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The Top 10 Destinations in Austria

#1 Vienna

Without question this is Austria's number one attraction. A city rich in culture and one that's more than any other in our coverage area retains an Old-World atmosphere. Its wide boulevards are lined with stupendous buildings, its narrow lanes sequester charming shops and restaurants, and its museums display old masters by the thousands. But above all, Vienna is a city of music. Its operas, symphonies, chamber orchestras, even its street musicians, are the worlds finest. It is also the best walking city in our three countries.

This is a must-see town if ever there was one. Two days is not enough and two weeks not too much.

Top Sights

  • Schönbrunn Palace
  • The Belvedere
  • The Hofburg and its Schatzkammer (treasury)
  • Kaisergruft (Capuchins Crypt)

Suggested Activities

  • Get J. Sydney Jones Viennawalks and follow the directions
  • Attend a performance at the Volksoper; it's less expensive than the Staatsoper with lighter and more familiar music
  • Stroll the Prater, the city's amusement park

Places to Stay

  • Hotel Römischer Kaiser Annagasse 16, A-1010, tel +43/01/512 77 51 0, fax 512 77 51 13
  • Altstadt Vienna Kirchengasse 41, tel. +43/01/522 6666-0, fax 523 4901, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Pension Aviano Marco d'Avianogasse 1, tel. +43/01/512 8330, fax 512 8330 6, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Food Suggestions

  • Zum Schwarzen Kameel, 1, Bognergasse 5, tel +43/01/533 8125
  • Restaurant Beograd, Schikanedergasse 7, tel. +43/01/587 7444
  • Café Diglas, 1. Wollzeile 10, tel. +43/01/512 57
  • Gösser Bierklinik, Steindlgasse 4, tel. +43/01/535 6897

#2 Salzburg

As surely as we know what the hills are alive with we know too what the streets of Austria's third-largest city are alive with tourists. Perhaps too beautiful for its own good, the town attracts armies of them. Nonetheless, Salzburg must be seen. The old town center is a glorious collection of palaces, churches, courtyards, and statuary, most of which were conceived and commissioned by a lecherous, ego-driven cleric, the Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, who fathered 15 children out of wedlock all with the same woman.

Salzburg is also the birthplace of Mozart and he is still a major presence.

Top Sights

  • Hohensalzburg fortress
  • The Dom (cathedral)
  • Mirabell Gardens
  • St. Peters Cemetery

Suggested Activities

  • Visit Wolf Dietrich's ostentatious tomb in the St. Sebastian cemetery (Mozart's wife and father are also buried in this cemetery)

Places to Stay

  • Altstadt Radisson SAS Judengasse 15, A-5020, tel. +43/0662/848 5710, fax 848 57 16,
    email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Hotel Jedermann Rupertgasse 25, A-5020, tel. +43/0662/873 2410, fax 873 2419, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Schloss Haunsperg Hammerstrasse 32, Oberalm Bei Hallein (outside of Salzburg), A-5411, tel. +43/06245/80 662, fax 85 680, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Food Suggestions

  • Lunch at Peterskeller (St.-Peter-Bezirk 1-4, tel. 0662/841-2680), Austria's oldest restaurant.
  • Dinner at Gasthof Auerhahn, Bahnhofstrasse 15, tel. +43/0662/451052, fax 451052-3.

#3 The Tyrol

If it hasn't stopped altogether, time has at least adopted a slower pace in this region of rugged mountains and alpine meadows. In both dress and custom, Tyroleans cling to the old ways. There is, for example, no hotel experience quite like a country hotel stay in the mountains of Tyrol, where the old customs of warm hospitality, traditionally dressed staff, gracious dining, and oversized, comfortable accommodations, recall the days of the Habsburg Empire. The region is full of charming old villages and resorts as well as some of the best mountain drives in our coverage area. Try, for example, the road from Reutte southeast through Lermoos, Ehrwald, Telfs, Msern, Seefeld, then north to the German border.

Best Towns

  • Ehrwald
  • Hall in Tirol, Igls
  • Lermoos
  • Mayrhofen
  • Neustift
  • Reutte
  • Schwaz
  • Seefeld
  • Stams

Suggested Activities

  • Country walks and drives
  • Visit the capital, Innsbruck, for a walk through the old town
  • Drive the Stubai Valley, just south of Innsbruck to roads end
  • Cross-country ski in Seefeld

Places to Stay

  • Hotel Jagdhof A-6167 Neustift, Tirol, tel. +43 052/26 2234, fax 2666 503, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Hotel St. Peter A-6100, Seefeld, tel. +43/5212/4555-0, fax 455545, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Food Suggestions

  • Take the half-board arrangement at your hotel.

#4 Graz

The Styrian capital is for those who require their European cities to come equipped with a fascinating old quarter, plenty of gorgeous buildings, narrow cobbled streets with hidden passageways and surprise courtyards, good restaurants, few tourists and moderate prices.

Top Sights

  • Zeughaus (Arsenal)
  • Landhaus
  • Mausoleum of Ferdinand II

Suggested Activities

  • Take a country drive to Piber, home of the Lippizaner stallions of Vienna's famed Spanish Riding School
  • Another pleasant auto excursion is to the Südsteirische Weinstrasse, about 25 miles south of Graz

Places to Stay

  • Hotel Erzherzog Johann Sackstrasse 3-5, A-8011, tel. +43/0316/811 616, fax 316 811 515,
    email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Food Suggestions

  • Kepler-Keller, Stempfergasse 6, tel. 0316/82-24-49
  • Horseradish soup at Hotel Erzherzog Johann

#5 Burgenland

This province of undulating vineyards and a huge, reed-ringed lake the Neusiedlersee is what rural European travel was 30 years ago; inexpensive and authentic. Last spring, we compared this region south of Vienna to a pair of European tourism icons, Provence and Tuscany. The three have much in common: a pastoral charm that appeals to overstressed Americans, miles of vineyards sprinkled with old wine villages, distinctive regional cuisine, and characteristic architecture. But when it comes to crowds and cost, the similarities end; a Burgenland visit will cost about half as much as a stay in Tuscany or Provence, and you'll seldom encounter another American tourist.

The wines of Burgenland, especially the white dessert wines, are just starting to be recognized among the worlds finest.

Best Towns

  • Rust
  • Mörbisch
  • Eisenstadt

Top Sights

  • Neusiedlersee
  • Schloss Esterhazy in Eisenstadt
  • Wine villages

Suggested Activities

  • Drive to the wine villages north and east of the Neusiedlersee, stopping to taste in the sales rooms of local producers
  • In Rust or Mörbisch, have a simple lunch in the garden of one of the many Heurigen (wine taverns).

Places to Stay

  • Gasthof Rusterhof, Rathausplatz 18, A-7071 Rust, tel. +43/02685/6416, fax 6416 11
  • Hotel Am Rathausplatz, Rathausplatz 7, A-7071, Burgenland, tel. +43/02685/6202, fax 6772

Food Suggestions

  • Restaurant Rusterhof (see above)

#6 The Wachau

Another of Austria's wine regions, the Wachau offers a beautiful drive past terraced vineyards along the Danube from Grein in the west to Krems at the eastern end.

Best Towns

  • Dürnstein
  • Grein
  • Krems
  • Melk
  • Weissenkirchen

Top Sights

  • Melks Benedictine Abbey with its fabulous church and library
  • Krems Wine Museum
  • Ruined castle at Dürnstein

Suggested Activities

  • Bike the flat path along the Danube
  • Hike up to Dürnsteins ruined castle where Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned
  • Walk Dürnsteins charming Hauptstrasse

Places to Stay

  • Hotel Richard Löwenherz, A-3601 Dürnstein, +43/02711 222, fax 222 13
  • Hotel Goldenes Kreuz, A-4360 Grein, tel. +43/07268/316, fax 3168

Food Suggestions

  • Stadt Melk, Hauptplatz 1, Melk, tel. +43/02752/524 75, fax 524 75-19

#7 Gasteiner Valley

Far off the beaten track for most American tourists, are Badgastein and Bad Hofgastein, in the Gasteiner Valley straight south of Salzburg. Though they are about as different as two Austrian towns can be, because of their proximity we are considering them together.

Badgastein reeks of another time the late 19th century when its pretty setting, hot springs and radon tunnels attracted Europe's royal families, especially the Habsburgs. Its situation, a few hundred feet above the valley floor, laid out along the curve of the valleys end, is especially appealing. The main street hugs the crescent-shaped hillside like a horseshoe and in the heart of town, slashing through the middle of that horseshoe, a roaring waterfall blasts it way wildly down the steep hillside. Continue on around the horseshoe and the road becomes Kaiser-Wilhelm Promenade, a wide, flat walking path that meanders past hotels, shops and crumbling Belle epoque buildings.

Though it lacks the faded, but genteel charm of its higher neighbor, Bad Hofgastein, on the valley floor is a less expensive but livelier alternative.

Top Sights

  • Kaiser Wilhelm Promenade

Suggested Activities

  • Walk the Kaiser Wilhelm Promenade to the Gasteiner Hohenweg and follow it along the flank of the mountain to Bad Hofgastein. Return by bus.

Places to Stay

  • Hotel Grüner Baum A-5640 Badgastein, tel. +42/06434/ 25 160, fax 25 16 25,
    email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Landhaus Gletschermühle Gletschermühlestrasse 7, A-5640 Badgastein, tel. +43/06434/20 970, fax 23 80 30.
    email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Food Suggestions

  • Villa Solitude, Kaiser Franz Josef Str. 16, Badgastein, A-5640, tel. + 43/06434/25 160, fax 25 16 25
  • Hotel-Café Austria, Bad Hofgastein, tel. 06432/6223

#8 Salzkammergut Lakes

Austria's region of lakes, just east of Salzburg, where seemingly every town has a see (pronounced zay) suffix, has long been a favorite for Sommerfrische, the old Austrian term for traditional extended summer vacations in the countryside.

The principal lakes are Fuschlsee, Mondsee, Attersee, St. Wolfgangsee and the Traunsee. In summer, they are crisscrossed by a variety of passenger craft while cog railways chug up mountainsides. There are also many back roads to explore and endless miles of walking paths.

Bad Ischl, though not on any of the lakes, is a famous spa and for many years the fashionable summer home of Emperor Franz Josef.

Other upscale resorts are St. Gilgen and Mondsee. Attersee is less expensive but still charming. Gmunden, at the northern tip of the Traunsee, is popular with artists and musicians

Best Towns

  • Attersee
  • Bad Ischl
  • Gmunden
  • Mondsee
  • St. Gilgen
  • St. Wolfgang

Suggested Activities

  • See Gustav Mahler's home in Steinbach and the Gustav Klimt house in Seewalchen. Both towns are on the Attersee
  • In Bad Ischl, see Emperor Franz-Josef's Imperial Villa and the villa of composer Franz Lehar.
  • In Attersee, board the Attersee-Schiffart for a lake tour including an onboard lunch or dinner the latter with live music.

Places to Stay

  • Hotel Seehof A-5311, Loibichl (near Mondsee), tel. +43/06232/5031, fax 503151,
    email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Hotel Attersee, Hauptstrasse 18, A-4864 Attersee, tel. +43/07666/7864, fax 7864 91

Food Suggestions

  • 1er Beisl Landungsplatz 6, Attersee, tel. +43/07666/7877

#9 Hallstatt

This tiny, unique village on the steep side of a Dachstein foothill above the waters of the solemn Hallsttersee, is traversed by one narrow road restricted to residents and delivery vehicles which is regulated by five-minute stoplights at each end of town. Its train station is on the lakes opposite shore. Hotels and food are simple and there is little nightlife.

Top Sights

  • Parish Church
  • Chapel of St. Michael and its charnel house packed with skulls and bones (occupants of the tiny cemetery are exhumed and moved to the charnel house after just a few years in the ground)
  • Heimatmuseum

Suggested Activities

  • Visit the local salt mines
  • Electric boat trip on the lake
  • Excursion to Dachstein Caves

Places to Stay

  • Haus Sarstein, A-4830 Hallstatt 83, tel. +43/06134/8217

Food Suggestions

  • Dine at your hotel.

#10 Lienz

A beautifully restored medieval city center, good weather, proximity to one of Europe's great mountain roads, and the influence of nearby Italy are this southern Austrian towns principal attractions.

Top Sights

  • Bruck Castle and its Museum of East Tyrol and Gothic Chapel
  • Parish church of St. André

Suggested Activities

  • On the way south to Lienz, drive the Grossglockner Road, which ascends to more than 8,000 feet
  • Have a picnic on the shores of Tristacher See, four kilometers south of the town
  • Visit Aguntum, a Roman settlement dating to the 1st century

Places to Stay

  • Romantik Hotel Traube Hauptplatz 14, A-9900 Lienz, tel. +43/04852/64444, fax: 64 1 84,
    email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Haidenhof Gasthof Hotel, Grafendorfer Strasse 12, A-9900 Lienz, tel. +43/04852/62440, fax 62440-6

Food Suggestions

  • Mammas, Hauptplatz 14, tel. +43/04852/644 44

(February 2002)