Austria travel guide

2 minute summary

Austria is most definitely about mountains and music. Just like a symphony, it has everything thrown into its musical mix: Alpine peaks, with Grossglockner the highest in Hohe Tauern National Park, boom out like a rousing brass section. The serene lakes of the north are the strings section, a series of soothing, tranquil movements that you can walk or cycle through in total awe of their purity and pitch perfect beauty. The wind section is Seefeld, with its Olympian action filled winter sports history, but each village and valley proffering its own perfect concerto, but plenty of places to grab solo moments, cross country skiing away from the crowds. The Tyrol is percussion, quirky and independent, but totally unmissable. And the Danube is like the composer, weaving through it all masterfully, bringing together the most harmonious vacation.
Austria is...

like the Swarovski Crystals that are made here. Pure, dazzling, clear and simply beautiful.
Austria isn't...

just for winter vacations.
It has one of the most superb hiking and cycling networks in Europe.

Austria map & highlights

make the most of your time

As efficient and exquisite as Switzerland, but without the astronomic costs, Austria packs a pretty punch for a small country. Although it is best known for its downhill skiing vacations hardly surprising, given that Seefeld has hosted the Winter Olympics twice cross country skiing infrastructures here are also second to known, especially in the Tyrol region. Similarly, the countrys trails are all maintained to perfection when the snows melt, revealing Edelweiss filled meadows (and yes it is the national flower, but the Sound of Music is definitely not a national favourite) and valleys that beckon hikers and bikers, climbers and rafters.
Hohe Tauern National Park North Austrian Lakes Oetz Valley River Danube Seefeld Trins

Hohe Tauern National Park

With Grossglockner at its heart, Austrias highest mountain at 3,797m, this is alpine arcadia. Summer and winter. In fact, it opens up to a world of high mountain activities in summer, hiking and biking, rafting and canyoning, climbing and alpinism. You dont have to be a Bonnington to enjoy the beauty, however, with plenty of hiking trails to keep walkers of all levels happy here for days on end.

North Austrian Lakes

These are almost stupidly beautiful, with mountains reflected in the water, sailing boats and castles, cafes with cakes the size of castles, and cosy taverns. Cycling or, in winter, cross country skiing around them is the perfect way to see the likes of Attersee, with the small town of St Georgen tucked in between it and the mountains. Or watersport filled Traunsee, with the cobbled market town of Gmunden lining the shore.

Oetz Valley

In the Austrian Tyrol, with Oetz as the gateway, this is a mecca of mountain activity, summer and winter. Cut through a range of different peaks belonging to the Stubai Alps, it feels like this meadow and woodland filled valley goes on forever. Indeed, your days can be packed with fun forever here, with superb set ups for white water rafting, climbing, hiking, canyoning and mountain biking, making it a family favourite.

River Danube

Voyaging along the Danube is a tradition that goes back generations. Hikers and cyclists still follow the flow of Europes second largest river through a variety of landscapes; Austrias Wachau Valley is one of the prettiest. Traveling west to east, like the river, is to travel through history, with castles, heurigen or wine taverns, vineyards and monasteries bordering the shores of this ancient artery.


A Tyrolean town but also a region that is made up of five villages that are most well known because they have hosted the Winter Olympics twice. Just 17km from Innsbruck, there are over 300km of cross country skiing trails here, traveling along plateaus that overlook the River Inn valley, with two main mountain areas to play in: Gschwandtkopf and Rosshtte.


A chocolate box village and gateway to the Gschnitzal and Obernberg Valleys. Even they dont sound real, but they will feel real as you push those calves up through the ancient Tyrolean forests, in the foothills of Habicht (3,277m high), one of the Stubai Alps. With a magnificent circuit of mountain huts to complete, as well as ancient farmlands and pastures, this is all so easy on the wandering eye. With or without snow.
Photo credits: [Austrian mountains: Franois Philipp] [Durnstein town: jay8085] [Seefeld: Stefan Jurca] [North Austrian Lakes: Schloss Litzlberg] [Trins: NH53] [River Danube: Jorge Cancela] [Oetz Valley: Bede735] [Hohe Tauern National Park: Tadas Balciunas] [Helpdesk: Michi Hofb.]
Written by Catherine Mack
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