Bordering the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland, Austria is a special place imbued with local and international flavor, a rich history, and a wide variety of terrains and sights-to-see. Criss-crossed by the Alps, charming mountain villages, and cool metropolises, the general atmosphere of this German-speaking country is rooted in the special balance struck between urban life and a focus on all that is outdoorsy. From Vienna’s opera houses & cafes to Mozart in Salzburg’s fortress to the tip of the highest mountain, a stay anywhere in Austria promises to be a special confluence of old and new, mountain and valley, and urban and rural.
Situated near the northern border of Austria, just miles away from Germany’s mountainous Bavaria, is the postcard city of Salzburg. A small city with a large personality, Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart, is home to a UNESCO Old Town, and promises old-world views unlike anywhere else. The city is tucked between massive mountains, on the top of one of which sits perched the iconic and ever-beautiful Salzburg Fortress — worth a visit for the draw-dropping views if not for the fascinating museum that lies within. Lovers of culture should check out Mozart’s birth house in the Old City, the modern art museum, and the architectural wonder of the Hangar 7, constructed by Red Bull founder, Dietrich Mateschitz. Hotels in Salzburg are posh and immaculate like the city and its environs: try a boutique hotel for a taste of the local flair or a 5 star spot to get the absolute most of your stay. The setting for The Sound of Music, many say this city looks exactly as it did 250 years ago. Outside of the city limits, find absolute mountainside bliss. For a romantic or wellness-oriented escape, hotels around Salzburg provide sweeping views of the mountains over traditional Austrian cuisine and lavish spa treatments.
Voralberg and Tyrol are world-renowned for their ski resorts, mountains & river valleys, and cultural pulls. Occupying all of the western chunk of Austria, these two regions are characterized by their season-based draws: in the winter, hit the Olympic ski slopes in one of the many resort towns in Voralberg. In summer, spend all day lounging on the banks of Lake Constance at a country house hotel. The fresh mountain air and opportunity for hiking, biking, and mountain climbing are known to have a positive effect on one’s state of mental and physical wellbeing, making this a destination for wellness-seekers from all over the world. Other sorts of travelers will find a vast collection of art in Bregenz and a suite of natural reserves speckled throughout both regions. Mountain or lake hotels place you right in the action, equipping you with everything you’ll need for a sporty or relaxing escape to Western Austria. Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, boasts a fascinating pastiche of Imperial and modern architecture, together with railway stations designed by Zaha Hadid and a 16th-century palace. If you can’t get enough of the awesome mountain scenery from the ground, the Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen is a cable car that takes you up the mountain to Austria’s largest natural park.
Some call Styria the “Green Heart” of Austria because of its lush landscape, dotted with vineyards, rolling hills, and imposing mountains. South of Austria’s second-largest city, Graz, find wide-open wine country. Try a vineyard hotel in the area for total wine immersion, or a spa hotel spent surrounded by glaciers on one side and hot springs on the other. Graz boasts a particularly relaxed atmosphere, trendy design hotels, and more fascinating architecture spanning from Renaissance to the “friendly alien” Kunsthaus Graz. The youngest province, Burgenland, promises a different type of Austrian holiday, perched on the bucolic flatlands near the border shared with Hungary. Perhaps more fit for a family vacation, the region brims with kid-friendly and interesting destinations, like the Familypark Neuseidlersee and the Esterházy Palace. Located not too far from Vienna, a hotel in Burgenland provides a pleasant escape from the bustling city. The Lake Neusiedl is worth a visit for its gorgeous landscape and the hotels in the area offer true luxury, with regional spa packages, sprawling indoor waterscapes, and thermal baths on offer. If that’s not enough, both Styria and Burgenland have seriously mastered cuisine, from typical Austrian to mouthwatering international fare.