Many think of Austria primarily in the extensive winter sports opportunities present, given that it is filled with incredible mountainous terrain. But whilst Austria is a prime skiing destination, it also has so much more to offer. Visiting Austria by motorhome is the perfect way to explore this vast country, taking in great cities, gorgeous lakes and picturesque forests. You’ll be able to explore the architectural wonders of Austrian towns during the day, and then retreat into nature for the evenings, snuggled warm in your motorhome.
Let’s take a look at the best Austrian places to visit by motorhome and everything else you need to know for your trip.
Getting to Austria
Austria is one of the easiest countries to travel to, as it is located very centrally in Europe. It borders numerous countries, including Italy, Slovenia, Germany, Czechia, Switzerland, Hungary and Slovakia.
If you’re coming from the UK, the easiest way to travel would be to fly into Vienna or another airport and hire a motorhome there. Alternatively, you could travel to France the Netherlands with the Eurostar and hire a motorhome there. If you’re looking to bring your own motorhome, then take the ferry to Calais or Hoek van Holland and then drive down. If you take adequate breaks, the drive should take about two days.
Camping in Austria
Austria is an excellent county for camping, with stunning views and plenty of untamed wilderness. Camping in a motorhome allows you to stay warmer in the cooler months, and to get around this gorgeous country better.
Wild camping in Austria is not permitted, with penalties of up to €500 if you’re caught. Depending on the state, the penalties for wild camping in Austrian nature reserves or national parks can go even higher. However, you are permitted to wild camp on private land if you gain the owner's permission, and some regions allow you to overnight camp in parking lots. Either way, keep in mind that it is always illegal to light a campfire!
If you’re looking for a peaceful night of sleep and the chance to unpack and camp properly, then you’re better off staying at a campsite in Austria. We’ve rounded up a list of our favourite motorhome sites in Austria, so you can choose to stay at one of these instead!
Lakeside Petzan Glamping - Völkermarkt
This lovely lakeside campsite offers impressive views of Mount Petzen’s peak and is a mere five-minute drive from the mountain’s ski slopes and extensive hiking trails. Your muscles will surely be sore from an active day exploring the area, so you’ll definitely make good use of their saunas and appreciate having dinner in their on-site restaurant.
Price: £17.75 for one night, two adults
Location: Pirkdorf 29, 9143 St. Michael ob Bleiburg, Austria
Seecamping Masai Mara - Baden
Within cycling distance of the centre of Berndorf, you’ll find this serene campsite. This unique site is inspired by all things African, so you’ll spot plenty of continental touches around this beautiful site. Keep an eye out for the resident chickens and ducks, with who you’ll be sharing the site.
Price: £16.96 for one night, two adults
Location: Köhlerweg 9, 2560 Berndorf, Austria
Natterer See Campsite - Innsbruck
Nestled into the shores of Lake Natterer, this campsite is well-suited to active holidaymakers. During your stay here, you could try your hand at rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, rafting and more. Or come during winter to take advantage of the excellent ski slopes nearby!
Price: £20 for one night, two adults
Location: Natterer See 1, 6161 Natters, Austria
Grubhof Camping - Sankt Martin bei Lofer
This region offers over 400km of trails and hiking tours, adapted to explorers of all levels. It’s also a known skiing destination, so come during winter to appreciate this snowy paradise. This campsite is the perfect place to end your busy day, with a sauna, restaurant, spa and more. They also have a free ski bus departing every 30 minutes so that you can leave your motorhome pitched during your stay.
Price: £24.64 for one night, two adults
Location: St. Martin 39, 5092 St. Martin bei Lofer, Austria
Salzburg Panorama Camping Stadtblick - Salzburg
If you’re looking for a traditional camping experience, then this is the campsite for you! Known for its greenery, this campsite is ideally located for day trips to Salzburg, where you can explore this renowned UNESCO world heritage site.
Price: £20.71 for one night, two adults
Location: Rauchenbichlerstraße 21, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
We’ve got an extensive list if you’re looking for more campsites in Austria.
Driving in Austria
Austria is one of the easiest countries to drive in, as long as you follow all the regulations and prepare correctly. In Austria, they drive on the right side of the road and follow the same signposting as the rest of Europe. When driving in Austria, always have your valid license, car ownership documents and insurance details on hand. Austria is known for having excellent roads, all well-maintained.
The hardest part of driving in Austria is probably winter roads. Given that Austria is such a popular winter sports destination, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can get pretty cold there! During winter, roads in Austria can become dangerous due to snow, ice and avalanches. You’ll need to fit your vehicle with winter tires and snow chains to ensure you don’t slip.
Austria doesn’t have toll booths like other European destinations, but this doesn’t mean that the motorways are free! In Austria, you’re required to have a vignette, which is a sticker that you place on your windshield. Austrian vignettes are either valid for 10 days, 2 months or a full year. These can be bought at almost all gas stations or motorway rest stops. You’ll also find Austrian vignettes at borders to Austria. Make sure to get one as otherwise you can get fined €240! There are a few exceptions to the vignettes, and most of the toll roads are by tunnels.
Find out more about toll roads in Austria.
Best motorhome destinations in Austria
Now that you know a bit more about motorhome travel in Austria, it’s time to consider precisely where you’ll go! Here are the top motorhome destinations in Austria, all of which could be well-combined for an incredible road trip.
Right on the border of Germany, you’ll find Salzburg, known as the centre of the Counter-Reformation of the 17th century. Salzburg offers views of the Eastern Alps and has plenty of opportunities for nearby day trips for hiking or skiing. The city itself is divided by the Salzach River, with the Altstadt (Old City) on the left and Neustadt (New City) on the right. Salzburg was the birthplace of renowned composer Mozart, and you can visit a museum displaying his childhood instruments in the Altstadt. In addition, many visit Salzburg to check out the Baroque architecture, as it is one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps.
We recommend taking at least three days to explore Salzburg, but an extra day if you plan to take advantage of the outdoor adventure opportunities surrounding it.
Capital of Austria’s western state of Tyrol, Innsbruck is a renowned winter sports destination, attracting adventurers from across Europe each ski season. Aside from winter sports, Innsbruck is known for its imperial and modern architecture. Spend a day strolling through this calm city and then an evening enjoying the delicious cuisine and the lights of the Old Town. But the majority of your trip to Innsbruck will undoubtedly be spent exploring the various ski and hiking routes available.
However, don’t mistake this serene city for boring, as it is a thriving student town. Innsbruck is home to lively nightlife.
A motorhome trip to Austria would not be complete without a stop in the capital city. Situated in the east of Austria, Vienna is known for its artistic and intellectual legacy, having been the home of Beethoven, Mozart, Sigmund Freud and more. You’ll find museums and buildings dedicated to these impressive figures. Whilst it Vienna, also take the time to explore the majestic imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, which is the Habsburgs’ summer residence. Vienna is known for having an incredible art scene, so take an afternoon to stroll through some of the best galleries. If you’re visiting Austria in winter, definitely take a detour to Vienna for the incredible Christmas markets!
Keep in mind that campsites around Vienna will be more expensive, so perhaps pitch a little further away and make a few day trips to the city.
The smallest destination on our list, but definitely worth a visit! You’ll find Hallstatt on Lake Hallstatt’s western shore, in the mountainous region of Salzkammergut. Strolling through this village feels like a trip to the past, as it’s filled with 16th-century Alpine houses and a funicular railway that connects it to Salzwelten. Whilst visiting, be sure to make a day trip to Salzweten, an ancient salt mine with a subterranean salt lake and an impressive viewing platform. You can also spend a day hiking and follow the trail leading to the Echern Valley glacier garden, which has glacial potholes and the magnificent Waldbachstrub Waterfall.
West of Vienna, you’ll find the Wachau Vallet. This region is known for its vineyards, rolling hills and various fortresses. It’s an excellent motorhome camping destination, as you’ll struggle to find a place more serene. Whilst here, you can visit the castle above Dürnstein, which once held Richard the Lionheart during his imprisonment, the nearby Gottweig Abbey and the Melk Abbey.
A lesser-known destination in Austria, Wörtersee is a popular getaway for locals. This lake is the largest lake in the southern state of Carinthia, stretching from Klagenfurt to Velden. The water is a distinctive blue-green colour and transparent. Each summer, Austrian residents flock to this lake for a long weekend getaway. There are plenty of excellent destinations surrounding the lake, so why not make a road trip out of it?
And finally, we reach the end of our list of top motorhome destinations in Austria with Attersee! Also known as Kammersee, this lake is the largest one in the Salzkammergut region, and Austria’s third-largest lake by area. Attersee is a great destination for water sports, including surfing, sailing, water-skiing and fishing. It is 171 metres at its deepest point, making it eligible for diving. During your motorhome holiday in Austria, be sure to plan a weekend for relaxing at Attersee, the perfect way to top off your trip!
When travelling through Europe, it is always worth stopping in Austria with your motorhome. Not only is Austria known for its incredible scenery, with soaring mountain ranges and dense forests, but it is an architectural delight. Austria has gone through many changes and played a central role in European events for centuries. Explore this unique country by motorhome and ensure you’ve scheduled enough time to do it justice!