You can visit Austria's cities on a 10-day round trip, or spread your stay across individual city breaks, for which we would recommend at least 2 nights each. The easiest way to cover all cities in one trip would be by road, and we give you a recommended itinerary for your journey below.
Arrival airport: Vienna
Departure airport: Zurich or Memmingen
Suggested duration: 10 days
Highlights along the way: Sipping coffee in Vienna, following Haydn's footsteps in Eisenstadt, dinner in Gourmet Graz, the obligatory Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg, heading up into the Alps from Innsbruck, enjoying a performance on the Lake Constance floating stage at the Bregenz Festival.
Vienna has been honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site twice, for its historic town centre and for the Baroque Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens. The Vienna of today owes its abundance of opulent buildings and cultural treasures to its former role as the official imperial residence. You will witness a unique blend of architectural styles, from the striking Gothic St. Stephen's Cathedral at the heart of the city, to the exquisite Baroque architecture of the Hofburg. Then there is the monumental architecture of the Ringstrasse which includes the Parliament Building and State Opera House. After you have visited the sights, sit back and soak up the famous coffee culture or enjoy some retail therapy at the markets and along the shopping streets. In summer you can cool down with a refreshing dip in one of the bathing lakes, then in winter you can lose yourself in the magical atmosphere of the Christmas Markets. Whatever the season, come evening it's time to end your day at an authentic heurige or wine cellar with a glass of Viennese Wine.www.wien.info
In 1997, the Baroque old town of Salzburg was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An architectural treasuretrove, the old town's quaint, narrow streets unite the many magnificent churches and palaces into a single historical work of art which you could spend hours exploring. Architectural delights include the splendid Baroque palaces of Mirabell and Hellbrunn, the Salzburg Cathedral, and the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress, situated high above the town. Make sure you plan a stop at the famous Getreidegasse, where you will find the birthplace of classical music composer Mozart. If you enjoy music and culture, then you will delight in Salzburg's rich programme. At the top of the list for summer visits, the fabulous Salzburg Festival. And no matter what time of year, Salzburg's tributes to its beloved Sound of Music.www.salzburg.info
It was the fascinating combination of architecture that prompted UNESCO to declare Graz and its historic town centre a World Heritage Site. From Gothic and Renaissance, through Baroque and Historicism, to more modern forms. The town, characterized by a Mediterranean flair, boasts a wonderful medieval square and the Schlossberg, a hill that juts out from the heart of the city and houses the landmark Clock Tower. Also worth visiting are the Cathedral, Emperor Ferdinand II's Mausoleum and the Landhaus. Combine your stay in Graz with a visit to one of its popular festivals such as the Steirischer Herbst, or simply use your time here to find out why the city is also known as Gourmet Graz!www.visitgraz.com
Even as you draw near to Innsbruck, the picturesque beauty of the city against the mountain backdrop has already begun to work its magic. Admire Ambras Castle and the Golden Roof, treasures of the Renaissance. Stand in silent contemplation in the Imperial Palace, or just enjoy the charming streets and passageways. Sports enthusiasts will love the Bergisel Ski Jump with its 47 metres high café and fantastic view over the town, and they can also get more active with Innsbruck's free Mountain Experiences programme.www.innsbruck.info
The Landstrasse runs through the heart of Linz, past narrow, idyllic lanes and through the attractive Baroque main square. It's an outstanding shopping street with international flavour. Just a few steps away is the Mariendom, Austria's largest and second tallest church. The banks of the Danube, however, are quite different, scoring points for their modern architecture. On one bank the Ars Electronica invites you to explore the world of multi-media experiments, and on the other the Lentos Museum opens the doors to 19th and 20th century art. Whatever your itinerary, in between explorations you must find the time to sit down and watch the world go by with a delicious slice of Linzer Torte.www.linztourismus.at
Klagenfurt is nestled on the scenic banks of the Wörthersee, one of the most popular bathing lakes in Carinthia, and has been honoured many times for its historic town centre, culture and sights. The arcaded walkways, passages and courtyards are now home to boutiques, bars and beer gardens, which couple with the Mediterranean climate and give the city its unique feel. Klagenfurt's emblem, the stone figure of the Lindwurm on Neuer Platz, acts as a reminder of the legend surrounding the city's beginnings. Also worth seeing are the 16th century cathedral, the Diocese Museum and Minimundus, where miniature models of 150 of the world's most beautiful buildings have been built true-to-scale.www.visitklagenfurt.at
The ancient Romans settled in Bregenz more than 2000 years ago. Today, the townscape is fashioned around its medieval town centre and the Baroque St. Martins Tower with its imposing onion dome. Nevertheless, Bregenz is also a mecca for modern architecture, and the Kunsthaus Bregenz (Art Gallery) on the shores of Lake Constance is possibly the most impressive example. The lake also plays host to the annual Bregenz Festival, which has established itself as a cherished cultural attraction amongst music lovers throughout the world with its extraordinary floating stage.www.bodensee-vorarlberg.com
Those who venture to Eisenstadt, the capital of Austria's easternmost province of Burgenland, will discover that there is one musician present at every turn: Joseph Haydn. From 1761, Haydn was bandmaster to the Esterházy court for 40 years. Esterházy Palace is a major attraction with its stately halls that host numerous concerts. There is also the International Haydn Festival which is equally renowned. What's more, you can enjoy some of the best Austrian wine in Eisenstadt, with plenty of vineyards and 'Heurigen' nearby.www.eisenstadt-tourismus.at
The youngest provincial capital - that of Lower Austria - boasts a long historical tradition. Its municipal charter goes back to the 12th century, but St. Pölten really experienced its heyday in the 17th century. It possesses several delightful old town squares - the Herrenplatz, Rathausplatz and Riemerplatz - adorned with beautiful Baroque and Jugendstil facades. The town hall, the Romanesque cathedral and the one-time Jugendstil synagogue are also well worth a visit. Take a look at the modern architecture of the Government Quarter and Cultural District in contrast, the Festival Hall in particular.www.st-poelten.gv.at
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