The Most Beautiful Places on a Alpine Road Trip in Austria 🇦🇹
Updated: Mar 4
Austria 🇦🇹 in the heart of Central Europe is an attractive travel destination for tourists from all over the world. The territory of one of Europe's smallest countries is a good 60 percent alpine terrain and home to some of the highest mountains (and roads).
From the countless gorgeous waterfalls, picturesque towns, alpine peaks and scenic drives we’ve compiled a guide to the most beautiful must-see places that you can't miss on an Austria Road Trip.
Traveling by car is the best option for globetrotters looking for the most scenic and beautiful places in Austria. This is the perfect way to set your own pace and decide how much time you spend at each of the many Austrian highlights. As a tourist driving in Austria should never be about the fastest route. Instead the journey will make the destination.
With the places we love the most in mind we have also created a "ready to go travel package" a luxury driving tour named: Best of the Austrian Alps. Basically the most beautiful places lined up on what is to be guaranteed the most stunning and scenic travel experience you can have in Austria. Let us share a few of the best spots with you:
Visit Austria's most marvellous city — Salzburg:
It was here at the fast-flowing Salzach River that the genius composer Mozart was born about 250 years ago. But Salzburg is much more than Mozart and the world-famous annual classic music festival.
Salzburg is the baroque pearl of Austria and truly the most beautiful city in Austria. All year round the lovely squares and streets of the town are spreading the elegant charm of the old world.
Among the many UNESCO world heritage sights in Salzburg it is almost like an unwritten law to pay tribute to Salzburg's glorious music heritage by visiting Mozarts birthplace in the Old Town. Only a short walk away right beside the striking Christian architecture of the St. Peter Monastery we recommend visiting Salzburg's most beautiful cemetery. There is nothing creepy about this place and for fans of "The Sound of Music" an absolute must-see when in the city.
The historic part of the city is overall very compact and is best explored on foot. Almost like a walk through the centuries. The only time we recommend transportation is the funicular up to Salzburg fortress erected on a hill high above the city.
Have a piece of the famous Sacher Cake on the terrace of the long-standing Sacher Hotel to round things up.
Stay at Lake Fuschl, near Salzburg
Austria’s "Sound of Music" shooting locations are out of this world. Here at the Salzkammergut region, the 5-star Superior Schloss Fuschl Hotel with its perfect lakeside setting lets you experience old European charm combined with modern luxuries. Dating back to 1450, the castle’s medieval tower house a state-of-the-art spa, beautifully decorated rooms and unforgettable dining experiences.
Should your pockets not be deep enough to stay at the castle, find just next door the 4-star Superior Jagdhof Sheraton Hotel. Equally stunningly situated above Lake Fuschl with sweeping views of the Salzkammergut Mountains and all comforts you can wish for.
Visit Austria's most beautiful Castle near Werfen:
At Austria's most beautiful castle only about a 40 minutes drive from Salzburg you get a nice glimpse into life during the middle ages. The mighty walls of the 900-year old Hohenwerfen Fortress is located beautifully surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps sitting high above the town of Werfen.
The defensive bastion has served centuries as a military base, prison and residence for Salzburg’s rulers. Beside the gigantic alpine panorama the fortress offers exhibitions of weapons, a falconry and a stylish tavern.
Drive Austria's most beautiful mountain pass — the Grossglockner High Alpine Road:
The scenic driving adventure over the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in the Eastern Alps is one of Austrias top attractions. And an absolute must do for road trippers exploring Austria between May and October. Since 1935 the road welcomes visitors from all over the world and never disappoints. The alpine pass was planned and built purely for tourism and is an absolute highlight of every Austria trip.
For a fee of around € 35 you will experience a spectacular road from the perspective of your car and get access to the exhibitions about the construction of the road and the wildlife in the area. Like nearly all roads in Austria also the Grossglockner Pass is in spotless condition and can be travelled safely with confidence and in great comfort.
On top of the spectacular drive you park your car at the famous Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, where your driving adventure is about to get even more interesting. The wide Pasterze glacier is stretched out in front of you and you can observe marmots and other wildlife animals.
Stay at Lienz, Austria's sunniest city:
On the south side of the beautiful mountain road lays the town of Lienz. The alpine chic village is with more than 2000 sun hours per year also Austria’s sunniest city. The Mediterranean climate makes Lienz the perfect overnight stop.
We recommend staying at the beautiful Grand Hotel Lienz surrounded by stunning mountains on the banks of the River Isel in East Tyrol. The architectural mix of modernity and tradition appeals to visitors, but even more striking is the level of hospitality guests receive throughout their stay. The spa offers a in and outdoor pool and the lovely breakfast is one of the best in the region.
For dinner we recommend the hotel restaurant or strolling into the beautiful main square of the town. Between June and September the square is reserved to pedestrians so you can even better enjoy the city.
Visit Austria's most stunning waterfalls at Krimml:
The Krimml Waterfalls plunge over four major drops about 380 metres into the deep. It is Europe's highest waterfall and fifth largest in the world. Experience the intimidating force that the element water can develop on a spectacular hike or from a safe distance.
The one and a half hour hike to the waterfalls is not for everyone. You can however experience unique views of the waterfalls and the valley from several lookout platforms along the panorama road inside the valley.
Drive Austria's most scenic Panorama Road at Gerlos:
The architect Franz Wallack who planned the layout of the stunning Grossglockner Alpine Road also built a mountain road connecting the province of Salzburg between Krimml and the Tyrolean Zillertal. The Gerlos Alpine Road is Austrias most beautiful panorama road. The twelve most dazzling kilometres are between Krimml and the pass summit. The road blends in seamlessly with the alpine landscape and becomes a part of it.
Fascinating Alpine Landscapes at Hohe Tauern National Park:
The largest conservation area in Central Europe and the Alps is home to more than 10,000 animal species and 1,800 plants. The 1,856 square kilometres of the Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria spans among 266 mountains. Including Austria’s highest peak the Grossglockner with 3,798 metres above sea level surrounded by endless forests, 550 lakes, beautiful waterfalls, wild rivers and about 250 glaciers.
Beside the Grossglockner Pass more breath-taking views are found when you travel via the Felbertauernstraße via the tunnel of the same name.
Stay at one of the best 5 Star Superior Deluxe Hotels in Austria — the Interalpen Hotel:
The Interalpen Hotel is a one-of-a-kind and one of the the most luxurious hotel in Austria. Near the picturesque town of Seefeld it lies at an altitude of 1,300 metres amidst the pristine natural landscapes of Tyrol’s Alpine region. This five-star deluxe hotel impresses not only with the building’s architecture, but the comfortable rooms and suites furnished in a modern Tyrolean style. All with balcony and views of the valley and the surrounding mountains.
Plus 5300 m² (57,048 ft²) of an opulent spa area with large heated indoor and outdoor panorama pools. The Tyro-lean sauna village making it one of the largest spa hotels in the entire Alps.
The half board features a 6-courses dinner with a choice of dishes, salads and cheese buffets. And even the garage is fancy. More of a living room for cars. But see for yourself when you get here.
Want to do discover the Austrian Alps?
We created a bespoke luxury driving tour to the most beautiful places lined up on what is guaranteed the most scenic travel experience you can have in Austria:
mid of May - October
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