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Self-drive holiday in Austria: 8 places to experience

Take a self-drive holiday to Austria and experience everything from urban architecture and wellness to nature's mountain ranges and waterfalls.
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Self-drive holiday in Austria: 8 splaces you must experience written by Cecilie Saustrup Kirk.

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Self-drive holiday in Austria: Ultimate relaxation

Imagine this: You are standing halfway up an alpine hill. The wind glides quietly past you and brings life to the flower-covered meadows. In the distance you can see the huge alpine mountains, where the peaks are still covered in snow. It is completely quiet with the exception of the rustling of the wind in the treetops or perhaps a jigsaw puzzle from a fallow deer.

Everything breathes peace and quiet, and nothing can disturb you from the magnificent view beyond Austria's magnificent nature. Maybe you sit down with your coffee mug, enjoy a cup and breathe all the way down into your lungs. Once you have satiated yourself with the clear and clean air of the Alps, you finally put your backpack back on and move back to the car. Time to drive to the next wonderful experience.

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Self-drive holiday in Austria from east to west

If you belong to those who love to make the most of your vacation on your own terms, then is self-drive travel a golden opportunity. And Austria is one of the best countries to do it in. Here you get magnificent nature, delicious food and the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful places in the world. And with your own car as a companion, you decide for yourself where you are going and how long you want to spend the different places.

Austria has a lot to offer within wellness, active holidays, beautiful views and unsurpassed gourmet experiences. Whatever you are for one or the other - or a little of it all - read on here. We give you suggestions for what you can see from east to west in Austria by car.

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The start of your self-drive holiday in Austria: Vienna

Whether you have driven here from Denmark in your own car, or whether you rent a car here, so be it Vienna a perfect place to start. The Austrian capital offers a sea of ​​cultural and gastronomic experiences that you must not deceive yourself about.

Visit the impressive Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or see the Hofburg Palace, which in addition to being the residence of the Austrian Federal President also houses several of Vienna's top museums and galleries as well as the famous Spanish Riding School.

When it's time for afternoon coffee, head to Café Central, which is possibly Vienna's finest café. The café opened in 1876 and was home to many of Austria's celebrities such as Sigmund Freud, Lev Trotsky and Stefan Zweig. The café is every cake lover's dream and a magnificent example of the café culture that prevails in the Austrian capital.

For dinner it must be almost obligatory to try one of Austria's national dishes: Wienerschnitzel. Try it at the Figlmüller restaurant, which is loved by both tourists and locals. The Wienerschnitzlers here are so big that two people can share one - can it get any better?

Vienna has an incredible amount to offer, and you could spend several days in the city. But if you long for the big city instead, then it's time for you to set off for the next destination on your self-drive holiday in Austria: the Neusiedler See National Park.

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Neusiedler See National Park

Just one hour's drive from Vienna is one of Austria's eight national parks. Neusiedler See's landscape is probably significantly different from what you probably usually think of when you think of Austria. Here we are far from mountains, but out in a water and reed area with large meadows, where wild horses run around.

You can of course move out into the countryside on foot, but the area also offers rental of bicycles and horses, so you can experience the park in a different way. Now that you have the car with you around Austria, you can bring your own bikes or other travel equipment.

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Rogner Bad Blumau

After a few hours on horseback, even the best sportsman can be a little bruised. Fortunately, our self-drive holiday in Austria continues right past Rogner Bad Blumau - a somewhat unusual spa hotel.

A visit to Rogner Bad Blumau is an adventurous journey. The place offers no less than 11 different indoor and outdoor pools, spas, wave pools, a salt cave, the Melchior mineral fountain, a sea of ​​different saunas and Lake Vulkania, which has underwater music.

The hotel has a completely unusual architecture, which is like being taken out of an adventure. Surrounded by fields and meadows, Rogner Bad Blumau is the perfect place to relax before heading on Graz.

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Graz

Austria's second largest city, Graz, contains a sea of ​​experiences. The city is clearly influenced by its central location in the middle of Europe, and it is certainly seen in the city's architecture, which is a beautiful mix of everything from baroque and renaissance houses to science fiction-like buildings.

For example, the art museum Kunsthaus Graz has been given the extremely appropriate nickname 'The Friendly Alien' for the building's strange architecture, while Ferdinand the Second's Mausoleum is a beautiful and well-preserved example of the late Renaissance's building style.

Graz is no bigger than Aarhus, and therefore it feels as if nature is within reach everywhere in the city. Move up the hill Schloßberg, located in the middle of the city, and enjoy the view of Graz and visit the over 1000 year old castle at the top.

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Hallstatt

After Graz, a slightly longer drive awaits us to one of Austria's perhaps most photogenic cities: Hallstatt. On the major roads, the trip takes a little over two hours. If you are one of those who love to drive along the slightly less well-known roads with more beautiful nature, then take a side road and experience some of Austria's small cozy towns on the road.

When you arrive at Hallstatt, the first stop is a trip along Hallstatt Lake. With a beautiful view of the water, the mountains and the old town, it is no wonder that a million images abound on the web of Hallstatt. You have to look for more beautiful vision for a long time - and yet. Hallstatt also offers another fantastic nature experience.

Take a relaxing hike up the mountain Dachstein with a gondola lift and step into an enchanting winter landscape. The Dachstein Ice Cave, which is open from May to October, is a beautiful sight with waterfalls frozen to ice and ice formations protruding far above the heads of visitors.

Now that you are at the top, you should also experience the lookout post '5 Fingers'. With an unsurpassed view of the Alps and more than 1500 meters down to Hallstatt Lake and the village below, the experience should probably give anyone soft knees. One of the 'viewing fingers' is even made of glass if you want to challenge your fear of heights further.

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Salzburg

From Hallstatt we now drive 70 km further on our self-drive holiday in Austria, north to the classic Salzburg. If you stick to routes 145 and 158, the road will lead you past beautiful lakes and idyllic alpine country. In Salzburg you will find magnificent castles, cathedrals and Mozart's old house.

If you need to get your muscles used, then Salzburg is the perfect area to dust off your climbing skills. There are thousands of climbing routes, both for professionals and beginners and a sea of ​​guides and courses you can sign up for.

Also remember to visit the city's local market, where you will find many exciting local specialties and ingredients, including 'apple strudel' and the iconic pretzel 'brezel'.

The city also offers several delicious spa hotels such as H + Hotel Salzburg and in general cosiness and relaxation on the big blade,

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Zell am See

Back to the south goes our self-drive holiday in Austria and you now end up in Zell am See-Kaprun. Here time stands in the sign of nature and physical activity, so put on your hiking boots or bicycle helmet and prepare for first-class nature.

Since you are in the Alps, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails, all of which offer enchanting views and experiences in the mountains. A hike to the Großglockner, Austria's highest mountain, is of course a must. Take the car along Route 168 and then turn onto Route 108 - it's the closest you get before the hiking boots have to show their worth.

You can also take the Großglockner Hochalpenstrasse, which in addition to being a beautiful sight in itself with its winding road and many turns, also offers a fabulous view of the Alps.

Should it be a little wilder, Zell am See also offers riverrafting in some of the many rivers and rushing streams that surround the city.

If you feel like combining water and hiking, then an excursion to the Krimmler Falls is an obvious activity. The waterfalls are Austria's highest with a height of 380 meters. You can conveniently drive out there early in the morning before the tourist buses arrive, hike up to see the powerful bodies of water and then drive on to the last stop of the trip: Innsbruck.

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Innsbruck

Innsbruck is the capital of the state Tyrol and is beautifully situated up the impressive Nordkette mountain range. The high peaks reach over 2000 meters, but with the Nordkettenbahn you can get there in just 20 minutes. The city of Innsbruck is located between the two rivers Inn and Sill, which has given the city plenty of recreational green areas and parks.

When hunger strikes, you must head for Weisses Rössl. The restaurant is the oldest in the city and dates back to 1509. Everything from the waiters' uniforms to the decor and menu is kept in the classic Tyrolean style; this also applies to the huge portions you get served.

If you rent a car in Vienna, be sure to rent through a company that also has facilities in Innsbruck. Then you can take a plane home from here, as Innsbruck has its own airport. If, on the other hand, it is your own car, then the limit is there Germany just over 30 km away from here, and the journey back to the old motherland can begin - now with the car, the suitcase and the body full of fond memories of the fantastic self-drive holiday country Austria.

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Good self-drive holiday in Austria !

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About the travel writer

Cecilie Saustrup Kirk

For Cecilie, the world is her playground, and the more often she gets out there, the better.

She has traveled most of her life and experienced everything from the romantic streets of Paris to Tokyo's electronic neon signs and Accra's scenic game parks.

She loves to look for the hidden gems in culture, experiences and food, and always prefers the local food stall and the authentic performances, rather than the international chain stores.

She has lived in South Korea for half a year, and is determined to live in another country again sometime in the future.

Next targets on the list are Canada's magnificent waterfalls and Australia's colorful coral reefs

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