Graz with Kunsthaus and Murinsel

Austrian National Tourist Office / Wolfgang Weinhäupl

A Tour of Austria's Regional Capitals

Discover Austria's regional capitals, from Bregenz in the west to Salzburg and Vienna to Eisenstadt in the east.

Austrian cities are always good for a surprise, even if one visits them regularly. A tour of the country’s cultural sights promises an astounding variety of experiences, impressions, and pleasures that could scarcely be more different from each other.

 

1. Vienna

Vienna can boast two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the historic city centre, and the Baroque ensemble of Schönbrunn Palace and its grounds. One can find art treasures and magnificent buildings all over the former imperial capital. The most important “cabinet of art” in the world, the Kunstkammer in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, takes visitors back in time to the Renaissance and Baroque "Kunst- und Wunderkammer" (chambers of arts and natural wonders) of the Habsburgs.

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2. St. Pölten (Lower Austria)

Austria’s youngest provincial capital, St. Pölten, can look back on a long history, with its town charter dating back to the twelfth century. One of the most striking features of the capital of Lower Austria today is its hypermodern government district. Directly adjacent is the equally modern cultural district with its futuristic Festspielhaus, where world-renowned musicians and dance companies perform regularly.

 

3. Linz (Upper Austria)

Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, is remarkable for the coexistence of traditional and contemporary architecture. This city, situated directly on the banks of the Danube, succeeds in blending art, science, and technology to create an impressive synthesis. A host of modern buildings, such as the Ars Electronica Center, provide a stimulating contrast to the Baroque city centre. The Lentos Kunstmuseum and the new music theatre are two other outstanding modern buildings and popular attractions for visitors to the city.

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4. Salzburg (SalzburgerLand)

The Baroque city centre of Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace and home to the famous Salzburg Festival, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The cityscape is marked by numerous churches and palaces, as well as the Baroque palaces of Mirabell and Hellbrunn. Salzburg Cathedral and the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress are other architectural highlights. And visitors to Salzburg should not leave without taking some of the city’s sweetest souvenirs with them: the original Salzburg Mozartkugel.

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5. Innsbruck (Tirol)

What makes Innsbruck unique is more than just its extraordinary location, surrounded by towering Alpine peaks. The Tirolean capital also features such world-famous sights as the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), the art treasures in the Renaissance Ambras Castle, and the Court Church (Hofkirche). The city has its share of modern structures too, including the Hungerburgbahn funicular railway and Bergisel Ski Jump, both designed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid.

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6. Bregenz (Vorarlberg)

The history of Bregenz began as early as two thousand years ago, when a Roman settlement was located here. Today the main feature of the town centre is the medieval St. Martin’s Tower, crowned by a sixteenth-century, onion-shaped dome. The shoreline of Lake Constance is dotted with impressive, modern buildings that represent a harmonious addition to the townscape: the Festspielhaus, the Kunsthaus, and the new “vorarlberg museum”, which opened its doors in 2013.

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7. Klagenfurt (Carinthia)

It is the Carinthian capital’s Baroque and Jugendstil façades, lovely arcaded courtyards, and narrow passageways that lend the picturesque historic district of Klagenfurt its Mediterranean charm. The Jugendstil-era Stadttheater is not only the southernmost theatre in the German-speaking world, but also an architectural gem of extraordinary elegance.

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8. Graz (Styria)

Graz, Austria’s second-largest city, is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the old town, as the largest medieval historic district in all of Europe, and Eggenberg Palace. In 2011 the Styrian capital was also designated as a “UNESCO City of Design”, placing it among the world’s most creative and future-oriented cities. Architectural examples of this are the Kunsthaus Graz and the Murinsel.

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9. Eisenstadt (Burgenland)

In Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland, the visitor will encounter one name again and again: Joseph Haydn. The composer spent over forty years as music director in the service of the Esterházy Princes. Esterházy Palace, the city’s landmark, is the venue for concerts by world-class artists throughout the year. The scenic area surrounding the city is also well worth exploring: it is marked by extensive vineyards and features numerous wineries.

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A tour of Austria's cities

 

  • Discover the city of Klagenfurt Austria

    Discover the city of Klagenfurt Austria

    Austrian National Tourist Office / Julius Silver
  • Salzburg

    Salzburg

    Tourismus Salzburg GmbH / Popp-Hackner
  • Blick vom Kapuzinerberg, Salzburg

    Blick vom Kapuzinerberg, Salzburg

    Tourismus Salzburg GmbH
  • The Bregenz Festival

    The Bregenz Festival

    Austrian National Tourist Office / Popp-Hackner
  • Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna

    Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna

    Wien Tourismus / Peter Rigaud
  • Museum of Fine Arts Vienna

    Museum of Fine Arts Vienna

    Austrian National Tourist Office / Peter Burgstaller
  • City view of St. Poelten

    City view of St. Poelten

    Austrian National Tourist Office / Popp-Hackner
    St. Poelten
  • Lentos Art Museum in Linz at Night

    Lentos Art Museum in Linz at Night

    Linz Tourismus / Robert Josipovic