Unknown Austria – where to see less popular attractions
A lot of little known attractions of Austria are hidden in the shadow of widely known and very popular sites. Discover the world of the past, the wonders of nature, majestic castles and atmospheric towns which do not appear on front pages of advertising brochures.
Vicinity of Vienna
If you walked Vienna up and down, perhaps you should consider sightseeing the city's neighbourhood? The are packed with interesting historic monuments and scenic corners. In the Vienna Forest, you will find a beautiful Romanesque Augustinian monastery with history dating back to the 12th century. Farther away there is Heiligenkreuz with an equally historic Cistercian abbey. You also must visit the charming and antiquity-packed town of Mödling, which used to be a Mecca for artists and eccentrics who got fed up with stiff atmosphere of the capital. In Baden, you will take baths in hot springs and enjoy the atmosphere of a 19th century Austro-Hungarian health resort. In addition, you can see some wonders of nature here – e.g. Seegrotte with the largest underground lake in Europe. You can also go to the east of Vienna, where you can capture some fortresses, e.g. Hainburg or Orth an der Donau.
Heritage parks - local folklore and old lifestyles
The Austrian culture is as much rooted in the township tradition as it is in folk or highlander ones. This is why when visiting the country, you cannot afford to miss the heritage park in Stübing near Graz. On the area of 66 ha, it shows over 100 traditional houses and outbuildings. Take a look inside to see how people lived and worked in the past. Outdoor museums are little known attractions of Austria, which is a shame because they let you discover the idyllic charm of the bygone days.
Eisenstadt - "Mediterranean" Austria
Eisenstadt, city with a population of slightly more than 13,000, is the smallest capital city of all federal state capitals in Austria. It offers a pleasant and intimate atmosphere. Have a leisurely walk around the old town, admire beautiful buildings and take a peek at some of their backyards. Visit the splendid Baroque Esterházy Palace and the museum of composer Joseph Haydn. Since you are in the sunny region of Burgenland, you can be sure of good weather! Use it to e.g. travel around the Lake Neusiedl – admire the views and visit charming town with their interesting historic monuments. You can also do some birdwatching, for the shores of the lake are an important nesting area for many bird species. In summer, enjoy the rich water infrastructure (excellent wind conditions to do windsurfing!) or ride a bicycle on nearly 2,000 km of cycling routes. And in the evening… don't forget to try the local white wine!
Near the town of Malta, you will find the tallest water dam that will give a tremendous adrenaline rush. You must see it if you are not scared of heights! It is situated at 1933 metres above sea level and is 200 metres tall. You can get to its top and look down into the dark abyss below! The 14 km approach along a scenic route with a wide mountain panorama interspersed with rock tunnels and views of waterfalls will be good foretaste of that thrill.
Styria - a land of pumpkin
When you are planning your holiday in late summer or early autumn, remember to include a visit to Styria in the south of the country. You can describe it as a land of pumpkin – in addition to admiring the fields that look like dark orange carpets and taking a few nice photos, you can try some pumpkin dishes after the harvest. It is also worth to buy the excellent pumpkin seed oil, which has a characteristic aroma and health properties. Of course, pumpkins are not the sole attraction of the region. Although Styria, except for Graz, still seems to be little explored, this is where you can find many sites from the list of interesting places in Austria. Thanks to its favourable climate, the local hills are covered with vineyards among which you can find some atmospheric towns with lots of health resorts and spa centres, valuable historic monuments such as the Riegersburg and Trautenfels castles, and the pilgrimage centre in Mariazell.
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