From trekking the “cheese roads” in Bregenzerwald to skiing the Olympic slopes in Innsbruck, catching Mozart concerts in Salzburg and eating elephant-ear-sized schnitzels in Vienna, few countries offer the right blend of untamed wilderness, cultural elegance, and ungodly portions of veal quite like Austria.
This year, the old “Eastern realm” promises a little sumthin’ sumthin’ extra for visitors -- which is why we’ve selected Austria as one of our 20 Best Places for a Big Trip in 2020. What follows is a handy, 10-day Austrian itinerary for your consideration -- packed with tips for places to visit, things to do, and schnitzels to eat.
When to visit Austria in 2020
This summer sees the 100th anniversary of the world-famous Salzburg Festival, where operas, concerts, plays, Mozart matinees, and the requisite Jedermann performance will overtake the city from July 18 to August 30. Seeing how Salzburg was Mozart’s hometown, we're all hoping Falco shows up to rock us Amadeus.
Meanwhile, Vienna will be brimming with music for a year of concerts -- literally every night -- in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Whether at the State Opera, Musikverein, Konzerthaus, Volksoper, or one of the dozens of other venues throughout the city, special attention will be given to old man Ludwig and his nine symphonies.
Come December, amble your way through the Christmas markets, where you can sip glühwein and devour an entire stollen (a boozy, fruity, and marzipan-laced bread). If you truly want a cultural experience, growl along at one of the Krampus parades on December 6, where you’re invited to drink schnapps and get spanked by the “Christmas Devil.”
The options are diverse, the culture high, and the meat & cheese loads ample. So, gemma! (and that’s your first course in Austrian-German, it means “let’s get to gettin”).
Day 1: Fly into Munich, Germany
Yeah, yeah, your trip to Austria doesn’t actually begin in Austria. There are usually more -- and cheaper -- direct flights to Munich from the US. And, if we’re being honest, it’s the easiest starting point to loop around Austria.
In the Bavarian capital, fill up on Augustiner, cheap oxtail soup, and farm-fresh fare -- we’re talkin’ cheese, fruits, veggies, pretzels, dark rye, schmaltz, more pretzels, and even more helles -- at Viktualienmarkt and its Biergarten. Stop and see the famous dancing Glockenspiel or visit the art collections at Haus der Kunst before hopping on a train (~20 euros) straight to Innsbruck, Austria.