When people think of Austria they probably think of something like the opening scene of the Sound of Music! As well as the fresh mountain air and romantic scenery, the European country also is home to cultural cities.
As Austria’s capital, Vienna is perhaps the city most associated with Austrian life, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Vienna is buzzing with excitement – street theatre, ballets, operas, musicals, art galleries and shows make it a dynamic and lively city to visit. But this modern flavour doesn’t take anything away from the tradition that still resounds through this splendid city. There are several imperial palaces, some stunning museums that proudly overlook majestic squares and of course, the Hofburg, once the impressive home of the Habsburg rulers. This fusion of fast-paced modern living and serene historical architecture make Vienna a truly spectacular city.
Some of the spectacular places a must visit.
The Saint Michael Wing of the Hofburg Palace Complex is the most photographed area of the Complex as it lies along the Michaelplatz area and eventually leads to the Graben Pedestrian Shopping Street and Kolmarkt Shopping Area as well. The Hofburg was the residence of the Habsburg dynasty for over 600 years. They reigned from the 13th century onwards from rulers of Austria to Roman empire then to Austria again at here.
Today it is the official residence of the country’s president. The building has been much developed, renovated , reconstructed and generally sustained with over the centuries.
The most recent additions to the complex were built including the Michaelertrakt - a wing with a monumental gate, the Michaelertor - and the Neue Burg (New Castle), an enormous wing with a curved facade, facing Heldenplatz.
Schönbrunn Palace with its surrounding buildings and the huge park is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Austria. The castle was built to rival French Versailles in Baroque beauty and importance but House Habsburg lacked funds to outdo its rivalling nation France.
Today the giant 1,441 room palace has 40 rooms available to visit with a paid guided tour and pristine grounds that can be seen for free. Inside the rooms had been renovated to look like Maria Theresa and Sissi. Our favorite places to see are the Small Gallery where the WWII Bomb crashed through, but didn’t explode.
Schonbrunn Palace Sculpture
The Gloriette, a shelter perched high up on a hill which was built as a war memorial and now used as a cafe where you can recover after the climb to the top. The Gloriette is crowned with a mighty eagle perched on top a globe. Part of the east wing was destroyed by a bomb in 1945, but was rebuilt after the war.
A magnificent palace was built its a vast collections of fine art that the Habsburgs had obtained throughout the centuries. These masterpieces together gives a curious insight into a politically almighty and prudishly catholic family that ruled half the western world in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Inside
The Upper Belvedere features the world's largest Klimt collection, with the golden paintings "The Kiss" and "Judith" as the highlights. Masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka, as well as works of French Impressionism and the Vienna Biedermeier era round out the exhibition.
The Belvedere was Prince Eugene’s summer home, but during the winter season, he had chosen to reside at his Winter Palace in town. In October 2013, which marked Prince Eugene’s 350th birthday, the state rooms in his winter residence have been assigned officially opened as fourth exhibition venue of the Belvedere. The beautiful Baroque interiors now showcase the collections of the Belvedere as well as contemporary works of national and international artists.
Belvedere The Kiss
Hallstatt Lake is mentioned as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Austria. This small scenic town overlooks the serene waters of the Hallstatt lake. As well as offering you the chance to indulge in adventure sports like climbing, hiking and boating, there are some fascinating places to visit that make this area particularly interesting.
The Beinhaus (bone house) displays stacks of human remains that were taken there due to the shortage of grave spaces. Although it sounds morbid the experience is very different, there is something very beautiful and humbling about visiting the Beinhaus. The ice caves and salt caves are also worth visiting, and are truly spectacular.
Salzburg is definitely the place for music fans. It also celebrates its accolade as Mozart’s birthplace by allowing visitors into the home where Mozart was born and running exhibitions in the space. Salzburg may be home to Mozart and all things baroque, but for an astounding 70% of overseas visitors The Sound of Music remains the primary reason for travel to the city with tour companies all over the city offering their own version of the Sound of Music tour. Also brimming with exceptional galleries, museums, a rich array of restaurants and a diverse selection of shopping opportunities ranging from farmer’s markets to upmarket stores the city always seems to live up to visitors expectations.
Over 900 years old, Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of the biggest castles in all of Europe. It was built on a rock 400 feet above Salzach River. The fort was never attacked and remains one of the mightiest castle in Europe.
Hohensalzburg Fortress has been used as a prison, residence, and fortress.
Inside are museums including the "World of Marionettes," the "Burgmuseum" featuring a collection of medieval art and the Rainermuseum where armor and arms can be seen.
Hohensalzburg Fortress Inside
Hohensalzburg Fortress Cannon
Visitors originally came to Hellbrunn for excursions, hunts and elegant receptions. Today they come for meetings, seminars and glamorous social events. And perhaps the reason that the palace has become a popular venue for international events is that it was built for that very purpose almost 400 years ago!
One of the favourite attractions is the famous Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains! The
Hellbrunn trick fountains (also known as Wasserspiele in German) have been the main attraction at Hellbrunn Palace.
It was the keen sense of humour by Markus Sittikus who had the bright idea of designing a series of “water games” in order to play a few practical jokes on his dinner guests.
Hellbrunn-tricky fountain dining table
One of the favourite attractions is the famous Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains! The Hellbrunn trick fountains (also known as Wasserspiele in German) have been the main attraction at Hellbrunn Palace.
Hellbrunn fountain crown
The crown fountain is also another highlight of the tour! The crown is a symbol of political power and of money. This is by far one of the coolest fountains to see on the tour!
The snow-topped mountains and tall colorful buildings of Innsbruck make it a postcard-worthy alpine destination. Perfect for those who love to hit the slopes, it has a number of well managed ski resorts and excellent winter sports facilities. Other sites on interest include Ambras Castle, the Folk Art Museum and the Court Church. There are some very trendy hip bars at the center of a thriving night life. Serenity has its place too, with the gentle carriage rides and the luxurious thermal spa.
This fabulous castle is located in the hill above Innsbruck, and it's one of the most important sights of Innsbruck.
In 1563 at the time of Archduke Ferdinand II, he ordered two Italian architects to make the medieval fortress a Renaissance castle for his wife.
There is only one chamber that can be seen in its original place, the chamber of art and curiosities. In this chamber are stored precious objects, scientific, and toys.
Ambras Castle Inside
Inside Ambras Castle
Alpbach has been voted the most beautiful village in Austria and it’s not difficult to see why. The sweet village is nestled in between a cluster of majestic snow-capped mountains and allows access to the perfect ski slopes while maintaining a strong alpine tradition. Alpbach is full of picturesque wooden farm houses, fields of cattle and locals skilled in traditional crafts. If you fancy a taste of how Austria used to be and enjoying the experience of time standing still then Alpbach is the place for you.
Many consider it to be the most impressive medieval castle in Austria, and with good reason. It stands proudly on top of a 160 metre high Dolomite rock formation, making it look like something out of a fairy tale. Between Easter and the end of October each year visitors are allowed inside certain parts of the castle. Tourists can walk along the 620 metre pathway through 14 intriguing fortified gates before they reach the stunning façade of the castle.
Today Hochosterwitz is owned by the heirs Khevenhiiller, but in the summer months here and tourists are allowed to visit. Within the walls of this ancient structure of a unique collection of ancient weapons and rare paintings of the Renaissance.
Faaker See is an alpine lake in the Austrian state of Carinthia. Its the state’s fifth largest lake and one of the most beautiful – famed for its glorious clear azure water. Popular with locals and tourists alike here you can bath, fish, go boating or just kick back and enjoy the beautiful Austrian scenery.