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  • Mariendom-Linz-Austria - Mariendom Cathedral, or Neuer Dom, in Linz, Austria. As the country's biggest church, the cathedral was completed in 1924 and seats up to 20,000 worshippers.
  • christmas-market-in-linz - Christmas market in Linz, Austria.
  • main-square-linz-austria - The Main Square of Linz an der Donau (Linz on the Danube) in Austria.
  • Mariendom-Linz-Austria-1 - The bucolic town of Linz in Austria.
  • Mirabellgarden-Salzburg-Austria - Mirabellgarten in Salzburg, Austria. The prince-archbishop built a palace on the grounds as a token of love for his future wife.
  • anif-moated-castle - Anif palace is a moated castle near Salzburg, Austria.
  • christmas-market-in-salzburg - Christmas market in Salzburg, Austria, during the winter.
  • ice-world-near-werfen-salzburger - Ice World near Werfen Salzburger Land, Austria.
  • salzburg-city-view - Gardens in Salzburg, Austria.
  • salzburg-city - Salzburg City, Austria.
  • salzburg-oesterreich - Salzburg Cathedral in Austria.
  • Tour-Guide-in-Salzburg.jpg - A guide in Salzburg, Austria, talks with her tour participants.
  • Tour-Guide-in-Salzburg-1.jpg - A tour guide for Uniworld's River Beatrice talks to her group in Salzburg, Austria.
  • Melk-Austria - A tranquil scene on the Danube above the town of Melk, Austria.
  • opera-ball-in-vienna - Opera Ball in Vienna, Austria.
  • graben-in-vienna-at-christmas-time - Christmastime in the Graben during the holiday market in Vienna, Austria.
  • christmas-market-in-linz - Christmas market in Linz, Austria.
  • christmas-market-in-salzburg - Christmas market in Salzburg, Austria, during the winter.
  • melk-abbey-on-Danube - Melk Abbey on the Danube in Austria.
  • danube-vienna-oesterreich - A path along the Danube in Vienna, Austria.
  • anif-moated-castle - Anif palace is a moated castle near Salzburg, Austria.
  • Mariendom-Linz-Austria - Mariendom Cathedral, or Neuer Dom, in Linz, Austria. As the country's biggest church, the cathedral was completed in 1924 and seats up to 20,000 worshippers.
  • gruberhof-castle-near-st-martin-bei-lofer - Gruberhof Castle near St. Martin bei Lofer, Austria.
  • gloriette-schoenbrunn-vienna - Posing in front of the Gloriette at Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans more than three centuries.
  • vineyards-near-duernstein-oesterreich-werbung - Vineyards near Duernstein, Austria.
  • salzburg-city-view - Gardens in Salzburg, Austria.
  • AmaDagio-on-Danube-River-Durnstein-Austria - Sail on AmaDagio to Dürnstein, a picture-perfect  town on the Danube River in Austria. Famed as a wine-growing region, it's one of the most visited destinations in the Wachau region.
  • Mirabellgarden-Salzburg-Austria - Mirabellgarten in Salzburg, Austria. The prince-archbishop built a palace on the grounds as a token of love for his future wife.
  • state-opera-at-night - State Opera House at night in Vienna, Austria.
  • view-of-vienna - View of the cityscape in Vienna, Austria.
  • belvedere-palace-view - Upper and Lower Belvedere Palace, view from Rennweg, Austria.
  • Opera-House-Loggia-Vienna - Inside the Opera House Loggia in the Inner City of Vienna, Austria.
  • christmas-market-in-vienna - Christmas market in Town Hall Square, Vienna, Austria.
  • duernstein-cycle-path - Dürnstein cycle path beside the Danube in Austria.
  • stein-an-der-donau-near-krems - The waterfront of Stein an der Donau (Stein on the Danube), near Krems in the Wachau Valley of Austria.
  • schoenbuehel-castle-near-melk-danube - Schoenbuehel Castle near Melk, Austria.
  • sightseeing-opera-vienna - Sightseeing near the State Opera House in Vienna, Austria.
  • spanish-riding-school-in-vienna - The Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria.
  • salzburg-city - Salzburg City, Austria.
  • mountainbiking-near-filzmoos - Mountain biking near Filzmoos in the Salzburg Province of Austria.
  • salt-mine-settlement - Picture postcard: Bad Duerrnberg near Hallein Salt Mine settlement in Austria.
  • vienna-parliament - The Austrian Parliament building in Vienna, Austria.
  • monastery-of-st-florian-library - Monastery of St. Florian Library in Sankt Florian, Austria.
  • hohenwerfen-fortress-Austria - Hohenwerfen Castle near Werfen, Austria. Now that's what we call a castle!
  • church-Vienna-Austria - Karlskirche (Church of St. Charles Borromeo) in Vienna.
  • alpine-hut-Austria - An alpine hut in the countryside in Austria.
  • Opera-House-Vienna-Austria - The world-famous State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) in Vienna, Austria.
  • Schwechatbach-Austria - Schwechatbach is a place in the Vienna Woods in Lower Austria.
  • Durlassboden-Reservoir-Austria - Durlassboden reservoir in Tyrol, Austria.
  • Viking-Longship-in-Melk - Discover the beauty of Austria's historic town Melk on a river cruise aboard the Viking Freya cruise ship.
  • karlskirche-at-night - Karlskirche at night in Vienna. It's generally considered the most outstanding baroque church in Austria.
  • vineyards-near-krems - Vineyards near Krems an der Donau (Krems on the Danube), Austria.
  • st-stephans-cathedral-vienna - Closeup of St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria.
  • Korbersee-Lake-Austria - A trail leading to Korbersee Lake in Austria.
  • AmaCello-Exterior-Melk - Discover the beauty of Melk, Austria, perched on the banks of the Danube River as you sail past aboard AmaCello.
  • palace-Vienna-Austria - Upper Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria.
  • Viking-River-Cruises-Longship-Durnstein - Wine enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the wine region of Dürnstein, Austria, on a Viking River cruise.
  • stein-near-krems-danube - A street scene from Stein an der Donau (Stein on the Danube), near Krems in the Wachau Valley of Austria.
  • salzburg-oesterreich - Salzburg Cathedral in Austria.
  • haas-house-at-the-graben - City of Vienna Haas House at the Graben, Austria.
  • ice-world-near-werfen-salzburger - Ice World near Werfen Salzburger Land, Austria.
  • kaprun-salzburg-province - The Hohe Tauern mountain range near Kaprun in Salzburg, Austria.
  • main-square-linz-austria - The Main Square of Linz an der Donau (Linz on the Danube) in Austria.
  • Mariendom-Linz-Austria-1 - The bucolic town of Linz in Austria.
  • melk-abbey-oesterreich - Melk Abbey, a Benedictine abbey overlooking the Danube above the town of Melk, Austria.
  • st-stephans-cathedral - View from St. Stephan’s Cathedral of Western Vienna, Austria.
  • Baroque-church-interior-Melk-Austria - Inside the Baroque style Melk Abbey in Austria.
  • river-cruise-bike-tour.jpg - See Durstein, Austria, by bicycle during your river cruise on AmaWaterways.
  • Tour-Guide-in-Salzburg-1.jpg - A tour guide for Uniworld's River Beatrice talks to her group in Salzburg, Austria.
  • River-Beatrice-Danube-Durnstein.jpg - River Beatrice sails the Danube through the pretty village of Dürnstein, Austria.
  • melk-abbey-ceiling-2.jpg - The ceiling of the 15th-century Melk Abbey in Austria. The Benedictine abbey is perched on a rock outcropping above the Danube.
  • Melk-Austria - A tranquil scene on the Danube above the town of Melk, Austria.
  • melk-abbey-oesterreich - Melk Abbey, a Benedictine abbey overlooking the Danube above the town of Melk, Austria.
  • melk-abbey-on-Danube - Melk Abbey on the Danube in Austria.
  • Baroque-church-interior-Melk-Austria - Inside the Baroque style Melk Abbey in Austria.
  • melk-abbey-ceiling-1.jpg - The ceiling of the 15th-century Melk Abbey in Austria. The Benedictine abbey is perched on a rock outcropping above the Danube.
  • melk-abbey-ceiling-2.jpg - The ceiling of the 15th-century Melk Abbey in Austria. The Benedictine abbey is perched on a rock outcropping above the Danube.
  • AmaBella-in-Durnstein.jpg - AmaBella, the 162-passenger ship from AmaWaterways, in Durnstein, Austria.
  • River-Beatrice-Danube-Durnstein.jpg - River Beatrice sails the Danube through the pretty village of Dürnstein, Austria.
  • graben-in-vienna-at-christmas-time - Christmastime in the Graben during the holiday market in Vienna, Austria.
  • karlskirche-at-night - Karlskirche at night in Vienna. It's generally considered the most outstanding baroque church in Austria.
  • christmas-market-in-vienna - Christmas market in Town Hall Square, Vienna, Austria.
  • Opera-House-Loggia-Vienna - Inside the Opera House Loggia in the Inner City of Vienna, Austria.
  • church-Vienna-Austria - Karlskirche (Church of St. Charles Borromeo) in Vienna.
  • Opera-House-Vienna-Austria - The world-famous State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) in Vienna, Austria.
  • palace-Vienna-Austria - Upper Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria.
  • belvedere-palace-view - Upper and Lower Belvedere Palace, view from Rennweg, Austria.
  • gloriette-schoenbrunn-vienna - Posing in front of the Gloriette at Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans more than three centuries.
  • opera-ball-in-vienna - Opera Ball in Vienna, Austria.
  • sightseeing-opera-vienna - Sightseeing near the State Opera House in Vienna, Austria.
  • spanish-riding-school-in-vienna - The Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria.
  • st-stephans-cathedral-vienna - Closeup of St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria.
  • vienna-parliament - The Austrian Parliament building in Vienna, Austria.
  • view-of-vienna - View of the cityscape in Vienna, Austria.
  • st-stephans-cathedral - View from St. Stephan’s Cathedral of Western Vienna, Austria.
  • state-opera-at-night - State Opera House at night in Vienna, Austria.
  • city-palace-concert-vienna.jpg - One of AmaWaterways' cruises stops in Vienna, where passengers have the option of attending a City Palace Concert.

Austria travel guide: What to do & see

our guide

The vibe

Located at the foot of the Austrian Alps, Austria has the glory of European sophistication with breathtaking natural scenery. With influences from its German, Italian, Czech and Swiss neighbors, Austria is a mesh of cultures while offering its own unique history as a cosmopolitan destination of Europe. Made up of nine different states, each one has its own unique flavor to offer visitors.

Whether it's summer or winter,  tourists are drawn to Austria's impressive mountainous scenery. With no less than 62% of the country at an altitude of 1,600 feet or more, it's hard to miss the stunning snow-covered peaks and green valleys. Depending on the season, you'll find green mountain meadows or white landscapes as far as you can see, but either way, you won't be disappointed by the grand views.

Cruise ships that visit Austria

Austria is a landlocked country; however, its river cruises along the Danube are very popular.

  • Viking River Cruises: Viking Alsvin, Viking Baldur, Viking Bestla,Viking Eistla, Viking Freya, Viking Gefjon, Viking Gullveig, Viking Legend, Viking Njord, Viking Prestige, Viking Skadi, Viking Tor, Viking Var, Viking Vili, Viking Ve
  • AmaWaterways: AmaCerto, AmaDolce, AmaLyra, AmaPrimo, AmaSerena, AmaSonata, 

Top reasons to go

  • Visit the numerous lakes, which are clean and offer camping overnight.
  • Hike through the Austrian alps, which offer plenty of marked trails and shelters.
  • Partake of the classical music scene in Vienna, where local orchestras and opera offer shows.
Mirabellgarten in Salzburg, Austria. The prince-archbishop built a palace on the grounds as a token of love for his future wife.
Cha già José / Creative Commons BY SAMirabellgarten in Salzburg, Austria. The prince-archbishop built a palace on the grounds as a token of love for his future wife.

Things to do & see in Austria

Vienna

This cultural, political and economic capital of Austria, this city is packed with Medieval and Baroque structures. Schönbrunn Palace with its 1,441 rooms is the absolute highlight, and every little girl's princess dream. It is considered one of the most beautiful baroque palaces in Europe. Its zoo, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, is the oldest in the world. Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, is a preserved historic center that reflects the city's history of great classical music.

As one of the most famous capitals of the Roman Empire, there are plenty of churches that reflect the religious leanings of the former rulers. The 12th century St. Stephen's Cathedral is the most prominent religious building. The same goes for Innsbruck, at the heart of Tyrol. The Mariazell Basilica in Mariazell is one of the country's most visited attractions and an important pilgrimage destination.

Karlskirche (Church of St. Charles Borromeo) in Vienna.
Marcus Winter / Creative Commons BY SAKarlskirche (Church of St. Charles Borromeo) in Vienna.

Winter sports

The Alps offer some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world during the winter months. The high density of ski resorts may not be as luxurious as neighboring countries, but they are cozy and often lower-priced than its competitors. Vorarlberg and Tyrol are the most popular areas for skiing, although there are plenty of places off the beaten path to take advantage of.

Cycling

Austria has a large cycling culture during the summer months. People come from all over the world to ride the Danube cycle path from Passau to Vienna, although it isn't the only one. Several other rivers also have their own bike paths and are easy enough even for the most casual cyclist.

Best bets for dining

Austria is famous for its well-balanced variations of beef and pork and countless variations of vegetables. There is also the "krapfen" which are doughnuts usually filled with apricot marmalade or custard, and "strudel," such as "apfelstrudel" filled with apple and "topfenstrudel" filled with sweetened sour cream.

Typical Austrian dishes include Wiener Schnitzel, Schweinsbraten, Kaiserschmarren, Knödel, Sachertorte and Tafelspitz. There are also Kärntner Kasnudeln, a cooked filled dough-bag with a type of cottage cheese and spearmint, and Eierschwammerl dishes. The Eierschwammerl, also known as Pfifferling, are native yellow, tan mushrooms. 

Best time to go

Summers can be very nice in Austria, lasting from June to mid-September. However, if you want to ski, winters are great, but can get very cold. Temperatures often below 14°F, so bring the right warm clothes.

When you arrive

Docking information

As Austria is landlocked, there isn't an ocean port. However, river cruises launch from the port of Vienna and Linz on the Danube.

The Main Square of Linz an der Donau (Linz on the Danube) in Austria.
Wolfgang Zajc / Courtesy of Austrian National Tourist Office The Main Square of Linz an der Donau (Linz on the Danube) in Austria.

Getting around

Trains are the most common form of transportation in Austria, with the bus system complementing it. Ticket prices are based on how far you are traveling, whether it's across state borders or through a region. You can rent a car if you want to travel to less populated areas of Austria, but this comes with rental prices as well as tolls on certain roads.

Need to know

Passport: All U.S. and Canadian citizens will need a valid passport.

Currency: The euro

Tipping: Although it is customary to leave a tip at restaurants and with taxis, it is usually less than 10%.

Safety: Austria is a very safe country; however, like all major destinations, avoid flashing cash and stay in well-lit areas at night.

Wikitravel contributed to this guide.

Your take

Have you been to Austria? Please share a story, tip or discovery. What was the highlight for you? Please share in the comments below.

See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

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The Cruiseable editorial team consists of award-winning travel writers, cruise bloggers and journalists.

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Overheard

“For Christoph and Karin, weekends are made for long walks.  One of their favorites: a stroll to a traditional Austrian Heurige (wine tavern) called Dorfschenke Neustift on the tourist-light northern edge of the city. The road isn't big enough for buses.”

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