The 10 most beautiful towns in Austria

 

East of Innsbruck​, high in the mountains of Tyrol is the town and ski resort of Alpbach, once voted the most beautiful town in Austria. With strict building regulations, the architecture conforms to typical timber houses, usually decorated with colourful flowers, keeping that traditional Austrian feel intact.

10. Alpbach

 

Just east of Salzburg, situated on the shores of Lake Wolfgang is the pretty little town of St. Gilgen, famously used for scenes in the Sound Of Music. Take the cable car up to the top of the Zwolferhorn for great views over the town, the lake and the surrounding mountains.

9. St. Gilgen

 

In the Zell Am See district, in the valley of the Urslau Creek, between the Steinernes Meer mountain range and the Salzburg Slate Alps is the town of Maria Alm, a well renowned skiing destination among the worlds rich and famous. With its incredible mountain backdrop surrounding the great open alpine valley, Maria Alm is sublime in all seasons.

8. Maria Alm

 

In East Tyrol, situated at an elevation of 1,200 metres (3,937 ft) above sea level is the small alpine town of Virgen, the largest settlement of the quiet Virgental Valley. The town stays in touch with its long history, holding onto centuries old churches and the ruins of the 12th century Rabenstein Castle, among a large number of traditional farmhouses. Trails take visitors into the surrounding wilderness where they can explore the beauty of the Venediger Mountains, its forests, lakes and glaciers.

7. Virgen

 

In the west of the country, in the thin strip between Germany and Switzerland is the ​wonderful town of Innsbruck, the capital of the Austrian state of Tyrol. Surrounded by steep alpine mountains, intersected by the blue glacial waters of the Sill River, Innsbruck has undergone a complete restoration since the heavy bombing of the second world war. With clear sight of the colourful riverside facades and the famous golden roof, climb to the top of the medieval City Tower, where the 31 metre viewing platform will offer the best view in town.

6. Innsbruck

 

East of Salzburg, situated on the shores of Lake Wolfgang, a very short distance from the beautiful town of St. Gilgen, is the town of St. Wolfgang. The towns centrepiece is the 14th century Pilgrimage Church, it houses a towering, intricately carved winged altarpiece, some believe it to be the most significant work of Gothic art in the country. Ringed by steep mountains, including the 1,783 metre (5,850 ft) Mount Schafberg, visitors can take a steam powered cog railway to the summit for incredible views over the town, the lake and Dachstein Mountain Range.

5. St. Wolfgang

 

Sitting in the shadow of Austria's tallest mountain, the Grossglockner, in the high valley of the High Tauern range within the Central Eastern Alps is the picturesque town of Heilgenblut, a name that means, 'Holy Blood'. Its Gothic pilgrimage church dates from the late 15th century and is said to contain a vile of Jesus Christ's blood. The view of the town with its steep mountain backdrop has become something of an iconic sight representing Austria.

4. Heiligenblut

 

Just west of Hallstatt, in the Gosau valley surrounded by the steep Alps is the village of Gosau, a small smattering of wooden houses covered in neatly arranged flowers dotted among the great open greenery. With its traditional Austrian church, within hiking distance of superbly beautiful Gosausee, it is certainly one of the countries quaintest little towns.

3. Gosau

 

In the northern centre of the country on the border with Germany is the charming city of Salzburg, Austria's fourth largest city, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the setting for the 1960's film 'The Sound Of Music.' Widely agreed to be one of the most beautiful urban spots in the country, if not Central Europe as a whole, its 12 centuries of history can still be found around the city within its medieval and baroque architecture. The well preserved old town, its iconic hilltop fortress and the entire historic centre as a whole has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Salzburg

 

South east of the city of Salzburg in the beautiful Salzhammergut region is the village of Hallstatt, home to the first known salt mine, something that brought incredible wealth to the city. Situated on the southwestern shore of the Hallstätter See next to the steep slopes of the Dachstein massif, the village is famed for its picturesque 16th century houses and Gothic church surrounded by exceptionally beautiful scenery. One of the newer highlights is the Hallstatt Skywalk, a 350 metre (1,148 ft) high viewing platform that gives visitors a perfect panoramic view over the over the town, the lake and the surrounding mountains.Often considered to be one of the prettiest and most picture perfect villages in Europe, it is certainly one of Austria's finest.

1. Hallstatt

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