Top 12 Experiences in Vienna and Austria

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From thermal spas to a Habsburg palace, Vienna and Austria offer terrific experiences that should be on every traveler’s list. Here are Fodor’s top picks for a memorable trip.

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Schönbrunn Palace

Play royalty for a day in Vienna by visiting the summer residence of the Habsburgs, with
its elegant gardens, fountains, fake Roman ruins, a hilltop café, and Europe’s oldest zoo.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Vienna Travel Guide

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Sachertorte

Indulge in a slice of Sachertorte, a dense chocolate cake layered with apricot jam. It was invented in the early nineteenth century by one of Austria’s court confectioners.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Austria Travel Guide

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Grossglockner High Alpine Highway

In the Alps, you can ascend to Austria’s tallest peak and view the Pasterze glacier from 12,470 feet. See it while you can; it shrinks thirty feet every year.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Eastern Alps Travel Guide

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The Ringstrasse

Streetcars travel full circle along Vienna’s best-known avenue, lined with monumental buildings that recall the city’s imperial splendor.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Vienna Travel Guide

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Thermal Spas

Soak in hot springs at one of several thermal spas that dot small towns throughout Austria. Then brag that you’ve experienced the country’s unofficial leisure sport.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Austria Travel Guide

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Heurigen

Visit a wine tavern where owners serve new wines from their own vineyards. In September, sample Sturm, a drink made from the first pressing of the grapes.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Austria Travel Guide

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MAK Museum

In Vienna, this gorgeous collection of Austrian art objects and contemporary works also includes a fascinating display devoted to the Wiener Werkstätte.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Vienna Travel Guide

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The Salzkammergut

Enjoy a hike in this rural paradise in Upper Austria with seventy-six lakes and the Dachstein Mountain range. The opening scenes from The Sound of Music were filmed here.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Salzkammergut Travel Guide

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The Viennese Ball

As many as 400 black-tie balls are held every year during Vienna’s Fasching, or carnival season, which lasts from New Year’s Eve through Mardi Gras.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Vienna Travel Guide

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Fortress Hohensalzburg

Evening classical music concerts take place in the prince’s chamber of this mighty castle overlooking Salzburg’s skyline.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Salzburg Travel Guide

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Hofbibliothek

Browse the stacks at Vienna’s National Library, a cathedral of books and one of the world’s most ornate Baroque libraries.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Vienna Travel Guide

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Kitzbühel

This sixteenth-century village with a medieval town center has carved out a reputation as one of Europe’s most fashionable winter ski resorts.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Innsbruck, Tirol, and Vorarlberg Travel Guide

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