From Belvedere to Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna has a whole host of beautiful landmarks. Once you’ve taken a walking tour and seen all that Austria’s capital has to offer, you might be in the mood to escape the city and explore its surroundings! Not sure where to start? Check out our tips for the best places to spend the day outside of Vienna!
The Wachau Valley
Drive one hour west of Vienna to find the breath-taking Wachau Valley, with quaint villages, scenic vineyards and medieval castles. One of the valley’s highlights is the Melk Abbey, a baroque Benedictine Abbey, that was completed in 1732. Visitors will be wowed by the intricately painted ceilings and impressive library and church, with marble pillars and golden decorations.
One of the best ways to see all the Wachau Valley has to offer is to take a Danube cruise from Krems to Melk and back. Alternatively, you could take a bike tour through some of the valley’s villages, passing several family-run wineries along the way, where you’re welcome to try delicious samples.
This fairy tale castle sits on top of a wooded hill, overlooking the quaint town of Leobendorf. In the 13th century, it was taken over by the famous Habsburg Royal Family, who owned the property for a quarter of a century. Today, Kreuzenstein is open to the public between April and November, but you must take part in a guided tour to enter.
After you’ve taken in the impressive drawbridge and imposing towers, take a hike around Leobendorf. The town has 13 hiking trails of varying difficulties to choose from. They will take you through woods and fields and offer spectacular views of the nearby mountains.
A 2.5-hour-long train journey from Vienna will take you into the heart of the Alps, where you’ll find the famous city of Salzburg. Start by visiting the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which is now a fascinating museum. For more musical landmarks, head over to the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, where the Von Trapp children played in the Sound of Music.
One of Salzburg’s highlights is the Hohensalzburg Fortress. If you’re feeling energetic, you can climb the 506-meter-high hill to reach the entrance, or take the funicular, which will get you to the top in under a minute. If you’re not too tired after exploring the fortress, stroll around Salzburg’s Old Town to enjoy Baroque architecture, cobbled streets and small shops and cafés.
The journey from Vienna to Prague, Czechia, takes about four hours, but trust us: the long journey will be worth it! Start your visit at the Old Town Square and join a walking tour to see important sights like the Tyn Church, Prague Castle, Jewish Quarter and the iconic, centuries-old Charles Bridge. Then, head over to the New Town to find the well-known Wenceslas Square and National Museum, where you can learn more about the capital city. Rejuvenate after exploring Prague by enjoying local beer, goulash and dumplings.