Austria: Travel / Tourist Information Guide
Austria is a German speaking country that is located in Central Europe bordering Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovenia and Italy to the south, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. It is a mountainous country at the eastern end of the Alps. Its geographical size of 83,879 square kilometer with a population of almost 9 million. Along the 24 other countries in Europe, its currency is Euro which is equivalent to $1.08. Together with Switzerland, Austria is the winter sports capital of Europe offering a landscape of snowy realms of the Alps. It is also a paradise for tourists hiking the Alps and visiting the historic cities during summer.
The country's highlights are the High Mountain National Park in the Zillertal Alps, the highest peak in the country that is called Grossglockner, National Park Thayatal that offers valley landscapes, Danube river, valleys like Villgratental, the World Heritage Site Wachau, and other tranquil nature and countryside. It is also rich in architecture and and historic structures.Vienna, the country's capital, is the home of Medieval and Baroque structures. Tiergarten Schönbrunn which is the oldest zoo in the world, the Schloss Schönbrunn Palace, and the St. Stephen's Cathedral are some the important attractions in the country. One of the most visited attractions is the Mariazell Basilica, the most important pilgrimage destination. Tourists also enjoy a catapult down a black run in St. Anton, a splash into Lake Constance, and a gaze up at the Hohe Tauern's misty Krimml Falls. There are a lot of things to do like skiing and snowboarding, enjoying the world renowned operas and classical music, the cinematic culture, and hiking at the Alps.
Regions of Austria
Austria was divided early in its history into nine regions or states;Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Burgenland,Salzburg, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Carinthia, and Styria. Each regions has its own history and cultural differences including language and dialect.
Being the Austria's capital and the former seat of the ancient Hapsburg Dynasty, Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It has a rich history and it is abundant in historical buildings and museums including the St. Stephen's Cathedral, Kunsthistorisches Museum, and Albertina. The Schloss Schönbrunn Palace is a part of UNESCO World Heritage list. Aside from the architectures, great classical music is one of the things that tourists enjoy like works of Schubert, Strauss, Brahms, Mahler, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Located at the northeast bordering Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is the largest province of Austria boasting fertile plains, renowned vineyards, and bourgeoisie. St. Pölten is the capital of the province. Some of the tourist attractions in the area are the Wienerwald or the Vienna Woods, a winery called Klosterneuburg, Mayerling, Heiligenkreuz, and Melk Abbey. It is also housing the Wachau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is the source of Austria's agricultural industry. Attersee, the largest lake in Austrian Alps, is situated here. It is also the home of other lakes like the Mondsee or the Moon Lake and the St. Wolfgang that is considered as one of the most romantic lakes. One of the most fashionable spas in the country can be found here, it is the Bad Isch. It also boasts its major attractions like the Salt Mountain and the Dachstein Caves.
It is situated at the most eastern part of the country bordering Hungary and Slovakia. The capital city is Eisenstadt that is housing the Schloss Esterhazy, one of the most beautiful castles in Austria. The Neusiedler Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the major attraction in Burgenland. There are also numerous castles that tourists visit. Some of the castles are Schloss Halbturn, Burg Forchtenstein, Burg Bernstein, Burg Lockenhaus, Burg Schlaining, and Burg Güssing. Other attractions includes hot springs and theater plays.
It is one of the smaller provinces in Austria. However, it is rich with the splendors of Baroque age and Mozart's melodies making it one of Europe's architectural gems. It is Mozart's birthplace that holds the most prestigious music festival in Austria. In addition, it was also made famous by the movie "The Sound of Music" starring Julie Andrews that was filmed here. It is the home of Krimmler Wasserfälle, Europe's highest waterfall. Other natural attractions include the Salzach River located between the mountains of Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg.
It is one of the most historic and colorful provinces of Austria located in the heart of Alps. The state capital is Innsbruck, which is both a summer resort and a winter ski center. The province is full of valleys with resorts like the Stubai and Wipp with major resorts of Fulpmes and Neustift. It also boasts its resorts like St. Anton and St. Cristoph. Other places to visit are Seefeld, Zell am Ziller, Kitzbühel Alps for skiing, and Lienz; a folkloric town on the Isel River.
Located at the tip western tip of Austria, Vorarlberg borders Switzerland. It is a home of ski resorts, highest alpine peaks, and most beautiful scenery with its capital Bregenz that boasts a view of Lake Constance. Some of the great attractions are the Montafon Valley that is known for its powdery snow and sun and called a winter ski stadium, Schruns and Tschagguns for skiing, and Bregenz Forest or Bregenzerwald.
It is mostly bordering Slovenia and it is boasting its forests, rolling hills, and lakes with Klagenfurt as its capital city. Some of the best attractions here are the Hochosterwitz Castle, Wörthersee which happens to be the province's biggest alpine lake, Velden which is the resort that is called the heart of Austrian Riviera, and Villach that offers hot springs.
It has the most forested area that offers landscapes which rises from valleys to alpine peaks. Graz is the state capital and the second largest city in Austria. It boats its Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other places to visit would be the Mariazell, Bad Aussee, Schladming, and Rohrmoos.
The most common form of public transport in Austria is by train. It connects major cities and many towns almost covering the full of Austria. Regional trains usually caters second class trains only. There also buses that roams around the country, however, it only covers less towns and lakes. If planning to travel by car, this can be a more convenient and easier way to get around Austria. Many spots in the mountain are only accessible by cars. There is also domestic flights that is catered by the main cities and regions of Austria. The domestic flights usually costs 300 Euro - 500 Euro that caters to Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, and Salzburg.