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Austria, Travel Information and Photos

Österreich, to use its German name (engl. Austria), is a German-speaking democratic federal republic made up of nine independent federal states: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna. Each has its own provincial government, with federal legislation exercised by the national council. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, and the European Union since 1995. Its declaration of permanent neutrality is anchored in its constitution. Austria covers an area of almost 84,000 km2 and has a population of about 8 million.

Landlocked in the heart of Europe, Austria stretches from the Alps in the west to Vienna and the River Danube in the east. For around 600 years it was the heart of the mighty Hapsburg Empire, which at one time included today’s Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic and much of Romania, Bulgaria and the Balkans. An imperial heritage which has left imposing buildings and cultural institutions.

Baroque-style Vienna, the capital city, has impressive palaces, grand churches, welcoming inns and cosy coffee shops. Strauss waltzes are still performed in splendid style in Vienna’s magnificent ballrooms. The great composer Mozart was born in Salzburg, a history-laden city of baroque buildings set against the striking scenery of the Austrian Alps. These Alps, which stretch west to Switzerland, are dotted with charming Alpine villages and are a magnet for hikers and skiers from across the globe.

Austria's regions offer a wealth of activity for all ages and interests. There’s never a dull moment. It’s all here: action-packed sport, a gentle cycling tour through Alpine meadows, carefree cruising on the River Danube, contemplative culture, creative cuisine simply sensational scenery and so much more. And last but not least, all enhanced by that legendary Austrian hospitality!

Austria’s place is history is long and winding, from Celtic tribes to the Habsburgs. Arguably it is most well-known for its role in the First World War – Archduke Franz Ferdinand, assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, was heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

During your visit to Austria, be sure to visit some of the following sites: Melk Abbey overlooking the Danube, the Vienna State Opera, Innsbruck old town, and the picturesque village of Hallstatt. Palaces like the Schönnbrunn Palace and the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna will humble you, while castles such as Hohensalzburg Castle, Hochosterwitz Castle and Hohenwerfen Castle – which appears in the film ‘The Sound of Music’ – will transport you back to medieval times. Don’t forget, of course, the beauty of the lakes in the summer, or the excellent skiing available in winter time.

Whether you fly to Austria, hop on a train, or opt to drive, your journey will take you past many wondrous sights: rolling pastures, mountain lakes, snow-topped peaks, and flowing rivers. If driving, please note that you are legally bound to drive with your headlights on at all times.

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