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THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN AUSTRIA
Western Austria treats visitors to some of the most stunning alpine views in the world, and on this alpine drive road trip, you’ll discover a few of Europe’s most amazing roads and alpine villages.
While Europe is famous for its art, food, culture, and curiosities, the stunning majesty of the alps is not to be overlooked and is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. While this route begins and ends in Munich, Germany, it will take you to some of the most fascinating cities to visit in Austria, including Arlberg, Innsbruck, and Kufstein, with views of the Zugspitze (the highest mountain in Germany on the Austria-German border).
1. BEGIN YOUR ALPINE DRIVE-IN MUNICH, GERMANY
While there are plenty of airports in Austria, it’s generally less expensive to fly into Munich and pick up your Munich rental car at MUC international airport. Since this is a round-trip rental in Europe, you won’t have to pay a drop fee, saving you money when compared to planning a trip with a one-way car rental.
While there are a number of fun things to see and do in Munich, we’ve allowed you to spend as much time in the city as you like at the end of this Austria road trip itinerary, when you return. Depending upon when you arrive, you may choose to decompress after your flight and spend the night in a Munich hotel before hitting the road, but as soon as you’re ready it’s a charming 56-mile drive south to Kufstein, just across the Austrian border.
Popular Munich Rental Car Locations
Munich Airport Car Rental | Munich Rail Station Car Rental | Munich Passing Station
NEXT STOP: 1 HOUR & 3 MINUTES
2. AN AMAZING DAY IN KUFSTEIN
While you may not have heard of Kufstein, we think it’s one of the best places to visit in Austria – one you’ll find equally charming, scenic, and romantic.
Nestled in a quiet alpine region which has been heavily disputed by Bavaria, Tyrol, and the Habsburg Empire, Kufstein lies at the foot of the majestic Kaiser mountain range, halfway between Innsbruck and Salzburg. This charming medieval town will appeal to history buffs, who will note its rich 30,000-year-old cultural roots.
We recommend touring Riedel Glass, the world’s pre-eminent wine-glass manufacturing company which offers amazing tours to visitors. Once you’re sufficiently inspired by how fine barware is crafted, head to Stollen 1930, a speakeasy bar that will transport you to the 1930s. It’s carved right into the side of the mountain! If you can, try to plan your trip during July, as there is a summer program of amazing classical music performances hosted at the Tyrol Festival Erl each July, and the music, paired with the historic alpine setting is truly one-of-a-kind.
NEXT STOP: 54 MINUTES
3. SOUTHWEST TO BEAUTIFUL INNSBRUCK
The next stop in your Austria rental car road trip is beautiful Innsbruck, the capital city of the majestic Tyrol region in western Austria. Hidden at the confluence of the Inn and Wipp valleys, Innsbruck is the launching point for adventures into the stunning Brenner Pass, and is a well-known playground for winter sports enthusiasts, hosting the 1964 and 1976 winter Olympic games.
How you spend your day in Innsbruck will really be determined by the time of year you’re visiting. If you’re on a summer Alpine drive in Austria, consider capturing views of the city from one of the many excellent hiking and mountaineering trails in the area. If you’re visiting during a season when skiing is available – don’t miss your chance to hit the slopes, it’s a world-class city for Nordic-sport enthusiasts.
Popular Innsbruck Car Rental Locations
Innsbruck Airport Rental Car | Innsbruck Central Station Rental Car
NEXT STOP: 2 HOURS & 31 MINUTES
4. TRUE AUSTRIAN ALPINE ADVENTURE AWAITS IN ARLBERG
From Innsbruck, you’ll enjoy one of the most beautiful drives in Europe, heading west to the Arlberg region. This two and a half-hour drive will take you to an oft-overlooked part of Europe. You’ll be treated to true Austrian alpine hospitality and inspired gastronomy, which may make this mountainous European destination your new favorite corner of the globe.
When staying in Arlberg, we recommend that you spend at least one day, and with so many excellent hotels to choose from, you may want to plan more than one evening here. Austria.info provides a terrific guide of the best of the Arlberg region by season, and we whole-heartedly endorse the excellent recommendations you can find here.
NEXT STOP: 3 HOURS & 13 MINUTES
5. THE BEST ALPINE DRIVE-IN EUROPE? YOUR RETURN TO MUNICH
From Arlberg, the scenery gets even better. The last leg of your alpine drive through Austria takes you north to Munich. This 3+ hour drive offers stunning views of the Zugspitze, the highest peak in southern Germany which juts from the German/Austrian border with enthusiasm. As you continue into Germany, you’ll have the opportunity to stop for lunch when the mood strikes you in one of the countless charming villages in the Bavarian Alps.
As your Austrian alpine road trip comes to a close in Munich, we encourage travelers to unwind with a leisurely one or two day tour of this amazing German city. Drop your German car rental off and take a walking tour of Marienplatz, tour the BMW museum, or enjoy a picnic lunch in the English Garden – a beautiful natural oasis in the heart of the city.