Austria: Top 10 Historical Sites

One of the top destinations in Europe for historic and cultural experiences is the nation of Austria. The Southcentral European nation is flooded with rich historical value and geographic wonder. It seems that when you travel to Austria you will find something interesting in whichever direction you look. The history of Austria dates back to the Roman Empire during their reign over Central Europe. The Roman Empire controlled most of the region South of the Danube River while the North had more of a Germanic/Hunnic control of power.

After their fall, the nation of Austria changed hands a number of times before being settled over by the great Habsburg dynasty. The Basbsurg family ruled over Austria (as well as other sections of Europe) from 1273-1918 CE. Many of Austria’s landmarks were established during Habsburg’s reign. In Austria’s larger cities, Vienna, Salzburg, Graz and Innsburck, art history and adventure are on every street corner. For history buffs and world travelers, it is no surprise that Austria ranks so high on your bucket list. Without further adieu, here is Tripio App’s Top 10 Historical Sites in Austria. 


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1. Belvedere Palace, Austria

Austria Belvedere Palace

Photo by Andreas Weilguny on Unsplash

Perhaps the most scenic and visiting historic landmark in Vienna is the Belvedere Palace. This staple of Vienna consists of two giant resident palaces, the Orangery and the Palace Stables. Surrounding the palace are a series of botanical gardens with historic statues and memoirs. The architecture of the Belvedere follows heavy Baroque style influences. During the Habsburg rule over central Europe, several lords and ladies had estates built in their honor. The Belvedere Palace may as well be the most prominent of these estates.

The construction of the palace began in 1717 and was not completed until 1723. Originally the Belvedere Palace was built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Since then it has served as a residence for many other lords and ladies of the Habsburg dynasty until their demise in the early 20th-century. A trip to the Belvedere Palace combines history and a sense of adventure which is exactly why Tripio App just had to put it at our #1 destination for Historical Sites in Austria. 

2. Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, Austria

Austria Saint Stephen's Cathedral

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Picking our #2 spot on Tripio App’s Top 10 Sites in Austria was not difficult. For history buffs and first time travelers to Austria, there is no way you can leave the Cathedral of Saint Stephen out of your itinerary. This 14th-century cathedral still serves as the seat for the Archbishop of Vienna. Currently seated at Saint Stephens Cathedral is Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP. This gothic cathedral is a staple of Vienna. Tourists travel from across the world to see this great piece of Roman Catholic history. Originally constructed in 1359, the Cathedral of Saint Stephen embodies classic gothic architecture and beautiful mosaic stained glass pieces within the stone walls. Simply a must see when you travel to Vienna! 

3. Schönbrunn Palace, Austria

Austria Schönbrunn Palace

Photo by Ben Preater on Unsplash

Luckily for travelers, our top 3 historic sites of Austria happen to be in the city’s capital, Vienna. The Schönbrunn Palace was yet another estate built for the famous Habsburg dynasty. The name Schönbrunn derives from an old water well used to supply water for the Court of Vienna. The Palace, finished in the year 1700, served as a private residence for several royal figures of the Habsburg bloodline. Today the Schönbrunn Palace is open for tourists and visitors to explore the grounds including large kept gardens, the interior of the palace and so much more. When you travel to Vienna, be sure to add the Schönbrunn Palace to your travel itinerary! 

4. Melk Abbey

Austria Melk Abbey

Photo by Andreas Weilguny on Unsplash

For a combination of breathtaking views and historic value, there is no better destination than the Melk Abbey. Located in Northern Austria (just West of Vienna) is the small city of Melk. The Melk Abbey is a Benedictine Abbey that overlooks the city and the scenic Danube River. The yellow/orange hue of the Abbey makes it one of the best places for photography in Austria. The Abbey, established in the 11th-century and is home to the tombs of several members of the Babenburg family including Saint Colomon of Stockerau. The Melk Abbey is an overlooked site by most who travel to Austria but is one that Tripio highly recommends! There was no way that Tripio Apps could not include the beauty and value of the Melk Abbey into our list of Top 10 Historic Sites in Austria.

5. Hofburg Imperial Palace, Austria

Austria Hofburg Imperial Palace

Photo by Andreas ***** on Unsplash

Conveniently located at the capital city’s heart, the Hofburg Palace is a historic destination that travelers do not want to miss. With Vienna being the Habsburg dynasties’ home, the need for several estates was non-negotiable. The Hofburg Palace not only served as the primary winter residence for the Habsburg family, but as the headquarters and principal palace of Vienna. The original construction of the Hofburg Palace took place in the 13th-century and many expansions and additions have since been completed. As you enter the main lobby of the Hofburg Palace, you will be met by a giant oculus dome that sits above you. A visit to the Hofburg Palace is another great adventure to add to your historic Austrian itinerary. 

6. Hohensalzburg Medieval Fortress, Austria

Austria Hohensalzburg fortress castle

Photo by Free Walking Tour Salzburg on Unsplash

A trip to Salzburg might be the best decision a traveler can make while on vacation in Austria. The fairytale-like castle of Hohensalzburg is one of the most photographed destinations in the nation. This fortress sits on top of Festenburg Hill and overlooks the entire city of Salzburg. At its highest point, the Hohensalzburg fortress sits at a shocking 500m above the city. Construction of the fortress began in 1077 CE and has held power and prominence ever since. Hohensalzburg is one of the largest castles in all of Europe. The views that travelers are rewarded for journeying up to the top are absolutely spectacular. A trip to Salzburgs most famous destination makes for the adventure of a lifetime and one that you will never forget. 

7. Mirabell Palace 

Austria Mirabell Palace

Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash

While in Salzburg, there is no point in leaving without first a visit to the Mirabell Palace. Mirabell is known for a few different things. To start, the Mirabell Palace is regarded as a magnificent historic establishment dating back to the turn of the 17th-century. Surrounding the Mirabell Palace is a large series of gardens consisting of beautifully maintained flowerbeds, trimmed hedges, and other magnificent botanical features. Finally, the Mirabell Palace is remembered for its stunning view of Hohensalzburg and the rest of the city. It’s not everyday that you get to visit one historic wonder and get a killer view of the next! The Mirabell was named after a young Italian woman. The name stems from “Mirabile” meaning admirable and “bella” meaning beautiful. There is no better way to describe the Mirabell palace! You are now one step closer to creating your perfect Tripio travel itinerary for Austria!

8. Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria

Austria Hohenwerfen castle

Photo by Anja Junghans on Unsplash

Overlooking the mountain view town of Werfen is the famous Hohenwerfen Castle. This Austrian landmark is another stone castle perched high up on a large precipice. The castle sits over 620m above the town of Werfen. Hohenwerfen was constructed in 1077 around the same time as Hohensalzburg and Petersburg in Friesach. Threat and turmoil were at a rise during this time in Austria’s history so it was deemed necessary for the Archbishopric to be placed under immediate protection, thereby instigating the construction of the three castle fortresses. A visit to the Hohenwerfen Castle perfectly blends a sense of adventure with historical value. Conveniently, the Hohenwerfen is a short 40km south of Salzburg, making it the next destination to add to your Austrian vacation. 

9. Kaisergruft Imperial Crypt 

During your history packed vacation to Austria, you will without doubt know all about the Habsburg family. The House of Habsburg were a German family of royalty who ruled over Central Europe for centuries. With their main court of royalty residing in Vienna, the Habsburg dynasty ruled Austria from 1282 to 1918. All of their secrets are now buried with them at the Kaisergruft Imperial Crypt (also known as the Capuchin Crypt). The crypt was established under the Capuchin Monastery in Vienna. Though the tomb was established in 1618, it was not dedicated to the Habsburg dynasty until 1632. Nearly every royal member of the Habsburg family is burning within this cryptic chamber. To boost your knowledge of the Habsburg and discover the untold stories that reside with them in their final resting place, come and see the Kaisergruft Imperial Crypt!

10.  Salzburg Cathedral 

Austria Salzburg castle

Photo by Simona Todorova on Unsplash

The city of Salzburg, filled with history and culture. At the center of all the city’s historic value is the Salzburg Cathedral. The cathedral, originally established in 774 under Saint Rupert. Over the next several centuries, the cathedral underwent hardships and differential ownership. After many different constructions, reconstructions and expansions, the Salzburg Cathedral underwent a Baroque architecture makeover in the 17th-century. The Salzburg Cathedral is a staple of Western Austria and absolutely needed to make Tripio App’s Top 10 Historical Sites in Austria. The perfect way to conclude your future vacation itinerary! It is time to start crossing off destinations that have been sitting in your traveler bucket list. 

Intrigued by history, check out: Athens: 10 Best Places To Discover Greek Mythology

-Matthew Knotek Tripio Guru 


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