If you’re travelling to Vienna, and want to visit Schonbrunn Palace, one of the city’s top sights, here are some fun Schonbrunn Palace facts you might want to know. Some might say the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa was a battle axe. Then again, she abolished serfdom, ruled Austria, Hungary and Bohemia for 40 years (1740 […]
Things to do in Austria
Planning an Austrian adventure? Here are a few travel ideas and some of the top things to do in Austria.
Why visit Austria?
Sometimes I think Austria is too pretty to actually exist. Luckily for us, it does, and travelling here is a scenic cultural experience that you won't soon forget. (Unless, of course, you have a terrible memory, then look on the bright side, you can travel here again and again.) Without further ado, here are some fun and fabulous things to do in Austria.
I've tried to include some of the tried and true sights as well as some offbeat favourites of mine.
Vienna - Follow the trail of the Empress Sisi
A 19th-century Lady Di, the beautiful Empress Elizabeth of Austria was a cult superstar in her time, and in many ways, she still is. Unhappily, her life was tragic and marred by fame. Following Sisi's footsteps in Vienna can give you a backdoor glimpse into aristocratic Austria, and was one of my favourite things to do in Austria.
Near Vienna - relax in the weird and wonderful world of Rogner Bad Blumau
If you love the imaginative architecture of Gaudi in Spain and you love spas, a stay at the wonderfully eccentric Rogner Bad Blumau Spa might make a great excursion from Vienna. Designed by the (now deceased) Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Bad Blumau is a visual playground of domes, curves and colours. Add to this a philosophy of life in harmony with nature, abundant thermal water springs, sultry swimming pools and state-of-the-art spa treatments, and you've got yourself an unusual indulgence.
Salzburg - All things Mozart
Salzburg is Mozart's home town and the city makes the most of the connection. And why not? Between Mozart chocolates (I'm totally addicted), Mozart Week in the winter and the annual Salzburg Festival - a five-week celebration of operatic music every summer - there are plenty of places to celebrate all things musical and Mozart. (Despite the fact that Mozart himself looked down on it, saying "Salzburg is no place for my talent.") Even if you're not overly fond of classical music, you might be convinced after visiting two Mozart museums in Saltzburg: the very groovy Mozart's Residence and Mozart's Birthplace, the Geburtshaus.
Salzburg and surrounds - Take a Sound of Music tour
An oldie but goodie. Whether you want to visit the Sound of Music sights such as the horse fountain on the Residenz Square, the Mozartsteg footbridge across the River Salzach or the Mirabell Gardens for yourself or take an organized Sound of Music tour to sights farther afield such as Schloss Leopoldskron or the lakeside resort of Mondsee, I can't think of a more fun way to explore Salzburg and the stunning landscape around it.
Explore the world's largest ice cave in Werfen
From May to October, step into Werfen’s “World of Ice Giants” on a guided tour. This first section of this 42 km cave system is a magical ice land of bizarre formations, twisted passages, icicles and glittering galleries like the aptly-named 'Diamond Kingdom.'
Take a trip into the Renaissance in Graz
Graz is a bit of a sleeper Austrian city in the mountainous state of Styria, a city that surprised me with its evocative Renaissance core, Italianate feel and mind-blowing Armoury featuring a whopping (like 32,000) exhibits of armour of the Middle Ages.
Visit the largest monastery library in the world
A Baroque beauty, Admont Monastery Library was built in 1776, although the Benedictine Admont Monastery itself dates back to 1074. The library, which holds some 70,000 volumes, is a lavish bit of architecture with gilt-tipped pillars, curved walls and cherub laden frescoes by Bartolomeo Altmonte that depict the various stages of human knowledge. A total feast for the eyes.
Take a ski trip to the Alps
Whether you want the challenging runs of St Anton, the charm of Kitzbühel or the urban chic of Innsbruck - the capital of the Tyrol - Austrian offers slopes to rival those of Switzerland and France.
An soon-to-be-wedded Jessica Biel probably had only one buff man on her mind when she went to an Austrian spa to unwind before her wedding to Justin Timberlake. But she got an extra eyeful anyway, as the traumatized celebrity reported to David Letterman. To hear more about Jessica Biel in an accidental naked man sandwich, […]