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A guide to Austria for anyone who craves the great outdoors

From the panoramic mountain ranges to the gorgeous river valleys and impressive alpine lakes, Austria is home to some of Europe’s most jaw-dropping scenery and landscapes. Whether you’re travelling to Austria for the first time or returning for another adventure, the possibilities are endless to experience the natural beauty of the great outdoors. Take a look at the top eight spots nature lovers need with our guide to Austria. 

1. Salzburg

Salzburg is most commonly known for being the birthplace of Mozart, the film location for The Sound of Music, and for its fascinating culture and artistic heritage. Salzburg is a proud member of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997 and is filled with incredible architecture and lush scenery. Diverse and various back drops are yours for (picture) taking including: various church towers, narrowing streets, colourful markets, as well as impressive gardens and endless mountains. Explore the centuries-old cobblestone streets during the summer months or cozy up in a little café during the winter while listening to live violin music, all while admiring the surrounding natural beauty. 

2. Wachau Valley

A UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, the Wachau Valley is located in Lower Austria. Nestled between the towns of Krems and Melk, the 30 kilometers or 18 mile stretch along the Danube River is filled with natural scenery that can be explored via water or land. From rolling hills to vineyards, fortresses and more, the gorgeous natural landscapes are sights that should be on everyone’s guide to Austria.   

3. Vienna

A destination known for art, music, and architecture; Vienna also is also home to some of Austria’s gorgeous natural surroundings. Schöenbrunn Palace is one of Austria’s most important cultural assets. Take in some fresh air and walk around the extensive parks and gardens while enjoying a traditional Viennese snack or drink! 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birthday and Vienna has many wonderful celebrations in place to commemorate this milestone that you don’t want to miss. 

4. Tyrol

Located in the heart of the Alps, Tyrol (or Tirol in German) is Austria’s third largest state and is an outdoor lover’s dream! When travelling through the Tyrol countryside, you will want to keep your camera on-hand to capture the epic backdrop through the alpine landscapes, deep valleys, and picture-perfect villages. Tyrol is also home to Austria’s largest National Park, Kaunergrat Nature Park. 

5. Innsbruck

Innsbruck is the largest city in Tyrol, and is often known as the “Capital of the Alps.” As one of Europe’s most picture-perfect Old Towns surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Nordkette, this small city is filled with breathtaking scenery and beauty which can often all be seen by foot in a day. Add it to your guide to Austria, for sure.

6. Graz

Austria’s second largest city, Graz is home to rocky Schlossberg Hill and the old Clock Tower – a famous trademark to this incredible city. Schlossberg is the highest natural spot in the town offering a fabulous view of the city no matter what time of year. There are numerous ways travellers can reach the core of the hill, but a fan-favourite is the Schlossberg Lift, a cable car offering guests a short glass cabin for a clear view of the beautiful surroundings. For those looking to get their steps in for the day, take the adventurous route and climb up over 250 steps along the rocky mountain side to reach the top. Trust us, the views are worth the extra work out! 

7. Dürnstein

Dürstein is a little town on the Danube River, located in the Austrian state of lower Austria. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Wachau region and is a very well-known wine growing area. This charming town is filled with pretty buildings, and is also the home of the enchanting Dürnstein Castle. Arriving via a cruise along the Danube River, or by land, the history and friendly locals of Dürnstein are something you don’t want to miss. Plus, the views are spectacular!

8. Salzkammergut

Home to steep mountains, beautiful lakes and deeply carved valleys and hills, the Salzkammergut region is famous for Upper Austrian lakes and thermal springs. During the colder months, Salzkammergut turns into a winter sports lover’s dream destination with an abundance of skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing activities galore. During the spring and summer months this region is an outdoor adventurers go-to spot with plenty of cycling, hiking, swimming and golfing explorations to be had. No matter what time of year, the Salzkammergut region is filled with beautiful landscape and irresistible charm that will have you coming back for more! 

Have you explored Austria before? What are some of the best lakes, mountains, and cute little towns that should be on everyone’s guide to Austria? Let us know by sharing your thoughts in the comments below…

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