Austria’s one of those countries you leave knowing you’ll be back. Famous for its onion-domed churches, colourful frescoes and flower-filled balconies, its lake and mountain towns are a traditional treat. Here are our top 10 things to expect from a holiday to Austria.
Look out for women wearing dirndls and men in lederhosen – these traditional mountain outfits are still commonly worn to parties and formal events. Many towns and villages have shops that stock this authentic dress – browse the styles and even try some on.
Four seasons in one day
It’s often sunny in the morning with a quick rainstorm in the afternoon, so pack a mac as well as your shorts and sun cream. One thing’s for sure – whether it’s dark, dramatic storm clouds or clear-blue skies, the scenery’s always impressive.
Coffee & cake
Café culture is big in Austria with plenty of places to stop in every town. Sit back and watch the world go by with a coffee and a traditional Austrian dessert like strudel or crumb cake. If you visit the city of Salzburg, make sure you try the famous sacher torte.
A trip on a mountain lift is all part of the adventure. At the top, you’ll find cafés and gentle walking routes to reach the best views. You can pick up a map of the lifts and routes from the local tourist office, and some resorts include the lifts on their summer discount card.
Many of Austria’s lakes have circular routes along the shore. A peaceful lake walk will get you some great views across the water. And because the promenades are flat, you can walk all the way around – some only take a few hours.
Roads & railways
Austrian buses and trains are quick and easy, and the scenery’s magical – follow valleys and rivers, passing pretty villages with dramatic backdrops.
Layers of marzipan and nougat covered in a dark chocolate shell – these foil-wrapped sweets are Austria’s most popular souvenir and can be found in all of the gift shops. Treat yourself or take a box home as a present.
See your surroundings from the water on a boat trip. Use a regular ferry for getting about, or travel in style on a traditional paddle steamer. They’re a great way of travelling to see other towns during your holiday.
Dumplings, lumberjacks, cheese – there’s a festival for everything, but Austrians love music most of all. Many resorts have free weekly outdoor concerts throughout the summer. Locals and visitors from all around gather in the streets and celebrate in the warm summer evenings.
One of the easiest ways to get to know Austria is by picking up a local summer card. Some hotels even include this with you stay, so look out for them when choosing your accommodation. These give you free public transport and free or discounted entry to most local sights.