Little known Austria: beyond the tourist guides

little known Austria green lakeIn the heart of Europe lies a vibrant country of Austria. It can boast of beautiful sceneries ranging from misty peaks of the Alps to low grasslands in the East. It has a rich history encompassing thousands of years. Austria was the place of many wonders, from Venus of Willendorf to Mozart and beyond.

Austria’s National Library alone is a huge and amazing place to explore. Is there a better place to travel to and get lost in? We believe there is, and not just one. Modern Austrians can offer a lot more than just their history. A lot more than their lively capital city. This country is full of natural wonders as well as interesting curiosities made by the locals. Take a look at the little known Austria.

Minimundus

Klagenfurt is home to a miniature park called Minimundus. As the name says, it’s like a small world. You can literally visit the whole world just by walking this park. There are at least 150 miniatures of the world’s most famous buildings. From the Eiffel Tower to St. Petersburg Cathedral and so on. All of the buildings are scaled to 1:25 of their originals. However, they are built from the same materials. It’s a must-see!

Pyramidenkogel Observation Tower

austria travel locationsIf miniatures don’t catch your attention, maybe the world’s tallest wooden observation deck will. Pyramidenkogel is a mountain near Maria Wörth. A spiral observation tower is on top of this mountain. As you can imagine, it offers the most amazing sight. You can see multiple lakes, forests, mountains and settlements from almost a kilometre above sea level.

Grottenbahn

hidden gems in austria grottenbahnNext in our journey through little known Austria is something much closer to the ground. Grottenbahn, or cave train in English, offers an underground train ride. And not just any ride. It’s a ride through European mythical world and fairy tales. If you take this train, you will meet dwarves, gnomes, dragons and various fairy tale characters like Hansel and Gretel. Designed for grown-ups, but also suitable for children, this journey will take you back to your childhood.

Seegrotte

Speaking of the underground, Austria has much to offer. Take Seegrotte for an example. 60 metres beneath the town of Hinterbrühl lies a series of flooded underground canals that can be explored by boat. This unknown wonder is also the largest subterranean lake in Europe. However, it exists due to an accident in 1912. A detonation went wrong and turned a gypsum mine into a lake. Nowadays, pumps are constantly used to keep the water level down.

Apart from the caves themselves, a little museum is set up in them, telling the history of the site. Be warned, though. The voyage is quite claustrophobic.

Not interested in dark caves? Little known Austria can also be very colourful.

Gugging House of Artists

gugging house austria places beyond tourist guidesThis colourful house is actually a part of a former mental hospital in Klosterneuburg. It all started when a local psychiatrist began using drawing for diagnostic purposes. However, everything changed when he noticed that his patients produced exceptionally expressive art. So, he collected all of his talented patients and gave them a separate house to live and work in. Gugging House was home to such creators as August Walla, Oswald Tschirtner, and Johann Hauser.

The hospital was closed in 2007, however, the gugging house still stands. Not only that, it still accommodates artists who are constantly changing the appearance of the house as well as work on other art projects. The house will wake the imagination of every visitor.

Bestattungsmuseum

There’s no need to travel to the far corners of Austria to see its secrets. One such example of little known Austria is in Vienna itself. We’re talking about Bestattungsmuseum. Or, in English, Undertaker’s museum. It exhibits a collection of items related to funeral rites, mourning rituals and undertaker’s business. There are over 1000 items and interactive media that tells the story of death and how important it was to the people of Vienna. This stop will teach you a lot about undertaker’s business, local beliefs and relation to death.

Grüner See

This natural wonder in the village of Tragöß is known simply as Green Lake. The name comes from its colour, of course, because the bottom of the lake is covered in grass. In fall and winter, it is the place to hike at. Surrounded by forests and mountains, Green Lake is a perfect respite from civilisation.

However, in late spring and early summer, the water level rises and hides the hike paths beneath its surface. This draws scuba divers to explore the underwater paths reminiscent of Atlantis. This experience makes Green Lake a unique and amazing destination.

Nonseum

nonseum austria hidden placesHow many museums have you visited in your life? We can guarantee that you have never seen anything like Nonseum. A museum in Herrnbaumgarten is dedicated to useless and senseless inventions. From cigarette with filters on both ends to a deck of transparent cards. The museum’s intention is to spread happiness among the visitors. So, it totally makes sense to visit nonseum. See all the other inventions that nonseum has to offer! You won’t forget them easily.

Frankly, we hope that you won’t forget any of these destinations. You have to see them for yourself to actually experience little known Austria. And if you find something new while you’re there, let us know!