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Big, Small, and Just Right: An Austrian Fairytale for Every Traveler

Photo by Emma Hebertson

If you’ve ever dreamed of being in a fairytale, then I know the place for you. A trip to Austria will transport you straight into the pages of a storybook. Whether you have a few weeks or just a couple days, there are places for every traveler to love—big cities, mid-sized towns, or small villages. Even if you only have three days, here are three places you must visit while on your Austrian getaway.

Vienna, Austria

What would a trip to Austria be without a visit to one of the most famous cities in Europe? Known as the City of Music, Vienna was once the home of the famous musicians Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, and Strauss. You can visit each of their homes in the city, including Mozarthaus, the home where Mozart composed the most music out of any of his homes. Not two minutes away stands St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the most important cathedral to the principal ruling family of the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburgs. You can climb up the towers to overlook the city or descend into the catacombs to learn of its bones (literally). Make your way through Vienna’s famous square, The Graben, toward the majestic Hofburg Palace of the Habsburgs. And don’t forget to stop by the famous pastry shop Demel for some delicious Austrian treats on the way!

Salzburg, Austria

Austria’s tradition of music continues on to the famous town of Salzburg. Whether you know it as the birthplace of Mozart or as the home of the von Trapp family, you’re sure to fall in love with everything the city has to offer. Once you’ve finished your Sound of Music tour, make sure you explore the historic downtown with its shops and many churches. A must-see is the Fortress Hohensalzburg, balanced precariously on the hill above the town. It’s one of the largest medieval castles in Europe, and the hilltop provides a breathtaking view of Salzburg itself as well as the Salzburg river and the Alps.

Hallstatt, Austria 

Last on the list is a village just an hour from Salzburg, situated on a lake in the middle of the mountains: Hallstatt. If you were looking to be dropped into a real-life fairytale, this is your place. Here’s your chance to relax while boating on Lake Hallstatt or strolling the narrow streets toward the quaint town square. Up the hill, the town’s ossuary holds beautifully painted skulls boasting individuality beyond the grave. Or you could visit the pride of Hallstatt—their 7,000-year-old salt mines.

These are the top three places you need to visit while exploring your new dream location: Austria. With its rich history, spectacular views, beautiful architecture, and countless shopping opportunities, this country has something for everyone.