Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a directly elected Federal President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of the federal government.
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine federated states, one of which is Vienna, Austria's capital and its largest city.
9:00am-4:30pm : Innsbruck
5:00pm-6:00pm : Altstadt von Innsbruck
Go back in time at Altstadt von Innsbruck to discover how numerous Habsburg rulers bestowed imperial splendor on the town. Start from the riverside and walk through small alleys alongside colorful old houses. See some of the architectural gems from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical periods, such as the Golden Roof and the Cathedral of St. James. Taste the local beer or the authentic Tyrolean food at one of the many restaurants with a view of Alps. Stroll through the Hofgarten, a park located on the edge of the Old Town. Buy the Innsbruck card to save on the cost of attractions.
10:00am-11:00am : Hofkirche
Explore the gallery featuring statues of the patron saints of the House of Hapbsurg at Hofkirche, built in 1553 by Emperor Ferdinand I as a memorial to his grandfather Emperor Maximilian I. This Gothic church houses a Renaissance organ described as one of the five most famous organs in the world, as well as the black marble sarcophagus of Emperor Maximilian I, surrounded by 28 sizeable bronze figures of friends, family, and historical figures like King Arthur of England. Admire the high altar with Viennese academic painter Johann Carl Auerbach's depiction of the crucifixion. Start your visit with the multimedia show that takes you through a series of rooms, giving you information about the historical significance of each area. Do'’t forget to visit the 16th-century Silver Chapel up the stairs opposite the entrance to the church.
11:00am-12:00pm : Imperial Palace
Get a close look at the lifestyle of Austrian rulers of the past at Imperial Palace. The favorite winter residence of the Habsburgs, the palace now serves as the official presidential residence. See the rooms where Emperor Joseph II once drew up his revolutionary program of reforms. Enter the Imperial Chancellery Wing and the Amalia Residence, which contained the apartments of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth. Visit one or all of the three museums: the authentically furnished Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the Silver Collection of Imperial utilitarian objects. The collections provide historically accurate insights into the tradition and daily life at the court..
12:30pm-1:30pm ; The Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl)
At The Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), imagine how the Austrian emperor and his wife sat on the porch and watched tournaments on the square below. The symbol of the city, it overlooks the main street of Altstadt. The name of the place stems from the 2,738 fire-gilded copper tiles covering the roof. Emperor Maximilian I commissioned the three-story balcony to celebrate his marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza. Learn about Austrian history from the reliefs and murals depicting scenes of the emperor's life. Eight sculpted reliefs covering the second-floor balustrade illustrate how aristocrats amused themselves. Look for a flanking relief depicting the acrobatic and grotesque dancing of Moorish origin..
2:00pm-3:00pm : Maria-Theresien-Strasse
Shop, dine, and discover the many historic buildings along Maria-Theresien-Strasse. Visit the churches, museums, and other landmarks along the boulevard. Be sure to check out the statue of and tribute to Maria Theresa. Note that this area tends to be crowded most days, so expect to wait in lines at the shops and restaurants..
3:30pm-5:30pm : Bergisel Ski Jump
Architect Zaha Hadid designed Bergisel Ski Jump, which hosts the International Four Hills Tournament--a renowned ski jumping competition. Take the funicular or climb 455 steps from the entrance to the top of the tower. The tower elevator will get you to the 43 m (141 ft) high tower, where you'll find a restaurant, panorama platform, and rescue area. Enjoy the 360-degree view of Innsbruck, the Inn Valley, and the surrounding mountains.
10:00am-1:00pm : Schloss Hellbrunn
Built as a summer day residence for Markus Sittikus (who was both a prince and an archbishop), Schloss Hellbrunn is famous for its trick fountains. The palace was built from 1613 to 1619 as a place of celebration. Sittikus designed the fountains and water-powered figures in the palace's park to entertain and confuse his guests. The trick fountains spray at seemingly random moments, so be prepared to get a little bit wet. Visit the grottos to see representations of Greek mythology, and watch the water-powered show of Perseus freeing Andromeda and Apollo flaying Marsyas. Walk through the palace to get a feel for how the prince and his noble guests celebrated. The park was designed as a show of contrasts of light and dark, fire and water.
1:30pm-2:00pm : Untersberg
Straddling the border between Germany and Austria, the summit of Untersberg offers spectacular views of Salzburg far below. The tabletop mountain has six different peaks with elevations ranging from 1,805 m (5,922 ft) to 1,973 m (6,473 ft). Take the cable car to 1,320 m (4,331 ft), or hike the well-marked trails to summit the mountain. Protected as a nature preserve, the mountain provides opportunities for outdoors activities, such as climbing and hiking. Follow the Nature-Quiz-Path to learn more about wildlife, mushrooms, minerals, and trees. Visit the ice cave at 1,570 m (5,151 ft), but dress warmly, as temperatures are below zero year-round.
3:00pm-5:00pm : Fortress Hohensalzburg Castle
Perched atop a hill overlooking Salzburg, Fortress Hohensalzburg Castle bears witness to more than 900 years of Austrian history, demonstrating the supreme power of the archbishops. Construction of this massive fortress began in the 11th century at the request of Archbishop Gebhard I of Helffenstein. The project continued over the centuries, finishing in 1501. Visit the regency rooms, torture chamber, illuminated lower church, and the fortress museum. At an altitude of 506 m (1,660 ft), the watchtower provides views of Salzburg. Purchase the Fortress Card to take advantage of the funicular ride up the steep hill, and delve deeper into the fortress' history with an audio guide.
9:30am-11:30am : St. Stephen's Cathedral
Intricate in design and architecture, St. Stephen's Cathedral is a cultural icon and symbol of Austrian identity. With a multicolored tile roof and tall Romanesque towers, it has become one of the most recognizable images of the city. Consecrated in 1147, the cathedral stands on the remains of former versions, which were destroyed by fire, siege, and World War II. The cathedral's repairs and rebuilding can be seen today in the mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Join a guided tour to learn more about the iconic building's history. Separate tours lead you through the main cathedral, the catacombs, the treasury, or up one of the towers for a view of Vienna from above. Choose an inclusive tour to see all of the parts of this site.
12:00pm-5:30pm : Schonbrunn Palace
A former residence of the Habsburg monarchs, Schonbrunn Palace reflects centuries of imperial Austrian history. Emperor Leopold I commissioned the palace at the end of the 17th century, but it was not for another 50 years that the palace became a focal point of court life, playing host to many European statesmen. The gardens are landscaped according to Baroque standards, forming a unit with the palace, and remain almost unchanged since the 1700s. The grounds include the oldest zoo in the world, Schonbrunn Zoo, home to more than 700 species of animals. You can explore the 1,441-room palace by purchasing a ticket; you'll find many different ticket options, which vary according to how many rooms you want to visit. Whichever option you choose, you'll follow an audio guide through the Rococo-styled rooms, listening to the stories related to each.
10:00am-12:00pm : Ringstrasse
A ring road surrounding the Old Town of Vienna, Ringstrasse contains many historically and architecturally important buildings. The 5.3 km (3.3 mi) road replaced Vienna's former city walls. While this road was designed mostly as a display of the Habsburg Empire's grandeur, a second, parallel street called Lastenstrasse serves more practical purposes for traffic. Lined with many notable museums and cultural institutions, many of Rinstrasse's buildings are older than the street itself. A loop of the street will take you to the Vienna State Opera, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austrian parliament building, Vienna's city hall, and other historic buildings.
12:30pm-3:30pm : The Hofburg
Once home to Vienna's monarchy, The Hofburg gives a fascinating look into imperial life through a display of personal items of former Habsburg monarchs. Along with the historical museums, the palace--called the Vienna Hofburg--now houses the president of Austria and offices of the federal government. In the Imperial Apartments, you'll discover the apartments of Franz Joseph and his wife, Elisabeth. Visit the Imperial Silver Collection for a glimpse into the lavish lengths to which the monarchs went to entertain. You'll see about 7,000 relics of the imperial dining culture, such as exquisite kitchen linens, the imperial table, and ornate centerpieces. The Sisi Museum features more than 300 personal items of Empress Elisabeth. Through her parasols, beauty recipes, and death mask, you'll gain an understanding of this often-misunderstood monarch.
4:00pm-6:00pm : State Hall of the Austrian National Library
Discover the rich history of Austria from the 14th century to the present day at State Hall of the Austrian National Library. The library complex features four museums, archives, and multiple special collections. You can peruse antique manuscripts, rare books, old maps dating back to 16th century, papyrus from the 15th century BCE, old and precious prints, and more. Visit the Prunksaal, the central structure of the old imperial library and part of the Hofburg palace. You can walk down the hall lined with marble statues of emperors and see the frescoes depicting the virtues and the wealth of Habsburgs, the founders of the library.
10:00am-11:00am : Rathausplatz
Attend a film festival, a winter market, or a food festival at Rathausplatz. This town square between the town hall and theater, filled with monuments and statues of the city's former mayors, is a hub for social and cultural events. Easily accessible via public transportation, the square has a small grassy area with many benches and trees, and a well maintained children's play area. Events held on the square vary seasonally, so be sure to check out what's happening on their website during your visit.
12:30am-5:30pm : Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
In a palatial building, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien exhibits the Habsburgs' extensive art collection, which was amassed over centuries. Designed by architect Gottfried Semper, the museum is mirrored by an identical building on the opposite side of the Ringstrasse, which houses the Naturhistorisches Museum. Discover works by artists like Vermeer and Rembrandt, as well as a large collection by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. An audio guide offers an in-depth exploration of close to 600 works in the museum, including commentary on the building itself. In addition to the masterpieces on display, the museum includes a reference library of more than 256,000 manuscripts, maps, and historical prints relating to art and cultural history.
11:00pm-4:00pm : Belvedere Palace
The former residence of Austrian Prince Eugene of Savoy, Belvedere Palace represents a historic complex housing important Austrian art. The two Baroque palaces, Upper and Lower Belvedere, are set in a park among decorative fountains and Baroque sculptures. Each palace is home to collections of expressionism, impressionism, contemporary art, medieval art, and Baroque art. The Upper Palace is best known for the Klimt Room, where you'll find an impressive exhibit of the works of Gustav Klimt, including "The Kiss." In addition to the two palaces, visit the orangery and the palace stables for an additional glimpse into Austrian art.