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Austria sits in central Europe and has some of the most impressive European castles ready for you to explore. These historic castles provide a glimpse into this wonderful country’s rich and interesting history.
The castles of Austria can transport you to the most fairy-tale-like wonderlands for the most whimsical vacation experiences. Moreover, if you pack your best walking shoes, you’ll find many of the castles in Austria are situated at some idyllic hiking spots.
Austrian castles each have their own unique charm and various experiences to offer the lucky travelers who pay a visit. Some can provide the most amazing mountain views, take you through tales of werewolves and witches, or even have you at the tip of a long-dormant volcano!
But any visit to an Austrian castle will provide a brilliantly well-rounded experience, stretching beyond the castle walls. Most are close to some of Austria’s finest dining spots, accommodations, and other famous landmarks.
With the following list of 19 of the very best castles in Austria to visit, you can discover which ones you might want to add to your Austrian vacation itinerary.
- Best Castles in Austria to Visit
- 1. Ambras Castle
- 2. Hohenwerfen Castle
- 3. Hochosterwitz Castle
- 4. Kreuzenstein Castle
- 5. Hohensalzburg Fortress
- 6. Burg Freundsberg
- 7. Castle Liechtenstein
- 8. Kufstein Fortress
- 9. Schloss Ort
- 10. Riegersburg Castle
- 11. Ehrenberg Castle
- 12. Tratzberg Castle
- 13. Aggstein Castle
- 14. Mauterndorf Castle
- 15. Schönbrunn Palace
- 16. Forchtenstein Castle
- 17. Moosham Castle
- 18. Burg Laudegg
- 19. Laxenburg Castles
- What are the most famous castles in Austria?
- What is the oldest castle in Austria?
- Are there any castle hotels in Austria?
Best Castles in Austria to Visit
1. Ambras Castle
Address: Schloßstraße 20, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Visiting the Ambras Castle in Innsbruck, Austria, is one of the most exciting things to do while in the city. It’s a stunning tourist attraction located on the slopes of Innsbruck, 587 meters above sea level.
The castle is Innsbruck’s most popular and visited attraction of cultural and historical significance. Archduke Ferdinand II had a major part to play in its significance to this day. Once a medieval fortress, the archduke molded it into a beautiful Renaissance-style castle.
Ferdinand’s goal behind the restoration was to build an ideal spot to house the art, armor, and artifacts collections he had amassed. It stood as a place of diverse cultural enrichment and still stands as a testament to his passion for the arts.
A visit to the castle today would treat you to some truly stunning displays, including portraits, significant works by notable European artists, and late medieval sculptures and artworks. Check out these other fun things to do in Innsbruck, Austria.
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2. Hohenwerfen Castle
Address: Burgstraße 2, 5450 Werfen, Austria
The medieval rock fortress of Hohenwerfen Castle guards over what is perhaps the country’s most beautiful region. It is located 623 meters above the Austrian market town of Werfen and provides a unique opportunity to see the surrounding Salzach Valley from a superb vantage point.
The castle is an undeniably stunning tourist attraction. Such a reputation lies in its beauty and grandeur. What’s more, not too far away are the Berchtesgaden Alps and the Tennen Mountains, which just add to the appeal of visiting this top spot! At over 900 years old, the Hohenwerfen Fortress offers tours that delve into the castle’s fascinating history.
Visitors to Hohenwerfen can enjoy a bird of prey demonstration at the castle’s museum. Kids can also play quiz games based on the castle’s collection of artifacts and exhibits.
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3. Hochosterwitz Castle
Address: Hochosterwitz 1, 9314 Launsdorf, Austria
Hochosterwitz Castle is widely regarded as one of Austria’s most impressive medieval castles. It sits on a 172-meter cliff close to the Sankt Georgen am Längsee in the Carinthian region and is constructed from cast dolomite rock.
This imposing fortress exudes nothing but strength. The fortified entrance leads to the armory and courtyard before the main castle. The complex contains 14 fortified gates.
The castle museum houses weapons, uniforms, tools, and other artifacts from Napoleon’s army. In addition, it also hosts an arsenal of armor, headgear, swords, spears, and other military items from a range of periods of European history.
If you’re interested in staying nearby the castle, you can’t go wrong with Biohof Schmiedbauer. This exceptional apartment is set on an organic farm, and your beloved floofs are more than welcome to join you to make the most of the surrounding mountain views.
See Related: Best Castle Hotels in Austria for Accommodation
4. Kreuzenstein Castle
Address: 2100 Leobendorf, Austria
Kreuzenstein Castle is located in the northern part of Leobendorf, east of Stockerau. It is the largest castle in the region and is considered one of the most beautiful castles in Austria to visit. It is located at an elevation of 265 meters above sea level and offers spectacular views of the countryside and Leobendorf.
The usual tour of Kreuzenstein Castle lasts 45 to 60 minutes and provides an interesting overview of the castle’s history. You’ll discover the ancient tower gate, a collection of intriguing sculptures, and a typical medieval kitchen on the castle grounds.
The well-stocked armory contains assorted weapons and armor from the Middle Ages. The items include spears, lances, axes, swords, hammers, maces, shields, plate armor, chainmail, helmet,s and more.
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5. Hohensalzburg Fortress
Address: Mönchsberg 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Austria is home to many magnificent castles, with the Hohensalzburg Fortress being one of the most impressive. Check out the views and history of the fortress from our YouTube channel.
This gleaming white medieval fortification lies within the borders of the beautiful city of Salzburg. There, it sits majestically atop the Festungsberg, the “Fortress Mountain” that looms over the city.
The fortification was a result of the urging of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. It is among the most significant and well-preserved medieval castles in Austria and Europe.
The Hohensalzburg Fortress draws attention thanks to its beauty, entertainment options, and impressive collection of historical exhibits. The most notable of those historical exhibits would be the Fortress Museum. The museum exhibits a collection of stories and artifacts relating to courtly life under the reign of the prince archbishops.
6. Burg Freundsberg
Address: Burggasse 55, 6130 Schwaz, Austria
Visit the lovely fairytale castle Burg Freundsberg in Schwaz, Austria, for a royal tour that will take your breath away. Freundsberg Castle was built on top of a hill by the Lords of Freundsberg in the year 1150, and it is among the highest points in the region.
Besides a collection of portraits, Burg Freundsberg also has a museum that contains a variety of interesting facts about the town of Schwaz.
The museum contains a collection of historical attire, mining tools, and information on the town’s cigar-making history. In addition, there is an on-site pub where you can sample traditional meals. The castle also plays host to medieval festivals and other gatherings throughout the year and is available for private events.
A day of exploration, including trips to the castle grounds, museums, and the nearby village, is awaiting visitors. Just remember that you’re in a hilly part of Austria. This means it’s not the most accessible spot for those who aren’t strong walkers.
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7. Castle Liechtenstein
Address: Am Hausberg 2, 2344 Maria Enzersdorf, Austria
Vienna and the city of Maria Enzersdorf are both within driving distance of Liechtenstein Castle in Lower Austria.
Located on the outskirts of the scenic Wienerwald, it is in a historically important and attractive location. The castle’s exterior splendor can be seen for miles around. Consequently, the castle draws many visitors yearly and is one of Enzersdorf’s most popular tourist attractions.
It contains a diverse collection of artifacts and furniture that contribute to the overall beauty and attraction of the castle’s interior.
Weapons, furnishings, and a beamed ceiling are among the fascinating display at Liechtenstein Castle. A magnificent vantage point to view the town of Enzersdorf and the surrounding natural treasures can be found at the top of the castle. From here, you can enjoy terrific panoramic views.
8. Kufstein Fortress
Address: Festung 2, 6330 Kufstein, Austria
The Kufstein Fortress is one of the most prominent features in the Austrian province of Kufstein, and its among the most picturesque castles in Austria. It actually has the honor of being referred to as the ‘Geroldseck Fortress.’
A visit to the Fortress of Kufstein will take you on a journey through this castle’s intriguing history. The stronghold has three museums. Each museum provides insights and information about the citadel’s history.
Brightly colored and illuminated displays in the exhibition center’s halls feature state-of-the-art exhibits. A few activities are held at the castle throughout the summer for you to write down in the calendar. These include open-air musicals, concerts, and other festivities for the whole family to enjoy.
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Austria
9. Schloss Ort
Address: Ort 1, 4810 Gmunden, Austria
If you’re eager to explore the beauty of Gmunden in Austria, add Schloss Ort castle to your itinerary. It is one of the most stunning castles in Austria and an essential stop for any visitor to the country, given its historical significance during the Holy Roman Emperor. The castle is located near Gmunden, on a tiny island on Traunsee Lake, surrounded by rolling hills and mountains.
Because of its unique attractiveness, it was used as a filming location for Schlosshotel Orth. This was a popular Austrian television series that aired for eight years. Its starring role has helped the castle earn significant attention from tourists and locals.
As one of the oldest buildings in the Salzkammergut, Schloss Ort castle is also regarded as a historical landmark. The castle regularly hosts private parties, meetings, and workplace gatherings. But it is also available for weddings and other occasions if you fancy it.
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10. Riegersburg Castle
Address: Riegersburg 1, 8333 Riegersburg, Austria
Visiting Riegersburg Castle should undoubtedly be one of the top things to do during your trip to Austria. It’s a centuries-old castle perched atop Riegersburg’s (mercifully) dormant volcano.
The Princely House of Liechtenstein owns the castle, which features a museum with changing displays. Apart from its grandeur and beauty, the castle’s museum is one of the reasons it attracts a large number of visitors, both local and foreign.
You’ll enjoy visiting the castle if you’re a fan of witchcraft and European history. This great tourist attraction is unique in Austria as it contains exhibits related to witches and witchcraft! The Witch Museum is a cellar dedicated to the dark history of Austria, where men, women, and children were prosecuted as witches between 1450 and 1750.
For accommodation options close to the Riegersburg Castle itself, you can’t do much better than the Riegersburgerhof. It sits right at the base of the castle, but it’s also located within walking distance of the local bus stop for exploring the surrounding area further.
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11. Ehrenberg Castle
Address: Klause 1, 6600 Gemeinde Reutte, Austria
When planning an unforgettable visit to Austria, don’t forget to include a detour to the enchanting Ehrenberg Castle. A part of the spectacular Burgenwelt Ehrenberg, sitting on the eastern outskirts of Reutte, the castle is a must-see attraction.
The overhanging view of the town of Tyrol and the view of the other three castles that make up the Castle Ensemble in the region is stunning. The Castle Complex includes the Klause, Schlosskopf , and Claudia Fortress.
This immaculate castle is a great place to spend the day exploring. Moreover, it serves as a great starting point for hiking the surrounding countryside.
12. Tratzberg Castle
Address: Tratzberg 1, 6200 Jenbach, Austria
If you’re looking for a gorgeous, romantic tour of Austria, Tratzberg Castle is one of the most incredible places to visit in Austria. The rocky hill above the town of Jenbach is home to this fairytale castle.
The Renaissance castle first appears mentioned in the 13th Century. Unfortunately, the castle fell prey to fire in 1492, but its rebuild began shortly after in 1500.
Visitors can take advantage of guided tours of the castle’s most notable rooms. These include the Habsburgersaal, the Gothic Fuggerstube, and the King’s Room. Additionally, you can also take on self-guided tours of the castle grounds.
There are unique fairytale tours available at Tratzberg Castle for children. They can interact with exhibits and characters dressed in medieval attire and the whimsical castle ghost.
13. Aggstein Castle
Address: Aggstein, 3642 Aggsbach Dorf, Austria
A historical landmark that sits alongside the Danube River in Dorf, Austria, is one of Austria’s most striking castle ruins. Overlooking the River Danube, an impressive ruin sits on a rocky ledge that affords fantastic views of the river and surrounding countryside.
One of its most prominent attractions is the Rosengärtlein, or Rose Garden. There are courtyards, gardens, and towers in the castle. It also features a dungeon, a charming chapel, and a knight’s hall to explore within the castle grounds.
14. Mauterndorf Castle
Address: Markt 27, 5570 Mauterndorf, Austria
The first written record of Mauterndorf Castle’s existence dates back to 1253. It initially protected the nearby market village. Then, it would later serve as a vacation home for Austrian, Hungarian, and German nobility and royalty.
The 44-meter-tall defensive tower on the grounds of the Mauterndorf Castle is one of the most impressive sights to behold while checking out the castle. The garden and the magnificent furnishings that grace the castle’s interiors are other highlights.
In addition, the private chambers of Prince Bishop Leonhard von Keutschach, who once used the manor as a vacation house, can be explored by visitors.
What makes the castle tour unforgettable is the attire worn by the guides. Their medieval-style clothing adds an enjoyable flare to the whole experience.
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15. Schönbrunn Palace
Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria
Schönbrunn Palace is among the most stunning castles in Austria and an essential must-see spot if you’re visiting the capital. It is the former summer residence of the Hapsburgs and possibly Austria’s most famous landmark, seeing thousands of tourists a day.
It has fantastic architecture, on-site attractions, and historical and cultural significance. Watch our overview of the Schönbrunn Palace from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.
The palace’s splendor extends beyond its outer beauty to its interior, which embodies elegance and luxury. The palace is among Europe’s most outstanding Baroque complexes, having about 1,441 rooms furnished in Rococo style.
Among the best things to do in the palace is to see its chambers of famous historical moments and figures, including Emperor Franz Joseph and Maria Theresa’s private rooms. In addition, you’ll also learn more about Napoleon, as his Austrian headquarters, to a six-year-old Mozart playing his first performance.
When it comes to places to stay nearby, you are spoiled for choice. But, if you want to make the most of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, stay in its eastern wing! The Schloß Schönbrunn Grand Suite lets you live in utter luxury while you stay in the Habsburgs’ former summer home. Not only is it a brilliant base for the palace, but it’s an overall win for a stay in Vienna.
16. Forchtenstein Castle
Address: Melinda Esterhazy-Platz 1, 7212 Forchtenstein, Austria
Burgenland’s Forchtenstein Castle, built in the 15th Century in Forchtenstein, is one of the most important historical structures in the region. It is one of Austria’s most popular and romantic castles, attracting many visitors every year.
Forchtenstein Castle is built on a hill 511 meters above sea level, standing out amongst the splendor of Austrian nature. It has stood through many political and military shifts, resulting in many interesting things to view in the castle.
Many treasures and wonders lie within the castle’s treasury. The castle is home to extensive weaponry and military equipment plundered throughout history. Additionally, there’s also a comprehensive collection of fascinating murals on the walls. Tours are available should you wish to delve deeper into the history of this famous castle.
17. Moosham Castle
Address: Moosham 13, 5585 Unternberg, Austria
To take your beautiful fairy tale vacation in Austria to the next level, you must include Moosham Castle in your itinerary. The ancient castle in Unternberg in the Lungau district of Salzburg, Austria. It’s a magnificent landmark to see and offers accommodation for a unique overnight experience.
The castle is known as the “Witches’ Castle,” and it was the scene of one of the most brutal witch hunts in European history. Thousands of people were accused of involvement in witchcraft, and over 100 people were killed during the trials. That included men, women, and children as young as 10.
The castle provides family-friendly rooms, typical modern conveniences, and royal service for lodgings. Also, you can enjoy tours of its art collection and of its immaculate grounds.
See Related: Most Beautiful Small Towns in Austria
18. Burg Laudegg
Address: Ladis, Serfaus, Austria
Burg Laudegg is an Austrian castle ruin located near the three settlements of Ladis, Serfaus, and Fiss in the Bezirk Landeck region. Over many years, it has been restored to its former glory.
The castle sits majestically on a rocky outcrop of crystalline schist, and it provides a spectacular view of the countryside and nearby settlements. Burg Laudegg offers natural beauty and regal furnishings in its interiors. Within this massive fortress, you’ll find a summer manor.
It features well-preserved medieval rooms, the castle chapel, and a grand hall. But it also allows visitors to get stuck in with a range of entertaining activities on its grounds.
It is open once a week for visitors to take part in tours during the summer months. Moreover, you could visit the charming nearby town of Ladis during your visit to make for a great day out.
19. Laxenburg Castles
Address: Schloßpl. 1, 2361 Laxenburg, Austria
In the charming town of Laxenburg, you’ll find Laxemburg Castles. They’re a group of buildings not too far south of the capital city, Vienna. Because of the close proximity, they’re a popular day trip from the city for tourists and locals alike.
There are two castles, the Old Castle and the New Castle, the Blaur Hof. The Old Castle is Laxenburg’s oldest building from the 12th Century. Whereas the New Castle was constructed in the 18th Century.
Throughout the years, the castles of this complex have undergone various restorations. However, even with such renovations, they’ve managed to keep their authentic charm intact. Today, they offer a glimpse into the lavish lifestyles of past rulers and the chance to admire Austria’s architectural beauty.
What are the most famous castles in Austria?
The most famous castles include the likes of Hohenwerfen Castle, Schloss Ort Castle, and Aggenstein Castle. Hohenwerfen has been in various films and tv shows.
Schloss Ort is an iconic symbol of its region and is often associated with romantic fairy tales. Lastly, Aggenstein is full of legend that is sure to capture your imagination.
What is the oldest castle in Austria?
The old medieval fortress, Hohensalzburg Fortress, is the oldest castle in Austria. It’s a beautiful medieval castle built back in the beginning of the 11th Century. This original medical structure has managed to maintain its original charm and is easily one of the best castles in Austria to visit today.
Are there any castle hotels in Austria?
It is very possible to find many beautiful castles in Austria, open to tourists as vacation accommodations. For example, the Schloss Mittersill Hotel features absolutely stunning rooms. It’s busting at the seams with facilities for guests and offers unbeatable views of the surrounding mountains.
Additionally, Burg Lockenhaus is also a stand-out choice with thousands of happy customer reviews. This pet-friendly castle accommodation retains all its historical charm. Enjoy plenty of activities to keep you busy while admiring its stunning decor.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.