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Austria is a land-locked alpine country in Central Europe.




Austria is a land-locked alpine country in Central Europe.

Overview of Austria

• This is a German speaking country.
This country borders:
– Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.
– Germany and Czech Republic to the north.
– Slovakia and Hungary to the east.
– Slovenia and Italy to the south.
• Austria, along with neighboring Switzerland, is the winter sports capital of Europe.
• Austria is popular for summer tourists who visit its historic cities and villages and winters for a hike in the magnificent scenery of the Alps.
• Austria was once the centre of power for the large multiethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire with its imperial capital in Vienna.
• This empire stretched eastwards. It included the entire territories of:
– Modern day Hungary
– The Czech Republic
– Slovakia
– Slovenia
– Croatia
– Bosnia
• It includes portions of:
– Serbia
– Romania
– Ukraine
– Poland
– Italy
• The modern republic of Austria came into being in 1918 as a result of its defeat in World War I.
• The empire was split into many components. It includes:
– Austria’s current borders
– An independent Hungary
– Lands given to Italy (South Tyrol, Trieste and Trentino)
– Lands given to southern Poland
– An independent Czechoslovakia
– The northern and western half of Yugoslavia.
• Until the end of the war, Austria tried to distance itself from Germany.
• In 1945, Austria was divided into zones of occupation like Germany.
• A treaty signed in 1955 ended the Allied and Soviet occupation, recognized Austria’s independence, and forbade future unification with Germany.
• A constitutional law of that same year declared the country’s “perpetual neutrality”.
• Austria entered the European Monetary Union in 1999.
• The euro currency replaced the schilling in 2002.
• Austria is also part of “borderless Europe”.
• Austria is one of the most popular summer and winter holiday destinations in Europe.

Geography of Austria

• Austria is not all about mountains.
• The Alps cover 3/4 of the country dominating the provinces of:
– Vorarlberg
– Tyrol
– Salzburg
– Styria
– Upper Austria
– Carinthia
– The eastern provinces of Lower Austria
– The Burgenland
– The federal capital of Vienna
– This diverse mix of landscapes is packed into a relatively small area of size.

In Austria, one can find:
– Glaciers
– Meadows
– Alpine valleys
– Wooded foothills
– Gently rolling farmland
– Vineyards
– River gorges
– Plains
– Semi-arid steppes
• One quarter of Austria’s population lives in Greater Vienna.
• This is a European metropolis that is located where the Danube meets the easternmost fringe of the Alps.
• This is not far from the border with Slovakia and its capital Bratislava.
• Virtually all government, financial and cultural institutions, as well as national media and large corporations are based in Vienna.
• The capital dominates Austria’s cultural and political life.

• Vienna (Wien)
• Bregenz
• Eisenstadt
• Graz
• Innsbruck
• Klagenfurt
• Linz
• Salzburg
• Villach

Places to see in and around Austria

1. Lake Constance
• This is a big lake situated in Vorarlberg.
• This lake is shared with Switzerland and Germany.

2. Kaprun
• This is a part of the Europa Sport Region.

3. Pinswang
• This is one of the most ancient settlements of the North Tyrolean Ausserfern.
• This is on the border with Bavaria.
• It takes a short walk or drive to the famous King Ludwig’s castles.

4. Salzkammergut
St. Anton
• This is a popular ski resort in Austria.
• This resort is on the Vorarlberg-Tyrolean border.

5. Thermenland
• This is one of Austria’s warmest lakes.

6. Zell am See
• This is one of the most important alpine tourist towns in Austria.

7. High Mountain National Park
• This is in the Zimmertal Alps.
• It peaks up to 3476m, narrow gorges and steep cliffs.

8. National Park Thayatal
• This park combines beautiful valley landscapes with a variety of castles and ruined fortresses.

9. Grossglockner
• The country’s highest peak is called Grossglockner.
• It is located on the border between Carinthia and the East Tyrol.
• Grossglockner High Alpine Road, with its gorgeous panorama’s is highly recommended to get a great view.

10. Villgratental
• At the feet of mountain peaks you’ll find luscious valleys.
• This includes Villgratental.

11. River Danube
• The river Danube created some beautiful valley landscapes.
• Here you’ll now find famous vineyards.
• Wachau and Dunkelsteinerwald in Lower Austra are fine (and protected) examples.
• The valley landscapes and hillsides are dotted with countless picturesque villages.

12. Historical places

• Austria boasts a wealth of majestic architecture and historic structures.
• It was long a centre of power in the Holy Roman Empire.
• Here you will find palaces and magnificent city architecture.
• Addition to these you will find grand cathedrals, monasteries and churches.

Vienna
• This is the country’s capital and most popular destination.
• It is packed with Medieval and Baroque structures.
• Schonbrunn Palace with its 1441 rooms is the absolute highlight.
• Tiergarten Schönbrunn, is the oldest zoo in the world.
• The 12th century St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the most prominent religious building.
• Salzburg combines delightful Alpine surroundings with a beautifully preserved historic center.
• Innsbruck, at the heart of Tyrol is a historical place. The Mariazell Basilica in Mariazell is one of the country’s most visited attractions and an important pilgrimage destination.

Styria
Murauer Bier
• The Murauer Brewery has a permament brewing museum.
• Turn up on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
• The tour includes the museum, brew house, a video presentation and a free Murauer beer or lemonade in any of their bars in the town.
• Price: 3€

Judenburg Sternenturm
• There is a (locally) famous planetarium.
• The town also has a town tower.
• It offers views of the entire area.

Burg Riegersberg
• This wonderfully preserved medieval castle is privately owned by the ruling family of Liechtenstein.
• Entry is cheap.
• The castle can be reached by walking up the original access path that winds its way through the castle’s defensive gates.
• There is a cable car which ascends the other side of the hill.

Zotter Chocolate
• Also near, Riegersberg is the Zotter chocolate factory.
• They make all their chocolate in an ethical and organic manner.
• The tour of the factory allows you to taste all of their varieties of chocolate (around 150).

Things to do there:

– Skiing and Snowboarding
– Cycle Touring
– Music
– Movies

Hiking
• Most trails and mountain huts are maintained by the Austrian Alpine Club.
• Some are run by other equivalent organizations, such as the German, Dutch and Italian Alpine Clubs.
• Mountain huts are meant to be shelters, not hotels.
• During the high season (August), it’s a good idea to book in advance.
• Prices for the night are usually around 10-20€ (half for Alpine Club members).
• Meals and drinks are quite expensive.

Best time to visit / climate

– Austria has a temperate continental climate.
– Summers last from early June to mid-September.
– It can be hot in some years and rainy in others.
– Winters are cold in the lowlands and very harsh in the Alpine region.
– In alpine region the temperatures often drop below -10° C (14° F).
– Winters last from December to March.
– In the Alpine region large temperature fluctuations occur all year round and nights are chilly even in high summer.
– The area around Vienna often experiences strong easterly winds.
– The high season is August.

Location on Google Maps


View Larger Map

Or click and paste the URL below on your browser:
http://maps.google.co.in/maps?q=Austria&hl=en&hnear=Austria&gl=in&t=m&z=6

How to get there?

1. By plane
• There are 6 airports in Austria with scheduled flights.
• The most important international airport is Vienna.
• This has connection to all major airports of the world.
• Other international airports include Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, and Salzburg.
• They provide domestic flights as well as connections to some European countries.
• Those airports are particularly popular with cheap airlines such as Ryanair.
• For traveling to the western states it is recommended to use the very close Munich airport.
• The most common airports to visit Vorarlberg are Altenrhein (Austrian), Friedrichshafen (Ryanair, Intersky) and Zurich (Swiss).
• If visiting Austria for winter sports, choose airport considering cost and duration for the whole trip (plane+transfer).

2. By Bus
Eurolines Austria has bus schedules from Austria to all major European countries and back.

3. By Car
From Germany
– Motorway A8 from Munich to Salzburg.
– Motorway A93 from Rosenheim via Kufstein to Innsbruck, Tyrol.
– E43 (A96) from Leutkirch via Wangen to Bregenz, Vorarlberg.
– E56 from Regensburg via Passau to Linz, Upper Austria.
From Italy
– Motorway A23 to Villach, Carinthia.
– E54 via Brenner to Innsbruck, Tyrol.
From Slovenia
– E652 to Villach,Carinthia.
– E57 via Spielfeld to Graz, Styria.

4. By Train
• The OBB (Austrian Railways) operate high-speed ICE and RailJet trains from cities like Zurich,Munich,Frankfurt, Passau, and Budapest.
• Eurocity trains are the next fastest trains.
• Regional trains called EURegio and simplyRegionalzug are also avialible from all 8 of Austria’s neighbors.

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at lodgingaustria.com
Hotels at venere.com

Blogs / Sites about Austria

Blogs at lonelyplanet.com
Blogs at travelblog.org
Blogs at travbuddy.com
Blogs and reviews at fodors.com

Images and photos of Austria

Images at google.com
Images at tripadvisor.com
Images at galenfrysinger.com
Images at travel.nationalgeographic.com

Videos of Austria






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