From cosmopolitan Vienna to the majestic Alps, Austria has a lot to offer its visitors. Reaching from the edge of Eastern Europe, Austria boasts historic, cultural sites and sounds, alongside unique, contemporary art. Austria’s culinary scene is rich – these folks invented dessert (apple strudel, anyone?). Whether you’re looking for outdoor or urban adventure (or both!), Austria has something for everyone.
Where is Austria?
Austria is located in Eastern Europe, bordered by the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Liechtenstein to the west.
Austria is landlocked.
Population: 8 739 806
Size: 83,878 km2 (32,385 mi2)
Official Language(s): German
Capital City: Vienna
Time Zone: Central European Time Zone
Electrical Plug Type: Plug Types C “Europlug” and F “Schuko”
Drives on the: Right
Food You Must Try: Wiener Schnitzel is a traditional Viennese dish; tenderized, breaded, fried veal or pork loin. You can go for the original or branch out with a variation like Bauern Schnitzel, made with bacon and eggs!
Hallstatt is a small Alpine village and UNESCO World Heritage site. Hallstatt’s 16th-century Alpine houses surround a lake, with a Gothic Catholic Church in the centre of the town. It is the oldest, most photographed village of the country.
Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians are used to study the spread of the beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) in the Northern Hemisphere across a variety of environments and the environment in the forest. The site is a transnational site, also shared with Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Ukraine.
Top Attractions in Austria
Highline 179 in Reutte, Austria is the world’s longest Tibet-style pedestrian suspension bridge according to the Guinness World Book of Records.
The annual Bregenzer Festspiele in Bregenz, Austria attracts thousands of viewers. You can spend the day in Bregenz, a beautiful town on the Austrian side of Lake Konstanz, and end with an opera in a unique setting as the stage is in the lake
Hofburg Palace, an imperial palace of the Habsburg family. It was built in the 13th-century, and it served as a winter palace for the ruling family.
Innsbruck is a favoured destination for winter sports lovers. The city hosted two Winter Olympics in the past. Many of the famous ski resorts are near Innsbruck.
With the Danube River running through it, the Wachau Valley is a popular tourist destination in southern Austria. Wachau is also known for its wines, as well as fruits such as apricots. The valley has more than 500 historic monuments, so tourists are going to have to make some tough choices.
Fun Facts about Austria
Vienna has the oldest zoo in the world, founded in 1752
Famous Austrians include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigmund Freud, and Mozart
The Alps cover 62% of Austria’s landmass
The popular musical The Sound of Music is based on the real life, Austrian family, the Von Trapps.
Postcards were first used in Austria
Located in Werfen, 40 km south of Salzburg is the most extensive ice cave system in the world – Eisriesenwelt
The sewing machine was invented by an Austrian, Josef Madersperger, in 1818.
Austria’s average unemployment rate from 1960 to 2013 is 4.59%, the second lowest in the European Union after Luxembourg
The Krimml Falls (Krimmler Wasserfalle), in the state of Salzburg, is Europe’s tallest waterfall, reaching a height of 380 meters.
Our thoughts about Austria
Adi says: “In Hallstatt, we spent just a couple of hours but I loved the small mountain town feel; no traffic, quiet. I loved the fresh winter air and how clean and perfectly decorated everything was. It’s touristy but not to the point where it’s over the top; a few groups here and there. It’s easy for a tourist to navigate due to its size and lack of language barriers. Everybody in the shops and restaurants speaks English and is helpful.”
Adi and her family take a day trip to Austria to discover the magic of UNESCO-Listed Hallstatt in winter.
We recently vacationed in Slovenia and on the way back my husband surprised me with one hour detour from our route to Hallstatt, Austria.
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Photo 1: Alison Cornford-Matheson Flag: By User: SKopp [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons Photo 2: By Böhringer Friedrich [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons