Most interesting wonders of Austria
Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Austria.
Canyons and ravines
Austrian landscape is very rich with impressive gorges and below are given just a few examples:
- Leutasch Gorge – Tirol. Narrow gorge between Austria and Germany, site of folk tales. Thanks to expensive and complex trail system it is accessible to visitors.
- Liechtensteinklamm – Salzburg. Very impressive gorge, up to 300 m deep and in some places just a few meters wide. Walkways have been installed here since 1875.
- Eisriesenwelt – Salzburg. The largest ice cave in the world. Cave is more than 42 km long but the beautiful ice formations are at the first kilometer of the cave, at the entrance.
- Hirlatz Cave – Upper Austria. Very long cave system, total length of the known passages is 101,034 m. Further exploration requires extreme cave diving.
- Lamprechtsofen – Salzburg. One of the deepest caves in the world, 1,632 m deep. There are stories about wealth hidden in the cave which have led to death of several treasure hunters who fell in this cave. Total length of cave – 51 km.
- Schönberg cave system – Upper Austria and Styria. Longest known cave system in European Union. Total length of the known passages is 143 km.
- Schwarzmooskogel cave system – Styria. 105.5 km long cave system with impressive, up to 15 m tall ice stalagmites.
- Fallbach Falls – Carinthia. Almost 200 m tall, nearly vertical waterfall.
- Gollinger Falls (Schwarzbachfall) and Schwarzbach Cave – Salzburg. Approximately 100 m tall waterfall with two steps – 75 m and 25 m tall, falling as a veil down the cliffs. Waterfall is created by a powerful spring (medium output – 1261 l/s) which comes from a flooded cave which is dived up to the depth of 73 m.
- Krimml Falls – Salzburg. Tallest waterfall in Austria with a total height of 380 m. Waterfall has three main cascades: approximately 140, 100 and 140 m tall.
- Totes Weib – Styria. Picturesque and unusual waterfall which starts from an enormous cave and falls some 40 m. Output of cave spring is some 30 – 300 l/s.
- Sweet chestnut in Buchbach – Lower Austria. Enormous sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) with a circumference of 13.85 m and height of some 22 m.
Man made heritage
- Carnuntum – Lower Austria. Remnants of a large Roman city which was founded as an army camp at the beginning of our era. Rich trade city, center of amber trading. Remnants include ruins of palace, amphitheater, baths and miraculously preserved triumphal arch – Heidentor.
- Großmugl tumulus – Lower Austria. Largest prehistoric tumulus in Central Europe, with a diameter of 55 m and height – 16 m. Most likely built by the people of the Kalenderberg culture around 600 – 500 BC.
- Hallein Salt Mine – Salzburg. Some of the oldest known mines which have been worked for more than 2500 years. Mines below the ground enter the territory of Germany.
- Hallstatt Salt Mines – Upper Austria. More than 3500 year old (or even 7000 years old) salt mines. Here have been found Europe’s oldest wooden ladder.
- Repolust Cave – Styria. Cave with the oldest known traces of human activity in Austria – traces of fire which are some 300,000 years old. People have returned here often, over a time period of more than 210,000 years!
- Salzofen Cave – Styria. Cave with very old remnants of human activity, at least 34 000 years old. Entrance in the cave is located very high in the mountains, at 2,070 m height. Used as a hunting station.
Historical cities and towns
- Drosendorf – Lower Austria. Small historical town, entirely surrounded by city walls.
- Dürnstein – Lower Austria. Small but beautiful medieval town (founded in 1019) in impressive location at Donau, consists from historical buildings and is surrounded by city walls.
- Feldkirch – Vorarlberg. Gorgeous medieval town dominated by a castle – Schattenburg.
- Hall in Tyrol – Tyrol. Well preserved medieval center of once important market town. Centre of the city represents an ensemble of Late Gothic architecture, with mountains forming a backdrop of this picturesque town.
- Hallstatt – Upper Austria. Beautiful historical town perched between Hallstatt Lake and Alps which developed at salt mine above this town. Space in this small plot of land is limited and, for example, burials on a regular basis are removed to make place for new ones. Current structures are mainly in Baroque style, after the fire in 1750.
- Old Town of Graz – Graz. Well preserved and architecturally diverse medieval city with cultural influences from German and Balkan cultural realms. In the center rises hill with fortifications and fine views on historical city.
- Old Town of Krems and Stein and der Donau – Lower Austria. Two closely located historical town centers near Donau, with numerous historical buildings and fine views on the river.
- Old Town of Salzburg – Salzburg. One of the best preserved late medieval city centers in Europe north of the Alps. Contains very valuable Baroque architecture.
- Rust – Burgenland. Historical city, one of the best preserved traditional towns in the traditional landscape around Neusiedlersee. Center exclusively consists of exquisite buildings which were built in the 16th – 19th centuries.
- Steyr – Upper Austria. Well preserved historical city with impressive town square. Valuable and well known structure is Bummerlhaus – well preserved Gothic style residential building.
- Vienna Inner Stadt and Ring Road – Vienna. This former imperial metropolis was one of the most influential cities in the world and here have been built hundreds of magnificent buildings. Most impressive are the large public buildings from the 19th century – government offices, operas and theaters, museums and educational buildings.
- Aggstein Castle – Lower Austria. Castle ruins on the mountaintop in very picturesque place – high bank of Danube, some 300 m above the river. Built around the early 12th century and since then several times destroyed and rebuilt again.
- Ambras Castle – Tyrol. Large castle, built in 1563 in Renaissance style. Part of the castle complex was built as the first museum in the world in the 16th century. Many rooms have ornate interiors, especially the Spanish Hall.
- Hochosterwitz Castle – Carinthia. Large, impressive castle on the top of mountain. Construction of the castle started around 860 but of the present structures were built in 1570 – 1586. One should go though 14 gates to enter the castle.
- Hohensalzburg Castle – Salzburg. Enormous mountaintop castle, one of the largest in Europe. Construction started in 1077 and since then it has been expanded multiple times. Castle has well preserved, often sumptuous interiors.
- Hohenwerfen Castle – Salzburg. Large, well preserved castle on the top of mountain, first built in 1075 – 1078.
- Belvedere – Vienna. Complex of palace buildings in Vienna – Upper Belvedere Palace, Lower Belvedere Palace, Orangery and the Palace Stables, surrounded by an exquisite park. One of the high achievements of Baroque style in architecture. The beautiful Upper Belvedere was built in 1717 – 1723. Palace contains collection of Gustav Klimt paintings and other influential artists.
- Eggenberg Palace – Graz. Large palace in Baroque style. This is rebuilt medieval castle, its construction started after 1460 and Baroque style rebuilding took place in 1625 – 1635. Rooms are adorned with some 600 ceiling paintings depicting the history of the world. Palace contains valuable art collections.
- Esterházy Palace – Burgenland. Ornate palace which was built in the 13th century and since then has been rebuilt several times. Especially beautiful is Haydnsaal – ornate concert hall.
- Hofburg Palace in Innsbruck – Tyrol. Enormous palace complex, built in the 15th century and rebuilt in Baroque style in 1754 – 1773. While the outside of the structure is not too interesting, interiors of many rooms are rich with frescoes and other ornamentation.
- Hofburg Palace with museums – Vienna. Giant palace complex near the center of city, a complex of numerous buildings built since the 13th century. Palace complex includes very large museums – Naturhistorishes Museum, Kunsthistorishes Museum, Imperial Treasury, the beautiful Austrian National Library and others.
- Schönbrunn Palace – Vienna. One of the most prominent palaces in the world, built as a imperial summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty. Current giant palace with its 1,441 rooms was built in 1740-50ies. It was built in Baroque style, with very ornate interiors in many rooms. Facade was remodeled in Neo-Classicism style later, in the early 19th century. Very impressive are also Schönbrunn Palace Gardens – area with sculpted relief, many examples of park architecture (including the enormous Gloriette), orangery, palm houses.
- Gurk Cathedral – Carinthia. Impressive and well preserved medieval church, constructed in Romanesque style in 1140 – 1200. Especially impressive and old is crypt with 100 columns.
- Karlskirche in Vienna – Vienna. Outstanding example of Baroque and Rococo architecture, built in 1716 – 1737.
- Kirche am Steinhof – Vienna. Famous church building, designed in Art Nouveau style by Otto Wagner, built in 1903 – 1907.
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna – Vienna. Magnificent church, built in Romanesque and (mainly) Gothic styles in 1147 – 1160. Its beautiful, 136 m tall tower was built in 1368 – 1433. Specific detail is the colorful roof with 230 000 glazed tiles.
- Votive Church in Vienna – Vienna. Outstanding example of Neo-Gothic style in architecture, sumptuous and enormous church which was built in 1856 – 1879.
- Göttweig Abbey – Lower Austria. Large complex of ornate monastery buildings. Monastery was founded in 1083 and rebuilt in its current Baroque style in 1714 – 1749. Beautiful is the library in the monastery, important piece of Baroque art is the fresco in the staircase.
- Heiligenkreuz Abbey – Lower Austria. World’s oldest continuously occupied Cistercian monastery, founded 1133. The medieval buildings are built in Romanesque and Gothic styles.
- Kremsmünster Abbey – Upper Austria. Large and ornate monastery complex. This monastery was founded in 777 and its Baroque buildings, such as church and library have impressive interiors.
- Melk Abbey – Lower Austria. Founded in 1089, developed into important intellectual center. Beautiful Baroque architecture.
- Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey – Vorarlberg. Enormous Cistercian monastery, history goes back to 611 AD. Largely rebuilt in the 18th century in Baroque and Rococo forms.
Other architecture monuments
- Albertina – Vienna. Large museum with very important collection of drawings and prints as well as Impressionist art. Contains artwork of Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Claude Monet and many other world famous artists.
- Austrian Parliament – Vienna. Outstanding example of Neo-Classicism style (Greek Revival) in architecture – extensive building which was constructed in 1874 – 1883.
- Gosauzwang – Upper Austria. Very old bridge for brine pipeline, built in 1755 – 1758. First pipeline (34 km long) was built already in 1595 – 1607 from 13 000 hollowed trees. This bridge is the most surprising part of this construction, rising up to 30 m tall above the valley.
- Hundertwasserhaus – Vienna. Unique apartment house, rare example of expressionist style in architecture. House was designed by artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and architect Joseph Krawina and built in 1983 – 1985.
- Secession Building – Vienna. Exhibition hall which was built in 1897 to demonstrate the new style in art – Vienna Secession. Architect – Joseph Maria Olbrich. Its interior is adorned with an important artwork by Gustav Klimt – Beethoven Frieze.
- Vienna State Opera – Vienna. Enormous and very ornate opera building, constructed in Neo-Renaissance style in 1861 – 1869.
- Wiener Rathaus – Vienna. Magnificent town council building, constructed in Neo-Gothic style in 1872 – 1883. Building has 1,575 rooms.
Described wonders of Austria
This Alpine country has very rich man-made heritage. Natural heritage is interesting as well and most of the country has got very impressive scenery. Most impressive landmarks in Austria are:
- Historical cities and towns. People of Austria have been following and even creating the trends in architecture, building cities and towns with countless beautiful buildings in gorgeous mountain setting, preserving the historical street network and often – fortification walls. A true wonder is the beautiful Hallstatt town but very rich heritage is found in Austrian cities – Vienna, Salzburg, Graz.
- Palaces. Some of the world’s most beautiful palaces – Schönbrunn and Belvedere palaces – are located in the vicinities of Vienna.
- Monasteries. Some monasteries in Austria – such as Melk Abbey and Göttweig Abbey have served as giant treasure troves of knowledge and art values.
The most impressive known ice cave in the world is Eisriesenwelt – a giant cave not too far from Salzburg. Total length of this cave exceeds 42 kilometers and the first kilometer at its entrance is covered with huge amount of ice which forms beautiful formations.
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DK’s insider travel tips and essential local information will help you discover the best of Austria, from the breathtaking Alpine scenery to the country’s imperial castles and palaces. Discover one of the world’s greatest collections of art in Vienna, visit Mozart’s house in Salzburg, or go skiing and snowboarding in Innsbruck, a world-renowned location for winter sports.
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