Last Updated on July 30, 2023 by gregor
Hey there, fellow wanderers and travel enthusiasts! If you’re seeking an unforgettable adventure, let me take you on a virtual journey to one of Austria’s most captivating regions – Upper Austria. This hidden gem is brimming with a plethora of enchanting experiences that will leave you in awe and create memories to last a lifetime.
Nestled in the heart of Central Europe, Upper Austria boasts a diverse landscape that effortlessly blends natural wonders, rich history, and vibrant culture. From quaint villages to majestic mountains, the region offers something for every type of traveler.
Are you ready to embark on an exploration of the best things to do in Upper Austria? Hold on tight as we unveil the most intriguing attractions and activities that await your arrival.
Discover the Serenity of Salzkammergut: As our journey begins, we find ourselves in the picturesque region of Salzkammergut, where stunning lakes and lush forests create a serene ambiance like no other. Whether you choose to cruise on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Hallstatt, hike along the shores of Lake Wolfgangsee, or simply breathe in the fresh alpine air, Salzkammergut promises an unforgettable escape.
Unearth History at Hohenwerfen Castle: History buffs, rejoice! Standing proudly atop a rocky outcrop, Hohenwerfen Castle offers a glimpse into the past with its medieval architecture and captivating exhibits. Traverse the ancient walls, visit the museum, and catch a breathtaking falconry show – an experience that’s sure to transport you back in time.
Immerse Yourself in Linz’s Art and Culture: As the vibrant capital of Upper Austria, Linz is a haven for art enthusiasts and culture vultures. Explore the iconic Lentos Art Museum, stroll through the charming old town, and don’t forget to take a selfie with the impressive Ars Electronica Center – a hub of creativity and technological marvels.
Embrace Nature’s Majesty in the Dachstein Caves: For those craving an underground adventure, the Dachstein Caves will leave you mesmerized. Wander through the subterranean wonderland, marvel at the intricate formations, and experience the awe-inspiring Ice Palace, a truly magical spectacle.
So, my fellow explorers, prepare your travel bucket list and get ready to be enthralled by the best things to do in Upper Austria. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog posts as I reveal more valuable and authentic tips to ensure your journey is as smooth as possible. Until then, keep dreaming, keep traveling, and keep embracing the beauty of the world!
Unforgettable Adventures in Austria
A Day of Enchantment: Vienna to Hallstatt & Alpine Peaks
For those seeking an enchanting escape from Vienna, the Hallstatt & Alpine Peaks Day Trip with Skywalk Lift is an absolute must. This breathtaking journey takes travelers through the stunning landscapes of the Austrian Alps, where picturesque villages and snow-capped peaks paint an awe-inspiring picture. The highlight of the tour is the Skywalk Lift, offering panoramic views that will leave visitors speechless. Prepare to be immersed in nature’s splendor and capture unforgettable moments in this alpine wonderland.
A Melodious Journey: The Original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg
In the charming city of Salzburg, music lovers can’t miss the Original Sound of Music Tour. This captivating experience delves into the iconic locations where the beloved movie “The Sound of Music” was filmed. From the Mirabell Gardens to Leopoldskron Castle, relive the magic of Maria and the Von Trapp family amid Salzburg’s stunning backdrop. Let the hills come alive with the sound of music as you traverse the settings that have captured the hearts of millions.
An Evening of Elegance: Mozart Concert at Mirabell Palace
For an evening of refined elegance, a Mozart Concert at Mirabell Palace in Salzburg is an absolute must. Immerse yourself in the timeless melodies of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by talented musicians in a grand, historic setting. As the enchanting notes fill the air, you’ll feel a connection to the city’s musical legacy, leaving you with a lasting appreciation for classical compositions.
An Amphibious Exploration: Audio-Guided Tour of Salzburg on Land and Water
Discover the best of Salzburg’s landmarks and landscapes with an Amphibious Audio Guided Tour. This unique adventure takes you on a journey through the city’s historical streets, showcasing iconic sites like the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the charming old town. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Prepare for an exciting twist as your tour continues onto the Salzach River, offering a fresh perspective of Salzburg from the water.
A Thrilling Rafting Tour in Zell am See
For thrill-seekers, a Rafting Tour on the Salzach River near Zell am See is the ultimate adrenaline-pumping experience. Navigate through thrilling rapids, surrounded by breathtaking alpine scenery. Whether you’re a rafting enthusiast or a first-timer, this exhilarating journey promises to be a highlight of your Austrian adventure.
A Historical Excursion: Eagle’s Nest and Berchtesgaden Tour
Embark on a historical excursion from Salzburg to Eagle’s Nest and Berchtesgaden. Explore the mountain retreat of Adolf Hitler, now transformed into a fascinating museum, and marvel at the panoramic vistas from its summit. Then, venture into the charming town of Berchtesgaden, where history and natural beauty converge to create an unforgettable experience.
As our journey through the enchanting landscapes of Austria comes to an end, we can’t help but be in awe of the captivating experiences this beautiful country has to offer. From the majestic peaks of the Austrian Alps to the historical charm of Salzburg and the serene beauty of Hallstatt, Austria boasts a myriad of delights for every traveler.
In Vienna, the Hallstatt & Alpine Peaks Day Trip with Skywalk Lift invites you to bask in the natural wonders of the Alps, where breathtaking vistas and quaint villages await your exploration. Meanwhile, in Salzburg, immerse yourself in the melodies of “The Sound of Music” and witness the city’s rich musical heritage with a Mozart Concert at Mirabell Palace.
Step into the past with the Amphibious Audio Guided Tour on Land and Water, where Salzburg’s historical streets and the flowing Salzach River merge to provide a truly unique perspective of the city. For thrill-seekers, the Rafting Tour on the Salzach River near Zell am See promises an exhilarating adventure amidst nature’s grandeur.
For history enthusiasts, the Eagle’s Nest and Berchtesgaden Tour from Salzburg presents an opportunity to explore the historical significance of the region while reveling in its stunning landscapes. And no trip to Austria is complete without visiting the UNESCO-listed fairytale village of Hallstatt on a half-day tour from Salzburg, a place where time seems to stand still.
Throughout this journey, we have celebrated the beauty and diversity of Austria, a country that effortlessly weaves together history, culture, and nature. As travelers, let us cherish these moments, for they are the threads that create the tapestry of unforgettable memories.
So, whether you find yourself enraptured by the musical notes of Mozart, entranced by the majestic alpine peaks, or simply captivated by the warmth of Austrian hospitality, may your adventures in Austria be filled with joy, wonder, and a profound appreciation for the magic that this remarkable country has to offer.
Now, armed with these valuable recommendations, it’s time to let your wanderlust guide you through Austria’s embrace. May your travels be abundant with authentic experiences and may you continue to explore the world with the same curiosity and passion that drives every true adventurer.
Until we meet again, happy travels, fellow explorers!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Here are some of the best outdoor activities to enjoy in this stunning region:
Hiking: With its picturesque landscapes and numerous trails, Upper Austria is a paradise for hikers. Explore the Austrian Alps, hike around serene lakes, or trek through lush forests, discovering breathtaking vistas along the way.
Cycling and Biking: Take advantage of the well-marked cycling paths and bike routes that crisscross the region. Whether you prefer leisurely rides along the Danube or more challenging mountain biking trails, Upper Austria has options for all skill levels.
Water Sports: Enjoy water sports on the region’s stunning lakes, such as swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating. The lakes, including Wolfgangsee and Attersee, offer idyllic settings for aquatic adventures.
Rock Climbing: The Austrian Alps provide excellent opportunities for rock climbing, catering to both beginners and experienced climbers. Climb the scenic limestone cliffs and take in the breathtaking views from elevated vantage points.
Paragliding and Hang Gliding: Experience the thrill of flying over the magnificent landscapes of Upper Austria by paragliding or hang gliding. Soar high above the alpine meadows and lakes for an unforgettable adventure.
Skiing and Snowboarding: In winter, hit the slopes at the region’s ski resorts, like Dachstein West or Kasberg, to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports activities.
Nordic Walking: Take part in Nordic walking on dedicated paths, combining fitness with the pleasure of being outdoors. It’s an excellent way to explore the region’s natural beauty at a more relaxed pace.
Wildlife Watching: Upper Austria is rich in wildlife, including deer, wild boar, and various bird species. Join guided wildlife tours to spot these creatures in their natural habitats.
Rafting and Canyoning: For an adrenaline rush, try white-water rafting or canyoning in the region’s rivers and gorges. It’s a thrilling way to experience the power of nature up close.
Golfing: Tee off at one of Upper Austria’s picturesque golf courses, set against stunning backdrops of mountains and lakes.
Here are some of the most popular things to do with kids in Upper Austria:
Grottenbahn Postlingberg: Kids will love the Grottenbahn, a charming cave-themed amusement ride in Linz. It takes them on a magical journey through fairy-tale scenes and encounters with whimsical creatures.
Linz Zoo: The Linz Zoo is a great place for kids to get up close to a diverse range of animals, including monkeys, elephants, and penguins. It offers a fun and educational experience for the whole family.
Botanic Garden Linz: Located near the zoo, the Botanic Garden is a delightful place to explore diverse plant species and enjoy a leisurely walk amidst beautiful gardens.
Playgrounds and Parks: Upper Austria has numerous playgrounds and parks where kids can run, play, and have fun. Linz, in particular, has several playgrounds in various neighborhoods.
Swimming in Lakes and Pools: On a sunny day, head to one of the region’s family-friendly swimming areas or public pools, such as those at Lake Wolfgangsee or Lake Traunsee.
Farm Visits: Many farms in Upper Austria offer interactive experiences for kids, including petting zoos, tractor rides, and opportunities to learn about farm animals and agriculture.
Boat Rides on Lakes: Take a boat trip on one of the region’s lakes, such as Lake Wolfgangsee or Lake Hallstatt. Kids will enjoy the boat ride and the scenic surroundings.
Children’s Museum in Linz: The “Kinder-Kunst-Museum” (Children’s Art Museum) in Linz offers creative and interactive exhibits designed especially for kids.
Fairy Tale Parks: Some regions in Upper Austria have fairy-tale-themed parks with play areas, sculptures of favorite characters, and activities that spark children’s imaginations.
Hiking and Nature Walks: Choose family-friendly hiking trails, such as those with shorter distances and mild slopes, where kids can explore the region’s beautiful nature.
Here’s a revised list of the top attractions to visit in Upper Austria:
Hallstatt: A picturesque village on the shores of Lake Hallstatt, renowned for its stunning alpine scenery, historic charm, and the Hallstatt Salt Mine.
Linz Old Town: Explore the historic heart of Linz with its beautiful architecture, narrow streets, and notable landmarks like Linz Castle and St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Mauthausen Memorial: An important historical site, the former Nazi concentration camp serves as a powerful reminder of World War II atrocities and honors the memory of the victims.
Salzkammergut Region: Embrace the beauty of this region with its scenic lakes like Wolfgangsee and Traunsee, and charming villages such as St. Wolfgang and Gmunden.
Hohenwerfen Castle: Located near Salzburg, this medieval fortress offers breathtaking views and hosts captivating falconry shows, providing a glimpse into the past.
St. Florian Monastery: Marvel at the magnificent Baroque architecture, library, and frescoes of this historic monastery, surrounded by serene gardens.
Dachstein Caves: Embark on an underground adventure to witness the fascinating ice formations and rock structures of the Dachstein Caves.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave: Discover the world’s largest ice cave near Werfen, featuring mesmerizing ice formations in an enchanting setting.
Ars Electronica Center: In Linz, engage in interactive exhibits that celebrate the convergence of technology, art, and science.
Postlingbergbahn and Grottenbahn: Take the funicular up to Postlingberg for panoramic views of Linz and enjoy family-friendly fun at the Grottenbahn with fairy-tale-themed rides.
Here are some of the top must-visit attractions in the region:
Hallstatt: This fairytale-like village on the shores of Lake Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a top attraction in Upper Austria. Explore its charming streets, visit the Hallstatt Salt Mine, and take a boat ride on the lake for stunning views.
Linz Old Town: The historic old town of Linz boasts picturesque squares, beautiful architecture, and narrow cobblestone streets. Highlights include the Linz Castle, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and the impressive Main Square.
Mauthausen Memorial: A somber but important site, the Mauthausen Memorial is a former Nazi concentration camp that serves as a powerful reminder of the atrocities of World War II. Visitors can learn about the camp’s history and pay their respects to the victims.
Salzkammergut Region: This picturesque region includes numerous lakes, such as Lake Wolfgangsee and Lake Traunsee, as well as charming villages like St. Wolfgang and Gmunden. It is a paradise for nature lovers and offers breathtaking alpine landscapes.
Hohenwerfen Castle: Located near Salzburg, this medieval fortress perched on a rocky outcrop offers stunning views and hosts captivating falconry shows, making it a fascinating historical and cultural attraction.
St. Florian Monastery: Situated near Linz, this magnificent Baroque monastery is renowned for its impressive architecture, beautiful library, and stunning frescoes. The tranquil gardens also offer a peaceful retreat.
Dachstein Caves: Explore the fascinating underground world of the Dachstein Caves, where magnificent ice formations and intricate rock structures create an otherworldly experience.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave: Near Werfen, this is the largest ice cave in the world. A guided tour takes visitors through a mesmerizing world of ice and rock formations.
Ars Electronica Center: Located in Linz, this interactive museum is a celebration of technology, art, and science, providing a unique and engaging experience for all ages.
Postlingbergbahn and Grottenbahn: Take the funicular up to Postlingberg for panoramic views of Linz and visit the Grottenbahn, a family-friendly attraction featuring fairy-tale-themed rides.
Stunning Landscapes: Upper Austria is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, characterized by majestic mountains, serene lakes, and lush greenery. The region’s natural beauty has inspired artists, writers, and travelers alike.
Hallstatt: The picturesque village of Hallstatt is one of the most famous and iconic destinations in Austria. Its idyllic setting on the shores of a crystal-clear lake, nestled between towering mountains, has earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Linz: As the capital of Upper Austria, Linz is a vibrant city known for its cultural offerings, modern architecture, and dynamic arts scene. It was designated as the European Capital of Culture in 2009.
Musical Heritage: Upper Austria has a rich musical heritage, with famous composers like Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler having roots in the region. The city of Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is also closely associated with Upper Austria.
Christmas Markets: Upper Austria is renowned for its charming and festive Christmas markets. Cities like Linz and Steyr host enchanting markets during the holiday season, attracting visitors from all over.
Outdoor Activities: The region offers an abundance of outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, snowboarding, biking, and water sports. The Austrian Alps provide a stunning backdrop for these adventures.
Historical Sites: Upper Austria boasts a rich history, with historic sites such as Hohenwerfen Castle, the Mauthausen Memorial, and St. Florian Monastery attracting history enthusiasts and curious travelers.
Culinary Delights: Upper Austria is known for its delicious cuisine, which includes traditional Austrian dishes like schnitzel, strudel, and various regional specialties. The region’s culinary offerings are a treat for food lovers.
Thermal Spas: The area is home to several thermal spas and wellness centers, making it a popular destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Salzkammergut: The picturesque Salzkammergut region, with its stunning lakes and charming villages, is another gem that makes Upper Austria famous.
Here are the top highlights:
Hallstatt: This UNESCO World Heritage-listed village is a postcard-perfect destination with its charming streets, picturesque houses, and stunning lakeside setting. Don’t forget to take the funicular to the “Skywalk” for a panoramic view of Hallstatt and the surrounding mountains.
Linz: As the capital of Upper Austria, Linz offers a vibrant mix of history, culture, and modernity. Explore the impressive Linz Castle, stroll through the charming old town, and visit the contemporary Lentos Art Museum.
Lake Wolfgangsee: One of the most beautiful lakes in Austria, Lake Wolfgangsee is surrounded by breathtaking alpine scenery. Take a boat trip on the lake or hike along the shores to enjoy the tranquil ambiance.
Salzburg: Although not in Upper Austria, Salzburg is easily accessible and worth a visit. Explore the birthplace of Mozart, visit the iconic Hohensalzburg Fortress, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich musical and cultural heritage.
Dachstein Caves: Explore the fascinating underground world of the Dachstein Caves, where intricate ice formations and rock structures create a magical spectacle.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave: Located near Werfen, this is the largest ice cave in the world. Venture into the icy depths to witness its incredible natural formations.
Gmunden and Lake Traunsee: Discover the picturesque town of Gmunden on the shores of Lake Traunsee. Admire the Ort Castle and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lakeside promenade.
Salzkammergut Region: This stunning region encompasses numerous lakes, including Hallstätter See and Attersee. Explore the picturesque villages and scenic landscapes that have inspired artists for centuries.
Mauthausen Memorial: While emotionally challenging, the Mauthausen Memorial is an important historical site, serving as a reminder of the tragic events that took place during World War II.
Upper Austrian Open-Air Museums: Visit open-air museums like the Freilichtmuseum Sumerauerhof and Freilichtmuseum Petting Zoo to learn about the region’s rural heritage and traditional way of life.
Here are some fantastic things to do to make the most of a sunny day:
Visit Lake Wolfgangsee: Head to Lake Wolfgangsee, one of the most stunning lakes in the region. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lake’s shores, rent a boat or paddleboard, and soak in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. You can also take a relaxing boat cruise to explore the lake and its charming villages.
Hike in the Austrian Alps: Take advantage of the sunny weather and go hiking in the Austrian Alps. There are numerous hiking trails suited for various fitness levels, offering spectacular vistas of the mountains and valleys. The Postalm region, known as the “largest alpine pasture in Austria,” is a great place for picturesque hikes.
Explore Hallstatt: Visit the fairytale-like village of Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through the charming streets, visit the Hallstatt Salt Mine, take a boat ride on the lake, and hike up to the “Skywalk” for a breathtaking view of the village and the Hallstätter See.
Enjoy Watersports: If you’re near a lake, consider indulging in some watersports like swimming, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Many lakes in Upper Austria have designated swimming areas and water sports rental facilities.
Visit Gmunden and its Lakeside Castle: Explore the picturesque town of Gmunden located on the shores of Lake Traunsee. Admire the impressive Ort Castle, take a walk along the lakeside promenade, and treat yourself to some local delicacies at lakeside cafes.
Cycle along the Danube: Rent a bike and cycle along the scenic Danube River. The Danube Cycle Path offers well-marked routes, passing through picturesque villages, lush landscapes, and historic sites.
Relax in Thermal Spas: Upper Austria is known for its thermal spas. Spend a sunny day unwinding in one of the region’s relaxing thermal baths or wellness centers.
Visit Open-Air Museums: Explore open-air museums like the Freilichtmuseum Sumerauerhof in Haibach or the Freilichtmuseum Petting Zoo in Bad Schallerbach. These museums provide a glimpse into the region’s rural heritage and traditions.
Take a Scenic Train Ride: Hop on a scenic train ride like the Salzkammergutbahn, which offers picturesque views of the Salzkammergut region.
Picnic in the Countryside: Pack a picnic with some local delicacies and find a scenic spot in the countryside to enjoy a relaxing day outdoors
Each season offers a unique charm and a variety of activities to enjoy.
Spring (March to May): Spring in Upper Austria is a wonderful time to visit, especially for nature enthusiasts. The landscapes come alive with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The temperatures are mild, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and exploring the picturesque towns and villages. Spring also sees fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season.
Summer (June to August): Summer is the high tourist season in Upper Austria due to the warm weather and school vacations. It’s an excellent time for outdoor activities, such as swimming in the lakes, boating, and enjoying festivals and events that take place during this season. Keep in mind that popular tourist spots may get crowded, so plan your visits accordingly.
Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a magical time to visit Upper Austria as the landscapes transform into a vibrant palette of colors. The weather is still pleasant, making it a great time for hiking, and the fall foliage provides breathtaking backdrops for photography. It’s also the harvest season, and you can taste delicious regional foods and wines during this time.
Winter (December to February): Winter in Upper Austria is perfect for those who enjoy snowy landscapes and winter sports. The region offers various ski resorts and opportunities for activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The Christmas markets in cities like Linz and Salzburg add a festive touch to the winter experience. If you prefer a winter wonderland ambiance, this is the best time to visit.
Here are some cheap things to do in Upper Austria:
Hiking and Nature Walks: Upper Austria is blessed with stunning natural landscapes, including mountains, lakes, and forests. Enjoy free or low-cost hikes and nature walks, such as exploring the shores of the picturesque lakes or trekking through scenic trails in the Austrian Alps.
City Exploration: Many cities in Upper Austria, like Linz and Wels, have charming old towns that are perfect for strolling and admiring historical architecture. You can explore these areas on foot at no cost.
Visit Museums and Galleries: While some museums may charge an entrance fee, others offer free entry or have specific days with discounted tickets. Check the schedules and take advantage of these opportunities to learn about the region’s art, history, and culture.
Enjoy Local Markets: Visit local farmers’ markets or flea markets, where you can soak in the atmosphere and discover regional products, crafts, and tasty treats without spending much.
Picnics by the Lakes: Pack a picnic and head to one of the beautiful lakes in the region. Enjoy a relaxing day by the water, taking in the breathtaking scenery and enjoying the fresh air.
Participate in Festivals and Events: Keep an eye out for free or low-cost events and festivals happening during your visit. From music concerts to cultural celebrations, these gatherings offer a fantastic opportunity to experience the local culture.
Explore Churches and Cathedrals: Many churches and cathedrals in Upper Austria have awe-inspiring architecture and historical significance. Visit these religious sites, often free of charge, to admire their beauty and soak in the peaceful ambiance.
Bike Tours: Renting a bike can be an economical way to explore the region’s countryside and smaller towns at your own pace.
Scenic Drives: Take advantage of the stunning landscapes and embark on scenic drives through the countryside. It’s a cost-effective way to experience the beauty of Upper Austria.
Local Cuisine: Opt for local eateries, where you can sample authentic Austrian dishes at more reasonable prices compared to high-end restaurants.
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