Spittal an der Drau is located in the western part of the Austrian federal state of Carinthia and the administrative centre of the federal state's second largest district, Spittal an der Drau.
In the town centre is Schloss Porcia, considered one of the most important Renaissance castles in Austria. Built from 1533 on by Gabriel von Salamanca-Ortenburg, the castle in the style of an Italian palazzo from 1662 till 1918 was a residence of the Counts of Porcia. Today it hosts an annual festival for classic theatrical comedies (Komödienspiele Porcia) and is also home of a museum of local history. Opposite is the town hall, a former Renaissance Palais of the Khevenhüller noble family, built in 1537. The late Gothic Catholic parish church Mary's Annunciation was built in 1584 upon foundations of the 13th century.
East of the town, within the Drava Valley lies the village of Molzbichl, which is home to the remains of Carinthia's first monastery, established about 780 by Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria and abandoned in the 10th century. A small museum nearby shows several artifacts of Carolingian origin. The foundation of the monastery church is visible south of the present parish church Saint Tiburtius, which itself has an altar including a Roman tombstone of an Early Christian deacon Nonnosus, who died here in 532.
On a slope above the valley, northeast of the town is Schloss Rothenthurn, in the 11th century the "Red Tower" ("Roter Turm"), a fiefdom of the Counts of Ortenburg. The present-day palace is a building from the 17th century and serves as a hotel. Spittal is home of Austria's largest private collection of model railroads.