A guide to things to do in Austria

The rugged Alpine terrain and classic baroque architecture is a model picture of what many of us envision when we think of holidays in Austria. But this historic country is much more than just rolling hills and its Sound of Music reputation. It’s no wonder holidaymakers flock here year after year with numerous bucket-list sightseeing opportunities and a whole list of things to do with the family.

Wander the historic streets of Vienna

The capital, Vienna, is the largest city in Austria and a major hub for all things art and culture. Its historic centre is bursting with interesting building with gorgeous architecture, Baroque castles and picturesque gardens, as well as the 19th century Ringstrasse. This famous ring road goes around the Old Town district of Vienna and is located where a medieval city fortification once was.

Today it’s been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You can easily cover this area on foot, or hop on one of the trams that go all around the city. Make sure to stop in one of Vienna’s numerous cafes for an essential cup of famous Austrian coffee.

Immerse yourself in the theatre

The Vienna State Opera House is a must-see. This impressive building is renowned all over the globe and puts on nearly 300 performances each year. Enjoy guided tours of the opera house, stopping behind stage to see how the cast and crew prepare.

If you’re interested in opera, and even if you aren’t, watching a performance in this grand building is an experience not to be missed. There’s both standing room and seating depending on your price range, but make sure to wear the appropriate attire, you need to dress smartly for a night at the theatre.

Check out the Old Town of Salzburg

There’s history around every corner on a holiday in Austria, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Salzburg. There are numerous ancient landmarks here with both Baroque and Medieval structure. You’ll feel as though you have stepped back in time with beautifully preserved cobblestoned streets, churches, and The Hohensalzburg Castle.

This fantastic historically rich city is wedged between the Salzach river and the Monchsberg and Festungsberg mountains, both sightseeing opportunities in their own right.

Visit the oldest Zoo

Zoo Vienna is the oldest zoo in the entire world and it first opened in 1752. It was also voted best zoo in 2008, 2010 and 2012. It’s home to more than 700 species of animals, and like most iconic places in Austria, has been named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.

If you’re travelling with little ones they will love the fascinating animals including giant pandas, polar bears, tigers, koalas and elephants. The zoo is located in the Schonbrunn Palace gardens and makes for an excellent day out and about in Vienna.

Dine like an Austrian

Austrian food is in a league of its own, with delicious smoky cheeses, hearty stews and incredible fresh pastries, all available up and down this idyllic countryside. A typical meal in Austria can be a long running affair, there are usually three courses which are enjoyed slowly with wine or cider, savouring every bite while enjoying good company.

It’s easy to eat your way through a holiday here, with so many exceptional restaurants and cafes serving up traditional Austrian cuisine. Kaffeehaus also known as coffeehouse culture plays a huge part of Austrian life. You won’t be able to get through your holiday without visiting one of these cafes, and you won’t want to.

Viennese coffee houses are like an extension of your lounge, with sofas, soft carpet, low lighting and light music. You’ll instantly feel at home as you sip Austria’s famously brewed coffee. These cafes open early in the morning and close their doors at midnight, giving you ample time to leisurely enjoy your drink and pastry.