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Austria

Charming Austria is home to grand cities and superb natural beauty. Explore the lakes, hills and heritage of Austria with Great Rail Journeys.

Rail Tours in Austria

Tour Tours through the Land of the Waltz

From the rugged, snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the elegant refinement of its cities, Austria is a tale of two countries, one where you may enjoy coffee and a pastry at a sophisticated Vienniese café before going out to the glittering opera, or ski down steep, snow-covered slopes in the winter and hike up craggy mountains in the summer.

Lying on the boundary of the Austrian Alps, Salzburg was the filming location of 'the Sound of Music' and today is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you can explore the town for wonderful Baroque architecture, retracing the steps of Dame Julie Andrews in her iconic role of Maria von Trapp. 

One of the Grand Imperial cities of Europe is Vienna, Austria's' elegant capital city. Explore the ornate Hofburg and Schönbrunn Palaces, and visit the birth place of the delectable Sachertorte, created by the 16 year old Franz Sacher in 1832.

For a change of pace, travel east to the dramatic alpine region of the country. A winter wonderland in winter and flower dotted in summer, these breathtaking mountains are wonderful all year round and are best viewed from the picturesque alpine towns of Innsbruck and Mayrhofen. 

There are 13 tours matching Austria

Grand Imperial Cities

Fascinating grand imperial cities and high-speed intercity train journeys showcase the turbulent history of Central Europe. Discover what turned these former Habsburg and Prussian cities into four of Europe's greatest destinations.

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2018MarAprMayJunJulAugSepOct

13 days from $3,995 pp

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Grand Alpine Explorer

Stretching across much of mainland Europe, the wild and rugged Alps are home to some of the world's most magnificent landscapes. On this marvellous tour we discover the incredible attractions in three of the countries around the towering peaks - from the German city of Munich to the beautiful Austrian Lakes and Switzerland's superb mountain railways.

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2018MayJunJulSepOct

15 days from $7,170 pp

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Austrian Alps All-Inclusive

Explore the mighty Austrian Alps on this wonderful tour to one of Europe's most scenic and alluring countries. From our base in the enchanting Tyrolean town of St Johann, we discover the majesty of this Alpine wonderland.

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2018MayJunJulAugSep

10 days from $3,420 pp

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Vienna, Salzburg & the Danube

Combining the magnificent cities of Salzburg and Vienna with some of Austria's most scenic railways is the recipe for a truly wonderful tour. Add to this a scenic river cruise through the stunning Danube valley of the Wachau and a 'Sound of Music' tour, for an unforgettable Austrian tour experience.

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2018JunJulSep

10 days from $3,745 pp

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Danube Cruise

At every bend the spectacular Danube reveals new surprises - imposing fortresses, vine-laden hillsides and alluring forests. We explore four distinctive countries and experience each region's beauty whilst discovering their rich history and varied cultures.

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2018AugSepOct

10 days from $2,915 pp

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5-Star Danube to the Black Sea

Embark on an exciting thousand-mile journey along the mighty Danube, cruising through eight countries before arriving at the Black Sea. Admire the river's full spectrum of vistas - from Austria's wine regions to the imperial cities of Budapest.

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2018JulAug

18 days from $6,465 pp

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Austrian Culture

Austria is the birthplace of Mozart, Schubert, Strauss and Hayden. The growth of music in Austria grew due to the patronage of the Habsburg family, a powerful lineage of kings that ruled over most of Europe for just under 300 years.

Vienna is the centre of musical Austria, containing the impressive Vienna State Opera and the Musikverein, home to one of the finest orchestras in the world; the Vienna Philharmonic. One of the most famous dances in the world, the Viennese Waltz, also originated here. What began a source of great scandal, due to the closeness of the dancing partners in a very conservative time, this iconic dance is now performed in competitions and at balls all over the world.

Traditional Austrian clothing is also a large part of the country's heritage, with women wearing plain, but pretty, dresses known as Dirndls, and the men wearing the leather breeches known as Lederhosen. In the Tyrol region of the Alps, you may also find men wearing a Tyrolian hat, which is often decorated with flowers, feathers, or even a goat's tail!

Austrian Cuisine

The food in Austria ranges from hearty meat based dishes to delicate pastries and delicious cakes. Many flavours and dishes have been influenced by neighbouring countries, and beef, pork and chicken are popular, with bacon featuring in a number of traditional recipes. Schnitzel is one of the most well-known recipes, made from a tender escalope of pork or veal lightly fried in breadcrumbs. This delicious dish requires very little garnish, and is traditionally served with potatoes.

Desserts in Austria are a treat hard to resist. From fluffy kaiserschmarrn to light and crispy Apfelstrudel, there is no better way to spend an afternoon than indulging amongst the hustle and bustle of a city café. Of course, no visitor to Austria should pass up the opportunity to try the world's greatest chocolate cake; the decadent Sachertorte. This rich, chocolatey delight is easily recognisable from the sheen of its thick mirrored ganache and piped 'Sacher' on the top. This is also a torte that improves with age, and it is best served a day or two after making.

Austrian Trains

Austria's modern railway network spans the entire country making even remote and rural areas accessible by fast, efficient and regular trains. This means that a rail tour in Austria can easily encompass visits to both historic and cultural cities and scenic regions such as Austria's Alps and Lake District.

One of the highlights of rail travel in Austria is the Zillertalbahn Railway to Mayrhofen. This line opened in 1902, and is still used regularly by tourists and locals alike. This line showcases the most beautiful areas of traditional Austria, as you journey through sloping farmland and meadows, overlooked by grandiose mountains, and pass through classic Tyrolean villages.  

Austria’s Climate

Austria is famed for its beautifully snowy winters, perfect for skiing and drinking coffee in cosy cafés. If going in the months between November and March, be prepared for cold weather that can drop to -4 °F, but with an average temperature of 32 °F. During this time, snow is highly likely, so warm coats and sturdy shoes are a must!

Summers are fairly warm, and the hottest months of July and August can reach up to 95°F, but mainly stays around 68°F, however at higher altitudes, it can get cool quickly, so remember to bring layers so you're not caught out.

Traveller’s notes

The official language of Austria is German. A few useful words to know here would be guten tag (gooten tahg), meaning hello, bitte (bitter) meaning please, danke, meaning thank you and auf wiedersehen (owf vee-der-zen), which means good bye.

The tip is usually added to the bill in Austria, however it is also customary to round up the price as an additional tip. In taxis, the driver's tip is 10% of the fare, and porters customarily receive around €1 per bag.

It is typical in Austria to wear smart clothes on an evening or when going out to a restaurant, for example a pair of nice trousers or a skirt with a collared shirt or blouse.

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