Secret spots from our community
Austria is renowned for its Alpine mountains, stunning lakes, vibrant cities and, of course, as the setting for The Sound of Music. With so much outdoor scenery to explore it's easy to escape the crowds and find a pristine view all for you. To guide you, a Vienna resident from Spotted by Locals shares her favourite lakes to get away to, while our Interrail community members share their secret spots from past travels.
Watercolours of Austria ⭐
Spotted by Linda Nepicks...
I spent many years abroad for my work at a tour operator and moved to Vienna in 2010. It took me not even half a day to fall in love with this city… I write about my favourite spots for Spotted by Locals Vienna.
My images of Austria are not – as for many – rocks, mountains, meadows and cows, but WATER. Water to jump into, water to sail or paddle on, water to cross by train over an old steel bridge, water to cycle along. These are my favourite watercolours of Austria...
Danube River, Vienna
The blue-green of the Danube in Vienna! I love to put up my hammock between some trees on the Danube Island or hire a canoe at the huge public river bath Gänsehäufel. On a warm summer evening, a drink at Hafenkneipe (literally harbour pub) is the right thing, with lots of graffiti, murals, cool people, the steady stream of the Donaukanal (Danube Canal) and the lights of the city.
The silver-grey of Neusiedlersee in Burgenland with its good accessibility by commuter train. It's easy to take a bike and cycle along the reed beds. The many local wine bars are always a treat!
The deep green of the Weissensee in Carinthia, great for hiking along its shores. The water is icy but its colour and the Canadian-like forest are quite a sight.
The turquoise of the Attersee in Upper Austria/Salzkammergut, a 3-hour train ride from Vienna. It has a laid back, more arty feeling, and lots of stunning (and some weird) houses on the shore. The lake? What a colour on a sunny day! Oceanlike clear water (but alas, no sand), perfect for diving and swimming - with no salty taste in the mouth afterwards!
Secret spots from our community
Our wonderful Interrail community have sent us photos and stories of secret spots that they discovered while travelling in Europe. Follow them to northwest Austria to discover idyllic lakeside villages and Alpine ski towns, all just a day-trip away from Innsbruck or Salzburg.
You can find all of the secret spots on the map below, along with the Spotted by Locals destinations marked with stars:
Secret Spots competition top-voted story
My favourite spot in Europe is Salzburg. A city in Austria located on the Salzach River. A place not to be missed on a train journey.
Salzkammergut lake district
My secret spot has to be this little church in Traunkirchen, Austria. It peacefully sits on the edge of lake Traunsee and its towers can only be seen through the trees as you traverse up the path that sits to the south.
Getting there by rail: The Salzkammergut region is just to the east of Salzburg. Take a 46 minute Railjet to Attnang-Puchheim, then a 36 minute regional train to Traunkirchen Ort station.
This quaint little village with its beautiful neighbouring villages, lakes, mountains, treks, saltmine museums, seagulls and kind-hearted people, has my heart forever. I cannot wait to be able to go back and spend quality time there 😍😍.
Getting there by rail: Take the 46 minute Railjet from Salzburg to Attnang-Puchheim, then a 1h 13m regional train to Hallstatt. You can also stop at Traunkirchen on this journey!
Tyrol & Pinzgau
Reith im Alpbachtal
This is a tiny village called Reith im Alpbachtal in Tyrol. I found it by coincidence when I just wandered around. The quiet, calm lake was the perfect place to relax because no-one was there. It reflects the nature and village beautifully.
Getting there by rail: The closest station is Brixlegg Banhof, just 42 minutes from Innsbruck. Then take a 10 minute bus to the village centre.
We stumbled upon this sleepy ski town while we were Interrailing one summer and have been back a few times since. It is beautiful and the hiking is immense.
Getting there by rail: The closest station is St. Johann in Tyrol, 1h 15m from Innsbruck or 2h 15m from Salzburg. Then take a 30 minute bus to the ski town.
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If you want to discover more of Austria, then you can find out how to add it to your next Interrail Pass trip with more destinations and rail travel tips on our main page.