A Solo Travel Guide to Graz, Salzburg & Innsbruck

This June I embarked on my first ever solo trip, which was a multi-destination adventure through Austria. I visited Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck over 5 days and 4 nights with a jam-packed itinerary from Visit Austria. Typically regarded as a winter destination by Brits, my summer experience of Austria came with endless blue skies and European sunshine. The green mountain landscapes, fairy-tale old towns and historical architecture surprised me in a way I wasn’t expecting and by the end of the 5 days I had totally fallen in love with Austria.


My route was perfectly planned so that I could take the train onwards to my next destination (spectacular cross-country and mountain views guaranteed). I’m going to share my itinerary and all my city highlights in this post so that you can plan a similar Austria travel itinerary! Although my trip lasted 5 nights, this itinerary would be perfect for a 7-night trip, or longer if you want to fit in days for hiking or cycling.

Austrian Travel Itinerary

Number of Nights: 1 (but I’d recommend 2)
Where I Stayed: Grand Hotel Wiesler Grieskai 4-8

Browse all hotels in Graz.

Graz was the first stop of my Austria travel itinerary, where I spent 1 night at the boutique Hotel Wiesler (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hotel of choice when in Graz). Centrally located on the River Mur and by the edge of the beautiful Old Town, this hotel comes highly recommended from me.

Despite being the second largest town in Austria, Graz is much less well known than Vienna and Salzburg. The city has a charming Old Town, which is full of hidden courtyards and passageways. The Italian influence is evident in everything from the architecture to the gelato. I loved the al fresco foodie culture and that people were outdoors enjoying Aperol Spritz around every corner (another thing Graz has acquired from the Italians).



1 – Graz

Day 1 began with a fantastic guided walking tour with Helen Miles from Austria Guides. Graz is full of hidden corners that you may never find on your own, so a guided tour is an absolute must in this city. Helen showed me an eclectic mix of historical sights and cool local hangout spots, including the rooftop bar of Graz’ top department store, Kastner & Öhler (a stylish place to come for a drink and for amazing photo opportunities).



She pointed out the traditional Glockenspiel in the Old Town and all of the best foodie spots. We escaped the heat for a while in the beautiful Graz Catherdral and on my tour I learned that the two best gelato shops can be found on the Spoorgasse. I went back later that day to try one out for myself! 





Day 2 – Graz

My second day in Graz began with a visit to the Lendplatz Farmer’s Market. It was lovely to see locals buying their fruit, vegetables and flowers and a stroll around the market was a nice insight into local life in Graz. The market runs from at 6.00am to 1.00pm and there are many other Farmer’s Markets in the city.


Towering over the city of Graz is the Schlossberg, and visiting it was my highlight of the day. Translating as ‘castle hill’ the Schlossberg is a rugged hill in the city centre with a famous Clock Tower on top.




Climb the stairs or take the lift then stop for lunch at the stunning Aiola Upstairs Restaurant. This chic, contemporary restaurant has serves delicious food for breakfast, lunch or dinner but it’s also a great spot for coffee or a glass of wine. Despite being in prime tourist location, it remains popular and ‘in style’ with locals.


After lunch, I took a 15-minute stroll along the footpath on the edge of the hill until I reached the Schlossbergbahn Funicular. Along this walk you’ll find the most spectacular city views and you can reward yourself with a cool beer at the Scholossbergbahn beer garden. Take the funicular back down into the town and your afternoon loop is complete!




On the evening of Day 2 I took a 4-hour train journey from Graz to Salzburg with OBB Rail. The first class carriages are surprisingly affordable and very comfortable, with leather seats, plugs, free Wi-Fi and a full bar service. The mountain scenery is spectacular and travelling through it by train is a special experience in itself.


Austria Travel Itinerary – 7 Days

Number of Nights: 2 (but I’d recommend 3)
Where I Stayed: Hotel Amadeus Linzer Gasse 43/45

Browse all hotels in Salzburg.

Although it’s the smallest, Salzburg was definitely the most famous city on my Austria travel itinerary. As the birthplace of Amadeus Mozart, it’s a city inspired by music and is also well known as the city where The Sound of Music was filmed. Of all three cities I have to say that Salzburg captured my heart the most, and I will be writing a separate post dedicated to Salzburg. Coming soon!


Day 3 – Salzburg

My first day in Salzburg also began with a guided tour, this time with local Salzburg guide Martina Gyuroka. I told Martina I wanted to see the filming locations of The Sound of Music, so she began our tour in the beautiful Mirabell Palace and Gardens, where many famous scenes were filmed.


Our walking tour took us over the Makartsteg Bridge (Salzburg’s very own love-lock bridge) and on to Getreidegasse (the most prominent shopping street in the city). It was here I got to try on my very own Dirndl, a traditional dress worn by Austrian women. It’s not uncommon to see women still wearing the Dirndl in every day life, particularly for special occasions. I stopped for a Chicken Schnitzel at Zwettler’s. The dish was delicious and the restaurant was incredibly authentic.



During the afternoon I took Salzburg’s funicular up to the Fortress Hohensalzburg, the most iconic historical attraction of Salzburg. The fascinating fortress is perfectly preserved and dates back to 1077! I took the downward pathway back into town before heading up to another viewpoint at the Museum of Modern Art. The Museum’s M32 Restaurant is an amazing place to stop for lunch or a sweet treat. I ordered an Apfel Strudel and took in the city views below.



That evening I was lucky enough to have dinner with a different Martina from Visit Salzburg who took me to a hidden local spot in the city. Tucked away in a narrow street is a Paul Stubm (Herrengasse 16), an authentic restaurant and beer garden that is popular with locals. This place is a hidden gem and well worth a visit.


Top Tip: Buy yourself a Salzburg Card for all-inclusive entry to all the top attractions and free travel around the city.


Austrian Travel Itinerary

Number of Nights: 1 (but I’d recommend 2)
Where I Stayed: Nala Hotel, Muellerstrasse 15

Browse all hotels in Innsbruck.

The final destination of my Austria travel itinerary was Innsbruck, which I travelled to from Salzburg via OBB train again. The journey only took 2 hours and Innsbruck station is right in the heart of the city. Before arriving, Innsbruck was the city that I knew least about but it was the city that surprised me the most. Dramatically framed by imposing mountains at every angle, Innsbruck is in the heart of The Austrian Alps.


In winter it’s a haven for skiers and snowboarders who can reach the slopes in just 20 minutes. In summer the green mountains become a haven for mountain bikers and hikers. There are plenty of summer hiking routes and a modern Funicular, which can whisk you 2,000m up Nordkette mountain in just 20 minutes. If you had an extra day or two to spare, I would definitely recommend exploring Innsbruck’s summer hiking trails.

Inside Innsbruck city itself is the enchanting Old Town, which is probably the closest I have come to stepping inside a real life fairy-tale. The baroque buildings and cobbled streets are enough to take you back in time. Coloured houses line the riverfront and are framed by the spectacular mountains below. Innsbruck is a gem in The Alps and I felt lucky to spend my final night in Austria here.


Day 4 – Innsbruck

The weather was beautiful on my Day 4 so a trip up to the top of the Nordkette Mountain seemed like a clear choice. I found the Funicular Station right in the city centre, which whisked me up to 2000m to the main Nordkette station. If you do the same, be sure to schedule in enough time to stop for lunch at Nordkette Restaurant. The views are spectacular and stopping for lunch, a coffee or a glass of wine is the perfect way to appreciate them.




If you dare to venture even higher you can hop on an additional Funicular which will take you an additional 300 meters to Hafelekar. I made the extra journey and was met with possibly the most incredible mountain view I have ever seen. I felt above the clouds and on top of the world. It’s definitely worth going that little bit further.


Half way up the Nordkette Mountain is the Alpenzoo, Europe’s highest zoo with 2,000 alpine animals. Zoos aren’t really my thing so I decided not to visit, but it’s another popular thing do to on the mountain.

Day 5 – Innsbruck

I flew back to the UK on Day 5 but I had just enough time in the morning to head to Innsbruck’s famous Swarovski Crystal World. It’s located about 20-minutes out of the city and you can get there on a shuttle bus from the Central Station. The Swarovski Crystal World entrance takes you underground into a magical series of rooms, which all creatively feature Swarovski Crystals.



Every room is a creative spectacle with weird and wonderful things. It’s definitely something that needs to be experienced to be understood, but if you want to know more be sure to read this helpful Swarovski Crystal World blog post from Wanderlust Chloe.


Top Tip: Buy yourself an Innsbruck Card for all-inclusive entry to all the top attractions (including the Funicular, Swarovski Crystal World and the Alpenzoo).

Browse all hotels in Graz.

Browse all hotels in Salzburg.

Browse all hotels in Innsbruck.

Thoughts on My Austria Travel Itinerary

Looking back I am amazed by how much I packed in to just 4 and a half days in Austria. I would recommend this Austria travel itinerary to anyone but would advise taking it at more of a relaxed pace. I think 2 nights in Graz, 3 nights in Salzburg and 2 nights in Innsbruck would be optimum and would perfectly fill 7 nights in Austria.

This trip opened my eyes to Austria as an incredible summer destination, which promises beautiful cities, history, spectacular views and a sense of adventure. If you choose to discover it, I am sure you’ll feel the same.

What did you think of my Austria travel itinerary? Have you been to any of these cities or do you feel inspired to plan your own Austria trip? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave me a comment at the bottom of this page!

Want to read about the personal side of my Austria solo trip? Read 8 Things I Learnt On My First Solo Trip

This blog post has been sponsored by Visit Austria as part of the #UncoverAustria campaign. All views are my own.






Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.


  • Hi Jess! In a month I go to Australia and the truth that reading me your post and seeing the images have helped me to plan the trip! Now I’m looking for hotels in Austria . Nice post!

  • Hey there, where was the very last photo taken of the tables on a patio with the view of the mountains?

  • Lovely article, Austria is historical and beautiful country, with its great Alpine terrain makes it ideal for skiing as well.

  • Thank you so much for sharing !! My niece and I are going to Austria/Germany together in May 2019 and I’m extremely nervous. I’m trying to do my research and educate myself and reading bloggers on their experience of travel puts me at ease and adds great places to visit on my itinerary. What you shared about Salzburg was great and added it to my notes. Thanks again !!

  • Jess, There is a mountain top where you are standing with signboards to different Austrian cities. Which place is it??

  • I loved your blog. We are going to Austria in 2 wks and this was very helpful.

  • Hi Jess, thank you for the information and your pictures are certainly inspiring! Can I know where was the last picture with the eagle taken? That’s an amazing place to be at!

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment. That photo was taken at the Nordkette Restaurant on Nordkette Mountain. To get there, you catch the funicular up from Innsbruck. It has incredible views!

  • Hi Jess! thanks for informative post! – I’m struggling to locate the ice-cream place you’ve mentioned “Spoorgasse” in Graz. Is that geographical location? I couldn’t find such name in Google Map 🙁 Would you mind sharing any nearby location or name of the shop you can share please? Many Thanks!

    • Hello! Oh sorry to hear that. I have just done a quick Google search and can see it is called Eis Greissler Graz, and the address is Spoorgasse 10. The Spoorgasse is located just off the Hauptplatz which is one of the main squares. Hope you manage to find it! xx

    • Just to be super clear, the Spoorgasse is the name of the street that the ice cream shop is on and it’s at number 10 x

  • Wow! This is a real ultimate and a very comprehensive guide for Austria which was truly inspiring to read, Jessica! These Austrian cities are really culturally rich and there are plenty of things to be done and seen there. How many days would be enough to see all the highlights in Graz?

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment, I am very glad that it came in useful. I fell in love with Austria and think these cities are seriously underrated. I would recommend allowing 7-9 days to visit these cities if you want to see everything and do it all at a leisurely pace. I did the trip in 5 days which was intense and not very relaxing if it was my only holiday. x

    • For Graz alone, i would say 3 days is perfect 🙂

  • You guys on the Uncover Austria trip have really won me over to wanting to see more of the country – and it’s not just cos I’m obsessed with the Sound of Music!

  • Hi Jessica – I love this post! I am an American expat living in Germany so i’m lucky that Austria is a nice quick drive away. I have done a weekend in Salzburg & quickly visited Innsbruck on my way down to snowboarding in the Alps, but i’ve never been to Graz! I have added it to my list! I also recommend (when you have more time) visiting Vienna. Absolutely stunning city, with amazing restaurants. x michelle


    • Hi Michelle. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Austria is on your doorstep so even more reason to explore it! It sounds like Graz is next on your list. I would recommend it to people that have already done Salzburg and Vienna. I went to Vienna when I was studying German at school but I would love to go back as I think I would see it through totally different eyes. Blogger eyes! Happy travels x

  • I’ve never been to Austria before but this has made me so excited for my trip to the Dolomites next week (ok, still not quite Austria but close enough??) The photos from the mountains surrounding Innsbruck are incredible! And I am absolutely buzzing for all the apple strudel and Aperol spritzes now!! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua

    • Hey Lucy! Aw I’m glad! You’ll definitely see lots of stunning mountain views in the Dolomites, like in Austria. Hope you have an amazing trip! Aperol Spritz is just as popular in Italy… I think it’s my favourite drink in the world! haha x

  • Austria is definitely somewhere I wish to visit and this post makes me want to go more. Definitely a post I will refer back to when I do finally book a trip


    • Hey Laura! Thanks for your comment. It’s such a beautiful country, you won’t regret going. Hope you bookmark this post for a later date 🙂 x

  • Oh girl I bloody LOVED this post, I’ve vowed to discover more of Europe this year and Austria is definitely on my list after reading this post – looks like you had the best time! So glad you enjoyed your first solo travel trip too my love! P.s you always look SO beautiful – loving your outfit choices! <3

    Hayley xo

    • Thanks for your lovely comment Hayley! So pleased to hear that Austria is on your list. It’s such a beautiful and underrated country. So pleased I took the leap to discover it solo xxx

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