The eastern part of Austria is closer to Vienna and suitable for day trips or weekend trips and within a reach of three hours at most. This area is very flat in the far East, but has also some smaller mountains and a lot of lakes and thermal springs to offer. Not only forests and nature parks but also many castles and palaces can be explored.
Sankt Poelten is the capital of Lower Austria only since 1986. Best way to explore the old city with a variety of architectural styles is a trolley train with English audio explanation free of charge. It possesses several delightful squares adorned with beautiful Baroque and Jugendstil facades.
The new Niederoesterreich Card is valid from 1 April 2015 until 31 March 2016 and offers free admission to 331 destinations for only 55 Euro. Children aged 6 to 16 pay only 25 Euro. You can buy the card at any tobacconist or Raiffeisen bank as well as order online or by calling the Niederoesterreich-CARD Hotline (01/535 05 05).
Linz is the capital of Upper Austria and lies on the Danube. It is the city of famous composer Anton Bruckner and the Cloud of Sounds Festival. Following the ride up on the historic Poestlingbergbahn mountain tram, it is only a few paces to the pilgrimage basilica, the panorama viewing platform and the Grottenbahn cave railway. Everything almost for free with the Linz Card.
Bad Hall is home to healing springs, containing the highest levels of iodine brine in Europe. If you suffer from asthma, sinusitis or problems with your thyroid try the new Mediterrana Spa Resort. Another beautiful city on the Austrian Romantic Road is Steyr. Explore the old town on a Steyr Segway Tour. The kids enjoy most the science center Welios at Wels.
Eisenstadt is the capital of Burgenland. The home town of the famous composer Joseph Haydn invites you to visit the Haydn House or the Haydn Church etc. Haydn was bandmaster to the Esterhazy court for 40 years. The Esterhazy castle also offers guided tours for kids starting in April.
The Lake Neusiedl is very close to Vienna and a perfect weekend destination for swimming, sailing, wind-surfing and bicycling. There are lots of bicycle rentals available and the best bike route is between Podersdorf and Illmitz with many animals to see. My favorite beach resort is in Podersdorf, but families also like the bathing beaches in Rust and Neusiedl am See. Use the Neusiedler See Card.
Bicycle Trolley Tour
Award-winning wineries in this region are Weingut Fuchs, Weingut Hundsdofer and Winzerkeller Neckenmarkt, just to name a few. At Neckenmarkt-Horitschon, central Burgenland may be explored by bicycle trolley, on a total of about 23 km in length. This Sonnenland Draisinentour is great fun for all the family! At Deutschkreutz (Zelem) you can visit the Carl Goldmark Museum.
The most important event in this region is the flag waving on 20 June 2014, where the residents celebrate their victory over the Hungarians in 1620 at the Lackenbach Palace. There is an Esterhazy nature museum now. Children can see and hear stuffed animals out of the area or look through the microscopes.
Graz is approx. in a 2 hours reach from Vienna. Despite being Austria’s second-largest city Graz can still be explored easily on foot. It was the fascinating combination of architecture that prompted UNESCO to declare Graz and its historic town centre a World Heritage Site. To visit its castle on the mountain take the Schlossbergbahn.
The Daffodil Festival which draws thousands of visitors to the Ausseerland region each year, is worthwhile visiting. There are events such as the lake run, the election of the daffodil queen, workshops and traditional music and dance starting at the end of May and ending with the car parade at Bad Aussee and the boat parade on lake Grundlsee.
With the brand new panorama gondola lift traveling up the Dachstein glacier is a completely different experience. Also the Dachstein suspension bridge just opened in July 2013. Use the Schladming-Dachstein Sommercard for this and more attractions in the area.
Also the Roecksee area offers a lot for families, like the Styrassic park with its tree house hotel, the Zotter chocolate factory for delicious guided tours and the H2O-Therme for bad weather.
For accommodation try the family hostels JUFA Tieschen or JUFA Leibnitz, the kids love it.
Admont is located on the edge of the beautiful National Park Gesaeuse. Particularly worth seeing is the Admont Monastary with the world’s largest monastery library and Castle Trautenfels and its very interesting countryside museum and an observation tower to overlook the Enns valley. Another tip is the Eastern Styrian “Genusscard“, which is valid from March to October.