Austria's Best Castles & Palaces
Collected by Zac Steger, AFAR Local Expert
Like most of Europe, mighty fortresses and palaces of all sizes dot Austria's landscape. Its imperial history has left the country with no shortage of magnificent palaces, and its one-time proximity to the invading Ottomans has left a bounty of castles and fortresses. From the lavish Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna to the medieval fortresses of the Burgenland and beyond, there is plenty to keep history and architecture buffs happy.
Michaelerkuppel, 1010 Wien, Austria
Up until the end of World War I in 1918, the Hofburg was the center of the Habsburg dynasty and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The massive complex includes the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (National Library), Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury),...
1130 Vienna, Austria
Schönbrunn was the summer residence of the Habsburgs and one of Europe's most stunning Baroque palaces. The family acquired the land in the 16th century and later built a palace, but it was completely rebuilt under Maria Theresa between 1744 and...
Am Hausberg 2, 2344 Maria Enzersdorf, Austria
Located just outside Vienna near Maria Enzersdorf, Liechtenstein Castle is a dramatic structure at the edge of the Wiederwald (Vienna Woods). Twice destroyed by the Ottomans in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was in ruins until 1884 when it was...
Esterhazyplatz 1, 7000 Eisenstadt, Austria
Of all the grand palaces in Austria, Esterházy is one you definitely don't want to miss. It's second, perhaps, to Schönbrunn. The 13th-century palace was acquired by the Hungarian family in 1622 and remains in their care. Magnificent rooms like...
Schloßweg 1, 7434 Bernstein, Austria
By Patti McCracken
The Road of Castles, or Schloesserstrasse, connects 18 notable castles in Burgenland and the neighboring state of Styria. Bernstein, above, was once the home of Count Laszlo Almasy, the explorer who inspired the book The English...
Melinda Esterhazy-Platz 1, 7212 Forchtenstein, Austria
In the midst of Burgenland’s western hills lies stately Forchtenstein Castle, built as a protective bulwark against invaders in the 13th century. A tour of the fortifications and the castle’s treasury will give you a lively impression of castle...
Greinburg 1, 4360 Grein, Austria
In a country with so many castles, Schloss Greinburg doesn’t rank as one of the most awe-inspiring. It is, however, particularly notable for two things. Greinburg is considered Austria’s oldest residential castle (origins dating back to 1488) and...
Schloßstraße, 3492, Austria
Though the foundations go back hundreds of years prior, Grafenegg Castle as we know it today was constructed in the 19th century and is a fine example of historicism. The interior is open April through October. It's particularly known for music...
Mönchsberg 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
As the largest fully preserved fortress in central Europe, the more-than-900-year-old Hohensalzburg has long been the medieval crown above an elegantly baroque city. Its current appearance dates back to the 1495–1519 reign of...
Schloßstraße 20, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Ambras Castle was built by Archduke Ferdinand II (1529–1595), the second son of Emperor Ferdinand I, for his commoner wife, Philippine Welser, who was not allowed to live in the official residence in the town. A few notable items make Ambras worth...
9314 Hochosterwitz, Austria
The mighty Hochosterwitz castle rests atop a rock some 500 feet high near Sankt Georgen am Längsee. It is both a symbol of Carinthia and one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. While origins can be traced back to Roman times, the...
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