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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Austria (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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 Gardens at Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna


Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Austria (Plus, Itineraries)

By Joshua Wood, LPC

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: Considering a move to Austria but uncertain about where to settle? Venturing on an exploratory trip to visit multiple popular expat destinations can be incredibly enlightening. Here's a list of recommended places to consider during your exploration of Austria.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Austria is an invaluable step for anyone considering a move to this culturally rich and picturesque country. Such a trip allows potential expats, retirees, and digital nomads to get a firsthand feel of different Austrian cities and towns, helping them to make an informed decision about where they might like to settle. By exploring various locales, one can assess the local amenities, housing options, community vibe, and overall lifestyle that each place offers, ensuring a smoother transition when the time comes to relocate.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See trip in Austria, it's essential to tailor your itinerary based on the length of your stay. A 10-day trip could focus on the major cities and nearby towns, while a 20-day journey allows for a deeper exploration of the country's diverse regions. For the shorter trip, consider starting in Vienna, then moving on to Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Graz. If you have 20 days, add Linz, Klagenfurt, Bregenz, and some smaller towns in the regions of Carinthia, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg to your itinerary. This approach provides a balanced view of urban and rural life, as well as insight into the local economies and expat communities.

Vienna

Vienna, Austria's capital, is renowned for its high quality of life, vibrant cultural scene, and historical architecture. With a population of about 1.9 million, it offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle with a touch of old-world charm. Expats and digital nomads are drawn to Vienna for its efficient public transportation, diverse job market, and rich array of cultural offerings. The cost of living is higher than in other Austrian cities, but many find the trade-off worth it for the amenities and opportunities available.

Travel Tip: While in Vienna, don't miss the chance to visit Café Central, a traditional Viennese coffee house known for its pastries and historical ambiance, where intellectuals like Trotsky and Freud once gathered.

Salzburg

Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, is a city that combines a love for music and culture with stunning alpine scenery. It has a smaller population of around 150,000, offering a more intimate setting while still providing a rich cultural life. Expats appreciate the city's safety, cleanliness, and the proximity to nature, with the Salzach River and nearby mountains offering plenty of outdoor activities. The cost of living is moderate, and the city's size makes it easy to navigate and find one's community.

Travel Tip: Make sure to explore the Hohensalzburg Fortress, an iconic landmark perched atop a hill, providing breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.

Innsbruck

Innsbruck, nestled in the heart of the Alps, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With a population of around 130,000, it's a city where nature and urban life blend seamlessly. The cost of living is reasonable, and the city is known for its sports facilities, especially winter sports. Expats and digital nomads enjoy the laid-back lifestyle, the friendly local community, and the easy access to skiing, hiking, and mountain biking.

Travel Tip: Visit the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), Innsbruck's most famous symbol, and enjoy the medieval architecture of the Old Town.

Graz

Graz, Austria's second-largest city, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a hub of innovation and design. With a population of about 280,000, it offers a vibrant student life due to its six universities, which contributes to the city's youthful and dynamic atmosphere. The cost of living is more affordable compared to Vienna, and expats often cite the city's high-quality food, relaxed pace of life, and the blend of historic and modern architecture as key attractions.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the Kunsthaus Graz, an extraordinary museum of contemporary art, known for its futuristic architecture and thought-provoking exhibitions.

Linz

Linz, situated on the Danube River, is an industrial city that has reinvented itself as a center for arts and culture. With a population of over 200,000, Linz offers a good balance between urban amenities and green spaces. The cost of living is moderate, and the city is becoming increasingly popular with expats due to its cultural events, innovative art scene, and the development of tech industries. Linz is also well-positioned for travel to other parts of Austria and Europe.

Travel Tip: Experience the Ars Electronica Center, a museum focused on new media art, which is both an educational and visually stunning experience.

Klagenfurt

Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia, is known for its warm climate, lakeside setting, and relaxed lifestyle. It has a population of around 100,000 and offers a high quality of life with affordable living costs. Expats enjoy the blend of outdoor activities available at Lake Wörthersee and the cultural offerings in the city. The region of Carinthia also provides opportunities to explore smaller towns like Velden, Villach, and St. Veit an der Glan.

Travel Tip: Take a leisurely stroll around Lake Wörthersee and enjoy the picturesque views, or visit Minimundus, a miniature park with replicas of famous buildings from around the world.

Bregenz

Bregenz, located in the westernmost province of Vorarlberg, is a small city with a population of about 30,000. It's known for its cultural festivals, especially the Bregenz Festival, which features performances on a floating stage on Lake Constance. The cost of living is on par with other small Austrian cities, and expats are attracted to the city's blend of modern architecture, cultural events, and proximity to Switzerland and Germany. The region of Vorarlberg is also home to towns like Dornbirn, Feldkirch, and Hohenems, which are worth exploring.

Travel Tip: Attend a performance at the Bregenz Festival, or visit the Kunsthaus Bregenz, a contemporary art museum with a striking glass façade.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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