If you had to select all the elements that make up an ideal European destination, there’s a good bet you’d come with something resembling Austria.
There’s so much to love about this Western European nation: beautiful natural scenery, well-designed cities, friendly people, fascinating history, and all sorts of things to see and do.
There’s no end to the castles to tour, forests to explore, and mountains to ski down: It’s an all-year destination with amazing things to check out anytime of the year.
But where should you stay on a visit? Fortunately for you, we’re experts on European trips, and we’ve rounded up our recommendations for the best places to stay in Austria, including why we love each area, the best hotels, and more. Let us be your guide!
The Best Places to Stay in Austria
In this storied country, there’s plenty to experience in every region, from picturesque villages in the Alps to major population centers, including outstanding restaurants, cultural attractions, galleries, elegant palaces, and more.
Our top picks for the very best places to stay in Austria include:
- Salzburg. Museums and scenic vistas abound, including stunning views of the Eastern Alps.
- Vienna. The country’s capital has had an illustrious history dating back centuries.
- Innsbruck. Some call this the ‘picture postcard town’ because of its memorable design and unforgettable appearance.
- Graz. This city perfectly blends old and new elements to create a vibrant, modern community.
Where to Stay in Austria: Best Areas & Hotels
You’ll find plenty of accommodations for your Austrian experience, from chain hotels to inns that have been continuously serving food and drink and providing places to stay for centuries.
And we’ve rounded up each in our top picks for the best places to stay in Austria. Let’s dive in!
Salzburg has been called the Stage of the World, Festival City, and “The Prettiest City.” As such, it’s no surprise that it’s our top pick for the best places to stay in Austria. It has the honor of being the birthplace of Mozart, although the famed composer spent much of his professional life in Vienna.
It’s where “The Sound of Music” was filmed and where the actual von Trapp family hailed from, who the popular musical was based upon. Today, there’s all sorts of museums, gardens, historic churches, pubs, and other attractions to enjoy.
It’s divided between the Old City (Altstadt), which still has intact and functional medieval and baroque streets, and the New City (Neustadt), dating ‘only’ to the 19th century.
I visited during the “high time” of summer and found it lived up to its “pretty” nickname, with green hills, blue skies, mild temperatures, and fewer people than Vienna.
Hotels in Salzburg
- Campingplatz Torrenerhof. This rustic campground offers a scenic location that’s close to many attractions, but not many more extras. Campers can access separate units, a shared bathroom, private parking, and an on-site bar. There’s a continental breakfast in the morning.
- A&O Salzburg Hauptbahnhof. This dormitory-style hostel offers six beds per room, which could be fun for a group of friends, a family, or even small parties of travelers eager to meet others. It does include private bathrooms and is pet-friendly. Visitors also can access TVs in each room.
- Hotel Scherer. The family-owned hotel is in Old Town. Guests will find air conditioning and a minibar in each room. There’s also an on-site restaurant that provides Austrian food choices, along with a breakfast buffet. It’s an easy walk from here to train stations and the Salzburg Congress Center.
- Hotel Modus. This location is near Mirabell Palace, a train station, and the Old Town area. Rooms have terraces for enjoyment. In-room tea and coffee is provided. There’s also a snack bar. Different size rooms are available depending on the number in the party.
- Boutiquehotel Amadeus. Two-bedroom apartments are available. The hotel has been in operation since early 2003 but recently received an extensive renovation to the guest rooms. Rooms have private bathrooms that include showers or bath. In the lobby, guests can find coffee, tea, and cakes served throughout the day, plus wine in the in-house bar.
- Austria Trend Hotel Europa. Visitors will be able to access a panoramic restaurant on the 15th floor and also be within walking distance of sights such as the Mirabell Gardens. Visitors also receive a discount for one day at participating stores in the Designer Outlet Center.
Vienna’s contribution to music and art goes back centuries. The city, nicknamed the Waltz Capital of the World, inspired Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, and even Sigmund Freud, who all spent considerable time here.
The Danube River, which goes through the town, is also considered one of the more beautiful rivers in Western Europe. Though there’s plenty for history-seekers to enjoy, it’s also a fun modern city to visit, with plenty of galleries, cafes, restaurants, and all sorts of spots to inspire creativity.
It represents Austria’s largest population, with about 2.2 million residents. The downtown is designed to be walkable but might be challenging if you’re a fan of driving or have mobility challenges.
Some ‘top city’ lists do rank Vienna a little high on the ‘unfriendly’ list, and there might be some truth to this in comparison to the warm welcome experienced in some of the smaller Austrian cities.
But this isn’t especially unusual – most larger cities around the world, from Paris to New York, have a reputation for the locals being a little brusque.
Hotels in Vienna
- Suburb Hostel. Visitors can have their choice of a single room, a double room or a four-bed dormitory. Shared bathrooms are available, and each room includes a hair dryer and linens. It’s about 10 miles from the Natural History Museum and 20 miles from the airport.
- Hotel Adlon. Private rooms and private bathrooms are available. It’s close to major tourism areas, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna Prater Amusement Park. Guests also have access to a desk, free toiletries, and linens.
- Plaza Premium Wien Visitors can take advantage of a shared lounge, a sauna, a fitness center, a business center, and snack machines. Breakfast is also available with vegan, vegetarian, and traditional continental choices.
- ARCOTEL Wimberger Wien. Located near a metro stop, this property provides easy access to area attractions. Guests can enjoy a fitness area with hot tub and sauna, air-conditioned rooms, and access to the Handwerk restaurant that serves Austrian cuisine, as well as Joe’s Bar, which serves a variety of alcohol.
- Grand Hotel Wien. Everything is designed to be as pleasing and luxurious as possible here, including five restaurants, two bars and a rooftop terrace. A big component of the Grand Hotel is the Grand Spa, an area that offers all sorts of pampering services, such as a steam bath, sauna, and cardio area.
- The Leo Grand. The property is near St. Stephen’s and easy to access prime tourism areas. The in-house restaurant provides breakfast each morning. A bar is also available. The hotel is proud to offer concierge staff that speaks many common languages and can arrange services, including reservations and car and shuttle rental.
While Salzburg has more Germanic influences, the look of Innsbruck’s architecture is a little more Italian. Both cities are also near mountain ranges, but the ones in Innsbruck are closer.
The history of the “Capital of the Alps” dates back to the 1100s when it was the capital of Tyrol.
In (relatively) recent years, Innsbruck has been on the global stage as the host site for the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976, plus the Winter Youth Olympics in 2012, the Winter Paralympics in 1984 and 1988, and the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2005.
Mountain fun is definitely a big part of the Innsbruck lifestyle, whether it’s snow sports in winter to hiking in summer. But there’s also fun neighborhoods to explore, plenty of museums and galleries to visit, and amazing parks.
It’s also one of the only cities worldwide that officially celebrates Towel Day each May (“Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” author Douglas Adams claims he was inspired to write his series here).
Temperatures can be a little cooler here and it can get dark a little earlier here than in other Austrian communities, so pack accordingly.
Hotels in Innsbruck
- Jugendherberge Innsbruck. This hostel is geared towards younger travelers as well as families with children. For instance, along with twin rooms or 6-bed dormitory rooms, there’s a game area with table tennis and table football, plus an outdoor playground and climbing wall. Breakfast is available, and there’s a grocery store nearby.
- Kolpinghaus Innsbruck. Twin rooms and 6-bed rooms are available to hostel guests. Private bathrooms and closets are included as well as bed linens. It’s near major attractions like the Imperial Palace.
- The PENZ. Sometimes staying a modern hotel has its advantages. The fairly new “design” concept hotel is aesthetically appealing with bright glass. Guests can access a rooftop breakfast restaurant as well as the American Bar on the fifth floor. Room sizes vary.
- Nala Individuelhotel. If you’re planning on doing a lot of exploring, this could be a great start point. It’s in the center of town, near shopping areas, and bike rentals are available. Start your day with a small breakfast or the full buffet. There’s also a fitness center and an Italian restaurant on site.
- Stage 12 Hotel by Penz. This elegant downtown hotel includes terrace rooms and great views of the city and mountains. There’s a breakfast buffet that focuses on local ingredients plus a bar that serves a variety of regional wines and liquors. Guests can also visit an on-site spa, fitness area, and steam bath.
- Boutique Weisses Rossl. This smaller hotel is near the Golden Roof, a favorite cultural attraction, as well as close to a main shopping area. It includes access to a historic restaurant and bar. Breakfast is available in continental or vegetarian options. One appeal of the location is that it’s within a “quiet pedestrian zone” so outside noise and traffic stays at a minimum.
If Vienna is considered the cultural capital of Australia, Graz could be considered the intellectual capital. The country’s second-largest city has four universities and four colleges, plus plenty of other attractions for residents, students and staff, and visitors.
Graz also has the honor of appearing on various “off-beat” city lists. This isn’t necessarily a negative or a designation that indicates overly unusual places or strange people.
Most organizations define the term simply as having amazing attractions but less public attention, which means smaller crowds and often a more appealing experience overall.
As with other Austrian cities, Graz has plenty of history to explore, along with many modern restaurants, galleries, and bars.
Hotels in Grasz
- Pension Gunther. Double rooms and triple rooms are available at this location near the Clock Tower. Guests can use a picnic area and seasonal pool, as well as a fitness room. A guest house includes an outdoor dining area and barbecue area.
- Arbeiterwohnheim Workers Dormitory. Basic accommodations include double rooms and a shared bathroom, with access to a kitchen, microwave, stovetop, and refrigerator.
- Grand Hotel Weisler. This impressive property is in the middle of Granz and provides easy access to many downtown attractions. Guests can enjoy a breakfast buffet as well as other meals from the Salon Marie restaurant. There’s also a fitness center and spa.
- Boutique Hotel Dom. This hotel has an interesting blend of classic and contemporary furnishings. It’s close to the historic cathedral. Rooms include air conditioning and coffee. Breakfast is provided as well as snacks and drinks throughout the day.
- Schlossberghotel – Das Kunsthotel. The central location makes it easy to explore the community. There’s also a 24-hour bar, restaurant, and sauna, plus an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is decorated with antique art. Some rooms also include kitchenettes.
- Palais Hotel Erzherzog Johann. The elegance of this former baroque palace continues into a modern hotel. Guests can enjoy well-decorated rooms and breakfast in the coffee shop or the Ernest Fuchs Bar. There’s also a sauna and fitness area. The hotel is near the main downtown square.
So, Where Should You Stay in Austria?
As you can see, there’s no shortage of activities in this storied country. But in order to experience them all, you have to pick the right area in which to stay.
To summarize, we suggest staying in one of Austria’s best places for visitors, including:
|🍷 Best for Nightlife
|⛷️ Best for Winter Sports
|🦞 Best Luxury Area
|💰 Most Budget-Friendly
Each major tourist area has similar features but also some unique characteristics that make it work visiting. So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Austria has to offer. Happy travels!