 years. This is not a hidden gem – it is one of the most famous beautiful places in Austria – for good reason.

Hallstatt is a dreamy village stuck between a lake and impressive mountains in Austria’s Salzkammergut region. 

Hallstatt Austria most beautiful places to visit

It’s famous for its charming wooden houses from medieval times, salt mines, and stunning views of Lake Hallstatt. Especially in winter, Hallstatt is scenic with its snow-covered roofs and Christmas markets.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site needs to be on everyone’s Austria Bucket List. 

2. Grüner See in Tragöß

Grüner See, or Green Lake, in Tragöss, Styria is one of the largest natural wonders in Austria. 

In spring, snowmelt fills the lake and gives it an amazing emerald-green color. The lake is nestled between impressive mountains, which create a gorgeous backdrop.

Gruener See

This is a popular destination for diving because the water is incredibly clear. You can swim down for about 150 feet, and sometimes you can even see the park benches underwater that get flooded every year.

Sadly, swimming is not allowed to protect its unique ecosystem. However, it is a great place for a walk.

3. Wachau Valley 

The Wachau Valley is a stretch of land along the Danube River. It is located between the stunning towns of Melk and Krems. 

The Wachau Valley is famous for its vineyards, cute villages, and medieval ruins. And, of course, it is one of Austria’s most beloved wine regions.

Also, they harvest many apricots every year, which is somewhat of a local treasure. The most beautiful time to visit is when the apricot trees bloom in spring. 

You can take a river cruise or bike along the Danube for some stunning views. 

The region is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it’s a big deal in terms of history and culture.

4. Olpererhütte

Olpererhütte is a mountain hut in Austria’s Zillertal Alps, and it’s become a big deal on Instagram. 

Why? There’s a super photogenic suspension bridge near the hut, with the surrounding mountains making for an Insta-perfect background. 

It is one of the most beautiful places in Austria that people hike up to for those idyllic pictures.

5. Zell am See

Zell am See is a famous Austrian resort town in Austria’s Salzburg state.

It is a great alternative to the busy town of Hallstatt because it is also surrounded by mountains and a beautiful lake, Lake Zell.

Zell am See is a hot spot for outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and boating. There are also some stunning slopes in the area.

Zell am see Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Austria

The town also has a cute pedestrian zone filled with cafes and shops, perfect for a stroll.

If you are into wellness, make sure to check out the famous Austrian Tauern Spa in Kaprun near Zell am See.

Whether it’s winter or summer, Zell am See is always stunning. Personally, I found it best in the winter months. 

6. Bad Gastein

Bad Gastein is one of the most beautiful places in Austria. It is famous because it is a mixture of spa town and mountain getaway. 

Located high up in the Austrian Alps, Bad Gastein is known for its thermal baths and stunning architecture. It also has great historical significance as it dates to Imperial times in Austria.

The most beautiful spot is a waterfall right in the center of town. 

Bad Gastein is pretty luxe, so it’s a great spot for luxury travelers. But it is also close to ski slopes, so winter sports fans will love it as well.

7. Vienna State Opera

Vienna is home to stunning baroque architecture that includes Schönbrunn Palace and Belvedere Palace, but it also has one of the world’s leading opera houses – The Vienna State Opera.

It is located right in the Vienna city center. The best way to photograph it from the outside is by climbing up the stairs of the Albertina Museum. This offers epic panoramic views of the city as well.

Vienna Opera House

The Vienna State Opera is super famous for its top-notch performances, but also for the once-a-year Opera Ball with lots of famous celebrities attending. Visit Vienna in winter if you want to see some celebrities.

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The building itself is a stunner inside and out. If you love grand architecture and lavish interiors – the Opera is the place to be in Vienna.

8. Graz

Graz is Austria’s second-largest city, and it has a great mix of modern and historic vibes. 

The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, especially the medieval old town’s main square.

Graz is packed with cute squares and cobblestone streets, and a famous clocktower on a hill. Make sure to walk up there for epic views. 

Graz Austria clock tower

Graz also has a young, artsy feel thanks to its universities (I should know, I studied there). 

The best time to go to Graz is either during the famous Aufsteirern festival (kind of like Octoberfest) or during the Christmas market season. 

9. Styrian Wine Road

The Styrian Wine Road is one of my favorite places in Austria. It is a dream route for wine lovers in southern Austria. 

Everyone will enjoy this scenic drive through rolling hills dotted with vineyards. Try tasting local wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Schilcher in cute family-run wineries that offer tastings.

Of course, the views are Insta-worthy, make sure to check out Herzerlstraße for that.

If all that driving makes you tired, there are famous thermal spas in the region with amazing water with healing qualities.

Lastly, you need to eat in a traditional restaurant, called Buschenschank, to have the best experience.

10. Krimml Waterfalls

The Krimml Waterfalls are a must-see in Austria, especially if you’re into nature and photography. They are located within Hohe Tauern National Park in the heart of the Alps. This national park has majestic mountains, dense forests, alpine meadows, and glacial lakes. Other nearby highlights include Grossglockner, the country’s highest mountain, and the stunning Grossglockner High Alpine Road.

The Krimml waterfalls are famous for being the tallest in Europe, going down over 1,200 feet and three stages. 

You can hike up close, but you might get some spray-in-your-face moments. Or just admire them from a distance. 

Either way, they’re a jaw-dropping sight and one of the most beautiful places in Austria.

11. Wörthersee

Wörthersee is a stunning lake in Carinthia, in southern Austria.

The lake is famous for water sports, relaxation, and picturesque towns along the coast. 

The lake’s turquoise water is quite famous, especially because its water quality is super high and great for swimming.

Klagenfurt Wörthersee Austria

The area around the lake is famous for its villas and pretty towns like Velden, where you can live it up in style.

If you want a bird’s eye view, make sure to hike up the Pyramidenkogel for some stunning vistas. 

12. Salzburg

Salzburg is like a postcard come to life and one of the prettiest places in Austria.

It is also a popular tourist destination since it is the birthplace of Mozart and was the set for “The Sound of Music.” 

The city’s historic Old Town is packed with cool buildings, especially in the famous Getreidegasse. 

Make sure to also check the massive fortress overlooking the city, called Hohensalzburg Fortress.

While the city has much to offer, you can pretty much see Salzburg in one day.

13. Alpbach

Alpbach has often been called Austria’s most beautiful village. 

The cute small town has a rule that all the houses must be built in traditional Tyrolean style. That’s the main reason why it looks so charming. 

In winter, Alpbach turns into a ski paradise with slopes for all levels. Summer is all about hiking and mountain biking. 

Every year, there is a cool event called the Alpbach Forum. That is a bit of a convention for intellectuals to talk about various topics. 

14. Grossarl Valley 

The Grossarl Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Austria. It is part of the Alps and is perfect for nature lovers. 

It’s super pretty with mountains, forests, and streams. People go there for hiking, skiing, and just enjoying nature. 

It’s also known for its cozy alpine huts where you can grab a bite or a glass of ice-cold Austrian beer.

15. Sankt Gilgen 

St. Gilgen is a small but lovely town in Austria, right by Wolfgangsee Lake. 

It’s super scenic and a popular spot for boat rides and water sports in the summer months and for Christmas markets in the winter.

Saint Gilgen Austria buildings

The town is also famous for its ties to Mozart. His mom was born there. 

Other cute towns on Lake Wolfgang are Strobl and the famous St. Wolfgang, with the White Horse Inn (Romantik Hotel Im Weissen Rössl).

16. Fuschl am See

Fuschlsee is another stunning lake in Austria, and it is not far from Wolfgangsee we just talked about. 

It’s super popular for swimming and hiking because it is so scenic.

Also, the Red Bull global headquarters are located in Fuschl am See, the town by the lake. You can take a tour or look at all the historic airplanes. 

17. Red Bull Ring

Speaking of Red Bull, you also need to check out the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg when looking for the most beautiful places in Austria. This is also where I grew up.

Red Bull Ring Austria

The Red Bull Ring is a racetrack in Spielberg, Austria. It’s a big deal in the motorsport world, hosting events like Formula 1 and DTM every year. 

Not only race fans will love exploring the area. Red Bull renovated several castles and spas in the area and turned them into luxe restaurants and hotels.

18. Seeschloss Ort in Gmunden

Gmunden is another beautiful town in Austria, right on the edge of Lake Traunsee.

It is famous for a cool castle called Schloss Ort, which is actually on a little island in the middle of the lake. It has one of the most scenic Christmas markets in Austria.

The town is also known for its ceramics. Buy some traditional Gmundner plates and mugs as a lovely souvenir.

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19. Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt

Eisenstadt is the capital of Burgenland, one of Austria’s states. It is super close to Vienna, and it has some of the most beautiful spots in Austria.

Eisenstadt is mainly famous for its Esterházy Palace. That is a big, fancy castle where the composer Joseph Haydn used to work.

The city itself is also pretty nice and it has a rich history and some great wineries nearby.

20. Tyrolean Alps 

The Tyrolean Alps are in the western part of Austria and are mostly famous for their picture-perfect peaks. 

These Alpine peaks are also made for skiing, snowboarding, and après ski. 

tyrol mountain hut

In the summer, it’s all about hiking and mountain biking in Tyrol. It is also the perfect spot for a road trip through Austria, as you’ll get some stunning views.

The area’s got cute and fancy villages like Kitzbühel. There you’ll find luxury hotels and boutiques and one of the best European ski resorts for families

21. Dachstein

Dachstein is a famous mountain in the Austrian Alps, and it is a great spot to visit year-round. It is a huge destination for rock climbing enthusiasts and travelers can opt for a guided tour if they are inexperienced.

The Dachstein Glacier is a highlight of course, because it offers year-round skiing. 

Dachstein view

Non-skiers will also love a visit there. One of the coolest things there is the Skywalk, a platform with amazingly good views. And the Dachstein Giant Ice Caves are always worth a visit.

NOTE: The Dachstein Cable Car Mountain Station is currently closed until May 2024 while improvements are being made.

22. Leopoldsteiner See

Leopoldsteiner See is a lake in Styria, Austria. It’s surrounded by forests and mountains, which makes it one of the prettiest places in Austria.

Unlike the other lakes, you can’t really go for a swim. It is great for nature walks, photography, and boating. 

It is usually very quiet, so this is definitely a bit of a hidden gem in Austria.

On your way there, you’ll most likely pass by the Erzberg, a quarry for ore that looks super spectacular. 

23. Swarovski Kristallwelten

Swarovski Kristallwelten is a crystal wonderland in Wattens, Austria. As the name implies, it is one of the most impressive places in Austria.

Kristallwelten is not just a shop; it’s more like a theme park for crystal lovers. 

There’s art, gardens, and some stunning sculptures. It is a bit far off the beaten track, but it is definitely worth the drive. 

FAQ: Most Beautiful Places in Austria

What is the Best Time to Go to Austria?

Honestly, there is no bad time to go to Austria. Every season has something different to offer. 

As a local, I would recommend going in winter, as it is the most beautiful and the Christmas markets are everywhere. 

Spring is also a great time to visit, as there are fewer tourists, and it is pretty quiet. It is also a lot cheaper than in summer. It might rain from time to time, so consider that in your planning.

Summer is definitely the peak tourist season in Austria. This means you can swim in the lakes and the Danube, but it is also busy and expensive. It might also get really hot. 

Fall is scenic and beautiful, with fall foliage all over the place. You might have a higher chance of rain, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. 

How to Get Around Austria?

Getting around Austria is pretty easy if you know how. You have a ton of options.

The best option is to grab a rental car at the airport. This gives you the freedom to explore, especially the countryside. Just watch out for mountain roads, and driving in winter can be a bit of a hassle if you are not used to it. 

Salzburg with a view of the fortress
Salzburg

Trains are also super comfy and they go almost everywhere. They are great for long distances and especially travel between the bigger cities. Taking a day trip from Vienna to Hallstatt or Salzburg is super easy.

Some cities like Vienna, Salzburg, or Graz are bike-friendly. There are also cool bike paths in the countryside and in the mountains for mountain bikers. You will still need a car to get from place to place though, as Austria is pretty big. 

What is the most attractive place in Austria?

Hallstatt is the most attractive place in Austria, nestled between a stunning lake and impressive mountains.

Famous for its charming wooden houses and the iconic church by the water, it’s a magnet for photographers and Instagrammers alike. Whether it’s the boat rides on the lake or the trip down the ancient salt mines, Hallstatt has a lot to offer.

Why is Austria so beautiful?

Austria is so beautiful because it’s got a bit of everything: the majestic Alps, crystal clear blue lakes, and charming towns. Whether you’re skiing in Tyrol or sipping wine in South Styria, the natural beauty of Austria is off the charts.

Add some historic castles, sweet locals, and cozy alpine cottages, and you’ve got a country that’s beautiful from every angle.

Conclusion: Most Beautiful Places in Austria

In the end, Austria is like a treasure chest full of jaw-dropping places. 

From the cute little towns around Wolfgangsee to the stunning heights of the Dachstein mountain, this small country packs a powerful punch. And even though we didn’t go into detail, don’t forget about Hallstatt, Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Vienna. 

Whether you’re visiting Lake Traunsee in Gmunden or exploring the crystal park at Swarovski Kristallwelten, there’s something for everyone in Austria. 

About the author: Sabrina is a Netherlands-based travel blogger and content creator. She aims to create slow-paced and authentic itineraries for many destinations worldwide. Her goal is to help people explore more while doing less.