Austria is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries in the world and from our own personal experience we can say that it is also one of the most welcoming places you could visit during your next vacation too.
The people here are just very nice to foreigners and from all of our visits we never even met a single person that wasn’t happy to show off the beautiful sites that his country had to offer.
But one thing that really stood out to us during our visits is the fact that Austria is actually full of beautiful castles. While this may come off as a no-brainer to the natives here, we, as foreigners, couldn’t help but feel enthralled to find this out.
So, this is why we actually decided that it was about time that we shared this knowledge with the rest of the world by bringing you our very own top 20 of the most beautiful castles that the wonderful land of Austria has to offer, starting off with:
- 20. Schloss Anif, Salzburg
- 19. Burg Clam, Upper Austria
- 18. Freundsberg Castle, Schwaz
- 17. Seefeld Castle, Tyrol
- 16. Forchtenstein Castle, Northern Burgenland
- 15. Schloss Schonbuhel, Lower Austria
- 14. Schloss Schonbrunn, Vienna
- 13. Kufstein Fortress, Tyrol
- 12. Schloss Tratzberg, Jenbach
- 11. Aggstein Castle, Lower Austria
- 10. Wiesberg Castle, Tobadill
- 9. Seeschloss Ort, Gmunden
- 8. Riegersburg Castle, Riegersburg
- 7. Franzensburg Castle, Laxenburg
- 6. Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck
- 5. Liechtenstein Castle, Maria Enzersdorf
- 4. Burg Kreuzenstein, Leobendorf
- 3. Hohenwerfen Castle, Werfen
- 2. Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg
- 1. Hochosterwitz, Launsdorf
20. Schloss Anif, Salzburg
The Anif Water Palace is only a few miles away from the south side of Salzburg and honestly, if you’re in the area you can’t miss out on giving it a visit because it will really make your vacation ten times better to say the least.
Even though you won’t actually be able to enter it yourself, since it is a private property after all, you can still admire its beauty from afar while also learning the auspicious history that it features.
For example, did you know that it was actually built way back in 1520 for the local bailiff of Salzburg? Not only that but it was actually destroyed soon after and completely rebuilt by 1838-1848 giving it a strange yet unique new architectural design unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
19. Burg Clam, Upper Austria
Burg Clam dates all the way back to the year 1149 and even though it’s nowhere near as massive as the other castles we have on our list, it still looms over everything in sight thanks to its two 30-meter-high towers that managed to survive in near mint condition even to this day.
It was damaged heavily around the 17th century after it was besieged but luckily as of the 18th century it was almost completely renovated, bringing in new additions to its charm including a church of all things.
18. Freundsberg Castle, Schwaz
This castle was built way back in the year 1150 although it took them 27 years to fully complete it by adding in the beautiful chapel that you can still find even to this day right next to it.
It was actually originally built as the seat for the Knights of Freundsberg, and although it’s been under a lot of different ownerships over the years, it is now under the indirect rule of the city of Schwaz.
For the most part, it serves as a museum of Schwaz’s rich history, but even so we highly recommend checking it out as the architecture inside is definitely one of a kind to say the least.
17. Seefeld Castle, Tyrol
Yet another absolutely stunning addition to Austria’s landscape right here, the Seefeld Castle may very well be one of the most beautiful castles in Austria simply because of how much it endured over the years and yet how well maintained it is.
It was actually the main reason as to why many dynasties fought one another over the years, and if you’re interested to find out more, we recommend that you book the site beforehand so as to not have to wait in line too long.
16. Forchtenstein Castle, Northern Burgenland
You can find this beautiful castle only 50 minutes away from the Austrian capital and as you can tell right off the bat, it is definitely one of the most popular sites to visit if you want to get a glimpse of what the Lords of Mattersburg indulged in during medieval times.
While here you can’t even think about walking through those front gates without checking out the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and what led to their separation back in 1921.
15. Schloss Schonbuhel, Lower Austria
This castle was actually built way back in the 12th century as a grim reminder of the fact that the city of Schonbuhel-Aggsbach was constantly under surveillance and that they could never do anything to hurt the royal families that always looked down on them.
Although it was almost destroyed by the passage of time, it was actually fully renovated by Conte Franz von Beroldingen back in the 19th century and despite the fact that he didn’t know what it looked like originally, he managed to preserve its style considerably well.
14. Schloss Schonbrunn, Vienna
The interesting part about it is the fact that it has actually evolved a lot over the centuries because of the Austrian Emperors Maximilian and Matthias. The two worked their way towards constructing their magnum opus with this castle and as far as we can tell, they more than succeeded in their quest.
13. Kufstein Fortress, Tyrol
The Kufstein Fortress is one of the most beautiful sites you could visit while in Tyrol and that’s saying a lot considering just how much this beautiful region has to offer.
It was actually built by Ludwig of Brandenburg and gifted to Margarete “Maultasch” to show off how much love he had for her.
Despite the fact that it is still celebrated as a symbol of love, many of the Hungarians that visit it tend to see it a tad bit differently because of the fact that it was also used as a prison for a while, a prison that they were subjected to more than anyone else.
12. Schloss Tratzberg, Jenbach
The Renaissance is the time period when most of these beautiful castles were built and yet we would argue that very few of them managed to match the same level of authenticity and class as the Tratzberg Castle.
The only reason as to why it isn’t any higher up on our list is the fact that it was actually destroyed back in the 15th century by a devastating fire and rebuilt later on. It is still an absolutely stunning castle to visit, but we’d be lying if we were to say that it didn’t lose a bit of its charm after that terrible fire.
11. Aggstein Castle, Lower Austria
Aggstein is an incredible fortified castle that was actually build to be able to loom over the people below. It was meant as a sign of power back then, and even to this day it still remains one of the most intimidating constructions ever made.
Despite the fact that it is overrun by vegetation and mold, it is still well worth the visit just to see the real medieval life that the royal families of the past were living back then.
10. Wiesberg Castle, Tobadill
You can find the beautiful Wiesberg Castle sitting casually at the top of a massive green hill that looms over the Paznaun Valley.
From the moment that we saw it we knew that we had to take a closer look, but honestly even if you don’t get to walk through the front gates you can still appreciate the architecture from the valley road of Silvretta-Hochalpenstrasse.
If you do want to “take a visit’ though you might want to get ready to fight off an upcoming lawsuit because the Wiesberg Castle is technically a private property so you won’t be able to storm the gates without permission from the owner.
9. Seeschloss Ort, Gmunden
While the foreigners all refer to it as the Seeschloss Ort, or the Ort Lake Castle, the majority of the locals all know this beautiful piece of architecture as “The Island Castle in the middle of the lake” and honestly, can you get a better description than that?
This castle is pretty much the jewel of Gmunden and we can definitely see why especially considering the fact that it makes the site look like it got pulled out of a fairy tale.
It dates all the way back to 1080 and despite the fact that it was attacked several times during WWI it actually made it through the assaults without a problem, it is actually considered to be in near mint condition despite being through so much over the years.
8. Riegersburg Castle, Riegersburg
Riegersburg is the type of a castle that we can only picture coming out of a fairy tale from the medieval times, housing the most beautiful princess and overlooked by the most monstrous dragon.
But to everyone’s surprise not only is this castle real but it is also completely open to tourists all around the globe as it was now turned into one of the most gorgeous museums of all time.
You can check out the royal rooms here in all of their brilliance and if you’re up for it you can also read all about the castle’s illustrious history and the families that lived in it.
Here’s a little bit of trivia that we learned while we were here: Apparently the Riegersburg Castle was built in the 1100s and back in its heydays it would actually house jousting events during which actual knights would compete against one another.
7. Franzensburg Castle, Laxenburg
Castles by the water have always been very pretty and even though there are so many castles like that around the world, the Franzensburg Castle easily stands out, making a name for itself as one of the most beautiful castles in the world.
This castle also has a very rich history and if you’re interested you can actually visit the rest of the buildings that are part of the Laxenburg Castle’s palatial complex to get a glimpse at what life was like back in medieval times for the royal families.
On top of being absolutely stunning though you can also participate in several fun and engaging activities while you’re here, including hiking, boat cruising and more.
6. Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck
Located a few minutes outside of Innsbruck, the Ambras Castle is an incredible medieval fortress that was originally meant to represent the peak of the Renaissance era, and as far as we can tell there’s been nothing quite like it since.
The forethought that must have gone into its architectural design alone is astonishing and what’s even better is the fact that the art in it, although fairly modern looking, actually dates back to the 16th century.
If you happen to be around you can’t miss out on the beautiful 15th century plate armors and weapons that are displayed everywhere inside of the castle. This is a must visit for anyone that loves to see Gothic elements of the past for sure.
5. Liechtenstein Castle, Maria Enzersdorf
Whenever people hear the name Liechtenstein they usually picture the beautiful castle from Wurttemberg, Germany, and for good reason too. While its Austrian counterpart may not be as popular as the German castle is, let’s just say that it is still well worth visiting simply because there’s nothing quite like it out there.
It features that special Romanesque style that is unique to its era and it is actually the main reason as to why this castle is still considered even to this day one of the dreamiest fairy-tale-like sights in all of Europe.
We highly recommend that you check it out during the summer because this is when you will truly get to see the medieval weaponry and furnishings in all of their glory.
4. Burg Kreuzenstein, Leobendorf
The main reason as to why you would want to visit the illustrious Kreuzenstein Castle is the fact that it is by far one of the most beautiful and well-maintained castles in the world.
The only real problem with that is the fact that it is so well-maintained because it isn’t in its original form. It was actually destroyed several times so far and completely rebuilt from scratch, but the interesting bit of trivia doesn’t end there.
It was actually rebuilt using a ton of different materials used for other destroyed medieval castles, so if you’re interested to see what a Frankenstein’s castle would look like this may very well be the only chance you have to do so.
You may also remember this castle from the tons of different times that it was used in movies depicting vampires, medieval knights and basically any fantasy movie or TV show of the past decade.
3. Hohenwerfen Castle, Werfen
Yet another gorgeous castle turned into a medieval history museum, the Hohenwerfen castle is by far one of the most beautiful additions to the Austrian landscape in that it actually features some of the most interesting medieval history you’ll ever hear.
We won’t spoil all the fun for you here, but just know that you’re in for quite an emotional ride when you get to hear all about the battles that took place here and what came out of them.
We recommend that you take the time and invest in personalized tours of the castle though because they really know how to bring the “fantasy” into this architectural achievement.
2. Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg
One of the biggest castles in the world, the Hohensalzburg Castle may very well be the pride and joy of the Austrian people and for good reason too. It was built all the way back in 1077 and it immediately became known as one of the most gorgeous castles in the world thanks to its plethora of medieval chambers and internal courtyards.
The funicular railway inside is also absolutely astonishing and if that weren’t enough you definitely need to take the time and check out the unique coat of arms they opted for back then, aka a lion holding a turnip in its paws.
1. Hochosterwitz, Launsdorf
The Hochosterwitz Castle is by far one of the most beautiful castles we have ever seen and that’s a fact. You will find it atop a 172-metre dolomite mountain, and regardless of how many times you see it with your own eyes, you will never be able to keep your mouth from falling to the ground upon looking at it.
You can actually walk up to it and even visit the inner parts of the castle between April and October, and even though the walk up is definitely not the easiest to do, we wholeheartedly recommend that you push yourself to do it because it will be more than worth it at the end of your trip.
While each and every one of these is well worth the visit on their own, we highly recommend that you check out more of the architectural wonders that Austria has to offer because there is simply put no shortage of them to pick from.
Austria really is an absolutely gorgeous country to visit and if we had to spend a whole year in it we can safely say that as long as our wallets allow it, we wouldn’t mind spending every single day just checking out the beauties that the country has been keeping under its wing for almost a millennia.