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Austria Travel Guide

From prehistoric salt mines to Roman legionary forts, medieval monasteries to Imperial castles. From the lowlands to the Alps, Austria’s historic and cultural sites are as diverse as its landscape. A diversity seen in its UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites: prehistoric settlements next to alpine lakes and the historic cities of Vienna, Salzburg and Graz. Whether you enjoy city breaks and moseying around some of the world’s finest museums or hiking and cycling to ruined forts and castles spanning many centuries, this landlocked country will not disappoint. 

Reasons to Visit Austria

Amphitheatre Carnuntum
Roman Forts & Towns,
Vienna National Library

Baroque Art & Architecture,

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
Artists & Masterpieces,
Johann Strauss Vienna Stadtpark
… and Music & Mountains.

About Our Austria Travel Guide

Interesting Things to Know About Austria

Austria was ruled by the Hapsburg Dynasty from 1273 to 1918. Following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 the Republic of Austria was formed. This ended in 1933, with the rise of a fascist dictatorship. In 1938 Austria was annexed by Hitler, and it was not until 1955 did the country regain its independence as the Second Austrian Republic.
One of the most impressive Baroque palaces built by the Hapsburgs, the Hofburg, is home to the Austrian National Library. Formerly the Imperial Court Library, which was established in 1368. There are over 12 million items in the libraries collections, including a vast collections of items from the middles ages. Making this one of the most important libraries in the world. Collections are organised into five museums, each of which has permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Humans have been living in what is now Austria since the Palaeolithic. One of the most remarkable artefacts from this period is the so-called Venus of Willendorf, an 11 cm high statuette dated to around 25,000 years ago. Carved from limestone, the female figurine was recovered during archaeological excavations near the village of Willendorf and is now on display in the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
In 1683 for a second time the Ottomans failed to take Vienna. By this time, however, much of eastern and southern Austria was devastated as a result of conflict between the Hapsburgs and the Turks. To re-establish their power and authority, the Hapsburgs set about rebuilding the destroyed churches, monasteries and palaces. And they did so in a most opulent way, giving rise to an extraordinary Baroque heritage in Austria. Popular examples of this Baroque opulence include Schloss Schönbrunn, Schloss Belvedere and Melk Abbey.
An interesting historical fact abut Austria, particularly appealing to travellers and tourists, it was in Austria-Hungary that postcards were first used, in 1869. They were immediately popular and by 1870 postcards were being used as a form of quick communication in England.

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Travel Ideas & Inspiration

Five Popular Attractions in Austria

Carnuntum Heidentor
City and castle Hohensalzburg at sunset - Salzburg Austria
Hohensalzburg Fortress
Melk Abbey Austria
Melk Benedictine Abbey
Ossuary Hallstatt
Famous golden roof in Innsbruck Austria - architecture background
The Golden Roof

Archaeology & History Sites in Austria

Carnuntum Roman Town

In just over a century a small Legionary fort grew to become a provincial capital with around 50,000 inhabitants. Today the Carnuntum Archaeological Park covers some 10 km2, offering visitors a museum and several features typical of a Roman city: two amphitheatres, town houses, a striking triumphal monument.

Day Trip from Vienna to Austrian Alps & Hallstatt

The picturesque lakeside village of Hallstatt is known for its prehistoric salt mine and the ossuary or beinhaus in St. Michael’s Chapel. After an early start in Vienna and a journey through the Austrian Alps with a stop at the Baroque Admont Abbey, enjoy a guided walking tour of the historic town of Hallstatt. One your return to Vienna you will get to see the 11th-century Schloss Ort.

Guided Tour of St. Stephan's Cathedral in Vienna

Explore one of Vienna’s most well known landmarks on a two hour guided tour. The tour takes you to parts of the cathedral not accessible to casual visitors, where you will hear all sorts of myths and stories. You will see the catacombs as well as the attic and roof top. From here you will get unbeatable views over the city to the surrounding mountains.

Mauthausen Memorial

Mauthausen Memorial commemorates prisoners of the former Nazi concentration camp in the town of Mauthausen. The camp was at the centre of a network of over 40 subcamps throughout Austria and southern Germany. Set up soon after the Anschluss, over 190,000 people were imprisoned here of which about 90,000 were murdered. Opened as a memorial in 1975, today permanent exhibitions show how there was more to the camp than the obvious killing areas, such as the gas chambers and crematoria – which are still intact.


During excavations in 1990 at Michaelerplatz archaeologists uncovered the remains of Roman, medieval and later Vienna. In the circular island these remains have been left exposed in a rectangular trench that looks much like an archaeological excavation. The remains include those of a Roman legionary outpost that stood at a junction of Roman roads. Roads that linked Roman forts along the Danube. Panels and maps provide necessary information for visitors to make sense of what they are looking at.

Schloss Schönbrunn Roman Ruins

In the palace gardens of Schloss Schönbrunn are artificial Roman ruins, that are also known as the Carthage Ruins. The feature is made up of a rectangular pool, surrounded on three sides with a colonnade and a large arch. They are obviously Classical in character, and appear as if in a ruinous condition. Features like these are common in Baroque gardens. Built in 1778, the ruins were designed by Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg and modelled on the temple of Vespasian and Titus in Rome.

The Hofburg Palace

The Hofburg Palace in the centre of Vienna is the former imperial residence of the Hapsburg Dynasty. It is a complex of buildings, the earliest of which date to the 13th century. More recent additions are from the 19th and 20th centuries. Today part of the palace serves as the seat of Austria’s head of state, being used as both a residence and work place. A number of features of the imperial palace are now open to the public, including imperial apartments, the treasury and the Spanish Riding School.

Museums & Art Galleries in Austria

Albertina Museum

The museum is housed in a former palace that for around 100 years was the Vienna residence for Habsburg archdukes and archduchesses. Today it is one of the top fine arts museums in the world, with one of the largest collections of drawings and old masters prints. Besides permanent and temporary exhibitions of the art collections, visitors can also view the state rooms of the former palace.

Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance

Founded in 1963, the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance exists to provide information on topics related to National Socialism, persecution, resistance, the Holocaust, and right wing extremism. Besides an extensive archive, there are both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The permanent exhibition charts the rise of National Socialism, resistance and persecution in the Nazi era, as well how Nazism is dealt with post-war, and is the most detailed exhibition of its kind in Austria.

Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna - Dortheergasse

With both permanent and temporary exhibition the Jewish Museum in Vienna explores the history of the city’s Jewish community. There are two locations, the permanent exhibition at Dortheergasse is divided in two parts. The ground floor floor explores the story of the Jewish community in Vienna from 1945 to the present, while the exhibition on the first floor covers the story from the Middle Ages to the Shoah a period in which the Jewish community in Vienna became one of the largest in Europe.

Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna - Judenplatz

The Jewish Museum in Vienna explores the history of the Jewish community in the Austrian capital. The museum has two locations. With recent archaeological excavations and building history, the permanent exhibition at the Judenplatz branch tells the story of the first Jewish community with its synagogue in Vienna. A community that took root in the 13th century only to be expelled at the beginning of the 15th century. On the Judenplatz is the memorial to the Austrian Jewish victims of the Shoah.

Museum Lauriacum

One of the most modern museums in Austria, having been totally refurbished in 2018, the museum in the former town hall of Enns is dedicated to the history of Roman Lauriacum, as well as the nearby legionary camp of Albing. This was a legionary base and important town on the Limes Noricus, a part of the Danube Limes. Although the focus is on the legio II Italica, exhibits also showcase civilian life. State-of-the-art exhibits and the visitor experience have earned the museum a number of awards. Guided tours are also offered.

Popular Tours & Activities in Austria