Austria is known for many things; the birthplace of musical genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, gorgeous mountains, breathtaking lakes and rolling countryside. Austria is also a country of sophisticated tastes and elegant architecture.
Yet for some reason, Austria is often overlooked by travelers heading to Europe. The BBC, in fact, called it one of the five most underrated countries that you absolutely need to visit. Intrigued? You should be. Winter, spring, summer or fall, there is much to do in Austria and in its cosmopolitan capital, Vienna, and an escorted vacation with Globus will help you to see it all with ease.
While an experienced Globus guide will take you through many places, we know part of the vacation fun is anticipating what you might see.
Here are a few of our favorite Austrian spots.
Salzburg is one of the most famous cities in Austria for many good reasons. Here’s a bit of what you can look forward to while here:
The BBC called it one of the five most underrated countries that you absolutely need to visit.
Innsbruck, the picturesque capital of the state of Tyrol, has hosted the Olympic Winter Games not once, but twice — in 1964 and 1976. Not surprisingly, Innsbruck makes an excellent getaway for winter sports lovers.
It’s home to Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck, which includes nine resorts and 170 miles of runs. But Innsbruck is not just a winter destination. During warmer weather, visitors can go hiking, horseback riding, or cycling through the beautiful alpine landscape.
Golfing is also a popular activity in this region. If your itinerary includes Innsbruck, make sure to stroll through its Old Town city center, which dates back 800 years.
Keep an eye out for Innsbruck’s most famous landmark, the Golden Roof or Goldernes Dachl. The roof sits atop a three-story balcony and is covered with more than 2,600 gold-plated copper shingles. Because this balcony overlooks the town square where many activities were held, it once served as the royal viewing box for Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until 1519.
Do you love mountains? Then you’ll definitely love Austria. Approximately 60 percent of this country’s territory is mountainous. And one of the best ways to get an idea of the sheer height of Austria’s towering mountains is to check out the Stairway to Nothingness.
Opened in 2013, this attraction consists of 14 steps leading down to a glass viewing platform that juts out from a cliff, 1,300 feet above the ground. Needless to say, the Stairway to Nothingness, which is located at the Dachstein Glacier Resort in the Austrian Alps, is not for anyone with a fear of heights.
Vienna is the largest city in Austria and also its capital, which means it’s a city blessed with many interesting and historic sights. One of Vienna’s can’t-miss attractions is the magnificent Schonbrunn Palace. This 1,441-room Baroque palace once served as the residence of the Habsburg emperors. While visiting this palace, make sure to also take the time to explore its beautiful gardens and Tiergarten Schonbrunn. Founded in 1752, Tiergarten Schonbrunn is the oldest zoo in the world.
Then there is the Hofburg. This former imperial palace was once the seat of power for the Habsburgs who ruled Austria until the end of World War II. Today, this 18-wing palace is the official residence of the Federal President of Austria. Spread over approximately 59 acres, this huge complex is the site of a number of interesting attractions, including but not limited to the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, the Silver Collection and the Spanish Riding School.
While in Vienna, you’ll also want to visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This church, one of Vienna’s most well-known landmarks, has a rich and interesting history. St. Stephen’s Cathedral is where both Mozart and composer Joseph Haydn were married, and it was also where the funerals of Franz Joseph I, the emperor of Austria, and Otto von Habsburg, the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, were held. The cathedral’s South Tower also offers one of the best views of Vienna. This view, though, does come with a price — a climb of 343 steps.
And, finally, don’t leave Austria without visiting a Wurstelstand, or sausage stand. Found on just about every corner in Vienna, these stands sell a variety of sausages, including bratwurst, weisswurst and the local favorite kasekrainer, which is similar to a bratwurst, but is filled with cheese.