Austria’s stunning Alpine scenery and rich cultural heritage makes it an intriguing place to visit. With a jewel box of landmarks, such as Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace and Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Fortress, world-class skiing and plenty of charming towns and cool cities in Austria, there’s every reason to tick this country off your bucket list.
At the top of the list of Austrian cities is Vienna, which is a treasure trove of culture, music and arts. Classical music fans won’t want to miss Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol region, is a popular winter sports destination with incredible mountain views. Here are the towns and cities in Austria to see.
- Austrian Cities And Towns
Austrian Cities And Towns
20 Towns And Cities In Austria
A blend of old and new, Vienna is one of the cities in Austria you can visit many times and not get bored.
It’s the country’s capital and largest city.
Its historic old town is packed with baroque architecture and cobbled, pedestrian streets where you will find museums, churches and galleries.
The best way to explore Vienna is by walking and taking a tram to discover Hapsburg-era gardens and palaces. And you’ll find plenty to do in Vienna at night too.
Vienna is one of the most popular ports on a Danube River cruise and while visiting the city you can stroll along the Danube River or take a short cruise to see the city from another viewpoint.
After exploring, tuck into local favourites like “Wiener Schnitzel”, sacher tort and Viennese coffee.
One of the best times to visit Vienna is Christmas when the markets are festive and fun.
Book now: Vienna: Schonbrunn Palace & Gardens Skip-the-Line Tour.
Salzburg is one of the best cities in Austria to spend time in for its UNESCO World Heritage old town.
The city is a delight to explore and has hidden passageways and a network of medieval canals beneath it.
It’s not far from the German border, and it’s easy to get to by train, bus or car if you’re doing a pan-European trip.
This small city has around 155,000 residents, but it swells in summer to double that number when visitors flock to visit.
This city has a strong musical connection, as classical musician Mozart was born here, and the famous film “The Sound Of Music” was set and filmed in Salzburg.
Top tour: Salzburg: Original Sound of Music Tour.
Pick Innsbruck for adventure sports, beautiful scenery and Austrian culture in one place.
This city in the Austrian Alps is especially fetching in winter and is a two-time host of the Winter Olympics, with ski resorts on the city’s outskirts.
Innsbruck is also delightful in summer, as it sits along the banks of the Inn River and has lovely views and cool swimming spots.
Out of the snow season, the hiking and mountain biking trails are easily reached from Innsbruck.
One of the best things to do in Innsbruck from the city centre is to ride the Nordkettenbahn up to the 2,300 m (7,540 ft) Nordkette peak above the city.
Back down on the flat ground, wander around the old town and visit the iconic Mariahilf colourful houses.
Graz is another beautiful city with historical sights, museums and a beautiful old town area.
It’s also one of Austria’s larger cities, with over 330,000 people and a large student population.
As soon as you see the beautiful old town, you’ll understand why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Join a walking tour to understand its history, or wander the cobbled city streets yourself.
One must-visit site is the Schlossberg Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the city and where you can gaze up at the historic clock tower or take in some sun in the gardens.
Graz also has an excellent reputation for its traditional cuisine, which has strong Slovenian influences.
Dishes to try are “Steirische Backhendl,” fried chicken and potato salad, “Käferbohnen,” white beans served in salads or as a side, delicious soft cheese dumplings called “Kasnocken” and “Esterhazy Torte,” which is a layered almond cake.
Book now: Graz: Old Town Highlights Private Walking Tour.
With more than 200,000 residents, Linz is the third-largest city in Austria.
This city in northern Austria is not far from the Czech Republic border and is rich in baroque architecture, with modern museums and galleries.
The contrast between medieval and contemporary is evident in Linz as you visit the impressive Mariendom, an ancient religious building, then, for something more contemporary, the Ars Electronica Centre.
This modern building houses an interactive exhibition showcasing the best developments in electronics, science, and technology.
To see the city from another angle, take a tram ride up the hill to Pöstlingberg.
It’s called the local “mountain”, and while it’s much lower than many other Austrian mountains, it’s still a great spot to visit.
At the top of Postlingberg, there’s a zoo, photo gallery and the magical fairy world of Grottenbahn.
Book now: Linz: Harbor Cruise
Villach sits on the banks of the Drau River at the bottom of Austria near the border of both Slovenia and Italy, with the mountains just a short drive (or public bus ride) away.
Its proximity to the mountains is one of the highlights of Villach, and if you like hiking and spending time in nature, this is the perfect city in Austria to visit.
The city itself has a laidback vibe, which you will feel as you stroll through the town centre, snapping photos of the colourful rainbow houses.
Visit the Auto Museum for a fascinating collection of cars and memorabilia, then head to the Maibachl, a hot natural spring where you can relax and soak sore muscles.
Visiting with your significant other? Try the Villach: AbenteuerDate, fun game and walk for couples.
This city sits on the edge of Lake Constance and shares borders with both Germany and Switzerland.
Bregenz is a spectacular city to visit in the warmer months, and in spring and summer, the lake becomes a hub of activity with people enjoying water sports and swimming. And in winter, you can discover the city’s charms on a magical Christmas walking tour.
Whether you feel like swimming, sailing, or simply wandering on the shores, spending time at the lake is a fantastic way to relax.
Like most other cities in Austria, Bregenz has fabulous cafes, charming streets and interesting attractions.
The Women’s Museum is a must-visit spot, and the Bregenz Festspiele is a festival held every summer worth planning your trip around to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the shows on the floating stage on the lake.
Steyr is in northern Austria and it’s a small city with around 37,000 residents, but despite being small, it’s still worth checking out.
Like most other Austrian cities, wandering the streets of the Old Town is magical, and you can follow the river running through the town to enjoy the view from the main bridge, “Zwischenbruchen”.
Several churches in Steyr are wonderful to see, and if you arrive near Christmas time, don’t miss the Christkindl Kirche.
The city has interesting museums, such as the Steyrtalbahn, a rail route discontinued in 1982 and converted into a railway museum.
Here you can ride a steam train and take a deep dive into rail history.
9- Klagenfurt am Wörthersee
Klagenfurt is a city on the shores of Lake Worthersee, a short walk from beaches and riverside walking trails.
In summer, life revolves around the lake, which is popular for swimming, sailing, sailing and water skiing.
Not far from Lake Worthersee is Europapark, which offers a chance to immerse yourself in Austrian nature as you wander through well-maintained gardens, visit playgrounds and bike the trails.
One of the fun attractions in Klagenfurt is Minimundus Park, which is filled with miniature versions of important landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal, all in a 1:25 scale.
10- Sankt Pölten
Sankt Polten is almost exactly in the middle of Austria, so it’s easy to plan a trip here no matter which direction you’re travelling from.
Sankt Polten is one of the oldest cities in Austria and the surrounding areas have been occupied since the Stone Age, so there’s a lot of history to discover and some wonderful old buildings to visit.
A good place to start is the Maria Himmelfahrt Cathedral, ornately decorated with incredible paintings.
Other historic buildings to visit include the Franziskanerkirche and the Franzisklanerloster.
For something more modern, spend a day at the Museum of Lower Austria (Museum Niederoesterreich).
This museum contains interesting exhibits, including a fascinating section on World War II and life for the local Austrians during this time.
Other exhibitions include the Natural Science section, which provides information on local animals and fish and is interesting for children and adults alike.
Wels in northern Austria is not far from Vienna and Linz.
Like Sankt Polten, Wels also dates back to the stone age and tools from this area were unearthed on the banks of the river.
There are many interesting Roman sites to visit in Wels, including the remains of Roman city walls and tombstones.
Wels has several interesting museums and historical buildings and is also home to some interesting gardens and natural areas.
The Tiergarten, Wels’ free zoo, is a fun place to spend a day getting up close to monkeys, lemurs, parrots and other exotic animals.
There are large shady trees to relax under and several playgrounds, so if you’re visiting with children, this is a must-do.
Kufstein is a small city with around 20,00 people on the border of Austria and Germany.
Not far from Innsbruck along the River Inn, Kufstein Fortress sits on a rocky hill high above the city.
The fortress was first built in 1205 and was once used as a prison.
In the old town, Romerhofgasse is a picturesque medieval street that will transport you straight to the pages of a fairytale.
Because Kufstein is so close to the Alps, getting out of the city for a walk through the woods is also necessary.
Here you’ll find well-marked paths to explore, and you can visit some of the guesthouses serving schnapps and schnitzel to hungry travellers.
13- Bad Ischl
Bad Ischl is home to Kaiser-Villa, Emperor Franz Josef’s summer home that he described as “heaven on Earth”.
This is one of the Austrian towns to visit to discover the secrets of the Hapsburg era.
The town is home to Sisi’s cottage, where you can see how Empress Elizabeth lived, and Sissi Park, on the banks of the River Traum.
It’s an easy walk to the park from the city centre, where you will find lovely gardens for a relaxing afternoon or a mysterious sandstone beer cellar tour for a bit of intrigue.
Other attractions in Bad Ischl include some relaxing health spas, which people flock to visit, and the gondola taking visitors up to the Katrin mountain areas, at more than 1,400 meters (4,593 feet) above sea level.
Kitsbuhel is also in Tirol, near Innsbruck and Kufstein, and is one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world.
International jet setters from around the world travel here to enjoy world-class skiing and snowboarding in a medieval town.
If you’re not an expert skier or a snowboarder, there’s still plenty to do in Kitzbuhel.
In winter, try snowshoeing, or enjoy some apres ski drinks in the town.
Try mountain biking, hiking, or swimming in the local lakes in summer.
Another attraction in Kitzbuhel is the Kupferplatte Copper Mine, where you can don a hardhat and descend below ground to learn about Tirol’s mining history.
Dornbirn is in Western Austria in the state of Vorarlberg and is framed by mountains and lakes.
This city of around 50,000 is busy and close to Switzerland and Germany.
A quaint old town provides a contrast to its large commercial shopping area with hundreds of different stores, so there’s something for everyone.
Dornbirn is home to buildings dating back hundreds of years, including the Red House (“Rotes Hause”), a local icon built in the early 1600s.
It has an interesting history, including time spent as a dance studio and a personal residence.
These days, it’s a great place to stop for a traditional Austrian meal and a getaway from the city centre by cable car up Karren Mountain, where you can look down on Dornbirn and across to the Swiss Alps while adventurous visitors will want to try abseiling and exploring the Kobelach Canyon.
Feldkirch is the second-largest city in Vorarlberg, just behind Dornbirn in population size.
You’ll find buildings dating back as far as 1200, a beautiful medieval old town, and the Schattenburg Castle.
Many of these beautiful buildings are open to the public, so take a walking tour and appreciate the beauty from within while also learning some history.
Feldkirch is also home to a great Wildpark, a free zoo where you can see animals such as wolves.
This is also a scenic area for hiking and wilderness exploring, so when you visit Feldkirch, set aside time for a walk amongst the trees and waterfalls.
Amstetten is a small city in rural Austria, between Linz and Vienna.
It’s a farming area, although you’ll easily find several different churches to visit and a range of cultural experiences here.
Amstetten is a great place to visit in Winter, particularly close to Christmas.
If you’re visiting in December, you can wander through the brightly lit Christmas markets and enjoy mulled wine and an Austrian pastry.
If you visit in Summer, you’ll easily be entertained by one of the outdoor theatre productions, or perhaps a trip to the local swimming pool.
Because Amstetten is so central, it’s an easy place to visit by public transport, and you can stop off there on the train if you’re heading between Vienna and Linz.
Wolfsburg is a great city to visit if you enjoy the outdoors, as it’s a town with access to hiking trails and outdoor activities.
There’s plenty to see and do here, with mountain biking tracks, snowshoe trails, road cycling and hiking.
But if you’re not keen on too much outdoorsy activities, there is still much to experience for a relaxing holiday in Wolfsburg.
Skip the line and book tickets to the Autostadt Theme Park (read more about it here).
With interesting museums such as the Museum In Lavanthaus, you can soak in much history here. This museum has several exhibitions worth visiting, including one on World War II Prisoner of War camps.
19- Krems an der Donau
Krems is built on the banks of the Danube River (“Donau” in German), and it’s only an hour away from Vienna.
Despite that, when you visit this town, it’ll feel like you’re in another world.
Krems an der Donau is known for its vineyards and a reputation for producing some of the finest wines in Austria.
When you visit Krems, check out some of these vineyards and take a wine tour to sample different varieties.
If you’re nursing a hangover the next day or simply looking to add some laughter to the trip, visit the local caricature museum.
This museum is dedicated to cartoons, satire, and humour and often displays internationally acclaimed works. You’ll also find other museums at Kunstmeile Krems and you can save money by buying this super combo ticket.
20- Wiener Neustadt
While this city has a similar name to Vienna, don’t be fooled, it’s a different city.
Wiener Neustadt is in southern Vienna, and it’s been a politically important area in Austria for hundreds of years.
It has a lot of military history and still shows signs of the different empires that have ruled over Wiener Neustadt.
Here, you can visit the Maria Theresien Military Academy and walk around the fortified city walls to get a feel for the battles that have been fought here.
You can also check out some iconic Austrian buildings in the charming old town, including the St Mary’s Column and the Water Tower.
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