Austria Road Trip Itinerary - 2 week trip Vienna to Innsbruck

Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Austria Road Trip Itinerary: 2 Weeks

This Austria road trip highlights the finest culinary and alpine areas of Austria. We designed this route for travelers who want to authentically and deeply experience Austria. You’ll eat in alm restaurants and mountain huts, drink wine in Buschenschänke (wine taverns), hike in five mountain ranges and sleep in hidden gems. And if you’re uninhibited, maybe spend some time in a Therme (thermal spa). 

This Austia travel itinerary requires a minimum of two weeks. You’ll begin your trip in Vienna and end in Innsbruck. If you plan on doing a full-loop back to Vienna, you can drive from Innsbruck to the city of Salzburg, and then back to Vienna (add 2 days to this itinerary).

From Vienna, you’ll drive south to Austria’s culinary heartland, South Styria. After wine-ing and dining in South Styria, your trip continues to the city Graz and then to the Northern Limestone Alps in Salzburg. Next, you’ll drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road and experience the best-kept-secrets of Hohe Tauern National Park. Your trip then continues to the Zillertal Alps in Tyrol and eventually to the Rätikon Alps in Vorarlberg. 

When to do this Austria Road Trip: Summer, or Early Fall.

Driving in Austria: If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, make sure to purchase a vignette (toll sticker). The toll sticker is compulsory on Austria’s motorways and expressways. It must be displayed on the inside of your windshield. Here’s more info re: pricing and your options.

 
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Austria Road Trip Itinerary: Vienna to Innsbruck

Austria Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1: Arrive in Vienna 
  • Day 2: Vienna, Therme Experience
  • Day 3: Riegersburg and Gamlitz, South Styria
  • Day 4: South Styria
  • Day 5: Graz and Filzmoos
  • Day 6: Filzmoos and the Dachstein Mountains 
  • Day 7: Grossglockner High Alpine Road
  • Day 8: Virgental and Hohe Tauern National Park
  • Day 9: Innergschlöss and Hohe Tauern National Park
  • Days 10 and 11: Mayrhofen and the Zillertal Alps
  • Days 12 and 13: Brandnertal and the Rätikon Alps
  • Day 14: Innsbruck
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Austria Road Trip Itinerary - Unique Route Across Austria

Austria Road Trip Map

Vienna to Innsbruck Itinerary
Austria Road Trip Map
Hofburg, Vienna, Austria

Day 1: Vienna

Capital of Austria

Vienna is one of the most immaculate and fairy-tale-like cities in Europe. You’ll be romanced from the moment you arrive. Though there are many things to do and see, I find that Vienna is never stressful. You can explore slowly, taking in the sites between breaks in traditional coffee houses. 

Explore Vienna

We’ve written a lot about Vienna, so explore these posts at your leisure. 

Stay in Vienna

Budget | wombat’s CITY Hostels Vienna – Naschmarkt is a clean and friendly hostel located at Naschmarkt, Vienna’s famous outdoor marketplace. This budget-friendly accommodation offers private and dormitory-style rooms.

Mid-Range | Hotel Rathaus Wein & Design Wien is a wine-themed hotel in the 8th district. Each modern room is dedicated to a specific Austrian winemaker and guests can choose between 450 top Austrian wines. Hotel Wein & Design is only a 5-min walk to the Rathaus Metro Station and the city center.

Luxury | 25 Hours Hotel is an imaginative and modern hotel located in the 7th district, located near MuseumsQuartier. Each room features a unique design, filled with vintage and modern furniture. One of our favorite haunts in Vienna is the rooftop bar located at 25 Hours Hotel.

 
Rogner Bad Blumao - Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Day 2: Vienna, Therme Experience

Today, you get to decide whether you’d like to spend the whole day exploring Vienna, or the whole day at a Therme, aka an Austrian spa. You’re on vacation after all. If you opt for the Therme, high-feakin-five. That’s not a tourist thing to do.

Experience a Therme

A Therme is a thermal spa complex that houses thermal pools, various saunas, resting and silent rooms, and a cafeteria. They typically offer massage, spa, and wellness treatments as well. But unlike spa complexes in other parts of the world, you don’t need to have a treatment in order to access all the pools and saunas. Typically, the price structure is broken down into a 3-hour pass, all-day pass, or an evening pass. Sauna-access is an extra charge. 

The sauna complex in a Therme is an adults-only area. For hygienic purposes, saunas in Austria are always textile free. That means bathing suits are strictly prohibited in the sauna. Get ready to take it all off and rock your birthday suit. In most saunas, genders are integrated. It’s not creepy, I promise!

If you stay the night at a Therme spa hotel, access to the thermal spa is included. You’ll also be supplied with slippers, bathrobes and towels. It’s actually one of the most relaxing things you can do. So, if you need some time to get over your jet lag, or just want to integrate wellness and relaxation into your trip (in a super authentic way), this is it. Remember to bring your Kindle.

Stay in a Therme Hotel

Choose one of these Thermen, and book an overnight. 

Therme Linsberg Asia in Lower Austria 

This wellness hotel in Lower Austria combines great lighting with impeccable design. Because it’s adults-only, the pool and sauna areas flow together seamlessly. 

Rogner Bad Blumau in Styria

The Blumau hotel and thermal complex was designed by none other than Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Need I say more? If you love art and want to bathe and steam in basically a huge Huntertwasser installation, stay here. 

St Martins Therme & Lodge in Burgenland 

This is a blissfully tranquil Therme-hotel with an “Austrian Safari” theme. The whole complex is surrounded by water. I spent my birthday here and have never felt more relaxed. Staying overnight in St. Martins is a treat. However, it’s a bit out of the way. The other two Thermen above are almost directly on route.

Photo Credit: Rogner Bad Blumau © Hundertwasser Architekturprojekt 

 
Riegersburg - Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Day 3: Riegersburg and Gamlitz, South Styria

After another day in Vienna, or in a Therme, your Austria road trip continues south to Südsteiermark (South Styria), Austria’s unofficial culinary and wine capital. While you’ll certainly find great food everywhere in Austria, South Styria combines respect for tradition with a spirit of innovation. Food is (dare I say) more interesting and creative here. 

Visit Riegersburg

On your way down, you can visit Riegersburg, a picturesque medieval castle perched on volcanic rock. The castle and town of Riegersburg are located in the Styrian region of Vulkanland, which is also a wine-growing region.

There are plenty of wineries and wine taverns (Buschenschänke) that offer refreshments and marvelous views of vineyards and of the castle. Here are a few places to visit while you’re in the area. Head to Wippel for wine, food and great views of the castle. Or, Buschenschank Bernhart for wine and Jause (meat and cheese platters). 

Gamlitz, South Styria

Continue driving to Gamlitz, the heart of South Styria. We recommend using Gamlitz as your base for exploring this region for several reasons. First, it’s central. Second, you can take advantage of the free Gamlitz Taxi Service, which will usher you between your accommodation and the wine tavern (Buschenschank), winery (Weingut), or restaurant (Wirtshaus) of your choice. Your hotel will call the taxi for you and make any necessary reservations (at least ours did – Jaglhof). 

Eat Dinner in Gamlitz

For dinner, you can decide between eating at a Wirtshaus (restaurant), Heuriger (wine tavern), or a Buschenschank (rustic wine tavern). 

One of the loveliest ways to experience Styrian wine culture is in a traditional wine tavern. Buschenschänke are taverns run by winemakers. Some wine taverns are open all year round, while others are only open during certain months. By law, Buschenschänke can only serve cold food and their own wines. A Heuriger, by contrast, can also serve warm food and other wines. 

We ate dinner at Buschenschank Hack – Gebell. We were blown away by the quality and taste of the cheese and meats. We ordered two different Jausen (platters). We used the free Gamlitz taxi to get here. 

If you’re looking for a more formal meal, consider Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger, Wirtshaus Maitz, or Kogel 3. We recommend making a reservation. 

Stay in Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger in Gamlitz

Domaines Kilger is a Styrian winery that operates the restaurant and Jaglhof. Here are 5 reasons to stay here: 

  1. Dream Location. The hotel isn’t located in the town center of Gamlitz, but rather on a hill surrounded by vineyards. After a few days of wandering about this region, we can confirm that the views from Jaglhof are simply the finest. 
  2. Divine Sunrise and Sunset. The outdoor terrace is perfect for watching the sunset.
  3. Luxurious Mattress and Bedding.  
  4. On-site Restaurant (open Thursday – Monday). 
  5. Private Wine Tasting. Guests can request a private wine tasting of Domaines Kilger and Schiefer wines.

Stay in Jaglhof, or look for accommodation in Gamlitz.

 
South Styria, Austria Road Trip Itinerary: 2 Weeks

Day 4: South Styria

Day 4 of your Austria itinerary is all about relishing the tastes, smells and sites of South Styria. We wrote this wine tasting guide to South Styria where we explain how wines are classified in this region, which wineries to visit, tips for wine tasting, and more. 

South Styrian Wine Road

You can spend the day driving the South Styrian Wine Road, which starts in Ehrenhausen and ends in Leutschach. There are many (too many to name) wineries located along the route. 

Wine Tasting in Kitzeck im Sausal

You can also head to Kitzeck im Sausal and visit Weingut and Buschenschank Schauer (winery and wine tavern) Genusshof Kilger (wine tavern),  Weingut Kodolitsch (winery), and Kogel 3 (restaurant).

Stay in in Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger in Gamlitz. Look for accommodation in Gamlitz.

 
South Styria, Austria Travel Itinerary - 2 Week Road Trip

Day 5: Graz and Filzmoos

Your Austria road trip continues to Graz, the charming capital of Styria, and then northeast to Filzmoos. 

Visit Graz, Capital of Styria

Driving Time: 45 min
Total Kilometers:  49 km

Graz is actually Austria’s second-largest city, though it feels more like a town. The Styrian capital impresses immediately with its beautiful architecture and laid-back atmosphere. We recommend eating lunch here and walking around the city’s Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The historical center sports splendidly medieval facades as well as visionary modern buildings. From the Old Town, head to Schlossberg (Castle Hill). The uphill walk will take you to the iconic Uhrturm (clock tower), where you’ll have a great view of the city.

Eat lunch at Der Steier and treat yourself to coffee and cake at Tagescafe Freiblick, a rooftop café located in the Kastner & Öhler department store.

Drive to Filzmoos

Driving Time: 2.5 hours
Total Kilometers:  187 km

From Graz, drive 2.5 hours to the alpine town of Filzmoos in Salzburg State. Facing the Gosaukamm, which forms part of the Dachstein mountain range, Filzmoos is a lovely base for exploring the magical Northern Limestone Alps. 

Here’s our guide to wonderful things to do in Filzmoos in the summer. 

Stay in Filzmoos

Budget | Alpenhotel Wurzer is a top-rated family-owned hotel. With its welcoming atmosphere, excellent food, and perfect location, Wurzer is a top choice in Filzmoos. Breakfast is included.

Mid-Range | meiZeit Lodge is a modern hotel with excellent amenities. Guests have access to a Fit & Well area with a sauna infrared cabin, relax area and fitness lounge. In the late afternoon, you can treat yourself to a complimentary selection of homemade pies and cakes. Breakfast is included.

Luxury | Relais & Chateaux Das Maier (Hubertus) is the finest hotel in Filzmoos. From its fine dining restaurant by star chef Johanna Maier to its wellness facilities, Hotel Hubertus is our number one choice for culinary travelers.

 
Filzmoos and the Dachstein Mountains, Austria Road Trip Itinerary

Day 6: Filzmoos and the Dachstein Mountains

Hike to Alm Huts in the Dachstein Mountains

What makes Salzburg a particularly delightful hiking destination is the region’s alm culture. An alm is a high alpine pasture where livestock graze freely in the summer months. In fact, Salzburger Land has the highest density of alpine pastures among the Austrian states. There are a soaring 1,800 alpine huts in Salzburg, of which 550 are open in summer. During the hiking season, alm mountain huts (Almhütten) welcome hikers and make for divinely-sinful lunch breaks.

You have a full day to explore Filzmoos. Start your day by driving to Hofalmen from Filzmoos. There’s a small toll (5 EUR) to drive to Hofalmen. Here, you’ll find two alm restaurants and the trailheads to Hofpürglhütte (mountain hut) and Sulzenalmen (two more alm huts here). For the most divine, mouth-watering Kaiserschmarnn you’ll ever have, head directly to Sulzenalmen (1-hour hike). You can easily extend this hike into a full-day adventure. Use our Filzmoos post for more information. 

Ramsau am Dachstein

You can also head to Ramsau am Dachstein (15-minute drive), another holiday town facing the Dachstein range for more hiking and walking. 

Stay in Filzmoos

Budget | Alpenhotel Wurzer; Mid-Range | meiZeit Lodge; Luxury | Relais & Chateaux Das Maier (Hubertus).

 
Driving the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austrian Alps, Austria

Day 7: Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Your Austria road trip dramatically crescendos as you drive the awe-inspiring Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Großglockner Hochalpenstraße) today. The road is typically open from May 1st to November 1st. 

Driving Time: 3.5 hours (Filzmoos to Virgental)
Total Kilometers: 192 km

Drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road

The 48-km Grossglockner High Alpine Road is a paved serpentine road that steers you into the heart of Hohe Tauern National Park and directly to the base of the Grossglockner (3,798 m), Austria’s highest mountain. The alpine road stretches between Fusch an der Großglocknerstraße in Salzburg with Heiligenblut am Großglockner in Carinthia. 

The drive from Filzmoos to Fusch an der Großglocknerstraße is about 1 hour. You’ll pay a 36.50 EUR toll (see pricing table) to access the road. Here’s everything you need to know about driving the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße, including where to stop, hike, and eat. 

Stay in Virgental Valley

After exploring all the beautiful places on and off Austria’s most majestic road, you can either stay the night in Heiligenblut, the southern gateway to the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße, or continue the drive to either Lienz, Matrei in Osttirol, or Virgental Valley

Virgental is a well-kept secret, which we want to share with you. This quiet valley in East Tyrol is like a backdoor entrance to the Venediger Group of Hohe Tauern. Only locals and loyal returning visitors know about Virgental. From here, you can embark on day hikes and multi-day hikes (e.g. Venediger High Trail) to various mountain huts. 

We stayed in the village of Hinterbichl at Heimat Hotel, which is located deep in the valley and walking distance to the Umbalfälle (waterfall), Clara Hütte, Essener Rockstocker Hütte, Neue Reichenberger Hütte trailheads. Highlights of our stay included the serene location, sauna, bountiful breakfast, and 24-hour self-service wine bar. Though our stay was nice overall, the managers could have been more hospitable. Another guesthouse option is Hotel Gasthof Islitze. We ate dinner there and felt extremely welcome.  

Look for accommodation in Virgental.

 
Hinterbichl, Virgental, Hohe Tauern, Austria

Day 8: Virgental Valley, Hohe Tauern National Park

Day 7 of your Austria Itinerary allows you to catch your breath and enjoy the tranquility of this East Tyrolean valley. There are endless walks and hikes to choose from, starting in Hinterbichl. 

Explore Virgental Valley

We came to Virgental to begin the multi-day Venediger High Trail, a hut to hut trek that wraps around Grossvenediger, Austria’s second-largest mountain. In one day, you can sample the Venediger High Trail by hiking from:

  • Hinterbichl to Essener Rockstocker Hütte (5 hour return)
  • Hinterbichl to Essener Rockstocker Hütte and then to Johannis Hütte (6.5 hours linear). Take the Venediger Taxi back to Virgental from Johannis Hütte. 

You can also explore the other side of the valley and respectively the Lasörlinggruppe mountains. The possibilities are endless. 

Stay in Virgental

Look for accommodation in Virgental, or in the town Matrei in Osttirol.

 
Secret Escape to Innergschlöss and Matreier Tauernhaus in East Tyrol, Austria

Day 9: Gschlösstal, Hohe Tauern National Park

Drive to Gschlösstal

Your Austria road trip continues to another valley in East Tyrol: Gschlösstal (also spelled Gschlößtal).

Driving Time: 40 minutes
Total Kilometers: 34 km

Innergschlöss Glacier Trail

From Gschlöss Valley, you’ll embark on one of Austria’s finest day hiking trails: the Innergschlöss Glacier Loop Trail (Gletscherweg in German). We’ve explained everything in detail in this post: Secret Escape to Innergschlöss.

Stay in Gschlösstal

Matreier Tauernhaus is a traditional Austrian guesthouse and restaurant located at the entrance of the Gschlösstal valley. This is where you’ll take the shuttle to the small hamlet of Innergschlöss, in order to start the Glacier Trail. If you decide to stay in Matreier Tauernhaus, you’ll have a pretty stress-free day (plus free parking). You won’t have to hurry back to your car. Furthermore, you’ll be positioned directly on the route for tomorrow’s drive.

 
Zillertal Alps, Austria Travel Itinerary: 2 Week Road Trip

Days 10 and 11: Mayrhofen and the Zillertal Alps

After experiencing the hidden splendors of Hohe Tauern National Park, it’s time to journey further West to the town of Mayrhofen in Zillertal Valley. Note: there’s a toll on this route (explained below).

Südportal Felbertauerntunnel – Mautstelle (Toll Station)

After leaving Matrier Tauernhaus, continue driving on 108 (north) in the direction of Südportal Felbertauerntunnel. You have to pay a toll of 11 EUR (private cars) to drive through the tunnel. See current pricing here.

Drive to Mayrhofen

Driving Time: 2 hours
Total Kilometers: 90.4 km

Mayrhofen is a quintessential alpine town in Tyrol. Lively and charming, Mayrhofen is the perfect base for exploring the celebrated Zillertal Alps. There are plenty of restaurants, cafés, outdoor clothing stores, and hotels to keep you busy when you’re not out hiking. Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Mayrhofen in Summer. And, here’s a guide to the popular Olpererhütte day hike. Quick summary of things to do in Mayrhofen in summer and early fall:

  1. Eat cake at Konditorei Kostner 
  2. Grab a Schnitzel Semmel at Butcher Hans Gasser 
  3. Eat dinner at Hotel Neue Post
  4. Hike to Olpererhütte
  5. Walk around Speicher Zillergründl to Hohenau Alm
  6. Hike from Speicher Zillergründl to Plauener Hütte 
  7. Visit Stilluptal Valley

Stay 2 Nights in Mayrhofen

We stayed in the 4-star Alpenhotel Kramerwirt, a family-run hotel in the center of Mayrhofen. This traditional Austrian hotel exhibits a high standard of hospitality, food, and comfort. We loved the spaciousness, light, bedding, and design of our sunkissed “Superior Room.” In the evening, local bands and ensembles perform on the outdoor patio. Their breakfast buffet is also outstanding. As soon as you finish breakfast, you’ll be excited for the next morning.

Look for accommodation in Mayrhofen.

 
Lünersee, Brandnertal - Austria Itinerary: 2 Week Road Trip

Days 12 and 13: Brandnertal and the Rätikon Alps

This Austria road trip itinerary continues west to Brandnertal, a valley in the Austrian State of Vorarlberg. Brandnertal is the gateway to the Rätikon, a limestone mountain range that straddles the border between Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. 

Drive to Brandnertal

Today, you’ll drive past Innsbruck. You can stop, but we recommend saving Innsbruck for day 14 of your Austria itinerary. We suggest stopping in the town of St Anton am Arlberg for lunch on your way to Brandnertal. 

Driving Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Total Kilometers: 210 km

On Day 12, check into your hotel (hopefully Schillerkopf Alpine Resort) and relax. On Day 13, drive deeper into Brand Valley to the Lünerseebahn, an aerial cableway to Lünersee lake. 

Take the Lünerseebahn to Lünersee Lake

  • Roundtrip Prices (as of Summer 2019): 14.60 for Adults; 13.90 for Seniors; 8.80 for Children.
  • The Lünerseebahn station is closed for lunch (between 12:20 – 13:10). 

Lünersee Walks and Hikes

Once you ascend to the lake, you have several options. 

  1. You can walk the easy circuit trail that wraps around the entire lake (2 hours, 6.1 km).
  2. You can hike the circuit trail and then ascend to Gafalljoch ridge (3 hours, 8.7 km),  a moderate hike.
  3. Or, if you’re looking for a challenge, you can hike to Schesaplana (7 hours, 11.2 km), the highest peak in the Rätikon Alps. 

Where to Eat around Lünersee

There’s a mountain hut located at the Lünerseebahn top station called Douglashütte. The food is excellent and the service is swift. On the other side of the lake, there’ a small alm hut called Lünersee Alpe. Their menu is very limited, so if you’re hungry, definitely eat at Douglashütte. And, then grab a mid-walk beer, or beverage at the alm. 

For more photos and details about your hiking options, read our Lünersee Guide.

Stay 2 Nights in Brandnertal

We suggest basing yourself in the town of Brand in Brandnertal, or on the high alpine plateau Tschengla, which overlooks Brandnertal

The 4-star Schillerkopf Alpine Resort is an exceptional place to stay when you’re ready to take a vacation from your vacation. Positioned on the Tschengla Plateau, high above Brandertal, you’ll be treated to mountain and valley views whether you’re in your bedroom, in the dining room, or in the garden. 

Staying in Schillerkopf is also a culinary experience. Each day, guests are pampered with a 4 chapter Gaumenpoesie (“poetry of the palate”) package. In a nutshell that means that your stay includes a bountiful breakfast (7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.), followed by a lunch buffet (12:00 p.m.), followed by a late afternoon dessert buffet (3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.), followed by a 6-course dinner accompanied by live music. So, basically, you don’t want to leave. 

The 4 chapter concept pays homage to the literary genius Friedrich Schiller. Like reading a novel, you progress through the day, one culinary chapter at a time. 

Look for accommodation in Brandnertal.

 
Innsbruck Old Town - Vienna to Innsbruck Road Trip Itinerary

Day 14: Innsbruck

Drive to Innsbruck

Driving Time: 2 hours
Total Kilometers: 146 km

Your Austria trip heads back east to the lovely Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck. Surrounded by high peaks in every direction, Innsbruck is simply gorgeous. Spend a few hours walking around the Altstadt (Old Town), and you’ll be completely mesmerized. 

Your Austria travel itinerary concludes here in Innsbruck. If you want to stay the night, look for accommodation here.

Heading back to Vienna

Many of you will will want to return to Vienna. Add at least 2 days to this itinerary. On Day 15, drive 2.5 hours to Salzburg City and stay the night there. On Day 16, you can drive from Salzburg to Vienna (3.5 – 4 hours). We didn’t include Salzburg in our itinerary, because we’re not fans. It feels like a bloated tourist bus stop. That’s just our opinion, though. If you’ve always wanted to see Mozart’s birthplace and Sound of Music filming locations, by all means go.

Where to Next?

If your road trip continues to Slovenia, read our Slovenia Road Trip Itinerary. If you’re heading to Italy, read our Italy Travel Guide and Dolomites Travel Guide. And, if you’re traveling to Germany next, check out our Germany Travel Guide.

 
Innsbruck - Austria Road Trip Itinerary
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