Castle and Palace Hopping in Austria

Europe is known for its castles, and some of the best on the continent are in Austria. From the massive palaces that the mighty Hapsburgs called home to the elaborate castles commissioned by the price-bishops, Austria is dotted with impressive castles. When you’re planning your next Austrian holiday, set aside time to tour the country’s five best castles.

Schonbrunn Palace

One of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions, Schonbrunn Palace stands as a monument to the power of the Hapsburg dynasty that ruled Austria and surrounding regions for decades. With more than 1,440 rooms, this massive palace once served as the summer home for the imperial family and their court.

 

Schonbrunn Palace

by Reji K. A

The first structure was built in 1548, and over the years served as a game preserve, hunting grounds and eventually a massive palace modeled on Versailles. Today, Schonbrunn is surrounded by gardens, orchards, sculptures, museums and zoological exhibits. More than 2.6 million tourists visit the castle each year.

Hohensalzburg Castle

The Hohensalzburg Castle has looked down on the city of Salzburg since 1077. Originally designed as a fortress during the reign of the Holy Roman Empire, the castle grew exponentially over the following centuries. Interesting features include one of the world’s first operational railways, built in the late 1400s, and the Festungsbahn cable car that runs from the town below. Today, it measures 820 feet long by 420 feet wide and is one of Europe’s largest medieval castles. Visitors can marvel at the 200-pipe Salzburg Bull, one of the world’s largest pipe organs built in 1502, the gorgeously decorated Golden Chamber and the intricate architecture in the chapel of archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach.

 

Hohensalzburg Castle

by Craig Elliott

Hochosterwitz Castle

Straight out of a fairytale, the Hochosterwitz Castle sits atop a 520-foot-tall rock by Sankt Georgen am Längsee. This medieval castle is visible for almost 20 miles. Construction began in the mid-800s; over the centuries, Hochosterwitz Castle expanded to include 14 massive gates, a 2,030-foot-long pathway and marble plaques from the 1500s. Though the castle has not experienced any major changes or renovations since the 1600s, it stands today as a very well-preserved example of medieval architecture.

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Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle looms over the Salzach Valley town of Wefern. The castle’s stunning setting atop a 509-foot-tall mountain in the Bavarian Alps make it a popular tourist destination. The fortifications surrounding the castles were constructed in 1075. Over the centuries, the castle served as a hunting retreat, military base, police training camp and state prison of ill-repute. Repeated damaged by fire and restored, Hohenwerfen has been featured in several films. Today, visitors can tour its extensive weapons collection, watch a falconry demonstration or relax in its tavern.

 

Hohenwerfen Castle

by Fellowship of the Rich

Burgruine Aggstein

For stunning views of the Danube, head to the town of Wachau and the Burgruine Aggstein. Set atop a steep, almost 1,000-foot-tall cliff overlooking the river, the Aggstein Castle has a long and fascinating history. Since its construction in the early 1100s, the castle changed hands many times but was never actually conquered.

 

Burgruine Aggstein

by Kevin Jones

 

Flights to Austria are available from Luton Airport. This guide was brought to you by the Luton Airport Parking team. If you decide to fly from there and need parking at Luton Airport, check out their website.





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