There is no country as wide and as diverse as Austria. Salzburg and Vienna are a must on a Austrian wanderer’s list. However, to enjoy the versatility of Austria, one needs to step out of the city lodge comfort and explore more of outdoors with some popular day trips in Austria. There are ample tourist sites attached to the Salzburg and Vienna city corners that can be toured effortlessly, specially with people who are share your likes and interests.
The popular day trips in Austria are small-gifts of nature and a perfect way to dig into the rich historical and cultural background of Europe. A tour to the continent, is incomplete, without knowing its past or enjoying the dynamic scenic landscape. Austria lives up to the tourist expectation in this context. Only, it must be toured in its entirety. So, which route should we take, let us find out now?
Finest destinations for a day-long trip in Austria
1. Hallstatt – A scenic lakeside village
To get up-close with the old-world charm of Europe, one must visit Hallstatt – a lakeside village, which is also one of the oldest in Austria. It is nestled in the typical scenic beauty of Europe and the journey to the village is full of stunning mountain views and lakes in the Austrian Alps.
On reaching Hallstatt, you can not not notice its medieval settings, reflected in the half-timbered buildings and the traditional Market Square. As you tour, local and traditional handicrafts can be seen everywhere around in the boutique shops. Gmunden is the official handicrafts center that makes Hallstatt a heritage retreat in the dramatic backdrop of mountains.
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2. Dachstein: Witness the intriguing ice caves
From Hallstatt to Dachstein Mountain is a total panorama shift. Get ready for a bit of soft-trekking to reach the real gem of the place- the Dachstein Ice Caves. Trekking up to the entrance of the Ice Caves is a bit of an effort but totally worth it. The vivid display of Austrian Alps and the lush vegetation will keep you mesmerized during the short trek. And it gets better as you enter the Dachstein Ice Caves.
Be ready to experience the chill because it is freezing inside the caves. There are huge boulders of ice, formed naturally and cut in different shapes and sizes. It is amazing and intriguing to see how so much of ice is being formed inside the cave while the temperature outside is 20 degrees Celsius.
3. 5-fingers: Live the thrill on the walkway
If you are in mood for some alpine hiking, 5-fingers in Obertraun is the perfect stop for you. Blessed with splendid views of the Austrian Alps, the scenery here is absolutely breathtaking. Chilly winds make it a dreamy escape especially if you love cold weather.
The final spot of the 5 fingers is the glass bottom walk way that thrills and scares at the same time. As you stand on the steel and glass roof and look down, your heart is sure to skip a beat. You literally feel on top of the world; and the views and photos both are special here.
4. Hitler’s Eagles Nest
Close to the German border, is the famous site called Eagles Nest in Obersalzberg. This place is popular that you’ll find it in most of the Europe tour packages. Eagles Nest also is known as Berchtesgaden is popularly known as the mountain hideaway of Hitler. The entry to the place is grand as you cross a 124-meter-long tunnel made of marble and then, take the way up in a golden brass elevator.
On the top, it gets even more pleasant as you walk through the traditional building, which was once official Nazi headquarters. Much of the original construction has been preserved.
But the absolute tourist delight is the stunning view of the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. It is perfect to enjoy the beauty of nature and click pictures in the dramatic mountain background. The mountain-top restaurant is always buzzing with people enjoying food and beer.
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The Salt Mines beneath Obersalzberg, which are close to 450 years old, are worth a special mention. You can enter the mines with proper mining gear and see what they look like on the inside.
5. Liechtenstein Castle: A part of the royal heritage
The historic Burg Liechtenstein castle featured in the 1993 Hollywood flick-The Three Musketeers, Liechtenstein was constructed in the 11th century to honor the Prince of Liechtenstein. The Castle was revered as a Royal Throne for the next 200 years before a new monarch in the 15th century, headed by Prince George, preferred not to live in it. He, the prince George Wiesing, hated the palace.
It changes massively at the end of the 16th century when the castle walls were re-fortified or rebuilt to safeguard the royal palace. The castle tour is a pleasant walk through the monarch heritage of Austria.
6. Mauthausen: Watch the dark side of history
Mauthausen Concentration Camp is a famous memorial site situated between Vienna and Salzburg. is testimony to the dark period of Nazi regime led by Adolf Hitler. His army operated from the site since it has an onsite granite quarry to put the slave labours to work. Stairs of Death is the exact spot of torture, where prisoners bled to their death. The prisoners had to load heavy stones (more than own weight) on their back and carry it to the top using the stairs. Only if this torture was not enough, these prisoners were pushed or thrown from the adjacent cliff by the SS Group.
A visit to the concentration camp includes a view of gas chambers, which were used to poison the prisoners in deceptions of giving them a bath. More than 100,000 prisoners died there. The free-standing Anton Bruckner in the St. Florian Ossuary is a brusque site surrounded by bones and skulls of 6000 people.
A hidden gem of Austria is the village Heiligenbrunn. This medieval sight has about 1000 locals and no common tourist wonders like a castle or commercial properties to host the tourists. Yet, it is a place to be toured in leisure.
People identify with this small village for its cute and pleasing personality. There are small houses with thatched-roof and hobbit style houses. You will find yourself being in the middle of nowhere. If you wish to regain your senses to the present times, try the wine. The town has been serving wine since the 12th century and has a local wine region. There is Ulrich’s Chapel which has a bubbling spring. The spring has curing powers, as many continue to believe it.
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