Austria removing the general entry ban for travelers from the UK is worth applauding. The green rated country has a pinch of almost everything that makes Europe special: piercing blue lakes, soaring Alps, glaciers, river valleys, vineyards, forests, orchards and abbeys. In addition, there are roads and railways running through the whole thing.
Cities are built tall and mighty, with castles, palaces, concert halls and some of the world’s finest galleries – the legacy of over 600 years of Habsburg rule. From Mozart to Maria, from the hiking trail to the ski slope, these 15 stays immerse you directly in the best of this alpine nation in pocket size.
1. Oh, Vienna
Vienna is a cultural whirlwind. Once a showcase for the Habsburgs, the Austrian capital is generously dotted with palaces, galleries, legendary concert halls and cafes haunted by the ghosts of Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss and Freud. While big hitters like the glitzy Hofburg, Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the 1,441-room Schloss Schönbrunn, and the Klimt-filled Schloss Belvedere deserve attention, go above and beyond to channel the soul of the city. Descent to the Naschmarkt for a picnic, relax on the Danube Island, take a social walk with Whoosh (whoosh.wien) and drink pinot in a Heuriger (wine tavern) surrounded by vineyards with stunning views over Vienna.
Tell me more: The famous Third Man Riesenrad Ferris Wheel spins above the Prater. From 2021 the park has a new restaurant, NENI (neni.at)
2. Take to the road
Diving head first into the alpine wonders of the Hohe Tauern National Park, the Grossglockner Alpine Route (grossglockner.at) is a road trip to be praised. Planned for World Heritage status, it’s a 30-mile riot of hairpin turns, mountain slopes, waterfalls, hissing marmots, and whoa-look-at-that-glacier moments. The highlights of the drive from Fusch-Ferleiten to Heiligenblut are too numerous to mention, but the views from Edelweiss Spitze and Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe are astonishing. The route is passable from May to October.
Tell me more: Stay overnight in Heiligenblut. Camp (pitch for two from £ 17; nationalpark-camping.at) or stay at the Alpine Chalet Hotel Senger (double rooms from £ 103; romantic.at)