Travelling Solo in Austria
Can there really be an easier country to travel around in Europe? Not only is Austria a stunning country but it is also incredibly safe. There is such a low rate of crime that the cities are perfect to wander around and easy to navigate alone too. People can speak English here so there is always someone to ask if you do get lost.
If you visit for the skiing and decide to go off-piste, just be careful skiing alone in case of avalanches.
Home to amazing art, classical music and stunning architecture Austria attracts many visitors from all around the globe, and especially those from Asia who come for the Sound of Music tours.
You seriously need weeks to explore the best of Austria and you’ll never be short of a tour to go on either. Whether you prefer sightseeing, trekking or even skiing, Austria has so much to offer us ladies, that you’ll be planning your second trip before you even leave.
Start in Vienna the capital and one of our favourite cities. Here you’ll find modern architecture, old taverns and coffee houses as well as tons of galleries and museums to look around. MuseumsQuartier Wien is where you’ll find most of the museums from classical to the modern. It’s a great place to chill out and meet international students. You could spend hours in the historic centre of Vienna which has breathtaking architecture and feels like a living history museum in itself. Take a horse drawn carriage around the old town, visit St Stephens Square and cathedral, or visit Baroque castles. Feel like a princess at one of the palaces – Schoenbrunn Palace, Imperial Palace or Belverdere Palace Museum.
If you love music then you’ll love Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart – the famous Austrian composer. It is said that Salzburg inspired his music and you can visit both his birthplace (which is now a museum) and his old residence here. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and walking around you can see why it inspired Mozart so much. There are so many hidden back streets to explore but if you don’t fancy walking, then cruise along the banks of the Salzach instead. Salzburg is a blend of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, and it has one of the oldest fortresses in Europe – Fortress Hohensalzburg.
Nicknamed ‘The Rome of the North’ because of its churches and cathedrals, Salzburg is not short of palaces either. Visit Leopoldskron Palace, or Hellbrunn Palace for its trick water fountains. Explore the world-famous gardens of Mirabell Palace, or meander around the Baroque Old Town. Don’t forget to visit the monastery where monks brew their own beer! If you love the Sound of Music (and which girl doesn’t!) then it’s fine to do the touristy thing and take the tour to the lake district, Mondsee, Berchtesgaden and sights around the city where the movie was filmed. The Untersberg Mountain is full of legends and myths and you can take a cable car to the top.
Austria draws adventure seekers so if you are an adventurous solo you’ll find plenty to get your heart pumping especially in Innsbruck where the mountains meet the valley. This medieval city centre is the capital of the Alps and has a gorgeous gondola ride with views of the surrounding mountains.
You’ll find snowboarding, freeriding, tobogganing, rock climbing and mountain hut hikes amongst lakes and summits, not to mention cultural activities. It’s also a great place to shop in the small boutiques and craft shops to find a unique Austrian gift (for you obviously). Plus there is always some kind of event happening so you’ll never be short of things to do in Innsbruck.
The Salzach valley has many quaint villages, farmhouses and ski resorts. The Dachstein is an alpine glacier and although it’s a romantic village, it’s worth paying a visit to see this winter landscape from the comfort of a warm local inn. Near the Salzach Valley is Werfen, a quaint village and Fortress Hohenwerfen, an impressive sight which shouldn’t be missed.
Wine lovers will love the south of the country. Visit the state of Styria for wineries or hire a car and drive to Burgenland, the eastern edge of Austria. This Pannonian plain is just an hour from Vienna. Its lakeside vineyards produce dessert wine in WineArchitecture – stunning buildings that this area is known for.
Austria has dozens of lakes with opportunities for hiking and cycling. Hallstatt is one of the most picturesque villages in the country and is a UNESCO site. This is also home to the oldest salt mine in the world. Klagenfurt is near Lake Worthersee and is a popular destination in the summer and one of Europe’s largest lakes. Don’t forget your bikini either as you’ll find several beaches on the lake shores.
You can visit Austria any time of the year. The Alps aren’t just there for the winter so if you can’t ski or snowboard then don your walking boots and visit in the summer for the walking trails. Both Lech and Oberlech have activities for the summer from mountain biking, trekking, fly-fishing, rock climbing, and even canyoning in their autumn splendour. Choose from theme hikes, mythological hikes, mountains, peaks or water hikes or you can cycle instead.
If you do visit in the winter, mooch the Christmas markets in the winter at the lakeside villages of St. Wolfgang, St. Gilgen and Strobl. Vienna turns into an Ice World from January to March where you can ice-skate at City Hall Square.
Two of the must-sees are Europe’s biggest waterfall – Krimml Falls which cascades down a mountain valley, and the world’s largest ice caves high above the village of Wergen – one that should definitely be on your Austrian bucket list.
Other places to see in Austria are: the historic village of St. Wolfgang where you can take a boat ride across Lake Wolfgang to the picturesque village of St. Gilgen. Visit Wachau in the south with many historic monuments and the Danube River, or Bad Gastein for hot springs and relaxing spa treatments.
Austria has stunning cities and landscapes and whether you choose to visit in the summer or winter, it is a country that oozes both sophistication and beauty.
Accommodation in Austria
You can find all different types of accommodation in Austria from ski chalets and holiday apartments to spa hotels in the Alps. Book a 3 or 4 star hotel in Salzburg or Innsbruck or choose a luxury 5 star hotel in the centre of Vienna through Booking.com.
For those on a budget consider one of the hostels of which there are many in Austria. Plus there’s Airbnb if you decide that you want company and to stay with a local. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link. Treat Yourself at Hotel Topazz or stay at a luxury chalet in Austria in the Alps region of St Anton, Lech, or Stuben.
Travelling Around Austria
Austria has a great train network making it easy to get around the country. At Westbahof you can buy your ticket on the train. All trains depart Vienna from upstairs on the second floor of Westbahof or take the metro from downstairs (a single journey ticket costs €1.10). You can also pre-book your train ticket and they will scan it on the train.
Trains in Austria are really good and will show you the route on an interactive map plus the times it will take to each stop but they are costly. A ticket from Salzburg to Vienna for example will cost €25 or travel from Vienna to St Anton for €133 return.
To hire a car we recommend pre-booking car hire with Avis so you can collect your car when you arrive at the airport.
Tours in Austria
If you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
Adventures start from an 8 day trip from Venice to Budapest travelling through Vienna and Salzburg, to a 30 day European Trail including 10 other countries. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people using their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear more costly than G Adventures.
You can cycle the Danube in 8 days through Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, or combine Austria on a 43 day tour from Madrid to Rome. With both tour companies you share a room with another female or you can pay extra for your own room.
From the Airport
From Innsbruck – It’s only a 4km journey into the city. The bus runs every 15 minutes via the train station and costs approx €1.50.
From Salzburg – Bus run from the airport to the train station and also the city centre. They depart nearly every 10 minutes from 7.00am in the morning and cost approx €2.10 for the 20 minute journey.
From Vienna – Take a metered taxi to the city for approx €35 or take a 20 minute bus ride for €6. Buses depart every 30 minutes from 0630 to midnight.
Where can I go from here?
Rome – 1.5 hrs
Berlin – 1 hr 15 mins
Paris – 2 hrs
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
How long do I need?
There are so many places to visit in Austria but if you only have a week visit Vienna, Salzburg and Hallstatt.
- Can I drink the water? Yes.
- Is tipping expected? It is not expected and restaurants may round up the bill but 10% is usually a good tip.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed Price.
- Any ATMs? Yes.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes, they always seem to have a veggie option on the menu.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
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Capital – Vienna
Population – 8,372,930
Language spoken – German
Did you know? The Vienna Waltz is the national dance of Austria and is one of the oldest ballroom dances.
Volunteers for Peace offer teaching and educational programs as well as agriculture work in Austria.
Watch an Opera in one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Tip – Buy a standing ticket 90 minutes before the performance for a cheaper ticket.
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