Austria is an amazingly beautiful country in Europe with a rich historical background, classical music heritage and magnificent landscape. In this short travel journal, I’ll take you on a tour of the most beautiful places in Austria, from the vibrant capital Vienna all the way down to the idyllic lakeside village of Hallstatt in October.

EXPLORING AUSTRIA WITH NAMBI BEAR

 

Vienna City Centre

A Bustling Capital City With Rich Cultural And Historical Delights

Look at me in front of the majestic Austrian Parliament Building!

What’s a better way to explore the imperial capital of Vienna other than by heading straight to the city centre? The street was filled with lots of historic neo-Classical buildings. I strolled down the street with my Mama and Papa while stopping every now and then to take a selfie right in front of each building.

Just down the street, the Vienna City Hall (Wiener Rathaus) was waiting for me. The Austrian National Theatre, Hofburgtheater (Burgtheater), is just across the city hall. My Mama and Papa told me a long story about the Austrian National Theatre, but all I could remember was the theatre being a highly regarded German-language theatre in the world. Too impressed by the building that I forgot about the rest!

Hofburg Palace

I had always dreamt to live in castles like a princess, and in Austria, my dream came true. The Hofburg Palace was so grand and mind-blowingly huge — it was one of the largest palace complexes in the world! The intricate and opulent decor captivated us every step we took.

This former imperial palace of Vienna was so vast that I thought I would get lost if not for my Mama and Papa. The palace seemed like a small city within the city itself. We also checked out the guided tours to Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments to peek into the lavish lifestyle of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth.

Visitor Info

Hofburg Palace

Address: Hofburg, Michaelerkuppel 1010 Vienna

Operating hours: Sep to June 09:00-17:30, July-August 09:00-18:00

Phone: T: +43 1 533 75 70

Getting There

How to get there:

Underground: Line U3 (orange) and alight at Herrengasse

Trams: No. 1, 2, D and 71, alight at Burgring

Bus: No. 1A and 2A, alight at Hofburg

Emperor’s Pancake

If you’re hungry, don’t forget to check out the Emperor’s Pancake (Kaiserschmarrn) from the Hofburg Café. It is a pancake served in a skillet with applesauce and plum sauce on the side. I wished I didn’t have to share this with my Mama and Papa because it was so heavenly delicious!

Visitor Info

Café Hofburg

Address: Innerer Burghof 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

Operating hours: Daily, 10 am – 6 pm

Getting There

How to get there

On foot, it is an integral part of the Hofburg Palace complex. It is near the Hofburg Palace Silver Collection of Vienna.

A Glimpse Of The Glorious Imperial History Of Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace, a grandiose Baroque palace located just outside of Vienna, was the summer residence of the Habsburg family that reigned during the 13th century. Hidden away behind the castle was a massive 186-hectare park and garden, perfect for a day trip.

A touristy shot of myself in front of the Neptune Fountain!

The Gloriette

After a short trek uphill, we arrived at The Gloriette in the Schönbrunn Palace Garden.

This is probably the largest and best-known gloriette in the world, used to be a hall used by Emperor Franz Joseph I for dining, breakfast, and festival. Today, the place is a café where you can rest your tired legs and enjoy a vantage point over the rest of the garden. If you have time, don’t forget to visit the Roman Ruin, Orangery, Columbary, Sundial House, Palm Pavillion, Privy Garden, and more!

Visitor Info

Schönbrunn Palace

Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria

Operating hours: Daily, 8 am – 5:30 pm

Getting There

How to get there:

Underground: Line U4 and get off at Schönbrunn Station

Trams: No. 10 or 60 and get off at Schönbrunn Station

Bus: No. 10A and get off at Schönbrunn Station

Obertraun: A Quiet Retreat Surrounded By Majestic Alpine Landscapes

Our next destination was Obertraun, a small, quiet village beside Lake Hallstätter See. As it was the end of autumn and very close to the beginning of winter season, the ferry service from here to Hallstatt was not in operation. Many café, bars, and restaurants were also closed down during this time. In summer, however, this place is normally bustling with tons of activities like swimming, cycling, and kayaking.

We stayed in Seehotel am Hallstättersee, a beautiful hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, but it was too cold to take a dip during our visit. Our room was spacious and clean, complete with en-suite hot shower. Breakfast was also provided as part of our stay there – yum!

Visitor Info

Seehotel am Hallstattersee

Address: Seestrasse 152 Obertraun Upper Austria

Getting There

How to get there:

Just a 10-minute leisure walk from the Obertraun train station, towards the direction of the Obertraun Pier.

Talking about food, we’ll never forget the delicious Wienerschnitzel we had at Krippi Inn Restaurant (Krippenstein), Obertraun. It was easily the best Schnitzel with applesauce I had so far in my bear life!

Visitor Info

Fredys BURGER Factory (formerly known as Krippi Inn)

Address: Winkl 57, 4831 Obertraun, Austria

Operating hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 2 pm – 11 pm

Saturday, Sunday, 10 am – 2 pm & 4:30 pm – 12 am

Closed on Thursday

Getting There

How to get there:

About 40 minutes on foot from Seehotel am Hallstättersee or about 10 minutes by cycling.

Hallstatt: The Most Beautiful Lakeside Village In The World

Next stop, we made a day trip to Hallstatt, a picturesque village situated right next to Obertraun. You can get to Hallstatt by taking a public bus near the train station of Obertraun. Hallstatt was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. This small scenic town overlooks the tranquil waters of the Hallstatt Lake. I enjoyed walking along the lake thanks to the breathtaking view and chilly weather.

Check out my selfie with the iconic Hallstatt church clock tower in the background — more bragging rights to my bear fur-riends!

We might have taken too many photos at this beautiful quaint town, but no regrets! There were many restaurants, guest houses and souvenir shops around the lake, each with traditional European architecture.

We noticed that Hallstatt salt was a recurring souvenir item available in every shop here, likely because Hallstatt is known for its salt production, dating back to the Iron Age. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can sign up for Hallstatt salt mine tours to relive the olden days of salt mining.

The Hallstatt market square is another focal point of the village. Surrounded by charming little houses, the market square is where locals will gather to celebrate festivals and events every month. One of them is the Hallstatt Christmas Market. Held from the 8th of December every year, it draws in tons of tourists across the globe to relish in its pre-Christmas joyful ambience. Hallstatt is a small village, but it makes up for its size in a huge way. It left a lasting impression for my Mama and Papa.

I had the most memorable incident here while admiring the beautiful church tower. As usual, I was just sitting there waiting for my papa and mama to click a picture of me when suddenly a lady (I assume a fellow tourist?) sat next to me and took a selfie with me. Too bad I do not have any pictures of that moment, but looks like I’m getting famous soon!

Salzburg: The Beautiful, Iconic Setting Of The Sound Of Music

The final highlight of our trip is the magical city of Salzburg, also known as the home city to the Sound of Music and the historical birthplace of Mozart. No visit to Salzburg is complete without some passionate singing and dancing at the Mirabell Gardens and Palace. Doe, a deer, a female deer! If you haven’t watched the Sound of Music, watch it before you come here so that you can better appreciate the lovely city of Salzburg.

Visitor Info

Mirabell Palace

Address: Mirabellplatz, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

Opening hours: Daily, 8 am – 6 pm

Getting There

How to get there

 All the main attractions are within walking distance from the Salzburg old town. However, if you wish, you can take either one of Bus 160, 170, 912 or 918 and get down at the Salzburg Makartplatz station.

Untersberg Mountain

My Mama and Papa brought me on a cable car ride up the 1973-metre-tall Untersberg Mountain. At the peak, you can find a pretty cool restaurant called Hochalm am Untersberg situated right beside the cliff, with a spectacular view to die for. We could see snowy peaks and incredible views above the clouds — so surreal! Bring thick shawls and down jackets because it could get very cold up there.

Visitor Info

Untersbergbahn GMBH (cable car)

Valley station address: Dr. Friedrich Ödlweg 2, A-5083 Gartenau

Operating hours may vary. Please refer to the schedule of the cable car

Getting There

How to get there:

Bus 25 or 28 and alight at Valleystation Untersberg Cable car

Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains

After all the cold wind and snow, we headed for some fun at the Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains (Schloss Hellbrunn & Wasserspiele). The trick fountains were meant to be a practical joke, once used by Markus Sittikus, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, to entertain his guests. We were amazed by the water-operated games and attractions scattered around the palace compound. Our playful tour guide surprised us with the mysterious gorges and engineering displays. Fun times but remember to bring some towels!

Visitor Info

Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains

Address: Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

Phone: +43 662 8203720

Opening hours:

April, October 09:00-16:30* daily

May, June, September 09:00-17:30* daily

July, August 09:00-21:00* daily

Additional evening tours** 19:00, 20:00, 21:00* daily

*Start of the last tour

** July, August (trick fountains only)

Getting There

How to get there:

Taking Bus Line 25 from the main train station to Hellbrunn (via city centre).

That’s the end of our trip to Austria. I hope one day I would go back to this charming country to spend more time at the amazing castles and scenic natural landscape during summer.