Austria is a German-speaking country in the center of Europe and is one of its most popular tourist destinations. The capital city, Vienna, is home to numerous palaces and historic buildings which have turned it into one of the most-visited cities in the world.
The landscape of Austria is dominated by the eastern section of the Alps Mountain Range, especially in the western and central parts of the country. These elements make this relatively small country the perfect place to enjoy cultural and adventurous holidays.
Without further ado, let’s check out some of the best things to do In Austria and learn amazing and interesting facts about this country’s most popular tourist attractions.
1. Vienna State Opera
The Vienna State Opera is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world. It was the first structure to be completed on the new ring road of Vienna and was completed between 1861 and 1869, even though most parts were rebuilt following serious damage at the end of World War II.
The opera house features a magnificent auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,709 and 567 additional standing places. It is home to the Vienna Philharmonic which is considered to be one of the most renowned orchestras in the world.
This particular opera house is also one of the busiest in the world as it’s the venue of about 350 yearly performances, organized by over 1,000 employees. This means that it will be hard to miss out on a performance in case you are in the city and book tickets in advance.
Official website: Wiener Staatsoper
2. Schönbrunn Palace
The Schönbrunn Palace is arguably one of the most amazing palaces in Europe, and that surely means something. This enormous structure was the summer residence of the Habsburg Rulers and its history dates back to a mansion on this location in the 16th century.
Multiple additions were made to the palace over the centuries, eventually culminating in an astounding 1,441 rooms designed in the exuberant Rococo architectural style, and an immense garden that features an enthralling gloriette on top of a 60 meter (200 feet) high hill.
Today, the palace is Austria’s most popular tourist attraction with nearly 4 million yearly visitors. It’s a complex of multiple venues such as the Tiergarten Schönbrunn the Vienna Zoo), Palmenhaus, Wüstenhaus, and the Wagenburg. It’s also the venue of The Schönbrunn Palace Concerts.
Official website: Schoenbrunn.at
3. Melk Abbey
One of the most magnificent monasteries in the world can be found in Melk, a city in the Lower Austria state of the country. This Benedictine monastery stands majestically on a rock that overlooks the Danube River near the Wachau Valley.
The history of this monastery dates back to its foundation in the 11th century as a castle on this location was donated to the local monks. The current version of the monastery was built between 1702 and 1736 and is renowned for its magnificent Baroque interior design.
This magnificent landmark in the Austrian landscape was seriously damaged by fire in 1974 which resulted in a renovation project that lasted between 1978 and 1995. This way, we can still admire this amazing attraction in all its glory today.
Official website: Stift Melk
4. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is commonly known as the “Stephansdom” and is the main church and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. The original structure on this location was built between 1137 and 1160 and continuously expanded until the early 16th century.
This means that the most important religious building in the city of Vienna combines both elements of the Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles. This in combination with its multi-colored tile roof makes this one of the most amazing churches that you’ll ever come across.
Both the exterior and the interior of the church have been completely renovated in the previous decades as well. This returned this amazing structure to the way it looked hundreds of years ago, making it a must-see landmark in Austria.
Official website: Stephansdom Wien
5. Krimml Waterfalls
The Krimml Waterfalls is an astounding feat of nature as the water tumbles a total of 380 meters (1,247 feet) down the edge of a mountainside. This makes this amazing waterfall the highest in all of Austria.
This astounding spectacle is located near the town of Krimml and is located on the Krimmler Ache river. It’s part of a much larger national park known as the High Tauern National Park in Salzburg state in the central part of the country.
Tourism in this region has been booming for well over a century, especially after the Austrian Alpine Club improved the existing pathway back in 1879 to make it possible for visitors to hike all the way to the top of the waterfall, an amazing adventure to experience indeed!
Official website: Wasserfaele Krimml
6. The Hofburg
While Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence of the Habsburg Rulers, the Hofburg was both their official residence and winter residence. This enormous Baroque palace complex was originally built in the 13th century and continuously expanded the following centuries. It’s located right in the heart of Austria’s capital and faces a square called the “Heldenplatz” which translates to “Heroes Square.”
The original version of this palace was basically a medieval castle and that’s why its name translates to “Castle of the Court.” Today, it serves a similar purpose because since 1946 it has been the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria, the head of state of the Austrian Republic.
Part of the palace also serves as a museum that documents the entire history of Austria. Apart from the living quarters of the Habsburg rulers, we can also find the imperial chapel (Hofkapelle or Burgkapelle), the imperial library (Hofbibliothek), the treasury (Schatzkammer), the Burgtheater, the Spanish Riding School (Hofreitschule), and the imperial mews in this enormous complex.
Official website: Sisi Museum