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Travel Directory / Europe / Austria

Austria Travel Guide

Austria or Österreich in German means "the Eastern Realm". It is located in Central Europe and is land-locked between Switzerland, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy. Contrary to popular views, Austria is not all mountain terrain. In fact, only half of Austria is occupied by the Alps. A visit to Austria will not only provide you with breathtaking views of the Alps but will give you the opportunity to wander its famous cities and beautiful landscapes.

About a quarter of Austria's population live in the capital, Vienna. It is the center of the country's musical, artistic and architectural life. You might want to concentrate on exploring the historic center and the Ringstrasse which surrounds Vienna's old town. Several of the city's best sites are inside or on this ring that is two and half mile long. This once protected the city of Vienna during World War I.

Another city you should not miss visiting when in Austria is the city of Salzburg. Home of the famous classical musician Mozart, it makes music an integral part of the city's core. There is even an impressive statue of him in Mozart Square and the city celebrated Mozart's 250th birthday in 2006. A must visit in the city is the Old Town which contains many structures that features Baroque architecture. It is a pedestrian-only town which makes touring more enjoyable.

The city of Graz houses the most preserved old town in the whole of Europe. It is a city that calls to any visitor to explore its narrow alleys, beautiful courtyards and varied architectural styles. When in Graz be sure to visit the famous clock tower at the Glockenspieplatz, the Chateau Eggenberg, the Landhaus and the Cathedral and Mausoleum among many other tourist destinations.

Site of two winter Olympics, Innsbruck is considered to be one of the best ski resorts in Europe. Innsbruck's sceneries are gorgeous with historic building framed by snow-capped mountains and in the summer the area becomes a hiker's paradise with twenty five villages to visit and explore.

A visit to Austria will not be complete without a tour of the famous Danube valley. It is one of the major attractions in Austria and is the unifying element of the country. Sightseeing the Danube is best done on a deck of a cruise ship or on one of the sightseeing boats that ply the river. The route is scenic and dotted with interesting towns, beautiful countryside and fascinating castles.

The best time to visit Austria is between the months of april and october where the weather is warm. Visiting during summer (july to august) can become troublesome because crowds are bigger which means the prices are also at a high and the temperatures can reach uncomfortable levels. June and september are busy months for the country's tourism because these are the best months for city trips and hiking in the Alps.

Winter in Austria can get bitterly cold and the reason for few tourists and cheaper prices. Skiing season depends on the altitude of the resort. In the glaciers, skiing is possible all year round however, for the Alpine resorts it can be very quiet from april to june and in november to early december.