The perfect 1-week itinerary for Austria

Austria is one of my favourite European countries for several reasons - not only does it have some of the best landscapes in the continent (it can give Switzerland a run for its money) but it also has everything that you associate Europe with - charming Alpine villages, cobbled stoned streets and big cities with an old town charm, a lot of history and musical associations (after all, Austria was home to Mozart) and a literary allure that is unmatched. The perfect itinerary for Austria combines all of these elements - a little bit of baroque architecture, beautiful mountain towns, museums honouring artistic genius from the Imperial times and an energy that is palpable.

My suggestion for the perfect 1-week itinerary for Austria includes:

3 days in Vienna

2 (or 3) days in Salzburg

2 days in Innsbruck

Innsbruck in winter

I'd recommend you to base yourself in these cities and take day trips to lovely villages such as Hallstatt and St Wolfgang. Also, if you're visiting in winter, you might be lucky enough to catch the Christmas Markets which take place from late November until Christmas Eve. This is a particularly amazing time to visit Austria - the country has some of the best Advent markets in Europe and offers you the opportunity to enjoy the typical experience - hot wine, freshly-baked goodies, cities blanketed with pure white snow and people in a festive mood.


1-week itinerary for Austria:

Vienna

Vienna makes for the ideal introduction to Austria- you're likely to arrive here as it is well connected to major cities and is the capital. Several palaces, museums, famous historical monuments, lively streets with music, age-old cafes which were frequented by intellectuals, street markets, and nightlife -  that's what you can expect from this fascinating city.

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schönbrunn Palace

Click here to read in detail about What to do in Vienna in 3 days.


1-week itinerary for Austria:

Salzburg

Salzburg is, by far, my favourite city in Austria. About 3 hours by train from Vienna, Salzburg is a much smaller yet more magical city than Vienna- it seems like it's right out of a storybook! The Salzach River flows right through the middle of the city, with the looming Hohensalzburg Fortress perched on a hill in the backdrop and the towering snow-capped mountains surrounding the city, making it postcard perfect. If you have a little more time in your itinerary for Austria, I'd recommend you to extend a day in Salzburg (3 days would be ideal to explore the city itself and embark on some really cool day trips).

Itinerary for Austria
View from Hohensalzburg Castle

If you have 3 days, this is how I recommend you to split your time in Salzburg:

Day 1: Explore the city

Take the funicular up to Hohensalzburg Fortress for unparalleled views of the city, walk around the pedestrian street in the historical centre with numerous cosy cafes, boutique shops and beautiful medieval architecture, or visit one of the famous Baroque palaces in the city.

Day 2: Take a day trip to Hallstatt

itinerary for Austria

Perhaps the most magical place in Austria during any season, this little Alpine village on the lake with the towering Dachstein mountains in the backdrop is bound to charm you. You could also spend a night here if you like, with several hotel options offering spectacular views and a very serene environment.

Day 3: Take a day trip to St Wolfgang

Wolfgangsee Lake

This day trip from Salzburg can be done directly by road, bus or train, however, I suggest to take a bus to St Gilgen and then a ferry to St Wolfgang. You could also spend some time in St Gilgen by visiting one of the best vantage points for spectacular views in Salzkammergut region - the Zwölferhorn mountain. The sleepy, romantic town of St Wolfgang is yet another fairy tale place, with cobbled stone streets, horse carriages, cute cafes, souvenir shops and lakeside restaurants.

Click here to read in detail about What to do in Salzburg in 3 days.


1-week itinerary for Austria:

Innsbruck

Any itinerary for Austria is incomplete without a visit to the Tyrol region, famous for its ski resorts and winter activities. Innsbruck is a stunning and cute little medieval town set in the backdrop of the snow-clad Austrian Alps. It also makes for a great base to explore the surrounding mountain villages and towns. when you're in Innsbruck, you're not too far from magnificent landscapes and scenery. If possible, I'd recommend you to rent a car and drive around to explore vistas that will give Switzerland a run for its money. If you're visiting in winter, put your adventure shoes on and experience immense fun by heading towards Olympia SkiWorld and trying some really cool activities such as Bob Sleigh and toboggan rides.

Innsbruck in winter

Day 1: Explore the old town

Historical and architectural treasures such as the Golden Roof, Hofburg Imperial Palace and Hofkirch (church) are a short walk away from each other and located in the pedestrian streets of the old town. You may also take the cable car from here to Nordkette Ski Station, where you're likely to find some snow and beautiful vistas of the city on a clear day. During winter, they even have an igloo bar!

During the second half of the day, you can head to Schloss Ambras and Swarovski Crystal World to see a unique exhibition of Swarovski's mesmerising crystals.

Innsbruck in winter
Swarovski Crystal World

Day 2: Head to Olympia SkiWorld

Olympia Skiworld is home to many ski resorts that are spread out over a large area. You'll have to pick and choose the activities that interest you before deciding which ski resort to head to. As I am not a skier, I choose to experience the Bob Sleigh Ride at Innsbruck-Igls and Toboggan ride at Oberperfuss Rangger Köpfl Ski Resort. Whether you choose to experience these adventurous activities or not, I highly recommend you to visit these places anyway because of the lovely setting, incredible panoramas and an amazing atmosphere.

itinerary for Austria

Click here to read in detail about What to do in Innsbruck in winter.


1-week itinerary for Austria:

Bonus Tip: Stay in an Igloo Hotel!

Although I visited Austria in winter (mid-December), there was one experience I missed out on because it was available only after the 24th of December. A lot of igloo hotels spring up in the Tyrol region specifically during the cold months, beginning end of December and lasting until February (depending on the weather, of course). Two incredible igloo hotels I came across were:

Alpeiglu Igloo Village

Schneedorf The Snow Village

Iglu Village Kühtai

 

74 thoughts on “The perfect 1-week itinerary for Austria”

  1. Igloo hotel!? How fun!!!!! Bummer you missed out on that because I would’ve loved to hear about your experience. Austria looks so magical in the snow though and I can definitely see why it’s one of your favorite cities in Europe. Also, I know Salzburg is Mozart’s birthplace. Is there some kinda museum there for him? Just curious.

  2. It’s been a long time since I have been to Austria. But, I remember it well. I also loved Salzburg. I remember Vienna and the majestic buildings were unlike many capital cities in Europe. I didn’t get to Innsbruck, but one day, I will ski there!

  3. Austria has a lot to give to tourists, Vienna is hands down one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, rich in history, architecture, the restaurants, you can easily lose 3-5 days just in the capital, and the other small villages in the alpine regions, the Christmas market is a must, so many beautiful stalls, and activities to see and enjoy.

  4. Oh what an apt post. Gonna look at your Vienna one too. We are going in time for the xmas markets but only for 3 days. Wish we had longer in Austria cause it all looks so good

  5. We visited Austria this past spring. We really loved our stay. But your post gives us so many new spots to try. And great winter views. A day trip to St Wolfgang is definitely going to be on a return trip plan. We missed Innusbruk entirely so I definitely want to try this. The winter view looks just like a picture post card. A toboggan ride down the Olympic hill would be so much fun. I might do my shopping at the Swarovski’s Crystal World! Great tip about visiting after December 24th for an igloo hotel room!

  6. This is perfect! I was wondering how much time to spend in Austria and which cities to visit. They all sound and looks amazing! All I now need is to decide if I want to see it in winter or summer!

  7. One area you completely missed is Austria’s lovely wine region, though. And there’s some great hiking too, depending on the time of year you’re going. And we love skiing at Stubai as well. Hallstatt is one place we’ve missed going to though and I’d really like to get there one of these days.

    1. I would’ve loved to explore the wine region or hike too if it was slightly warmer. I guess I’ll leave that for next time when I go in summer 😉

  8. I think you have covered all the important places well. Last year we were in Austria for 16 days and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It was around Sep-Oct. I think Austria in Winter would also be a good experience.

  9. Eastern Europe is something we have planned for a long time, but plans are still on hold. Happy to see that your itinerary matches what we ourselves had in mind for Austria. Basically, we wanted to cover Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. What we would now like to take a cue from you is to add a stay in an Igloo hotel. It sounds really fascinating.

  10. Living in a hot oven like Delhi, any speck of snow or pics of mountains makes this itchy foot go wild…haha! And these wonderful captures of Austria are indeed teasing me to pack my bags and apply for Schengen Visa as soon as possible! A perfect readymade itinerary for first timers to this wonderful place 🙂

    1. I’m from Delhi myself and live in a city as hot as Delhi (Dubai) so I know exactly what you mean! It was a wonderful experience for me too.

  11. That is a perfect 1 week itinerary for Austria. We love such white wonderlands and this is so picturesque. Living in a Igloo Hotel will be like a dream. Swarvoski crystal world looks fun. Your pictures are gorgeous.

  12. Christmas markets, snow and cheery people. Love it! When it snows in the UK, we just get miserable, ha ha! Hallstatt just looks crazy beautiful with those snowy mountains. I haven’t seen nearly enough of these kind of fairytale towns in Europe. Austria you’re on the list!

  13. Coming from Croatia, I have been many times in Austria. I love Austria and I agree with you – it is magical in Christmastime! A glass of rum punch in Vienna at a Christmas market stall is a must 😉

  14. In 7 days we will be in Innsbruck, in Austria’s Tyrol region! I didn’t know the Swarowski Crystal World is there! That means I will be able to add to my collection! That also means I can make a day trip to Salzburg! The only problem is I don’t think I will have time to make it to Vienna. So excited now!

    1. That’s alright, you can skip Vienna if you don’t have time. Salzburg and Innsbruck are way more charming anyway 🙂

  15. I really think I need to give Vienna a second chance since it was all rains when I was there. It didn’t really impress me as much as Salzburg. Next visit to Austria I’d love to explore Hallstatt and St Wolfgang. Oh! And igloo hotel sounds terrific too! 😁

    1. Yeah I am sure staying in an igloo hotel would be quite an experience! You’d have to visit when it’s really cold and freezing though 🙂

  16. I visited Austria years ago on an interrailing trip around Europe. We stopped at Bad Ischl which was right by the lake and offered stunning views. However, we never made it to Austria. Your photos look so cold but the snow makes it so pretty. Maybe I would be tempted to visit again in summer!

  17. On my last trip to Austria I only managed to visit Vienna – I’m hoping next year I can go back with more time, I absolutely loved it! I love that photo of Innsbruck, it looks so dramatic with the mountains behind!

  18. I agree, Austria does have a lot of things going for it. The scenery is beautiful, the food is fabulous, and of course, Mozart! I’d love to spend some days in Salzburg, wandering the streets and visiting the Hohensalzburg Fortress. I think winter would be just as wonderful a time to visit as summer.

  19. I have been wanting to spend time in Austria for so long and just haven’t gotten there yet. Swarovski Crystal World has always intrigued me, I want to know the story behind the entrance fountain. This itinerary sounds perfect, and the best part is you did all the work for me – thank you!

  20. I didn’t realize it was so easy to visit all three of these cities in such a short time! I only visited Vienna when I was in Austria, and am still kicking myself for not going to Saltzburg. I can see how the igloo hotel would make it worth visiting in the winter, too!

  21. I’ve always wanted to visit an igloo hotel!!!!! Bummer you missed out, but guess you have even more of a reason to visit apart from this being your favorite country in Europe – which I can totally see why because Austria is absolutely stunning and like a winter wonderland! Awesome itinerary suggestions too and I like that you didn’t rush things. Saving this for later, thank you!

    1. It’s a pity I missed out on staying in an igloo hotel but you’re right, gives me a reason to visit again. Or maybe look for one in another destination – Nordic countries or something when I go 🙂

  22. Great post filled with so much value! I love Austria but I’ve never thought of staying in an Igloo Hotel! That would be so incredible! Great tip for my next visit 😉

  23. I’ve only been to Innsbruck (ages ago) and Vienna (for a few hours) and I made myself the promise to go back and visit Austria properly one day. This itinerary would be so useful! I particularly would love to see Hallstatt, I’ve heard so many great things about that little village!

  24. I have never been to Austria and I am surprised to know that it was home to Mozart. Honestly, I have no idea.

    Also, my company has mentioned a training happening in Salzburg next year and now, I am considering attending it because of your post. I guess I am missing a lot for not visiting this wonderful place.

  25. Austria’s Christmas markets is something everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime. The bobsleigh and toboggan looked like a great adventure too. Finally, that igloo hotel although Looks absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing

  26. You make cold weather look fun! So much to do.. but I’d especially love to stay in an Igloo Hotel. That’s got to be a very unique experience. Visiting Swarovski Crystal World also looks like a one-of-a-kind experience and I love crystals!

    1. I was a little disappointed that I missed out on the experience of staying in an Igloo Hotel. If only I had stayed a few days more, they would’ve opened up!

  27. I love Austria and have been to Vienna and Salzburg. Your completely right about the storybook feeling in Salzburg! I’ve never been to Innsbruck though… that’s now next on the list for the winter skiing season!

  28. This looks like a great itinerary for Austria, hitting these three cities and giving decent time to each one. Thanks for providing suggestions on what to see and do on each day in each city, and also loving the day trip recommendation for St Wolfgang.

  29. Ooooo giving Switzerland a run for its money – that’s quite a statement and has made me totally intrigued to really explore Austria one day. I’d love to visit Salzburg, especially since it’s only a 3-hour train ride from Vienna. So it’s quite easy to get to. And I so would love to visit from Nov – Dec where there’d be the Christmas markets. Ohhhh the smells and the tastes of the Christmas markets in Austria would be absolutely incredible. And I totally think the winter would be so romantic in Austria.

  30. What a wonderful read! I do enjoy Austria and each time I go back, I discover something new. My favourite spot in Austria is definitely Halstatt… Nothing can compare to the views in that quaint village. I have not been to Innsbruck though and this piece tickled my senses 🙈 well… I guess I have to start planning 😂😂 thanks for sharing this with us!

  31. Having returned from Austria myself a few weeks ago this brought back liars of memories and yes what a country to visit. I did not do the whole if Austria and would like to visit some of the places you have mentioned. Innsbruck surely one of them. Love the winter look through and would like to experience as I did summer. Vienna is so beautiful and full of heritage. Thanks for sharing the itinerary.

  32. I love your images, they really bring Austria to life. You didn’t mention any mountain areas – do you have any recommendations for walking in the region? Also – how is the food? I hear it’s sausages and nothing but sausages!

    1. I actually linked my post to several detailed posts of what you can do. Several amazing mountain areas and little towns were amazing in Austria, especially from Salzburg and Innsbruck. There was a lot of sausages and meat (especially in the winter) and Wiener schnitzel was the most popular dish to be found! To be honest, I am not too fond of the food in Austria 🙂

  33. Thanks for sharing perfect 1-week itinerary for Austria. I did exactly same as you but not stayed in Innsbruck and did a day trip instead. Innsbruck is truly a worth visiting and not be missed place. Staying in the Igloo hotel would be great and unique too. I would now book my Austrian trip in winters to enjoy my stay at Igloo styled hotels.

  34. This itinerary could not be more timely for me. My friend and I have been contemplating going to Austria, but couldn’t decide what all do to! Innsbruck has been on my list of places to go for so long, and your description and pictures made me more confident than ever that I will absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing this!

  35. Great trip plan for Austria. I have never been there but heard great things about it among which is also the fact that it is way cheaper than the neighborhood Germany or France. Vienna and Salzburg is quite famous, but Innsbruk is new info for me

    1. Innsbruck is in Tyrol, absolutely gorgeous! Even if you spend only a day or two in the town itself, I would highly recommend exploring the surroundings. Maybe, just rent a car and drive around because the landscapes are unparalleled!

  36. Austria’s Christmas markets have been the talk of so many friends that I feel I must go some time. You were really adventurous trying the bob sleigh and toboggan. I’m not sure I’m hardy enough for an igloo hotel although I wouldn’t mind visiting. Thank you for sharing such a great itinerary.

    1. I’m all for adventure and since I’ve not really done a lot of winter activities, it really excited me! Loved the bobsleigh and toboggan.

  37. Austria is really beautiful. I’ve never been there, but reading your post and looking at all the pictures, it’s going to be tough if one can only stay for 3 days. You 1 week itinerary sounds perfect. Do you think it work well for summertime too?

  38. Thanks for sharing the beauty of Austria. Do you think it is advisable to spend Christmas season here? Is it also kid-friendly?

    1. I was actually there for Christmas last year and it was fantastic! I absolutely loved the vibe, the food, the hot wine, the markets. Yes it’s kid-friendly. Just make sure to wear enough layers, it can get really cold!

  39. Austria is such an incredible country, more especially in winter. I didn’t make it to Hallstatt the last time, but would love to visit. An igloo hotel sounds like a fab way to add a bonus to my trip! I’ll make sure to wear enough layers!

    1. It’s a pity that I missed staying in an igloo hotel. Would love to do it some other time, maybe in Lapland or someplace else. I am sure that it gets really cold, though, so layering up would be a great idea 😉

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