Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!
Looking to road trip your way by car through Austria and hit all the best places to visit, but don’t know where to begin? Let me guide you through scenic landscapes, fairy-tale towns, enchanting libraries, coffee and cake culture and interesting history. So, let’s begin shall we!?
Want to Visit Austria? PIN IT FOR LATER!!
What can you do with this itinerary?
- Austrian history
- Beautiful Libraries
- Idyllic Medieval towns
- Outdoor activities
- Families and Solo Travel
Day 1: Arrive in Vienna – Historic City Center
Day 2: Vienna – The Hofburg, Austrian National Library & Historic City Center
Day 3: Vienna – Schönbrunn Palace,, Belvedere & Hundertwasser Haus
Day 4: Admont Abbey Library & Hallstatt
Day 5: Salzburg
Day 6: Salzburg & Berchtesgaden Region
Day 7: Innsbruck
**IMPORTANT**: If you are going to do a road trip through Austria, it is MANDATORY to buy a VIGNETTE which MUST be displayed on your front windshield which allows you to drive on the Austrian Freeway! Purchase your sticker here or stop at any gas station BEFORE you cross the border into Austria!
Considering that Vienna is the capital of Austria and quite a large city, I highly recommend enjoying the city over a span of 3 relaxing days in order to take in the sights and eat as much cake as possible!
Day 1: Vienna Historic City Center
Once you have arrived in Vienna and checked into your hotel, you’ll want to being your sightseeing as there are many things to do in Vienna! Begin with Stephansdom (Stephan’s Cathedral) by taking a gander inside, and if you’re motivated enough, climb the tower for a view over Vienna! Enjoy your afternoon shopping along the Graben before stopping for an afternoon coffee and cake at one of the many coffeehouses in Vienna, Cafe Demel which once provided yummy treats to the palace. Take a romantic horse drawn carriage ride for an hour slightly before sunset.
- Peterskirche – one of the oldest churches in Vienna with an amazing organ and is according to legend, founded by Charlemagne.
Day 2: Vienna: The Hofburg, Austrian National Library & Historic City Center
Begin your day with a full tour of the Hofburg palace and learn about the remarkable Empress “Sisi” and drool over the Austrian crown jewels. Then head over to one of Austria’s most beautiful libraries, the Austrian National Library and admire the books and frescoes! Stop for a break by enjoying a coffee and cake at Vienna’s best coffeehouse, Cafe Central, in the afternoon and step back in time. Then meander your way towards the Burgtheater and the stunning Town Hall. If you’re here during the holidays, enjoy the Christmas market and the Ice Skating Rink. Then head over to the Augustiner Keller for a traditional Viennese schnitzel for dinner! (More on Vienna’s Coffeehouses)
- Spanish Riding School – catch a performance of the of the circus-style training of the horses with their riders wearing traditional uniforms.
- Volksgarten – take a stroll through the gardens near the Hofburg Complex which were created after Napoleon destroyed the city walls in 1820.
- Parliament Building – Take a gander of the Austrian Parliament building which depicts the last Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I handing the constitution to the people of the Empire.
- Prater Ferris Wheel – take a ride on Vienna’s beloved Ferris Wheel at the funfair!
Day 3: Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere & Hundertwasser Haus
Finish your time in Vienna with a tour through the Vienna’s most popular tourist attraction, the Schönbrunn Palace, where the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette grew up and whose mother had a love we all dream about. Stroll through the palace grounds, weather permitting. Be sure to stop by the Belvedere – a summer residence with stunning gardens and the iconic portrait from Gustav Klimt of The Kiss. Finally, before heading out of town, head over to the Hundertwasser Haus which is a unique apartment block complex designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. (More on Vienna here)
→ Spending Christmas in Vienna? Check out my Ultimate Guide to Vienna’s Christmas Markets!
- State Opera – enjoy a performance if you can while in Vienna.
- Karlskirche – A unique church dedicated to the patron saint of the plague with a giant dome and two towers.
Where to Stay in Vienna: Imperial Riding School Renaissance Vienna Hotel ⭐⭐⭐⭐- As a surprise trip to Vienna that would result in a proposal, my now husband booked us at this exquisite luxury hotel with comfortable beds with a delicious breakfast!
**Recommendation: After leaving Vienna, I highly recommend taking a few hours to stop at Melk Abbey, Austria’s most beautiful abbey and popular day trip from Vienna!
Day 4: Admont Abbey Library & Hallstatt
Head out early in the morning, about 8am to make the most of your day. Before reaching Hallstatt, make a quick stop to the Admont Abbey to check out Austria’s most beautiful library, one of the most breathtaking places I have ever seen in my life and well worth the stop! (More on Admont Abbey here)
You should reach Hallstatt between 12-1pm, the perfect time to enjoy a boat ride across Lake Hallstatt. Be sure to park in the small village of Obertraun, as driving in Hallstatt is not allowed. Then spend your day meandering through one of the more idyllic villages in Austria, as well as the most Instagrammable! (More on Hallstatt here)
**Recommendation: You could easily extend your stay here to really enjoy the peace and serenity, taking the cable car up the Salzwelten, possibly the world’s oldest salt mine.
Day 5: Salzburg
No trip to Austria is complete without frolicking through the town where the “Sound of Music” originated and where Mozart was born. Stroll through the historic city center and bounce around from one beautiful church to the next, make your way up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress which offers amazing views over the town. Enjoy coffee and cake at one of Austria’s most historic coffeehouses, Cafe Sacher, a 180 year old cafe that still uses their original recipes! Be sure to find all the locations as seen in the film! (More on Salzberg here)
→ If you’re looking to head into Germany, Munich is a great day trip from Salzburg!
- Schloss Mirabell – check out this palace gardens to find a scene from the “Sound of Music” where Julie Andrew sings “Do-Re-Mi”
- Getreidgasse – Take a stroll done one of the longest streets in Salzburg with shops still decorated with traditional wrought-iron gilded signs.
Where to Stay in Salzburg: Motel One Salzburg-Mirabell ⭐⭐⭐– Motel One is one of my favorite chain hotels in Europe with my my favorite style decor! The hotel is incredibly comfortable and in a great location making it easy to get around!
Day 6: Berchtesgaden Region, Bavaria, Germany
You could spend today sightseeing more in Salzburg or you can head across the border to Berchtesgaden. I know this is technically Germany, but as it’s so close to Salzburg, it’s worth the visit! Berchtesgaden National Park is filled with lots to see from Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest) which is a house that was given to Hitler for his birthday but has since been turned into a biergarten with amazing views to the emerald, pristine Lake Königssee as well as the adorable little village of Berchtesgaden. (More on Berchtesgaden & Kehlsteinhaus as well as Königssee here)
**Recommendation: This day could easily be spread out over two days to really take in the sights and enjoy the beautiful scenery as well as stopping to check out Eisreisenwelt – one of the world’s largest ice caves)
- Parish Church of St. Sebastian in Ramsau – a small iconic parish with stunning Alpine back drop.
Where to Stay in Berchtesgaden: Hotel Grünberger ⭐⭐⭐ was only a 10 minute drive away, in Berchtesgaden, which gave us plenty of time to explore the area, and had some amazing view of its own from our balcony!
Day 7: Innsbruck
The last leg of your trip will end in Innsbruck, another beautiful Austrian town surrounded by the Tyrolean Alps and glistening turquoise water. There are many things to do in Innsbruck such as strolling through the historic city center by visiting the Hofburg imperial palace, the Hofkirche and climbing the Stadtturm (city tower) which offers breathtaking views over the city with jaw-dropping mountain peaks. Enjoy a traditional German meal at the Gasthaus Goldene Dachl. (More on Innsbruck here)
When should you visit?
Visiting Austria is beautiful year round, but the best months to visit (personally) are May-October, as it’s so similar to Germany’s weather. Unless you plan on coming for the Christmas markets, then December. If you’re not coming for Christmas markets, November-March are cold, grey and gloomy, but are less crowded than during peak season (summer). Between May-September you are bound to have better weather and lots of flowers. October/early November are personally the best months to visit as fall in Austria makes everything much more beautiful.
What do I recommend for this itinerary?
This itinerary clearly doesn’t include everything, therefore, I highly suggest turning this 7-day itinerary into a 10 day road trip! I’m all about learning to enjoy slow travel and really taking the time to enjoy everything and not rushing through it just to check things off of your list.
Depending on which direction you are beginning your road trip, you could easily flip this itinerary around and begin in Innsbruck and end in Vienna.
I would also highly recommend taking a day trip to Bratislava from Vienna as the two capitals are just a mere hour apart from one another!
Where would I be without my trusty DK Travel Guides? Lost probably! With quick details, easy to follow suggested sightseeing routes, I can find my way through any city!