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Best 5 Days in Austria Itinerary for First Time Visitors

If the thought of sipping Viennese coffee in a historic café or wandering through the Baroque streets of Salzburg makes your heart flutter, then this 5-day Austrian itinerary is your dream come true. Austria, a country that boasts an unparalleled fusion of cultural richness and natural beauty, has captured the hearts of travelers for generations.

With cities like Vienna, celebrated for its music, art, and history; and Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and the backdrop of “The Sound of Music,” a journey through these two iconic cities promises an unforgettable experience.

View over Salzburg from the Hohensalzburg Fortress

Here is my 5 days in Austria Itinerary.

5 Days in Austria Itinerary

Austria 5 Days Itinerary: Day One – Vienna

Vienna is located in the east of Austria on the Danube River and the best way to kick off 10 days in Austria.

PC: Flickr: St Stephen’s Church Vienna

Take a Vienna City Tour

Regarding the best places to visit in Austria, Vienna is high on the list. One of the best ways to get a feel for a new city is to take a tour.

There are several different ways to explore Vienna via a tour:

⇒ Take a Vienna City Walking Tour

⇒ Take a Cycling Tour around Vienna

⇒ Hop on a Segway and tour Vienna

⇒ Try the Vienna City Exploration Game

⇒ Or take a Private Tour of Vienna

The Vienna City Card is fantastic value. It allows you to prepay and save on all Vienna public transport. And you’ll get discounts at more than 200 museums, shops and restaurants.

Buy your Vienna City Card Now and Save

PC: Flickr: Vienna Carriage

Vienna by Hollywood

If you’ve seen the films The Third Man or Before Sunrise you will want to take a turn on Vienna’s 212 feet tall Ferris Wheel or Wiener Riesenran.

Vienna’s Ferris wheel was built back in 1897 and is not only one of the best places in Austria but one of the oldest Ferris Wheels in the world. Winer Risenran is located in lovely Prater park and not only does the Ferris wheel provide a movie experience it also provides some fairly amazing views over Vienna.

Beat the Queues and Buy your Ticket for Winer Risenran here

Classical Music Vienna

Vienna is often heralded as the capital of classical music. So whilst in Vienna, you must take in at least one classical music experience:

⇒ Book a Vienna Mozart Concert at the Musikverein

⇒ Enjoy Kursalon Vienna: A Johann Strauss and Mozart Concert

Listen to Strauss and Mozart at an unforgettable concert at Schonbrunn Palace

Enjoy several masters in a concert at Vienna’s famous St Anne’s Church.

PC: Flickr: Mozart statue

Vienna Restaurant Pick

Stay classic on your first night in Austria by enjoying dinner at the wonderful Wratschko Gastwirschhaft. This historic pub dates back to the 1800s and was a bit of a local secret until it was discovered by Anthony Bourdain and declared the best restaurant in Austria. Don’t miss the dumplings.

⇒ Check out some of the other best places to eat traditional food in Vienna from Australian turned Vienna local Carly.

Vienna Boutique Hotels

Vienna has a lot of boutique hotels. Go super hipster and somewhat trippy and check in to one of the 25 hours Hotels.

Vibrant colors, unique vintage finds, and exclusive wallpaper by the Berlin-based illustrator Olaf Hayek shape the design of the 183 guest rooms and 34 suites at the 25 Hours Hotel. And don’t miss their amazing roof terrace with fantastic views across Vienna and terrific cocktails.

25 hours hotel vienna

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for the 25 hours Hotels

It’s all 1940s glamour at Hotel Lamee and Topazz. They are actually two hotels (the Lamee and the Topazz) and have a fantastic location in the center of Vienna overlooking St Stephen’s Cathedral. And don’t miss the amazing rooftop bar at The Lamee.

hotel lamee and topazz

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for Hotel Lamee and Topazz

5 Days Austria Itinerary: Day Two – Vienna

Start your day with Classical Music and Horses

Head to the famous Spanish Riding School to watch the morning exercises.

Watch the training of grey young stallions as well as the fully trained stallions in the stunning Winter Riding School, all with the soundtrack of classical Viennese music.

PC: Flickr: The Spanish Riding School Vienna

The public training takes place over 2 hours which allows guests to see four different sets of horses. When it comes to where to go in Austria, the Spanish Riding School should be high on your list.

Book your ticket for the Spanish Riding School Now

Visit Schonbrunn Palace

For me, the stunning Schonbrunn Palace is one of the places in Austria not to miss. Over 300 years old, this beautiful palace was the main summer residence of the Habsburg rulers.

Since the 1950s, its 1,441 rooms have been a major tourism attraction in Austria. Schonbrunn Palace has much to explore, including its beautiful gardens.

It is also home to stunning Christmas markets if you are visiting Vienna in the winter.

Grab a beat the queue ticket and you’ll also be able to see the Austrian Parliament, City Hall, Burgtheater, the Museum of Art History, and Hofburg Palace (where Marie Antoinette was born) along the way.

Skip the Queue with this Schonbrunn Palace Ticket

Vienna Dinner

Pace yourself on the schnitzels and strudels by choosing a modern dinner location tonight. O Boufes is known for small plates, natural wines and an industrial-chic style aesthetic.

PC: Flickr: The Rooftops of Vienna

5 Day Austria Itinerary: Day Three – Head to Salzburg

The train journey between Vienna and Salzburg takes about 2.5 hours. Head to Salzburg in the morning for maximum exploring time.

Did you know it was salt that financed Salzburg? It was mined in the nearby mountains and created enormous wealth for the residents of the area – who then lavished it on the palaces, churches and castles of Salzburg.

salzburg city of salt
Salzburg made of salt at the top of Hohensalzburg

It is a stunning city – and this was possibly one of the reasons it was chosen to appear in the iconic Sound of Music movie – more on that to come.

view from cable car

Spend your first day exploring the old town of Salzburg. Start off on the Festungsbahn funicular railway in the old town and head up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress for amazing views of Salzburg and the surrounding mountains. This is one of the most photogenic things do in Salzburg. Don’t miss seeing Salzburg made out of salt.

You might enjoy reading some of my other articles on Austria:
Salzburg 2 days itinerary
Austria 5 Day Itinerary
Naturhotel Forsthofgut Review
One day in Innsbruck
Things to do in Graz
Things to see in Vorarlberg
Hotel Arosa Kitzbuehl Review

view of salzburg from hohensalzburg
View of Salzburg from Hohensalzburg

Then, it is time to pay tribute to Mozart. Head to his birthplace on the third floor of the Hagenauer House, at 9 Getreidegasse, then to the historic Mozart’s Residence and if you’re still interested, then visit the Residenz Palace where Mozart played some of his first concerts as a prodigy.

mozart house
mozart house

Stop off for an awesome schnitzel in the old town at Gasthof Goldgasse. The street of Goldgasse has some fantastic shopping for after lunch.

gasthof schnitzel
gasthof schnitzel

Check out the oldest bakery in Salzburg Stiftsbäckerei St Peter and try one of their amazing buns. They have their own still functioning water wheel. Then head to St Peter’s Abbey for one of the most picturesque cemeteries I have ever seen.

st peter's abbey cemetery
st peter’s abbey cemetery

Walk down old Salzburg’s main street Getreidegasse and admire the beautiful ironwork signage on many shops. Then head to Mozart Square and visit the charming Salzburg Christmas Museum. The museum features items collected by Ursula Kloiber related to Christmas and New Year between 1840 and 1940. This unique little museum is a real Salzburg hidden gem.

mozart statue

Book Your Salzburg Walking Tour

OR I had a private tour of the Salzburg Old Town with the wonderful Michaela Muhr, owner of Salzburg Experience. She can work with you to develop the perfect tour.

salzburg card

Top Tip: Don’t miss the Salzburg Card. The ticket has 24, 48 and 72 hour options and is fantastic value for money. It provides free entry to most of the main tourist attractions in Salzburg, free public transport, discounts and more.

Head to Wein and Co for a pre-dinner glass of Austria’s signature grape, Gruner Veltliner.

me glass of wine
salzburg wine bar

Salzburg is home to the oldest restaurant in Europe, St. Peter Stiftskulinarium. It is believed that this restaurant in St Peter’s Abbey has been running since 803 AD. In my experience, these types of restaurants tend to be very old fashioned. However, that assumption was completely incorrect for St Peter Stiftskulinarium.

st peter abbey restaurant 5 days in austria itinerary
st peter abbey restaurant

This is an old restaurant that has kept up with the times. In addition to the traditional style indoor eating area there is a beautiful Instagram friendly courtyard. And it is known, even by locals, to have some of the best food in Salzburg.

view of salzburg old town
Hohensalzburg Fortress

Salzburg Boutique Hotels

Amadeus Boutique Hotel

hotel amadeus
hotel amadeus

I stayed at the charming and well named Amadeus Boutique Hotel when I was in Salzburg. It has a fantastic location just across the river from the old town. It is located on a bustling pedestrianised street so there are lots of great places to eat and drink just a short walk away.

hotel amadeus
hotel amadeus

This four-star boutique hotel has only 20 rooms, all of which are furnished with some lovely ornate touches like baroque wallpaper and chandeliers. The hotel has two terraces and the ground floor has a large comfortable sitting area. Coffee and tea are available on the ground floor 24/7, there is an honor bar and warm croissants are served in the morning.

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for Amadeus Boutique Hotel

Hotel Goldgasse

hotel goldgasse

If you would prefer to stay in the heart of Salzburg’s old town, check out the 700 year old Hotel Goldgasse. This art hotel has just 16 beautiful rooms and an amazing location.

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for Hotel Goldgasse

Hotel Stein

hotel stein

For a room with a view, check out the adults only Hotel Stein. The hotel is located by the River Salzach and has amazing views of Salzburg’s old town. It is also only a short walk from the old town.

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for Hotel Stein

Austria Travel Itinerary 5 Days: Day Four – Salzburg

stein hotel roof terrace

Head to the Rooftop restaurant at Hotel Stein (if you’re not already staying there) for a fantastic breakfast with one of the best views of Salzburg’s old town. Or head here for a pre dinner drink tonight. Just don’t miss the view!

view of hohen salzburg from stein hotel

Then take the two most popular tours in Salzburg. First up is The Sound of Music Tour. When it comes to what to see in Austria, the Sound of Music tour is high on the list of many visitors.

maribel gardens

The major scenes for the movie were shot in the Salzburg city center, just outside and then further afield. In the city center is the Palace of Mirabell, where the Do-Re-Mi scene was shot in the gardens and St Peter’s Cemetery was where the tension-filled shots towards the end of the Sound of Music were filmed.

sound of music bus
sound of music bus

Nonnberg Abbey is not only the oldest female convent north of the Alps, but it was also home to the real Maria AND where the movie was filmed.

Mondsee Cathedral, where the wedding of Maria and Captain Von Trapp was filmed

The tour will take you to see the two different filming locations for the Von Trapp family home, the laneway Maria skips down with her guitar at the beginning of the film, the I am 16 going on 17 gazebo, the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp go married plus some great views of Salzburg’s lake district.

sound of music gazebo

The tour guides tend to be quite entertaining and share lots of stories about the filming itself as well as some insider gossip. Best of all they will play the soundtrack and get the whole bus singing along!

Book your Sound of Music Tour from Salzburg

eagle's nest
eagle’s nest

The second half day tour of the day is Eagle’s Nest. Eagle’s Nest is actually located over the border in Germany (don’t worry you don’t need your passport). The Nazi Party used Eagle’s Nest during World War Two and Adolf Hitler visited multiple times. The building sits on top of the Kehlstein and is a bit of a marvel of engineering.

eagle's nest cross

The views from Eagle’s Nest are extraordinary and well worth seeing. The building contains many elements that are original to the time when the Nazi Party used it. Most Eagle’s Nest tours include a stop in the nearby pretty town Berchtesgaden.

Book your Eagle’s Nest Tour from Salzburg

After a big day of tours, you will be hungry, so head to Wirsthouse Zwettler’s for the best goulash in Salzburg. The restaurant is in the old town and has loads of pretty outdoor seating for goulash and people-watching.

zwettler goulash

Austria in 5 Days: Day Five – Graz

In the morning, drive or take the train from Salzburg to Graz. The Salzburg to Graz train journey takes about 4 hours on the fast train. Driving from Salzburg to Graz takes about 3 1/4 hours.

Why isn’t everyone talking about/going to Graz? I absolutely loved this city and there are so many fantastic things to do, places to eat, stuff to experience.

View from the Frieblick Tagescafe in Graz

Start your time in Graz with a wander around its beautiful old city. Graz is known for its many lovely hidden courtyards; randomly walking its streets is one of the best ways to find them.

Pop up to the top of the Kastner Und Ohler department store and have a coffee and check out the amazing views at Freiblick Tagescafe .

Built in 1499, the double spiral staircase or Doppelwendeltrepp is a must-see and a great photo opportunity.

View of the Kunsthaus roof from Schlossberg

Then climb the 260 steps of Kriegssteig, which connect the clock tower to the historic old town of Graz and visit the lovely Schlossberg, a hill in the Graz city center. This hill is filled with restaurants, bars and great views.

Have a pre-dinner drink with a view of Schlossberg and then head down to the well-respected Der Steirer Graz for a classic-style Austrian meal.

Read my Post on 23 Things to do in Graz

Graz Boutique Hotels

As you would expect in a City of design, boutique hotel lovers are spoilt for choice in Graz.

Room at Hotel Wiesler

Hotel Grand Wiesler

First up for me is Hotel Grand Wiesler. This airy and stylish boutique hotel has a great location about a 5-minute walk from the center of the Graz old town. It mixes shabby chic with minimalism and pulls off a very comfortable boutique hotel.

The highlight for me was the brilliant buffet breakfast. A mega coffee machine needed staff to assist but generated good coffee. The buffet had fantastic yogurts and cereals and loads of local delicacies, including the famous pumpkin seed spread of the area.

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for Hotel Grand Wiesler

Lend Hotel

Only a 10-minute walk down the road is the Lend Hotel. This contemporary hotel is full of modern art pieces and has the most fantastic roof terrace with glorious views of Schlossberg.

The rooms are modern, minimalist, and very comfortable. Wooden parquet floorboards, king-sized beds, flat-screen TVs and even Malin and Goetz toiletries. I had a standard room and it was a perfect size. The Lend Hotel also offers medium and large rooms with balconies.

Room at Lend Hotel

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for the Lend Hotel

How to Get to Austria

Vienna, Graz and Salzburg all have airports that receive direct flights from London. As you would expect, the largest number of flights are through Vienna.

Flights to Vienna

⇒ Save time and book the train from Vienna Airport to the city center here.

austria_graz_main-square 7 days austria itinerary
Graz’s main square

This itinerary ends in Graz so if you’d like to follow it completely, there are still quite a few airlines that fly out of Graz.

Flights from Graz Austria

Airports in Austria and who flies where

NB: Austria Time is CEST or GMT +1 Vienna Austria time.

austria_graz_kunsthaus-from-schlossberg 7 day Austria itinerary
View of the Kunsthaus roof from Schlossberg

How to Get Around Austria in 5 Days

Austria is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. This means excellent views throughout most of the country.

However, it can make things trickier when it comes to getting around. Hiring a car if traveling in Austria during winter is often not such a good idea if you’re not used to wintering mountain driving.

From November to mid-April, snow chains or winter tires are required.

austria_graz_austrian-sculpture-park-fat-house austria travel itinerary 7 days
The fat house (it comes with a fat car!)

A car can be fantastic for getting around outside of the winter months but car hire isn’t that cheap and toll stickers are required to drive on Austria’s highways. I don’t mean to put you off but driving in Austria can be a bit of a pain.

Prices on Car Hire in Austria

As Austria is relatively small, it is ideally suited for train travel. And even better, Austria has the OBB Railjet, one of Europe’s most luxurious and high-tech trains. Train journeys in Austria are usually relatively short and you’ll arrive in the city center.

Train Times & Prices in Austria

I hope you enjoyed this Austria 5 Days Itinerary and that it helps you plan a fantastic trip to this beautiful country.

austria_graz_funicular-path austria in 7 days
The funicular path

Who Paid for What in this Post

My most recent trip to Austria just covered Graz. However, I have previously visited Vienna, Salzburg, Kitzbuhel and Innsbruck on my own dime. The entire trip to Graz and around was funded by the Graz Tourism Board and Propel – thank you very much.

As always, despite this support, the opinions above are all my own. Also, if you click through on the links in this post and make purchases it is highly likely that I will receive a small commission. Just wanted to make sure you knew.


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