Uncovering Austria’s Hidden Gems: Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations for Your Next Break

21 March 2023

Austria, with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and charming cities, has long been a popular destination for UK travellers seeking a picturesque escape. While the allure of a short break in Vienna is undeniable, there are many lesser-known destinations throughout the country that are equally enchanting. For those who crave a more unique travel experience, Austria offers a myriad of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. In this blog post, we will reveal some of Austria’s off-the-beaten-path destinations that are perfect for your next break.

Steyr: A Romantic Riverside Town

Nestled at the confluence of the Steyr and Enns rivers in Upper Austria, the picturesque town of Steyr is a charming destination brimming with history and natural beauty. The historic old town, with its colourful Baroque and Gothic buildings, is perfect for leisurely strolls. Don’t miss the chance to visit the mediaeval Bummerlhaus and the rococo-style Lamberg Castle. With its surrounding forests and easy access to the Kalkalpen National Park, Steyr is also an ideal base for hiking, cycling, and exploring the great outdoors.

Lake Neusiedl: A Tranquil Oasis

Located on the border between Austria and Hungary, Lake Neusiedl is an idyllic destination for nature enthusiasts and water sports lovers alike. As Central Europe’s largest endorheic lake, it boasts an impressive array of bird species and a unique ecosystem. The surrounding Neusiedler See-Seewinkel National Park is perfect for birdwatching, hiking, and cycling. In the summer months, the lake’s warm, shallow waters attract visitors for swimming, sailing, and windsurfing. The nearby village of Rust is known for its charming, thatched-roof houses and excellent local wines.

Bad Gastein: A Wellness Retreat in the Alps

Perched high in the Hohe Tauern mountain range, Bad Gastein is a spa town with a difference. Boasting a breathtaking alpine setting and Belle Époque architecture, this charming town offers a variety of activities for relaxation and rejuvenation. Soak in the thermal waters of the Felsentherme spa, explore the stunning Gastein Waterfall, or embark on a guided hike through the Gastein Valley. In the winter, Bad Gastein transforms into a snow-covered paradise, perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
Header 4: Wachau Valley: A UNESCO World Heritage Wine Region

The Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a picturesque stretch of the Danube River known for its terraced vineyards, mediaeval castles, and charming villages. The valley is home to some of Austria’s most celebrated wines, particularly Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Embark on a leisurely bike ride along the Danube, pausing to sample local wines and explore the charming villages of Dürnstein, Weissenkirchen, and Spitz. The impressive Melk Abbey, perched high above the river, is a must-see for its stunning baroque architecture and panoramic views of the valley.

Graz: A Vibrant Cultural Hub

Although it’s Austria’s second-largest city, Graz remains somewhat of a hidden gem. This vibrant city, located in the southeastern region of Styria, is known for its well-preserved Old Town, lively arts scene, and rich culinary heritage. Wander through the narrow streets of the historic centre, admiring the mix of Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque architecture. Be sure to visit the futuristic Kunsthaus Graz, affectionately known as the “Friendly Alien,” a contemporary art museum that stands out amongst the city’s historic buildings. Climb the Schlossberg hill for stunning views of the city and explore the centuries-old fortress that once stood there, now home to the iconic Uhrturm clock tower. Graz is also a gateway to the South Styrian Wine Road, offering visitors the opportunity to discover the region’s unique wines and scenic vineyards.

Zell am See-Kaprun: An Alpine Paradise

Zell am See-Kaprun, situated in the heart of the Austrian Alps, offers a delightful combination of lakeside charm and alpine adventure. The crystal-clear waters of Lake Zell provide the perfect backdrop for a range of water-based activities, such as swimming, sailing, and paddleboarding. The surrounding mountains, including the Kitzsteinhorn glacier, offer endless opportunities for hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. During the winter months, the region transforms into a snow sports haven, with excellent ski resorts catering to all levels of expertise.

Alpbach: Austria’s Most Beautiful Village

Often referred to as Austria’s most beautiful village, Alpbach is a quaint alpine destination in the heart of Tyrol. With its traditional wooden houses adorned with colourful flower boxes, Alpbach offers a picture-perfect setting for a relaxing break. This idyllic village is not just about its looks – it also hosts the annual Alpbach European Forum, attracting prominent intellectuals, politicians, and business leaders from across the continent. For outdoor enthusiasts, Alpbach provides access to hiking trails and ski slopes suitable for various skill levels.

Planning Your Austrian Adventure

With so many off-the-beaten-path destinations to explore, it’s time to plan your Austrian adventure. Look out for holiday packages to Vienna, which can provide an excellent starting point for discovering Austria’s hidden gems. From there, you can venture out to explore the lesser-known towns, villages, and natural wonders that make Austria an unforgettable destination for UK travellers.


Austria’s hidden gems offer unique experiences, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, making them the perfect alternative to the traditional short break in Vienna. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, these off-the-beaten-path destinations in Austria are sure to captivate and inspire your wanderlust. So, pack your bags and get ready to uncover the best of Austria on your next break!

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