, 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
Baroque-style Vienna, the capital city,
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
, 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
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
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 Schö
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.