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10 things you should do in Austria at least once

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
10 things you should do in Austria at least once
Photo by matterandart on Unsplash

Austria offers a lot of exciting things to experience, anything from cultural events, to thrilling mountain activities, local handicraft workshops, and traditional food tasting


While in Austria, there are many exciting things you can spend your time exploring. Here, we list ten experiences you should not miss out on.

Hike Karnischer Höhenweg

The Karnischer Höhenweg, or Carnic High Trail, is a famous hiking trail of 155 kilometres that traverses the Carnic Alps along the border between Austria and Italy.

The trail is famous for its beautiful nature and mountainous scenery. The path takes you from one mountain to another, and you will pass by different mountain lakes, meadows, valleys and dense forests.

It is considered a challenging trail, suitable for experienced hikers due to its rugged terrain, where you go up and down the mountains during sometimes difficult weather conditions. On the other hand, getting lost on the trail is hard since the Karnischer Höhenweg is a well-marked trail. 

It's recommended to plan accommodation in advance, especially during the summer peak season. You can check accommodation possibilities online here.

Visit the Vienna State Opera House

The Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) is one of the world's leading opera houses and is definitely worth a visit.

It is famous for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and world-class performances. Visiting the opera allows you to experience Austrian culture, architecture, and history all at once. At the opera, you can enjoy various types of events, such as operas, ballets, and music concerts.

You can view the program for the opera's different events online.

Photo by Simon Kessler on Unsplash

Take a boat ride on a lake in Salzkammergut

The Salzkammergut region in Salzburg is famous for its beautiful nature, particularly its crystal-clear lakes surrounded by mountains. The area also has many charming villages worth visiting, such as the well-known town of Hallstatt.

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Taking a boat ride on one of the many lakes in the region is a popular activity among both locals and visitors. It is a great way to experience the region, relax, and admire the beautiful scenery.

Some boat rides can be booked with a guide who shares the stories of the region. You can find more information about ship tours on Lake Hallstatt here.


Explore Salzburg's Old Town

Salzburg's Old Town, or Altstadt, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its well-preserved medieval and baroque architecture. Here, you can experience the city's rich history and architectural heritage by walking through narrow streets and exploring historical buildings, squares and landmarks.

Salzburg is also the birthplace of Wolfgang Mozart, one of the greatest composers in history. Mozart's legacy is very notable in the city, with numerous landmarks and attractions dedicated to his life and work.

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Fans of the film "The Sound of Music" can also enjoy exploring the locations present in the movie, many of which are found in the old town, from the famous Mirabell Gardens to the Nonnberg Abbey and Residenzplatz.

Photo by Free Walking Tour Salzburg on Unsplash

Enjoy art at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna

The MuseumsQuartier, MQ, in Vienna, is one of the largest cultural complexes in the world. It hosts a wide range of museums, galleries, exhibition spaces, and cultural institutions.

At the MQ, you can explore various artistic genres and exhibitions, including contemporary art, design, modern art, photography, and multimedia artwork.

If you want to know what is on the program right now, you can visit the website.


Try wood carving

Austria has a long tradition of wood carving dating back centuries. The craft has deep cultural roots and is an essential part of Austria's artistic heritage.

While in Austria, you can get involved with the country’s cultural heritage by trying out wood carving. Most regions offer courses and workshops in wood carving, and there are also specialised wood carving schools that offer comprehensive training programs in both wood carving and general woodworking.

Many regions in Austria are famous for their wood carving tradition, and the Tyrol region is one of them.

Skilled wood artists in the area create wooden figures, sculptures, and other objects using techniques passed down through many generations.

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Taste the local cuisine

Trying typical Austrian dishes is essential when spending time in the country, and it allows you to experience centuries-old recipes and culinary traditions passed down through generations.

Food plays a central role in Austrian culture, often being the highlight of celebrations, traditional events, and social gatherings. Knowing the most typical dishes is important.

The list of dishes interesting to experience is long, but some things you should not miss out on are Wiener schnitzel, Apfelstrudel, boiled beef served with apple-horseradish sauce (Tafelspitz), fluffy shredded pancake (Kaiserschmarrn), Austrian-style macaroni and cheese (Kasnocken), and a large dumpling filled with jam (Germknödel), among many other dishes.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.

Experience a Krampuslauf

The Krampuslauf is an important part of Austrian folklore and tradition, especially in the Alpine regions. Krampus is a mythical creature from Germanic folklore, often portrayed as a demonlike goat.

The Krampuslauf is a parade where participants dress up, many as Krampus, and then take over the streets together with music and other events and performances. It is a social occasion when family, friends and visitors in the region come together. 

The event typically takes place in different cities and towns in Austria during the Advent season, the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Photo by Alessio Zaccaria on Unsplash

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Get yourself invited to a village party

Going to a village party in Austria gives you a glimpse into Austria's cultural traditions.


At these parties, you can usually experience traditional music, dance, food, and folkloric customs.

Many villages organise various public celebrations throughout the year, such as Maypole festivals, wine harvest celebrations, or St. Nicholas Day processions, as well as parties arranged by the local fire brigades.

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Participate in the sauna culture

Sauna bathing is an important part of Austrian culture. Austrians have a long history of using saunas for relaxation, socializing, and health improvement.

You can find an impressive number of thermal baths, spa resorts, and wellness facilities spread all over the country. One of the most famous spas in Austria is the Therme Loipersdorf in Styria, which has a large number of different wellness facilities, thermal baths, saunas, and relaxation areas.



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