My Favorite 11 Historical Landmarks in Austria to Visit


Want to visit the prominent landmarks in Austria? The country is provided with spectacular sceneries as well as landmarks to explore. These attractions are the jewels to unearth when you tour the gorgeous country in the Central Europe.

On your vacation in Austria you may explore its charming cities such as Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, and more. Each town in the country has a beauty to give. To travel and see these landmarks in Austria means to embark in a tour that is full of picturesque sights and historical value.

We have produced a list of the most notable landmark in Austria below.

Landmarks in Austria You Need to See

The Hofburg Palace

Address: 1010 Vienna, Austria

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

One of Vienna’s most popular attractions, The Hofburg Palace, also known as Vienna’s Imperial Palace, is a lavish palace that once seated the Habsburgs, Austria’s rulers, until the end of World War I.

Originally a fortified castle in the 13th century, this city-within-a-city spans 240,000 square meters with 19 courtyards, 18 wings, and more than 2,600 rooms. The palace is most notable for being the official seat of today’s Austrian Federal President.

The Hofburg Palace is one of the largest palace complexes in the world. As the seat of rulers for centuries, the palace’s major buildings show architectural history that spans 700 years.

Almost all the rulers who considered the palace their home ordered alterations and additions, so visitors will see a mish-mash of various architectural styles, including Baroque, Rococo, Gothic, and Renaissance.

The Royal Chapel, built in the 13th century, is the palace’s oldest building and can still be toured today.

It’s famous for being the home of the Vienna Boy’s Choir, one of the best-known boys choirs in the world, which holds performances during Sunday mass.

When touring the Hofburg Palace, travelers can choose three options to explore: the Silver Collection, the Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Apartments. Each can be individually toured or explored at one go.

See Related: Vienna vs Prague: What's the Difference?

Schönbrunn Palace

Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Once a hunting lodge in 1696, the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace just several kilometers west of Vienna’s center is one of Austria’s most popular attractions.

This stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site has a history that began in 1569 when Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II bought a summer palace in a converted mill on this area.

In 1683 upon the defeat of the Turks, an Imperial palace was commissioned on the site by Emperor Leopold I. The Emperor envisioned a structure that would rival the magnificent Palace of Versailles.

This eventually led to the construction of the Baroque Schönbrunn Palace at the former site of the Palace of Klatterburg.

Designed by architects Nicolaus Pacassi and Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, Schönbrunn has since then been the designated residence of Habsburg emperors.

The Schonbrunn Palace features 1,441 rooms and apartments (only 40 of these spaces are open to the public).

Among the most noteworthy rooms to tour in your visit are the Walnut Room, West Wing, Franz Joseph’s Bedrooms, Empress Elisabeth’s Salon, and the Emperor’s Audience Chamber.

More popular with tourists are the Schonbrunn Gardens, a 500-acre Baroque park laid out in the 1900s. This magnificent garden features a large greenhouse, an majestic fountain, and 44 stunning marble sculptures of mythological creatures.

Column of Pest (Column of The Trinity)

Address: Graben 28, 1010 Wien, Austria

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

This magnificent gilded baroque sculpture was built on the Graben, a famous street in Vienna, to commemorate the end of Vienna's worst plague.

Named the Trinity Column (or The Plague Column), this 69-foot tall monument tells of one of Vienna's darkest moments in history.

In 1679, Vienna was brought to its knees by one of the world's worst plague epidemics that took thousands of lives (estimates ranged wildly from 12,000 to 75,000).

The disease was thought to be the Yersinia pestis (Bubonic Plague), a plague that once swept over Europe in the 14th century.

In an attempt to ward off the disease, the Viennese authorities, inspired by the tradition of Holy Trinity and Marian columns, constructed a wooden pest column in the heart of Vienna.

While the first wooden column was erected while the plague raged throughout the city, Emperor Leopold I promised to erect a more durable version of the monument to celebrate the epidemic's end.

Several sculptors were involved in building the Plague Column (one of these was a renowned architect called Fischer von Erlach, who was responsible for constructing the Spanish Riding School and the Schonbrunn Palace).

The monument features a combination of Hapsburg dynastic motifs and religious iconography.

Fortress Hohensalzburg

Address: Mönchsberg 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Perched high atop Festungsberg with towering views over the Baroque historical district, the Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of Europe’s largest castle complexes.

This iconic landmark and popular tourist attraction was commissioned by archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg in 1077.

Since then, the castle has served as the seat of his successors who drove continuous development of its architecture.

The current Baroque appearance we know now was the result of archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach’s management in 1500.

As powerful political figures, the archbishops of Salzburg expanded on the castle to safeguard their interests, and as such, the fortress was established to fend off hostile attacks.

In 1525 during the German Peasant’s War farmers, townspeople, and miners planned to oust the archbishop.

This was the only time the fortress came under siege, but the captors failed to take the fortress. In its history, the fortress has never been captured by foreign troops.

Museum-hopping is one of Hohensalzburg Fortress’ most popular highlights.

The Fortress Museum offers exhibits that detail the lives of prince archbishops, while the Museum of Rainer Regiment and the Marionette Museum takes visitors on a journey back in time.

The Hohensalzburg Fortress is open all year and can be reached via the Fortress Funicular situated in the Festungsgasse. Check out these other great things to do in Salzburg.

Old Town of Graz

Address: Badgasse 3, 8010 Graz, Austria

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

One of Austria’s most popular tourist attractions, Alstadt von Graz, or Graz Old Town, is a historical district that features beautifully preserved medieval and Italian Renaissance architecture.

Exploring the town’s sights through its narrow streets and historical alleys is a popular tourist pastime.

Graz Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, and rightfully so. Visitors will find themselves seeing a wide array of architectural styles that tell of this town’s rich history, from the medieval times to the Renaissance and Baroque.

Some of the town’s most popular highlights include the main square, or the Hauptplatz, situated by the bank of the River Mur.

A masterfully crafted statue of Archduke Johann, an Austrian field marshal who made large contributions to improving the region’s communications and trade, rests here.

The Haus am Luegg, a 17-century house with a gorgeous stucco facade, and the Town Hall built in 1893 are also popular attractions.

Visitors can head west from Main Square to visit the Gothic Franciscan Church which features a stunning vaulted ceiling.

Some of the Graz Old Town’s other popular sights include the Mohren Apotheke’s Theriak Museum which features traditional pharmaceutical practices.

The Graz Museum, and the Robert Stolz Museum that commemorates one of Austria’s most famous composers.

Aggstein Castle

Address: Aggstein, 3642 Aggsbach Dorf, Austria

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

This medieval castle situated high above a cliff and overlooking the Danube River affords spectacular views of surrounding valleys.

With origins that trace back to the 12 century, a tour of Aggestein Castle will have you winding your way through historical courtyards, stairways, towers, a spectacular knight’s hall, and a dungeon.

It’s widely believed that the wealthy Kuenring family was responsible for building the Aggstein Castle above the Danube to protect merchants who were traveling.

Following its construction, the castle was destroyed several times and rebuilt again soon thereafter.

Renovations of the castle remains were established in the 19th century, with the most recent construction undertaken in 2003.

The castle’s recent rehabilitation efforts added interactive stations, viewing platforms, and a themed walk through the ruins, among others.

Most areas of the castle are open to being explored by visitors, including existing and restored rooms, the Chapel, and the Great Hall.

One of the castle’s most famous spots, the Rosengartlein (Rose Garden), is actually not a garden of roses but a rock ledge where ruler Scheck von Wald was said to give medieval prisoners a choice to starve or leap to their deaths.

A flight of wooden stairs will take you to viewing platforms that afford breathtaking views of the surroundings.

Golden Roof
Kyle Kroeger/ViaTravelersKyle Kroeger/ViaTravelers

Address: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Rating: 4.4 out of 5

Considered Innsbruck’s most famous symbol, the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof), is one of the most visited attractions in the city’s Old Town.

Constructed in 1500, the Golden Roof features an impressive embellishment of 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles, sculptures, paintings, and various ornate reliefs.

The property that features the Golden Roof was built by Archduke Friedrich IV during the early 15th century as the home of Tyrolean rulers.

The loggia was commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I from court builder Nikolas Turing the Elder in 1493 during his marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza.

Turing was responsible for designing the golden roof and its beautiful embellishment of copper tiles.

Apart from being built in honor of the Emperor’s marriage to his wife, the purpose of the Golden Roof was to afford the Emperor and his entourage a prime place to sit and enjoy tournaments, festivals, and other important events held in the square.

The Golden Roof is an oriel that protrudes from a building, embellished by mural paintings and sculpted reliefs.

There are eight sculpted coats of arms features on the first-floor balustrade, and above them are frescoes of two knights by Jorg Kolderer.

The second-level balustrade features various reliefs, most of which depict the Emperor’s life, including reliefs of the Emperor himself and his wife.

Ambras Castle

Address: Schloßstraße 20, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Built by Archduke Ferdinand II in the 1500s, Ambras Castle is one of the most popular cultural attractions to visit and place to enjoy in Innsbruck.

Situated on the hills above town and less than 5 miles from the Golden Roof, this Renaissance castle-cum-museum is home to weird and wonderful pieces of art and curiosities assembled by the Archduke himself.

With pieces on display since the 15th century, the Ambras Castle is often touted as one of the oldest museums in the world.

Among the castle’s highlights is Ferdinand II’s Armoury which houses impressive collections of armor including the archduke’s wedding armor, a 15th-century jousting armor, armor from 16th-century commanders, and various weapons derived from the Thirty Years’ War.

The Chamber of Art and Wonders is home to several intriguing objects.

It includes musical instruments, a petrified shark, gravity-defying stilt shoes, the oldest portrait of Count Vlad II, and a special chair called the Fangstuhl that was used to trap inebriated guests at the archduke’s wild parties.

The Spanish Hall, which once hosted grand balls, is a feast for eyes with its 27 portraits of Tyrolean leaders.

For more art, visitors can check out the Habsburg Portrait Gallery and its 200 portraits, various glass objects, artifacts, and sculptures.


Address: Am Schlossberg, Graz, Austria

Rating: 4.8 out of 5

The Clock Tower, also called The Uhrturm, is one of Graz’s most popular attractions.

This time-keeping structure, which sits on the southern edges of Schlossberg, is so dear to its locals that in 1809 during the invasion of the French army, citizens paid a ransom to stop the military from destroying it.

The Uhrturm stands 26 meters high and features clock faces on each of its sides.

It houses three bells, each of which heralds a particular moment: one hourly bell, a fire alarm bell, and a ‘sinners bell’ that once rang to announce executions but was later used to remind people of the curfew.

After being rebuilt from an earlier fortified tower in 1560, the Uhrturm received its current look. Contrary to conventional timekeeping and to the confusion of tourists, the Uhrturm displays hours with the longhand, and minutes with the shorthand.

The reason lies behind its creation: initially, the clock faces only featured long hands that measured the hour so as to be seen from a distance. It wasn’t until later that shorthands to measure minutes were added.

While the clockworks crafted by Micheal Sylvester Funck in 1712 still work today, they’ve been powered electronically since the middle of the 20th century. A balcony once used to look out for fire sits between the dials of the clock and roof.

Palais Schönborn

Address: Renngasse 4, 1010 Wien, Austria

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

This stunning Baroque palace situated in the Inner Stadt of Vienna was constructed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in the late 1690s.

Built under the request of Count Batthyany, the Palais Schönborn-Batthyány is one of Vienna’s most impressive architectural masterpieces.

Thanks to Erlach, the same architect of Vienna’s St. Charles Church and the Schonbrunn, this stately palace features all the trappings of royalty.

When Adam Batthyany died, his widow decided to sell the residence to the Schonborn family, who spearheaded renovations on the interiors and added outstanding rococo decorations.

The palace features several impressive art and furniture owned by Schonborn himself, including Rembrandt’s The Blinding of Samson. However, most of the palace’s art collection was sold during the 20th century.

While the building was damaged during the Second World War, it was renovated until 1960.

With Baroque splendor and cutting-edge equipment, the palace is now a popular location for business events and other prestigious occassions.

Travelers who love classical music should consider adding a visit to the palace to their itinerary.

The Vienna Baroque Orchestra holds classical music performances in the palace's concert hall from the likes of Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart, and other famous composers.


While it may look ancient, the city of Innsbruck famous attraction Triumphal Arch, the Triumphpforte, is not that old.

Widely regarded as one of Innsbruck’s most famous tourist attractions, this magnificent stone arch has a bittersweet history that traces back to its construction in 1765.

Built by the order of Empress Maria Theresa to commemorate the wedding of his son Archduke Leopold to Spanish princess Maria Luisa, the imposing stone arch was modeled after traditional arches from Rome.

Several changes to the Innsbruck cityscape can be attributed to Empress Maria Theresa’s wedding planner, who also tore down the medieval city gate and used the stone to build the arch.

The arch was crafted from a material called Hottinger breccia: a type of stone that is abundant in Innsbruck. Many of the archways of Innsbruck’s old townhouses are actually constructed from stone.

While initially built to celebrate the joining of two souls, the Triumphal Arch also pays tribute to a tragic event: the death of the groom’s father on the year of the wedding.

Today, visitors will see two sides of the arch – the south side features motifs of the wedding, while the north side honors the sudden death of the emperor. Various state symbols of the Habsburg Monarchy also embellish the arch’s facade.

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