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The reasons to visit Austria seem quite obvious at first. You’ve got some amazing architecture to enjoy. There are the ever-present Alps. The extensive green pastures almost relax you instantly. Some might even plan a holiday just to enjoy some world-famous apple strudel. If you go beyond the surface of what Austria has to offer, however, you will find an amazing experience that far too many visitors ignore for the classic experience.
Austria is situated in southern Central Europe, covering a part of the eastern Alps and the Danube region; although it is land-locked, it borders on the Mediterranean area. Austria has common borders with eight other countries: Switzerland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy.
Once the center of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I. Following annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation by the victorious Allies, Austria’s 1955 State Treaty declared the country “permanently neutral” as a condition of Soviet military withdrawal.
Austria is a federal state and consists of nine provinces – Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria, Vienna and Vorarlberg.
Austria’s rich cultural history boasts some of the most renowned names of the past: Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, Klimt and Freud. From philosophy and art over music and architecture to hiking and adventure, there is no place quite like the captivating country that brings visitors back time after time.
Outdoor adventure is waiting for you right now in Austria and it doesn’t matter the season. Skiing is available for every skill level. The slopes that make for perfect skiing in the winter are the perfect place to take a hike during the summer. Fields of wildflowers and large stretches of forest await those who are willing to strap on some hiking boots and explore.
Theater, music, and opera are at the core of Austrian culture and virtually every city has a group that puts on seasonal shows. Some groups even tour throughout the nation, giving you the chance to experience their brilliance more than once. Many of the groups are world-famous and the settings are often quite intimate.
In Austria, it seems that music mirrors the almost melodious beauty of the land. For centuries, music has been both an integral part of everyday life and the crowning glory of
special occasions. There is no other country that has made such enormous musical contributions to the world or had such an enduring influence on the international musical scene as has Austria over the course of its long and distinctive history.
Renowned as much for its architecture and culture as it is for the spectacular mountain scenery of the Austrian Alps, there truly is something in Austria for everyone. If abundant ski slopes and world-class resorts is your reason d’être, look no further than Innsbruck, located in the Inn Valley in western Austria. Salzburg is also ideally located to a number of ski resorts including; Bad Gastein, and Zell am See.
There is always something for everyone, so choose a city in Austria, plan your time away, and you will soon be able to add to your personal list of favorite things.
Ski holidays in Austria
Offering a large selection of ski resorts and good ski conditions, there is something for everyone in the Austrian Alps. Whether you’re looking for a good slope or a bit of après ski, you are guaranteed to find a ski holiday to suit you. Austria benefits from a low altitude, good seasonal snow fall and sunny conditions. Escape to the chocolate box villages of Tirol, or Tyrol as it is commonly known where you will find perfect ski holiday and snowboarding holiday conditions with plenty of snow parks, high altitude ski resorts and winding toboggan runs. Or if you want to relax on your skiing holiday in Austria, visit a local spa or one of the many bars where you can sit back and watch the world go by.
Why not visit the bustling town of Kitzbuhel on your skiing holiday, in one of the most well known ski resorts in Austria. With a great choice of skiing and snowboarding locations which are ideal for all levels of ability from beginner classes to more advanced classes, perfect for family ski holidays. With a wide range of restaurants and après ski activities, this location caters for all. Or head to the picturesque medieval lakeside town of Zell am See, perfect for après ski activities with a wide range of facilities and for skiers of all abilities with a variety of pistes to choose from. Other good ski resorts to try include; Soll, which is situated in the centre of the Ski Welt which offers great budget priced accommodation and over 250km of pistes or even head to Niederau in Wildschonau for the perfect location for beginner skiers.
Popular regions in Austria
The most geographically diverse of all the states in Austria, Lower Austria is the perfect place to spend a cheap holiday. With skiing, winemaking, hiking and so much more to choose from, you would be hard pressed not to make Lower Austria your perfect holiday destination, be it summer or winter. Lower Austria is separated into four regions; each possessing it’s own, unique traits and activities.
Weinviertel, or wine quarter, is one of the most spectacular of the four regions of Lower Austria. With vineyards that date back to the Roman times, and the beautiful rustic villages that dot the landscape, this is an ideal destination for a couple looking for an intimate, affordable holiday. Waldviertel, Recognized as, the Forest Quarter, this northwest region borders the Czech Republic, and is best suited for a family looking for a bit of nature, and a spot of history during this upcoming holiday season. With castles and nature parks, Waldviertel is a great choice for a fun, family getaway this year. Getting it’s name from the apple and pear juice made there, Mostviertel is one of the most captivating of all the Lower Austrian regions. Situated between Vienna and Salzburg, Mostviertel’s beautiful rolling hills and vast meadows create a scenic portrait of Austria. With fantastic vineyards and breweries, top class cuisine and the culturally stunning beauty of the castles and monasteries, there is something for the smallest and oldest alike. Bordering with Vienna, Industrieviertel is the home to towns such as Baden and Bad Vöslau, with thermal hot springs to soothe those aching muscles; or head to Wiener Neustadt where the Alps blossom into the high reaches of the atmosphere. There is great hiking, and plenty of history to fill your heart’s content.
Bordering with Germany and the Czech Republic, Upper Austria is a nature enthusiast’s paradise. With remarkable landscapes featuring lakes, mountains and lush forests, Upper Austria provides plenty of options for those looking for a cheap holiday. But, nature isn’t the only thing on offer; Upper Austria is home to a number of museums, galleries and historical buildings. Upper Austria contains some of the country’s best scenery. When pairing that with some of the least expensive, and less crowded, ski resorts in the country, and a strong historical past, Upper Austria is your place for a holiday getaway.
The capital of Upper Austria, Linz is the third largest city in Austria. Though largely a student, and industrial town, Linz is a fantastic place to go for culture. With museums, open-air concerts and fantastic restaurants, Linz is great place to begin your Upper Austrian holiday. One of the most visually striking locations in all of Austria, Salzkammergut is just a half an hour by car from Salzburg, and hosts clear lakes, rolling hills and beautiful mountains. Here you can find all of the sporting, and outdoor activities, and with inexpensive accommodations, and world-class skiing during the winter, Salzkammergut offers something for everyone, at an affordable price, regardless of the holiday season. Easily accessible from Linz, Freistadt is a beautiful Austrian village, rich in history and packs quite a to-do list for a small village. Filled with galleries, landmarks, restaurants and pubs, Freistadt is the getaway for travellers looking to experience a taste of the Austrian way of life.
Carinthia is a state in Austria boasting some of the most beautiful landscape you’ll find anywhere in the country. Wander up into the mountains to find picturesque lakes and forests, you’ll also be able to visit one of the many lively ski resorts that lie scattered across Carinthia. Alternatively, those looking for a little city culture will be spoilt for choice; from Klagenfurt with its ancient churches and world-famous literary festival, to the local beer capital of Friesach.
If you’re looking for a suitable holiday destination to go with the whole family, then you’ll find that the sleepy mountain towns of Carinthia offer the perfect solution. With a number of alpine ski resorts on offer in the northern reaches of Carinthia, this would make a great destination for anybody hoping to hit the slopes. The picturesque towns of Carinthia have managed to change very little over the passing generations, and so a holiday here will offer you the chance to immerse yourself in traditional Austrian culture.
This Austrian state covers a mostly mountainous region, with settlements ranging from alpine ski resorts to historic market towns. No matter what you’re looking for on your holiday to Austria, you’re sure to find something to interest you in Carinthia. Carinthia is a mountainous region on the southern tip of the Alps, and so there are some great places in the vicinity for skiing. You’ll find numerous resorts dotted around the mountains here, and the countless ski slopes in the region cater for all levels of experience – from beginners through to advanced skiers. Wörthersee is the largest lake in the region of Carinthia, this beautiful body of water offers a range of different attractions; from water skiing and yachting on the still water, to hiking along the many waterside paths and trails it’s sure to be buzzing with activity. One of the more fascinating towns in the Carinthia region is known as Klagenfurt. This traditional Austrian town hosts a wide range of attractions, including a reptile zoo, some beautiful parks and the Minimundus, a model village featuring miniaturised replicas of famous landmarks from all around the world.
Travel and vacation in Austria
Here you can find information about travel and holiday trips to Austria. You will find travel deals as well as general travel information, guides, “good to know” and facts about Austria. You will also find updated current weather and forecasts.
Map and distances
Country map and calculation of distances
Good to know
Weather and forecast
See the list of the largest and most important cities in the country, and the size of the cities by population.
Important: the informations are from various external sources. If you are using the informations professional please seek official confirmation whether the figures are actual or not. Last update august 2017
|17||Baden bei Wien||25,328|
|30||Braunau am Inn||16,380|
|36||Spittal an der Drau||15,549|
|45||Hall in Tirol||13,587|
|50||Bruck an der Mur||15,803|
|51||Sankt Veit an der Glan||12,554|
|60||Brunn am Gebirge||11,600|
|61||Ried im Innkreis||11,415|
|70||Sankt Johann im Pongau||10,852|
|72||Gerasdorf bei Wien||10,593|
Official National Holidays
Below you can see the list with official national holidays in the country.
|1 January||New Year's Day||Neujahr||Fixed|
|6 January||Epiphany||Heilige Drei Könige||Fixed|
|Easter Monday||Easter Monday||Ostermontag||Variable|
|1 May||National Holiday||Staatsfeiertag||Fixed|
|Ascension Day||Ascension Day||Christi Himmelfahrt||Variable|
|Whit Monday||Whit Monday||Pfingstmontag||Variable|
|Corpus Christi||Corpus Christi||Fronleichnam||Variable|
|15 August||Assumption of the Virgin Mary||Mariä Himmelfahrt||Fixed|
|26 October||National Day||Nationalfeiertag||Fixed|
|1 November||All Saints' Day||Allerheiligen||Fixed|
|8 December||Immaculate Conception||Mariä Empfängnis||Fixed|
|25 December||Christmas Day||Christtag||Fixed|
|26 December||St. Stephen's Day||Stefanitag||Fixed|
Best of Austria
Austria offers unique destination opportunities, with something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you make your way up to the summit of the Hohe Tauern or you get lost in the Medieval streets of one the country’s historic towns, the best of Austria speaks straight to the heart.
Places To See
There is no way to ignore the proud presence of this majestic city. From the Baroque influences, to the romantic parks, everything one can find in this city speaks of a grandness far beyond any imagination. Find your way into an art museum to discover works by Warhol and Picasso. Sip some coffee in a vaulted café. Wander down a park path on a summer’s day. Everything Vienna offers is something you will not want to miss.
Perched high above the Zollfeld Plains, you’ll find this stunning castle about midway between the Eastern Alps and the Julian Alps. With its spiked turrets, 14 defensive gates, and stunning views, you’ll find that scaling to the top of this fortress is worth the effort. It has stood tall in this location for 1,000 years and will continue to do so throughout time.
Austria has numerous winter resorts to enjoy. This stunning option, however, offers almost 150km of groomed ski runs to enjoy. Warm up by the fire in one of the traditional chalets or go exploring throughout the Tyrolean alps. In the summer, take advantage of the numerous trails in the area to enjoy a deep breath of fresh air.
Clinging to the foothills of the Austrian Alps, this small community offers a charming opportunity to explore in a variety of ways. Cruise down the small streets to discover a hidden gem. Take a hike through the fir and spruce forests. Climb your way to a soaring summit for a breathtaking view. This is where you will be able to fully embrace the Austrian culture.
Zell am See
This lake community also hugs the Alps tightly, creating one of the most beautiful communities you may ever see. When the edelweiss and rhododendrons are in bloom, the beauty of this city is put on full display. At the same time, you can enjoy world-class sailing, cycling, skiing, and hiking, depending upon the season you come for a visit.
From Innsbruck, take your pick from numerous ski resorts nearby including Mayrhofen, Sölden, Kitzbühel and Ischgl. Mayrhofen, ideal for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, is only one hour away by car, and the rest of the resorts take under 90 minutes to get to—perfect for either one-day excursions or multiple-day getaways. The city of Innsbruck combines culture, architecture, and shopping so beautifully and surrounded by the stunning Alps it is a magical place to spend a weekend or more.
The city of Salzburg is like a picture perfect postcard. Marvel at the old town’s stunning baroque architecture which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city also boasts three universities and the abundance of students creates a vibrant atmosphere often alive with The Sound of Music! (Parts of the classic film were filmed in the city.) A mix of history, culture and outdoor pursuits make a holiday to Austria an unforgettable experience and with Monarch’s cheap flights, it’s convenient and affordable.
You’ll find this beautiful community in the lake district offers sweeping vistas for all to enjoy. Fans of The Sound of Music come here as it serves as the place of the wedding scene at the Mondsee Abbey. Ancient cave dwellings and other historic sites can be found here or within a short drive as well.
Everything about a visit to this city is centered around fun. Explore cobblestone streets. Visit the Styrian Armory, where there are 32,000 items on display. Visit the curious clock tower at Schlossberg Hill. You will find many fascinating opportunities to get out-and-about here.
The best of Austria can take you to the highest slopes, the gentlest lakes, and the most active ancient streets. When you listen to the invitation offered, you’ll find that a great adventure awaits.
Austria from the history books
In ancient times, much of the territory later known collectively as “Austria” was called Rhaetia, Noricum, and Pannonia. These were organized as Roman provinces in the 1st century AD. Then, and for the next 10 centuries, the area served the more civilized peoples of Europe as a defensive outpost against barbarian invasions from the east. Roman control collapsed in the 4th century under wave after wave of Germanic and Hunnish invaders.
Under the rule of the Babenberg margraves between 976 and 1246, Austria expanded eastward to the Hungarian border and southward into Styria and Carniola. Christianity was well entrenched by the early 12th century. The Babenberg lands were occupied (1246-78) by Ottokar II of Bohemia. After his defeat by the Habsburg German king Rudolf I, they passed to the Habsburg family, which provided all but one of the Holy Roman emperors from 1438 to 1806.
The Habsburgs turned Austria into one of the most dynamic states of Europe. They steadily expanded their domains in the 14th and 15th centuries, first by acquiring the Tyrol and Vorarlberg near their hereditary holdings in Switzerland, then by the addition of Istria and Trieste to the south. By the marriage in 1477 of the future Maximilian I to Mary of Burgundy, they acquired Burgundy and the Low Countries. The Austrian line then oriented its expansion eastward. Ferdinand’s successors proved unable after 1564 to rule coherently or fairly those parts of the empire that had embraced the Protestant Reformation. This deficiency was instrumental in causing the Thirty Years War in 1618 – 48.
A weakened Austria was forced to recognize the legitimacy of the reformed sects within the empire, but, as the result of the success of the Counter-Reformation, Catholicism was fully restored in Bohemia and Austria itself. The efforts of Emperor Leopold I to undo the Reformation in Hungary led to renewed conflict with the Hungarians and their Turkish allies. In 1683 the Turks besieged Vienna, which was rescued only by the timely intervention of German and Polish forces. A series of imperial victories drove the Turks from Hungary, which Austria formally acquired by the Peace of Karlowitz in 1699. The
Austrian empire reached its greatest extent in the first half of the 18th century. Wars over the Spanish and Polish successions brought the addition of the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium) and, in Italy, of Milan, Mantua, Parma, Piacenza, and Tuscany. Charles VI sought to ensure the indivisibility of his Habsburg possessions and the succession of his
Maria Theresa’s most important contribution lay in measures designed to centralize the administration of an unwieldy empire. Joseph II continued the centralizing efforts of his mother, but he added a humanistic emphasis. He emancipated the serfs, increased the rights of religious minorities, and subordinated the Catholic church to the state. But his reign witnessed losses to the Turks and a revolt in the Spanish Netherlands (1789). Under his brother Leopold II, the church and the regional governing bodies won back many of their old powers. Austria’s position in Europe was temporarily shaken by the outbreak of the French Revolution and by the political and geographic changes enacted by Napoleon
In 1806, Francis II laid aside the old imperial title of Holy Roman emperor, thereafter to reign simply as Emperor Francis I of Austria until 1835. Briefly allied with France in the invasion of Russia, Austria subsequently joined with the other powers to defeat Napoleon in 1814. By the decisions of the Congress of Vienna, brilliantly orchestrated by the Austrian foreign minister Prince Klemens von Metternich, Austria ceded Belgium to the Netherlands but was compensated by new gains in Lombardy, Venetia, and Dalmatia that made Austria predominant in Italy. Austria also took over leadership of the newly formed German Confederation. Under Metternich’s aegis, conservatism reigned triumphant over
much of the continent for more than 30 years. The repressive atmosphere prevailing in the empire, however, could not permanently dampen the liberal or nationalist sentiment that increasingly asserted itself in Hungary, Italy, and the Slavic lands. Dissatisfaction erupted during the Revolutions of 1848, forcing Metternich to resign and the emperor to agree to the election of a constituent assembly, and power was restored to the emperor, now Francis Joseph.
Austria once more set its course in the direction of centralized, absolutist government, modernized and reformed just enough to make it palatable. Major setbacks followed. Austria was defeated (1859) in a war with Italy and France, leading to the loss of Lombardy to the newly unified kingdom of Italy. Next came defeat in the Seven Weeks War in 1866 against Prussia, which carried with it the loss of Venetia and a number of German territories. Prussia then unified all the German states except Austria into the German
Empire in 1871. Austria responded to these events by reshaping its constitutional framework so as to make the Hungarians equal partners in the Austrian Empire. The Compromise (Ausgleich) of 1867 created the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. Austria remained plagued by the conflicting interests of its multiple nationalities. Its occupation of the Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Hercegovina in 1878 and rivalry with
Russia for control over the Balkans in the wake of the Ottoman Empire’s decline inevitably intensified the nationalism of the empire’s large Slavic minorities.
Six years after Austria’s outright annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina, a Serbian nationalist assassinated (June 28, 1914) Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. This event led to WW I, in which Austria was allied with Germany. Austria emerged beaten and shorn of the territories that had contributed to its 1,000-year imperial history. The new Austrian republic was reduced to its essential Germanic core, a quarter of its former size. At the same time, the victorious Allies prohibited Austria from uniting with its potentially still powerful German neighbor, even by means of a customs union. Austria did not adjust well to its straightened postwar circumstances. Politically oriented private armies representing both socialists and conservatives increased the potential for internal strife.
The failure of Austria’s largest bank in 1931 plunged the nation into economic crisis. Encouraged by Benito Mussolini, Austria’s protector until 1936, Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss assumed dictatorial powers in 1933. He dissolved all rival parties in 1934. Socialist resistance to this measure led to the government’s bombardment of Vienna’s large socialist quarter in February 1934. Dollfuss, a proto-Fascist who was nevertheless determined to keep Austria independent of Germany, was murdered on July 25, 1934.
But an attempted takeover by Austrian Nazis collapsed when Mussolini dispatched troops to the Austrian border as a warning to Adolf HITLER to keep hands off. Dollfuss was succeeded by Kurt von Schuschnigg, who was unable to stop the growth of Nazi Germany’s influence in Austria.
Following his resignation, German troops entered (Mar. 12, 1938) the country, and the union (Anschluss) of Austria and Germany was proclaimed. During World War II, Austria’s fortunes were identified with those of Germany. Following its liberation by Allied troops in the spring of 1945, Austria was reestablished within its prewar boundaries under a provisional government. This soon gave way to a coalition government that included members of both the Socialist and People’s parties. The country was divided into four
administrative zones for occupation by U.S., Soviet, British, and French forces. The four powers stayed until 1955. Austria joined the United Nations later the same year.
In the postwar era, Austria was governed by coalition governments up to 1966, when a People’s party administration led by Joseph Klaus took power. It was succeeded in 1970 by a Socialist government under Bruno Kreisky. In 1971 the Socialists won a majority of seats in parliament. During Kreisky’s long chancellorship (1970-83), Vienna grew in stature as an international center, becoming, along with New York and Geneva, one of the world headquarters of the United Nations. When his party lost its majority in April 1983, Kreisky stepped down to make way for a coalition government under another Socialist, Fred
Sinowatz (1983-86), followed by Franz Vranitzky (1986-97). Former UN secretary general Kurt Waldheim, who was elected to the presidency in 1986, became a subject of controversy when it was revealed that he had lied about the extent of his activities in the German army during World War II, and that Yugoslav sources had accused him of complicity in war crimes. A committee of historians declared the latter charge
unproven in 1988, and Waldheim ignored calls for his resignation.
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