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DANA BROWN made the mistake of saving it until later. Here’s why you shouldn’t.

I FINALLY bit the bullet and visited Austria.

I’ve always skipped it on my European adventures for ‘more exciting places’. I justified it by telling myself it was one of those places I’d visit in my senior years.

But, after visiting close to 80 countries, I now know how wrong I was to save it for later.

There are many reasons to visit Austria, but I’ve painstakingly narrowed it down to my top five.

  • Natural beauty: This is a country of incredible natural beauty, with majestic mountains, crystal clear lakes and scenic valleys.
  • Rich cultural heritage: Austria is home to a rich cultural heritage, from classical music to art and architecture.
  • Delicious cuisine: The cuisine here is delicious and hearty, featuring dishes like wiener schnitzel, apfelstrudel and sachertorte. The country is also known for its wine, beer and coffee culture.
  • Outdoor activities: A great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, skiing, cycling and more.
  • Friendly people: Austrians are known for their hospitality and friendly nature, making it a welcoming destination for visitors.

Overall, Austria is a land that has it all. Innsbruck and Salzburg, two of its most famous cities, are must-visit destinations for travellers looking to experience the best the country has to offer. So, let’s explore the highlights.

Dana Brown at Cloud 9 bar, Seegrube


Innsbruck is an alluring city located in the western part of Austria, surrounded by the Alps. It is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, as well as those interested in exploring its rich history and culture. No matter which season you visit, I can guarantee your breath will be taken away.

Here are some top attractions in Innsbruck:

Old Town: The Old Town of Innsbruck is a beautiful, pedestrian-friendly area with many historical buildings, shops and restaurants.

It’s a great place to stroll around or sit with a drink and enjoy the atmosphere. Climb to the top of Stadtturm for dazzling 360-degree views of the city too.

Golden Roof: A three-storey balcony covered with 2,657 gilded copper tiles. It was built in the 15th century and was used by the emperor to watch festivities in the square below.

Imperial Palace: This was once the residence of the Habsburgs, the ruling family of Austria. Today it is a museum with exhibits on the history of the palace and the Habsburgs.

Ambras Castle: A Renaissance castle located just outside of Innsbruck. It was built in the 16th century by Archduke Ferdinand II and is now a museum with a collection of art and artifacts.

Bergisel Ski Jump: This is a popular attraction for winter sports enthusiasts. It was redesigned by architect Zaha Hadid and offers amazing views of the city.

Hofburg: A former imperial palace that is now home to several museums and cultural institutions. A must-visit for those interested in the history of the Habsburgs.

Nordkette Cable Car: Offering great views of the city and the surrounding Alps, the cable car takes visitors from the city centre up to the top of the Nordkette mountain range.

Swarovski Crystal Worlds: Featuring a variety of interactive exhibits and installations, this is a museum dedicated to the art and science of crystal.

Tyrolean Folk Art Museum: This is a museum dedicated to the traditional arts and crafts of the Tyrol region.

Food and Beverage: There’s no shortage of epic places to wine and dine in Innsbruck. I loved the Naked Indigo, Moustache, Oniriq, Woosabi, Stiftskeller and Cloud 9 Bar at Seegrube.


Located in the north of Austria, this is a charming city known for its rich cultural heritage and impressive Baroque architecture.

Salzburg is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and is home to several museums and monuments dedicated to the famous composer.

One of the main attractions in Salzburg is the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to several Baroque-style buildings, including the Salzburg Cathedral and the Residenz Palace.

You must take a stroll through the narrow streets and admire the colourful buildings and charming squares.

But it doesn’t stop there. These are the experiences you cannot miss while visiting Salzburg.

Hohensalzburg Fortress: One of the largest medieval castles in Europe and offers great views of the city from its towers.

Mirabell Palace and Gardens: This beautiful palace and its gardens were originally built in the 17th century and have been used in several films, including The Sound of Music.

Mozart’s Birthplace: The house where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born is now a museum that showcases his life and work.

Salzburg Cathedral: Built in the 17th century and a prime example of Baroque architecture.

Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains: This palace was built in the early 17th century and features several trick fountains that are sure to surprise visitors.

Salzburg Museum: Showcases the history of the city and its residents, from ancient times to the present day.

St. Peter’s Abbey: This Benedictine monastery is one of the oldest in Europe and features a beautiful Baroque church.

The original Sound of Music tour with Panorama tours: You’ll not only visit a lot of the above sites but you can relive your childhood dreams from the movie and singalong while doing it.

Food and Beverage: My culinary highlight was visiting Augustiner Bräu with fellow TravelManager, Kylie Gretener.

Augustiner Bräu has been the largest beer restaurant in Austria since 1621. Grab a stein and some local bites from the food hall and prost (cheers) the night away.

Dana Brown is a travel advisor, creator & coach.

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