Arrival airport: Salzburg
Departure airport: Vienna
Suggested duration: 8 days
Highlights along the way: St. Wolfgang and its famous backdrop, popular wedding location Lake Traunsee, the UNESCO World Heritage village of Hallstatt and the Wachau region with its mild climate and outstanding wines.
Like a 380km-long string of pearls, the Romantic Road connects the most beautiful landscapes of Austria, passing fantastic lakes and mountain panoramas, as well as especially worthwhile villages. Starting from Salzburg, the road leads you through the provinces of Upper Austria and Lower Austria to the capital Vienna, lifting the lid on a world of palaces, monasteries, castles and museums along the way.
In true romantic style, the road also takes you to some highly emotional and even fateful places. In Bad Ischl, for example, Emperor Franz Joseph got engaged to Empress Sisi, and years later he met her here for the last time before she was murdered. In the village of St. Wolfgang, directly on the shores of the popular Lake Wolfgang, you can find the backdrop of a famous Austrian operetta that also served as setting for various film adoptions.
Several bathing lakes along the road that winds through Salzkammergut radiate a unique romantic atmosphere. Lake Traunsee is popular for wedding celebrations, especially at Seeschloss Ort Castle, located on an idyllic island and hosting weddings that only be found in fairytales. The Salzkammergut, known as the Austrian Lake District, is in fact said to be one of the most beautiful areas in Austria, with breathtaking mountain scenery and deep blue lakes. The charming village of Hallstatt located on Lake Hallstatt is even a member of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Apart from picturesque scenery, the Romantic Road passes numerous cultural highlights. The mark of the Romans can be found here as they built camps that gave the names to today’s cities of Wels and Enns. At some important and significant places in the area, the Augustinians and Benedictines founded impressive monasteries to demonstrate their power. The monasteries St. Florian, Kremsmünster and Stift Göttweig can be visited and are remaining evidence of these earlier times. Once it reaches the Danube, the road gets to one of Europe’s most beautiful river valleys – the Wachau. Here, at the so-called Schlögener Schlinge, the river takes an almost 360° turn and mystic ruins and castles which are dotted along the valley provide the romantic atmosphere.
The final stop on your tour along Austria’s Romantic Road, which should take you about 8 days in total, is Vienna. The capital of Austria is bubbling with temptations. It begins with sweet treats at Demel and ends with an unbelievably charming walk around the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, the residence of former emperors. By the end of your trip you will understand the saying from the Habsburg era: “Others may wage war, you lucky Austria get married!”