TOURING AUSTRIA WITH KIDS
A KID-FRIENDLY ROAD TRIP FOR FAMILIES TRAVELING TO AUSTRIA
Planning one of the best family holidays in Austria doesn’t have to spike your anxiety level, even if that trip to Austria with kids involves driving. In fact, a road trip through Austria is one of the most exciting and rewarding family getaways you can plan. Continental Europe has new adventures, culture, and traditions at every turn, and if you’re ready to embark on an epic Austrian family holiday, then consider driving this kid-friendly route! Begin and end in beautiful Vienna, a city with attractions that will appeal to the wonder-struck toddler and brooding teen alike, with stops in Linz, Salzburg, Klagenfurt, and Graz along the way. Auto Europe offers a number of affordable rental car options with plenty of legroom and space for luggage, so you can stay comfortable while touring Austria with kids.
1. ARRIVAL & FIRST LOOK: VIENNA FOR KIDS
While kicking off your road trip immediately is tempting, we like to build at least one day of recovery and discovery into the beginning of our “Drive to Discover” itineraries, and this one is no different. After your flight arrives, pick up your rental car at Vienna International Airport and head to your hotel in downtown Vienna. Depending upon your flight’s arrival time, you can grab a bite at a local restaurant before catching up on your sleep, or you can hit the streets to explore the city of Vienna with your family.
We recommend spending at least one day (and maybe two) exploring Vienna with your kids before hitting the road. There’s so much to see and do in this kid-friendly European city.
Schönbrunn Palace is an enchanting destination for little ones, sure to spark their imagination. Add a dose of culture before lunch with a stop at the Children’s Museum on the west side of the palace. After playing dress-up and snapping some photos of your kids in imperial garb, grab lunch at a local bistro (we recommend walking, and letting your kids pick a good spot!), head to Schönbrunnn Zoo, which is a fun break from all of the culture and history that Vienna has to offer.
If your kids are musically inclined and old enough, consider getting tickets to the Vienna State Opera, or touring Haus der Musik. Younger kids will adore a trip to the Prater amusement park, and the 200-foot Ferris wheel will offer stunning views of Vienna and let you plan your next move.
If your kids love castles, plan to stop at Belvedere on the morning of your departure from Vienna – it’s a good place to stretch your legs, and a tour of this iconic Baroque palace before hopping in the car will make the drive to Linz a welcome break.
Popular Vienna Rental Car Locations
Vienna International Airport | Vienna Central Station Car Rental | Vienna Western Station Car Rental
NEXT STOP: 2 HOURS & 2 MINUTES
2. TOURING LINZ, AUSTRIA WITH KIDS
Navigate west on E40 in your Vienna car rental, and 2 hours later you’ll arrive in Linz, the third-largest city in this beautiful European country. Linz is close to the Austrian-Czech Republic border, and the city sits on the banks of the famous Danube River.
Dining out with children in Linz is fun because the city has a thriving and eclectic gastronomy scene which will allow you to be adventurous together, trying new things and enjoying the melting-pot atmosphere of this Austrian city, which attracts numerous German, Italian, Dutch, and Swiss tourists each year.
There’s something to eat and see for almost everyone in Linz, so whether your family wants to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine for dinner, loves touring a museum, chapel, or park, Linz won’t disappoint.
Popular Linz Rental Car Locations:
Linz Airport Car Rental
NEXT STOP: 1 HOUR & 20 MINUTES
3. SALZBURG FOR KIDS: WHAT TO SEE AND DO
If you’re planning the ultimate adventure in Salzburg for kids, you’ll be relieved that there’s plenty to do in this exciting Austrian city.
In less than an hour and a half, you can drive from Linz to Salzburg in car rental, and when you arrive there are several amazing locations we recommend visiting with your family.
Hohensalzburg Fortress is a must-see while visiting Salzburg. This fortress is the largest and best-preserved in central Europe, and it’s an amazing destination to explore with kids. It is perched atop a mountain, offering epic views of Salzburg, and after visiting Hohensalzburg you’ll be able to look up and see it from most locations in the city. If you plan your visit to this destination around mid-day you can enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants located in the fortress – a cool experience your kids will talk about the rest of the trip (because of the view!).
If you’re traveling with young boys or girls who are obsessed with big machines, take time to visit the Hanger 7 Aircraft Museum in Salzburg. Red Bull’s founder is a Salzburg native, and at the city’s small airport you’ll find a hanger filled with his toys. The hanger is a fabulous glass and metal structure, filled with amazing real airplanes, and there are a hip lounge and outdoor café where you can get a snack before the next stop.
While the city of Salzburg offers numerous historic structures, we recommend taking time to enjoy some of the cultivated and well-kept outdoor spaces like the Mirabell Gardens and Schloss Hellbrunn (where you’ll find the gazebo made famous in The Sound of Music).
Popular Salzburg Car Rental Locations
Salzburg Airport Car Rental | Salzburg Central Station
NEXT STOP: 2 HOURS & 31 MINUTES
4. DRIVE SOUTH TO KLAGENFURT (IT’S FUN TO VISIT, AND TO SAY!)
After checking out of your Salzburg hotel, fuel up with a hearty breakfast and head south on a beautiful drive toward Klagenfurt, a fun city in Austria to visit with children. In addition to amazing scenery, Klagenfurt offers you the chance to explore a number of exciting locations.
Lake Wörthersee is right near the city if your family is looking for some outdoor adventure. It’s worth checking to see if you can find a rental for the night you’ll be in town here – a unique place to spend the night with your kids. Flanked by mountains and crystalline blue, it’s sure to be one of the most beautiful places your family visits.
The Planetarium Klagenfurt, EboardMuseum, and Carinthian Museum of Modern Art are cool scientific and cultural destinations in Klagenfurt, Austria, and there are numerous attractive and historic chapels within the city as well.
One of our favorite destinations in Klagenfurt to explore with little ones is Minimundus (pictured above), a park with small scale models (1:25) of numerous historic buildings from all over the world. Not only are the little structures beautiful and exceptionally well-done, we think this is an excellent place to explore with children to find inspiration for other sites your family might one day travel to explore.
Popular Klagenfurt Car Rental Locations
Klagenfurt Airport Renta Car
NEXT STOP: 1 HOUR & 31 MINUTES
5. ONWARD TO THE CITY OF GRAZ
Graz is just an hour and a half from Klagenfurt by car, and when you arrive your first stop should be the Kunsthaus Graz. This is a building, although the structure’s exterior looks like an alien spaceship, making it incredibly intriguing to children. The contemporary art collected in this museum is always different, as new collections are regularly rotated through, and most of the exhibits are very interesting, and will certainly spark some fun discussions with your kids. We recommend visiting earlier in the day, but returning after dinner taking a stroll around the structure as the building looks unbelievable at night when lit from within.
An outdoor destination worth exploring with your little ones while visiting Graz is the Grazer Schlossberg (or “Castle Hill”). Not only does this 400 foothill offer spectacular, but panoramic views of this beautiful city (it’s also our recommended spot for taking stunning family photos), but there are several fun ways to reach the top, including an elevator inside the mountain made of glass, a century-old funicular which ascends the hill on a hair-raising 60-degree incline, and (for the physically fit), an old 260-step staircase.
If you have an animal lover in the family, drive outside the city and take a tour of Spanische Hofreitschule Bundesgestut Piber, an elite school of riders in the little village of Piber where the famous Lipizzan horses are bred. You can treat your kids to an interactive tour of the farm and observe these unique horses – a nice change of pace!
Popular Car Rental Locations in Graz
Graz Airport Car Rental
NEXT STOP: 2 HOURS & 12 MINUTES
6. RETURN TO VIENNA FOR THE FLIGHT HOME
After your adventures in Graz are complete, you can return to Vienna – a beautiful Austrian drive which will take just over 2 hours. If you’re inspired to extend your stay, there’s so much more to do in this beautiful city before departing, and when you’re ready to leave, you and your children will have a lot to discuss and remember on the flight home.