Epic Austria Road Trip Itinerary For 10 Days
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Welcome to the Voices of Travel itinerary series. If you are planning a trip to Austria, you are right here. It’s time to explore one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. My Austria self-drive itinerary is designed for you to explore all the hidden gems of this beautiful country.
You’ll follow the pathways of famous people born here in the past like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emperors like Empress Sisi, and the powerful Habsburg dynasty.
You’ll also get a chance to immerse yourself in the spectacular scenery of the Austrian Alps with crystal-clear lakes. Later on, you’ll learn the importance of salt for Austria and visit one of the world’s oldest salt mines. This itinerary is packed with adventure, interesting history, picturesque towns, and stunning nature.
Let’s take this Austria road trip itinerary and travel to Austria.
Overview Of The Austria Road Trip For 10 Days
- DAY: Vienna
- DAY: Vienna
- DAY: Day Trip – Wachau Region Wine Tasting
- DAY: Vienna ⇒ Gmunden & Traun Lake ⇒ St. Wolfgang
- DAY: St. Wolfgang ⇒ Salzburg
- DAY: Salzburg
- DAY: Salzburg ⇒ Hallein ⇒ Salt Mines Hallstatt
- DAY: Werfen ⇒ Giant Ice Caves ⇒ Zell am See
- DAY: Crystal Worlds ⇒ Innsbruck ⇒ Aqua Dome
- DAY: Aqua Dome ⇒ White Water Rafting ⇒ Bregenz
Austria Road Trip 0.DAY: ARRIVE IN VIENNA
At the beginning of our Austria itinerary, we’ll explore its capital, Vienna. This is a city full of history. It was the main residence of the Habsburg dynasty, a royal place with charm and elegance.
We’ll explore Princess Sisi’s apartments, beautiful gardens of Schonbrunn Palace, taste traditional Austrian dessert, and immerse ourselves in classical music.
Vienna was also named the most liveable city on the planet in 2019, which is not a wonder. It really has a unique charm so let’s go and experience it.
Where to stay in Vienna: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Austria Road Trip 1.DAY: VIENNA
We’ll explore the following sites today in Vienna. Let’s start with an amazing museum, then see the Sisi’s apartments and Habsburg Dynasty’s residence. After, we’ll enjoy the Austrian atmosphere on a local market with fresh and delicious specialties in the evening.
Hofburg Palace is a place where the Habsburg dynasty spent most of its wintertime for over 600 years. The complex dates back to the 13th century and until 1918 was a residence to many Emperors, who continuously extended it.
Nowadays, its premises serve as offices of the Austrian Federal President. During your visit, you’ll see the Sisi museum and learn about her inspiring life. It displays over 300 personal items of Empress Elisabeth and the dresses she used to wear.
You’ll also visit the Imperial Apartments and learn more about her life and marriage with Emperor Franz Joseph.
Hofburg Palace Skip-the-line Ticket
You can get a skip-the-line ticket for Hofburg Palace below. Note that it’s just an entrance ticket, you’ll not get any audio guide, and it’s not a guided tour. However, I think it’s enough. I did the same tour, and there are explanations about the exhibition and interesting stories in each room on the way.
Vienna Natural History Museum
I am not so much of a museum fan, but from time to time, I visit one. It must be that I genuinely feel it’s going to be a good experience, or somebody tells me to visit it.
The Natural History Museum in Vienna was one of the surprising ones. I highly recommend you to see it. It has various natural elements inside, from fauna to flora, minerals, rocks, and stones to natural wonders.
Don’t’ forget to check out the digital planetarium. It’s really unique. You can book tickets on the spot.
Admission is free of charge for those who are less than 19 years old. 🙂
The Esperanto Museum
Learn about Esperanto in the centre of Vienna. We, travel and language enthusiasts, seek opportunities to learn languages or something about them while we are traveling.
Esperanto is an artificial language, and here you can experience more about it and how it was created. And the admission is free.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The symbol of Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, has a lot to tell about the history. In fact, it survived World War II.
Let yourself some time to admire its unique dazzling roof. It has over 230,000 glazed tiles, formed into various patterns. One of the most important is the symbol of a double-headed eagle, which was the symbol of Austrian Empire when it was ruled by Habsburgs.
Experience authentic local life on the Naschmarkt, get some nice food, and make some new Austrian friends.
It is a 1.5 km longs street market, where you’ll find anything from fresh fruits and vegetables to seafood and meat and even some tiny restaurant. Take a seat and enjoy delicious food with a glass of local wine.
Evening Performance At Opera House
If you like performances, check out whether they’re doing some in the Opera House. Dress up nicely and enjoy the evening watching a spectacle or listening to opera in Vienna’s Opera House.
You can find available performances and tickets on the official site of the Vienna Opera House.
Other popular spots to enjoy a concert in Vienna are Musikverein or Karlskirche (Karl’s Church). So you can also check out these concerts and book one if you like:
Austria Road Trip 2.DAY: VIENNA
This 1441-room Baroque Palace is one of the most significant buildings in entire Austria. Built in the 1700s by Empress Maria Theresa, it’s a place where many Austrian emperors were born.
It also used to be Habsburgs’ main residence. Check out the Mirror Rooms, where Mozart gave his first concert when he was only 6 years old.
After, spend some time in its splendid gardens and feel the royal atmosphere. See the Great Parterre at the end of the gardens and take your time to walk further up to the Gloriette on the hill, where you’ll get amazing views of the Schönbrunn Palace.
Skip-the-line ticket for Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens:
There are always huge lines and people standing in a row for the tour through the palace. I highly recommend you get the skip-the-line tickets. You’ll receive an audio guide and can do the tour on your own. After, you’ll also see the gardens at your own pace.
Café Residenz – watch traditional Apple Strudel preparation
Watch how Habsburgs prepared the authentic Apple Strudel and eat as they did it with your afternoon tea.
Visit the Café Residenz, where it has been baked for centuries now. This is the place where you’ll get the best traditional Apple Strudel, an Austrian dessert dish. You can also take this traditional recipe with you.
Take it written in German and practice your German language skills following my method. This is one of the opportunities how you can improve your German when traveling. Take the recipe and try to bake the Apple Strudle at home, following it in the German language.
Prater Amusement Park
It used to be a hunting ground once, which evolved into a huge amusement park with many roller coasters, stands, a lot of fun, and adventure in the middle of the Austrian capital. Enjoy a nice afternoon, seeing Vienna from the top of a roller coaster.
You can buy tickets on the spot.
Vienna Guided Walking Tour:
If you like guided walking tour and want to learn more about the history and culture of Austrian capital, I recommend you take the following tour:
Austria Road Trip 3.DAY: WINE TASTING IN WACHAU REGION
Today, we’ll do a little day trip from Vienna, tasting some delicious local wine and delicacies in the nearby Wachau region.
I have two options for you here. I personally loved the experience on tour with Get Your Guide. They offer these two types of wine tasting tours here in the Wachau region: Wachau Valley Day Tour with Wine Tasting & Grape Grazing with a biking tour.
With both of them, you’ll get to experience one of the most beautiful Austrian regions, its history and culture, visit the best family-owned wineries, and taste local products.
One of them is a biking tour, and the other one offers a cruise on the River Danube.
With both of them, you’ll get a guide and be a part of a small group of amazing people. The guide will take you on the day trip and explain everything.
Below, I am giving you a short description of both guided tours, so you can decide and book one of them.
1.Wachau Valley Day Tour with Wine Tasting – including a cruise on the River Danube
Enjoy the diversity of the Lower Austria region with its beautiful Danube valley, UNESCO heritage sites, and the best wine yards of Austria. Visit 3 different areas and learn about the history of the Wachau valley.
Explore the town of Dürnstein, which belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage, and enjoy the cruise from Spitz to Melk on the Danube River.
In between, we’ll stop in local wineries to taste local wine with delicious specialties from the region. You can book this excursion by clicking the link below:
2.Grape Grazing: Wachau Valley Winery Biking tour
I highly recommend you take the biking tour through Wachau, biking in the region and visiting the top wineries on the way.
You’ll visit small family-owned wineries, learn about the history and culture of this region, explore Dürnstein (the UNESCO World Heritage Site), jump into the River Danube and refresh yourself a bit.
Book it now by clicking on the link below.
Enjoy your day in the Wachau region and immerse yourself in the Austrian culture. I’m sure you’ll love it.
After, get some good sleep, because tomorrow, we will be driving towards even more beautiful Austrian regions.
Austria Road Trip 4.DAY: VIENNA ⇒ GMUNDEN & TRAUN LAKE ⇒ ST. WOLFGANG
Today, we’ll continue our tour of Austria driving from the capital city of Vienna to the spectacular Salzkammergut region full of crystal-clear lakes and beautiful mountains.
It’ll take us 3 hours 30 minutes to reach our destination.
Distance Vienna ⇒ Gmunden: 2 hours and 40 minutes (by car)
Stop in Gmunden on the way, visiting Austria’s deepest lake – Traun Lake, 191 m deep.
Gmunden & Gisela Steamboat
Gmunden has a charming town centre with small cafes. After, hope on the Gisela boat and enjoy the amazing drive on Lake Traun. Gisela is one of the oldest paddle steamboats in the world, constructed in 1871. Take the cruise for 1.75 hours.
Then hop on the car again and drive slightly further.
On the way further, stop the car for a while near Toscana Park and check out the Seeschloss Ort, a small chateau built on the lake, accessible by a wooden bridge. It’s absolutely stunning with its beautiful scenery.
After, hop on the car again and drive to our destination today. First of all, you’ll drive along Traun Lake, then go through Bad Ischl and eventually reach another famous Lake, St. Wolfgang.
Distance Gmunden ⇒ Strobl: 45 minutes (by car)
Distance Gmunden ⇒ Sankt Gilgen: 55 minutes (by car)
We’ll stay for the night here next to St. Wolfgang. You have 2 options.
Either you can stay in Strobl (which is the first town you’ll reach on the way before seeing St. Wolfgang Lake).
Or you can stay in Sankt Gilgen, on the other side of the lake (in a beautiful guest house, I love this place and highly recommend it). Once you check-in to your accommodation, check out the town of St. Wolfgang.
Where to stay near St. Wolfgang Lake: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Austria Road Trip 5.DAY: ST. WOLFGANG ⇒ SALZBURG
Good morning to the stunning Salzkammergut region of Austria. Today, we are going to visit the most beautiful Austria town.
But before, take your time to explore the Schafberg mountain. It offers breathtaking views of the whole region. The departure point is from St. Wolfgang. I’ve written a separate article about this excursion so you can read more about it here. It is an excursion n. 3. 🙂
After, you can continue to Salzburg. Check-in to your accommodation and start exploring.
Distance St. Wolfgang Lake ⇒ Salzburg: 55 minutes (by car)
I have prepared a little Salzburg itinerary for you in a separate post. Check out my Salzburg itinerary for 3 days that you can do on your own. You’ll see everything what Salzburg has to offer within these 2 days. And most probably, you won’t want to go away from this amazing city.
For accommodation tips, read my Salzburg walking tour. At the end of the article, I am giving you my top tips for accommodation and the best hotels in Salzburg, so check it out. It also includes restaurants and places to eat.
Austria Road Trip 6.DAY: SALZBURG WALKING TOUR
Continue your Salzburg walking tour today, following my Salzburg itinerary on day 2. Don’t forget to try all the delicacies and soak up more atmosphere of this unique Austrian city.
Austria Road Trip 7.DAY: SALZBURG ⇒ HALLEIN SALT MINES ⇒ HALLSTATT
As I mentioned to you in my article about Salzburg’s walking tour, there are many options for day trips from Salzburg. These day trips are super unique, with beautiful nature, picturesque towns, and salt mines. For our itinerary, I’ve chosen the top day trips from Salzburg.
Let’s explore these places today.
Distance Salzburg ⇒ Bad Dürrnberg (Salt Mines Hallein): 40 minutes (by car)
Salt Mines Hallein
First of all, we’re going back to the Celtic times, visiting the Celtic village with salt mines in Dürrnberg, near Hallein, Salzburg region.
Drive up to Dürrnberg and enjoy the remote atmosphere of this small place.
The German word ‘Salz’ means salt. Salt used to be very important for the entire Salzburg region. The River Salzach was the main trade route between Salzburg and Venice, Italy. That is why the city has the word salt in it.
One of the locations where the salt is produced in this region is the mountain Dürnberg. It has amazing salt mines, and you can’t miss visiting them on this itinerary. Let’s learn the history of salt mining in the Salzburg region and how much importance it brought to this place.
Walk through the 64 km-long tunnels inside the mines. Explore the history of salt mining and the importance it brought to the entire Salzburg region. You’ll also have a lot of fun sledging inside the salt mines.
After the tour of salt mines, let’s drive further to the picturesque village, which is very famous for Austria. It’s a pretty touristy spot, but how would that be visiting Austria and not include Hallstatt town into our itinerary?
Distance Bad Dürrnberg ⇒ Hallstatt: 1 hour & 10 minutes (by car)
This little Celtic village became UNESCO WORLD Heritage Site in 1997. Hallstatt is more than 7000 years old, and is one of the highlights of the Austria’s famous Salzkammergut region. Many say that it’s one of the oldest still inhabited places in Europe. It’s also home to the oldest salt mine in the world.
Park your car and let the small walking tour of Hallstatt begin.
Take your time to stroll through its tiny streets without using Google Maps.
Just walk anywhere your legs take you, and don’t be afraid of getting lost. It’s so much fun, and you will explore many interesting things in this charming village.
Don’t miss the best INSTAGRAM SPOT from Gosaumühlstrasse, only 5 minutes from the town centre.
You might also see the swans on the Lake Hallstatt. These swans weren’t always here. In fact, the Austrian Empress Sisi imported them here when she was on her vacation in Hallstatt.
She loved swans, and as she couldn’t imagine the stunning views of the Lake and mountains around without them, she decided to bring them here.
After, go to the Hallstatt Skywalk. It is a nice 1-hour hike from the town centre. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of Lake Hallstatt, surrounded by beautiful mountains and Austria’s entire Dachstein region.
Alternatively, you can take a panorama funicular, which will take you up just within 10 minutes.
If you like to make another day trip from Salzburg, you can read my separate article about them. I recommend the top 8 day trips from Salzburg. Each of them is different and unique, so check it out and choose based on your preferences.
For now, I’ll stick to this itinerary and recommend you some hotels to stay in the area of Hallstatt. You don’t have to drive back to Salzburg. Stay here, and tomorrow, you can continue your journey doing other excursions.
Where to stay in Hallstatt: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Austria Road Trip 8.DAY: WERFEN & GIANT ICE CAVES ⇒ ZELL AM SEE
Another natural beauty awaits us today on our Austria road trip itinerary.
Let’s get on a real adventure today, visiting the world’s largest ice cave complex, accessible for tours. The place is officially called Eisriesenwelt Werfen.
In the morning, drive to Werfen to experience the incredible ice caves. Don’t forget to bring extra layers of clothes for this excursion. We are going to be walking through the ice.
Distance Hallstatt ⇒ Eisriesenwelt Werfen Parking: 1 hour & 10 minutes (by car)
Giant Ice Caves
Enjoy the 70 minutes exploration of Giant Ice Caves near Werfen (Eisriesenwelt Werfen). Take a cable car near the Dr. Oedl-Haus and let yourself be blown away by the ice cave world up in the mountains.
This is the largest ice cave complex in the world, so don’t miss out on it. Especially on a sunny day, you’ll get amazing views of the entire Salzach valley.
You have to book entrance tickets to the Ice Caves beforehand.
Be aware that the Giant Ice Caves are closed in winter, from late October until May. So plan your visit in the summertime.
Prince Archibishop started building this castle to protect his holdings from Kind Henry IV of Germany. It sits above the River Salzach, an important trade route in the past.
Werfen castle is also famous for being featured in many movies and TV shows such as Clint Eastwood’s Where Eagles Dare to the Call of Duty, and of course, the famous Sound of Music.
It was the meadow near Werfen castle, where Von Trap’s children with Maria ran down singing the song Do-Re-Mi.
Werfen Castle Skip-the-line ticket:
You can get skip-the-line tickets for Werfen Castle below:
Zell am See
After your excursions, I recommend you drive further to the beautiful Zell am See region, where you can stay overnight. Zell am See is a charming Austrian town famous for its hiking trails, skiing slopes, and great vacation spots.
Distance Werfen ⇒ Zell am See: 1 hour & 5 minutes (by car)
Where to stay in Zell am See: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Austria Road Trip 9.DAY: CRYSTAL WORLDS ⇒ INNSBRUCK ⇒ AQUA DOME (LÄNGENFELD)
Today, we continue our Austria itinerary driving to the magical atmosphere of Tyrol in Austria. Before visiting Innsbruck, we’ll make a stop at the famous Swarowski Crystal Worlds in Watten. Learn something about crystals and then continue to the picturesque city of Innsbruck.
Distance Zell am See ⇒ Swarowski Kristallwelten: 1 hour & 55 minutes (by car)
Swarowski Kristallwelten – Wattens
Visit the museum and art gallery of Swarowski Crystal Worlds, one of the most famous companies founded by Daniel Swarowski in 1895. See the 17 chambers showcasing beautiful crystal art.
Swarowski Crystal World Entrance Ticket:
Get your skip-the-line ticket for the Swarowski Crystal World below:
After the excursion of Swarowski Crystal Worlds, continue to Innsbruck.
Distance Swarowski Kristallwelten ⇒ Innsbruck: 25 minutes (by car)
Welcome to Innsbruck, the Capital of the Alps. The city is located at the foot of the Tyrolean Alps on the River Inn.
Inn as the name of the River it sits on, the location perfectly reflects its name- and ‘Brücke’ in German means a bridge. So this city is a beautiful bridge on the River Inn. Let’s explore its hidden gems.
The Golden Roof
Is a symbol of festivities that were celebrated on the square below the roof. It was built in 1496 to commemorate the marriage of Emperor Maximilian I. to Bianca Maria Sforza.
Stadtturm – City Tower
Climb the 148 stairs until reaching the top of Town Tower and get beautiful views of the city.
Walk Alongside The River Inn
Take a walk alongside the crystal-clear River Inn and enjoy the atmosphere of Tirol.
Hermann Buhl Square – Hungenburg Funicular
Hop on the Huhenburg funicular, which will take you to the Alpine Garden. You’ll drive through a tunnel, on the bridge over the River Inn, and get the best views of the city.
Tickets for the funicular:
Bergisel Ski Jump
Innsbruck is famous for its ski jump, which also brought Olympic Games to the city in 1964 and 1976. Walk around the area and get to see the ski jump in real. You’ll also get other stunning views of Innsbruck and the mountains around.
Entrance Tickets for the Ski Jump Area:
If you want, you can also visit Europe’s highest altitude Zoo in Innsbruck.
Innsbruck is a beautiful city, but I think 3 to 4 hours is absolutely enough. Just walk through the city centre and enjoy its atmosphere. Maybe get something to eat.
I don’t recommend you stay overnight in Innsbruck. We are in Austria and we should enjoy its nature and beauty. Therefore, I suggest you drive today further south and stay in one of Austria’s famous wellness resorts in the heart of Ötztal Alps with the only thermal springs in Western Austria.
Distance Innsbruck ⇒ Längenfeld (Aqua Dome): 1 hour & 5 minutes (by car)
Where to stay after Innsbruck: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Austria Road Trip 10.DAY: AQUA DOME ⇒ WHITE WATER RAFTING ⇒ BREGENZ
Good morning to the beautiful Austrian Alps. Today, you can also stay the entire day in Aqua Dome, enjoy the spa facilities, go hiking or walking in the area, and stay one more night. If you don’t want to spend an extra night, feel free to continue our itinerary :).
White Water Rafting – Haiming
Tyrol area is specifically known for its great white water rafting spots. And I’ve found a great one to experience it.
Rafting is so much fun, and I highly recommend you do it. If you’re staying an additional day in Aqua Dome, do it on that day. If not, just do it in the morning once you check-out from Aqua Dome before heading to Bregenz. This is an incredible experience. You don’t have to be afraid, it’s easy and fun.
This marks the last day of our Austria itinerary. We’ll end our journey on the border with Germany and Austria so that you can continue exploring other amazing countries. But first, drive to the third largest freshwater lake in Europe, Constance Lake, and the town of Bregenz.
Distance Längenfeld (Aqua Dome) ⇒ Bregenz: 2 hours & 10 minutes (by car)
Bregenz & Constance Lake
Welcome to Bregenz, a small city next to the borders of Germany and Switzerland. It’s a perfect place to finish your itinerary and continue your journey to the bordering countries.
We’ll end our Austria itinerary right here, enjoying the atmosphere of Lake Constance, have some drink in the city centre, and prepare ourselves for our next adventure visiting Switzerland or Germany.
Bregenz has that vacation feeling, thanks to Lake Constance. It’s the third largest freshwater Lake in Europe. You can go kayaking on it, ride on a boat, and walk alongside the Lake on the promenade. You can also take bikes and bike on the promenade around it.
It’s a nice place to chill and reflect on your Austrian itinerary and everything that you’ve seen by now.
Besides enjoying Lake Constance and doing many activities on it, you can also go up to Pfänder. Take a cable car up to the mountains and enjoy the stunning view of Lake Constance and the Alps rising up behind it. Up there are many hiking trails you can enjoy and also a restaurant.
You can buy tickets on the spot for Pfänder cable car.
Where to stay in Bregenz: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
More Tips On European Travel
I hope this Austria 10 days itinerary has pumped you to plan your visit to Austria. It’s truly one of the most interesting countries in Europe and has its specific charm that you have to experience.
It belongs to my top 10 destinations, mainly because of its natural beauty and its charming cities where I feel like I’m living in a different century.
You can get my other itineraries to continue your journey. For example, you can start in Slovakia to explore this amazing country with my 8 days Slovakia road trip. Then travel through Austria with this Austria itinerary. After, you can also explore Czech Republic with my Czech Republic itinerary for 10 days.
If you fancy a quick road trip, I highly recommend visiting Slovenia. It’s a hidden gem in the middle of Europe, which will surprise you in many ways. Get my Slovenia road trip itinerary for 5 days and explore the country.
Once you are in Bregenz, the last destination on your Austria itinerary, head to Switzerland and explore another amazing German-speaking country with my 8 day Switzerland itinerary by train.
Check out my other travel itineraries, which I’ve designed for you to explore countries more in-depth.
This way, you can see 3 countries within less than 2 months in-depth, fully immersing yourself in their cultures, history, and natural wonders. And of course, practice your language skills on the road. So take the itineraries, skip the planning process and enjoy the travelling.