Austria is a country known for the enchanting and diverse landscape all visitors instantly fall in love with! The majestic Alps are home to world-renowned ski resorts in Austria while the lakes and rivers frame the most picturesque villages. Cities such as Vienna, Salzburg and Graz exude history and luxury but charming castles, palaces and cathedrals are scattered all over Austria. To meet the true Austrian atmosphere and learn about its history and art, visit one of the best small towns in Austria.
The small town of St. Gilgen is a picturesque place by the lake and only about 30 km from Salzburg. It is often visited as a day trip from Salzburg and to escape the crowds of Hallstatt. Sankt Gilgen is recognizable for the beautiful wooden houses and historic buildings. Also, visitors have plenty of opportunities to remain active as there are numerous water sports on offer. Another good thing about this town is the affordability. Namely, things such as food and accommodation will cost you less than in Salzburg. One of the “must” things to do while in St. Gilgen is a Cable Car ride to the top of Zwölferhorn, a visit to the Mozart house and trying some Austrian specialties.
There is no place like Hallstatt, a fairytale-like town in Austria that attracts a huge number of visitors. Hallstatt is known for the remarkable scenery that reflects in the crystal clear Hallstatt Lake, surrounded by the Salzkammergut mountains. Besides the charming cobbled streets framed by pastel-coloured houses, the town is full of opportunities for an active holiday. Explore the salt mines and ice caves, cruise the lake and discover the important sights by hiking or cycling as cars are not allowed. However, the only downside of Hallstatt is the streams of tourists, especially during the summer. Still, this UNESCO protected site is more than worth a visit.
Zell am See
If looking for an idyllic Alpine resort, then Zell am See is the top choice. This small town located on Lake Zell is an ideal destination for both summer and winter holidays. Use the warm temperatures to discover the main attractions such as St. Hippolyte’s Church or choose between the endless number of outdoor activities and programs. Hiking and cycling are perfect for enjoying Austrian nature and fresh Alpine air. However, skiing on Schmittenhöhe mountain is the most popular activity and the ski pass includes the ride to the glacier.
The charming town of Durnstein is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Austria. No wonder, since the town boasts stunning scenery on the banks of the Danube River. The town got its name after the medieval Durnstein castle overlooking the town, a place where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned. Other recognizable features of the town are the blue Baroque tower, colourful buildings and vineyards surrounding it. Therefore, wineries are all over the place, so use the opportunity to try some of the best Austrian wines, along with the Austrian specialities.
Often referred to as one of the most beautiful villages in Austria, Alpbach is a traditional village nestled between the mountains in Tyrol, at an altitude of about 1000 meters. Albach features cosy wooden houses, meadows and mountains, and represents a perfect holiday in both summer and winter. Hiking, cycling or paragliding are attractive summer activities, while skiing in the Ski Juwel area is the top choice during the winter season. Alpbach with its relaxed atmosphere offers plenty of bars and restaurants where you can snuggle in the cold and chill in the summer, in all cases enjoying the best of Austrian cuisine.
The medieval town of Lienz located in East Tyrol is quite the opposite of what most people look for in Austria. Lienz is a Mediterranean-like town with plenty of sunshine, a laid-back atmosphere and a great combination of nature and urban life. One of the main attractions in Lienz is the Bruck Castle, a beautiful medieval fortress hosting a museum worth a visit. Hikers and cyclists can discover the multiple trails covering the area and winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy the nearby Zettersfeld and Hochstein, the sunniest ski resorts in Austria.
Holidays in Maria Alm are especially popular for skiing and snowboarding in winter. This idyllic Austrian ski resort nestled about an hour from Salzburg, in the Hochkönig area. During the summer, Maria Alm resort is ideal if you want to escape the heat, remain active and ultimately relax. At the beginning of every summer, the season is open with HochkönigMan, a trail running event. Experience hiking and mountain biking through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Austria. However, the resort is the liveliest during the winter season when winter sports reign over the area.
The medieval town of Feldkirch lies on the border where Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Austria meet. The historic old town is well preserved and the dominant sight is the Schattenburg Castle. Feldkirch is a small but incredibly picturesque town with cobbled streets, city gates and towers and the beautiful St. Nikolaus Cathedral. Besides discovering the authentic Austrian atmosphere, visitors can attend one of several festivals taking place in spring and summer.
Charming Bad Gastein is a spa town located in the south of Austria. Its picturesque landscape features pastel-coloured houses surrounded by high Alpine peaks. No wonder they often call it Monte Carlo of the Alps. Bad Gastein is ideal for those looking for a combination of sports and leisure as it offers all sorts of activities, from hiking and mountain biking to wellness and spa. With a moderate dose of sightseeing, this resort is all about recharging your body and soul.
Another gem of the Alpine region is situated at an altitude of 1300 meters surrounded by a splendid mountainous landscape. The town is overlooked by the highest mountain in Austria, the Grossglockner with a scenic Grossglockner High Alpine Road that connects to Salzburg. The picturesque old town features the dominant and beautiful Heiligenblut parish church dedicated to St. Vincent of Saragossa. Heiligenblut is lovely in both winter and summer, both seasons offering an active and relaxing holiday for their visitors.