If you mention Austria, most people will picture the iconic image of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. An overlooked fact about Austria is that it’s a largely seasonal country, meaning its charm and appeal changes with the weather. We’ve picked our five favourite places to visit in Austria, all of which can be easily reached from the U.K.
What makes Vienna a great place to visit in winter? Over 20 Christmas markets, clear blue skies with just the right amount of crisp snow.
What makes Vienna a great place to visit in summer? Great bars and cafes along the Danube, food and film festivals.
What’s Vienna great for? Coffee! Pure Living Bakery is delicious, affordable and homey.
With a very comfortable summer climate, there’s no danger of exhausting heat whilst cafe and bar-hopping along the Danube in the nation’s capital. Culture vultures should look no further than ‘MuseumsQuartier’ – one of the largest cultural complexes in the world where 18th and 19th-century buildings go hand in hand with modern architecture.
Set aside some time to indulge in seasonal goodies at the many festive markets – including the famous bratwurst, punsch and of course, glühwein!
What makes Graz a great place to visit in winter? Skating and sledding on Hilmteich lake, the ‘Ice Crib’, a giant advent calendar!
What makes Graz a great place to visit in summer? Spectacular views from the Schlossberg hill, a historical UNESCO World Heritage certified old town, guided culinary walking tours.
What’s Graz great for? History. Any visitor could get lost while wandering through the beautiful old town.
Austria’s second city has no shortage of things to do in both summer and winter. As the country’s ‘first and only capital of culinary delights’, the guided culinary tours offered from July to October are highly recommended.
In the winter, be sure to check out the ‘Ice Crib’, a nativity scene carved from ice. While the town hall becomes a giant projection of an advent calendar throughout the month of December. If it gets a little too cold then a flaming blend of wine and rum, also known as ‘feuerzangenbowle’, should be the perfect winter warm-up!
What makes Innsbruck a great place to visit in winter? Winter sports and more winter sports! Eight ski resorts, an Olympic bobsleigh track and stunning illuminated toboggan night runs.
What makes Innsbruck a great place to visit in summer? A free hiking programme, a range of cycling routes and plenty of lakes and public pools for swimming.
What’s Innsbruck great for? The views! Whatever time of the year you go, Innsbruck is simply picture perfect.
Surrounded by the picture-perfect Alps, Innsbruck is a haven for outdoor activities. Take advantage of the free hiking scheme in summer, with fully trained guides to pass on the best insider knowledge and show you panoramas that’ll leave you speechless.
As the host of two Winter Olympics, Innsbruck knows a thing or two about winter sports. However for travellers seeking something a little more romantic than skiing and snowboarding, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow is also an option!
What makes Salzburg a great place to visit in winter? Several ski resorts with great public transport access, Mozart Week (in January and February).
What makes Salzburg a great place to visit in summer? Tours of The Sound of Music filming locations, the Salzbach riverbank, the world’s biggest discovered ice caves, Hohensalzburg Castle.
What’s Salzburg great for? The food. Salzburg has more restaurants per person than any other European city.
It may be the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for The Sound of Music, but there’s plenty more than that to keep visitors occupied in Salzburg. The Salzach river is a beautiful place for a bike ride, while the catacombs at St. Peter’s Cemetery have an intriguing air of mystery about them.
If you’re a winter lover visiting in the summer then fear not! You can get your fix at ‘The World of Ice Giants’ – the biggest ice caves known to man (open from May to October).
What makes Linz a great place to visit in winter? The festive party cruise along the Danube, a selection of lively Christmas markets for adults and children alike.
What makes Linz a great place to visit in summer? A wide array of open-air cultural events, a variety of Danube cruises.
What’s Linz great for? This city is packed with activities, from bike riding to a river cruise, your trip will be packed!
With its prominent art and culture scene, there’s a lot to love about Linz. The summer sees a range of open air events, including the popular ‘KlangWolke’ music and light show in September. If you visit in July then be sure to check out the rather unique ‘Pflasterspektake’ festival, where over 500 clowns, acrobats and other street performers descend on the city.
The winter sees a number of traditional Christmas markets open around the city, and a festive party cruise on the Danube is a guaranteed way to get you in the spirit!
We’re sure you’ll agree that Austria really is a wondrous place, and the best thing is that there’s always more to explore throughout the year!
Ready to start planning your trip? Discover everything about travelling in Austria with GoEuro, and if you have any more great suggestions about visiting Austria be sure to leave us a comment below.