Your Austria Bucket List: How Many of These 10 Things Have You Done?

    Have you ever bathed in a waterfall or slept in an Alpine hut? These are your top 10 Austrian things to do before you die!

    Austria boasts more than 700 waterfalls, some of them among the highest in Europe. On your hike through a forest, perhaps you'll come across a creek. As you follow it up into the mountains, it cascades over rocks, forming a small waterfall. Time for a quick dip!

    Where to experience a refreshing waterfall:

    • Krimml Waterfalls: With a grand total of 381 metres (1,250 ft) in cumulative height, these are Austria's tallest waterfalls. While it's not allowed to take an actual bath in the cascade, the 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) hiking path around the falls lets you bathe in the falls' fine mist.
    • Gastein Waterfalls: The water falls about 340 metres (1,115 ft) downwards over three levels right into the centre of the town of Bad Gastein, which was built around the waterfalls. The best way to experience the healing powers of the Gastein waterfalls is a visit to the “Felsentherme”, a thermal bath supplied by some 18 hot springs. And yes, you can take a shower under a waterfall right there.
    • Stuiben Waterfalls: The rushing waters of Horlachbach Creek cascade 159 metres (522 ft) over cliffs, weather-scarred rocks and moss-covered boulders. It's Tirol's tallest waterfall and can be explored along a new complex of trails and viewing platforms. For those who really want to get close to the waters, there is a via ferrata fixed-rope climbing route, rated easy to intermediate.
    • Jungfernsprung Waterfalls: Located in the Hohe Tauern National Park, these falls crash over 130 metres (427 ft) down into the valley. In early summer the waterfall can be very powerful - the best time for a visit. 

    Vienna's coffeehouses are absolutely iconic: Sit in one of the cosy booths or at a small marble table in a Thonet armchair as a waiter in a fancy black suit serves you a "melange" coffee and a piece of the famous Sachertorte. Pick your favourite newspaper from a separate table and while away the hours reading and people-watching.

    Where to experience true Viennese coffeehouse culture:

    Learn more about Austria's coffeehouse culture

    There are few experiences like watching the morning sun rise over a mountaintop. The air is crisp and fresh, you see the shadow of the peak in front of you against the dark-blue sky. The colours change into a lighter blue and a thin line of orange and pink splits the horizon. The air is getting slightly warmer and the peaks around you look like they're being set on fire, glowing in orange and red. And then there is this mountain hut, where freshly-brewed coffee is waiting for you.

    Where to see the sun rise: 

    • Mondspitze in Vorarlberg (1,967 m) – guided sunrise hike with optional breakfast
    • Nockspitze in Tirol (2,404 m) – the hike takes around 2.5 hours; difficulty: sure footed, not particularly difficult; breakfast on descent at the Panoramic Restaurant on Hoadl (2,340 m)
    • Zugspitze in Tirol (2,962 m) – take the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn cable car up to the top for a mountain breakfast.
    • Draugstein in SalzburgerLand (2,356 m) – tour takes about 6 hours; difficulty: expert mountaineering route, alpine experience required; breakfast on descent at the Filzmoosalm (1,710 m)
    • Dachstein (2,995 m) – various hiking options for all levels; to make it to the summit, climbing experience is necessary. Have breakfast at the Glacier Restaurant.

    It is the most classic of Austrian dishes: the Wiener Schnitzel. Enveloped in a crust of crispy breadcrumbs and served with either potato salad, mixed salad or fries, sometimes with parsley potatoes or rice, the dish's roots are actually found in Venice. It came to Austria in the mid-18th century and has since been perfected - if we say so ourselves.  

    The best places to have schnitzel and a beer: 

    What more could you want from a holiday in the Austrian Alps than to wake up at sunrise, open the shutters, and admire a beautiful mountain scenery right at your doorstep?

    There are countless mountain huts to rent in the Austrian mountains. You can go for self-catered or choose one of many inns that offer accommodation in rooms or apartments.

    Discover where to sleep in a mountain hut:

    When you first set foot in Vienna's State Opera, you might be temporarily stunned by the grandeur of it all. It's not just the splendid architecture; it's also the feeling to be close to greats like Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Richard Strauss. But you won't be intimidated for long. Soon, you'll bask in your surroundings and simply be immersed in some of the best musical performances in the world.

    Where to hear classical music in the most beautiful surroundings:

    Some of Austria's 236 swimming lakes are surrounded by vineyards, some by lively forests, some by majestic mountains - take your pick. It's an experience like no other to jump into one of them on a perfect summer day, when sunrays dance over the water and you cannot decide if the lake looks more blue or green today.

    Where to go for a swim on a hot summer day: 

    • Weissensee lake in Carinthia: Located on the southern side of the Alps, offers clear, emerald water
    • Wolfgangsee lake in Upper Austria and SalzburgerLand: Surrounded by forests and mountains
    • Attersee lake in Upper Austria: Located in the heart of Austria's lake region, the unusally clear water enables a visibility of up to 25 metres
    • Achensee lake in Tirol: “Tirol's ocean” is located in the heart of the Alps and surrounded by a majestic mountain scenery
    • Neusiedler See in Burgenland: One of the few steppe lakes in Europe, surrounded by vast meadows and reeds and very close to some of the most famous vineyards in Austria
    • Lake Zell in SalzburgerLand: Amazingly clear waters with mountain and glacier views

    Austria's most beautiful swimming lakes

    It's the first run of the day: The morning sun warm on your face, the snow crunching under your ski boots, the slopes almost empty before you. It's time to go! And then later, your cheeks red from the icy air and the exertion, you sit down in a cosy hut with a sigh. That first sip of beer! That first bite of Kaiserschmarren! Heaven.

    Just a few of the best places to ski in Austria: 

    More top places to ski in Austria

    What happens when nature and humans create art together? Symmetrical flower parterres, water basins, tiers and steps, and trimmed hedges make the Belvedere's palace garden one of the most beautiful spots in Vienna. The main garden is located between the Lower and the Upper Belvedere and extends over three large terraces. The Privy Garden, former private garden of Prince Eugene, is located west of the Lower Belvedere and is divided into two terraces. The Sculpture Garden showcases works by internationally renowned artists. The Belvedere park is also home to the oldest Alpine garden in Europe, with one of the unique attractions being the rhododendron bushes. Another must-see: the collection of more than 100 Japanese bonsai.

    The Belvedere Gardens in Vienna

    • Palace Gardens open all year round (no dogs allowed) 
    • Privy Garden & Sculpture Garden admission only with valid museum ticket  
    • Alpine Garden open from late March to early August 
    • Botanical Garden open all year round (closed in bad weather) 

    At a “Heurigen” wine tavern, local winemakers serve their own wine during the growing season. During the harvest season in late summer or early fall, fresh grape juice (“Most”) as well as the fermented version (“Sturm”) can be enjoyed sitting in beautiful gardens surrounded by vineyards. Heurigen usually do not have set hours - instead, watch out for the symbolic pine twig, a sign that the Heuriger is open.  

    In addition to the crisp and fruity wines, enjoy cold snacks such as cheese platters or oversized slices of bread with various spreads or famous Viennese desserts like Apfelstrudel (apple strudel).  

    Where to find the best wine taverns: