Austria is situated in southern Central Europe, covering a part of the eastern Alps and the Danube region and, although land-locked, it borders on the Mediterranean area. The country has a wide variety of landscape, vegetation and climate, and situated as it is at the heart of a continent, it has always been a junction for communication links between the trade and cultural centers of Europe.
Austria is a federal state with a total area of 32,368 sq. miles (83,858 sq. km) and consists of nine provinces – Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria, Vienna and Vorarlberg.
Full country name: Republic of Austria
Area: 83,858 sq km
Population: 8.02 million
Capital City: Vienna
People: 97% Germanic origin, 2% Slovene & Croat and 1% Turkish
Language: German, Turkish, Slovenian, Croatian, English
Religion: 88% Roman Catholic, 6% Protestant
Government: federal republic
Austria is a country with scenery beyond compare and a warm hospitality welcoming all. The Alps dominate the western and southern parts of Austria while the eastern provinces, including Vienna, the capital, lie in the Danube basin.
The Republic of Austria (Österreich) is bounded on the north by the Czech Republic, on the northeast by Slovakia, on the east by Hungary, on the south by Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland, and on the west by Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Germany. Austria has an area of 32,378 square miles.
Until the end of World War I, Austria was for centuries the centre of a vast empire, which controlled much of central Europe. Austria is now a federal republic, consisting of nine states and is a member of the European Union since January 1996. The nine federal regions (Bundesländer) are:
- Vienna – Austria’s capital, pop.: 1,539,848
- Burgenland – capital: Eisenstadt, pop.: 11,334
- Carinthia – capital: Klagenfurt, pop.: 90,141
- Lower Austria – capital St. Pölten, pop.: 49,121
- Salzburg – capital: Salzburg, pop.: 142,662
- Styria – capital: Graz, pop.: 226,244
- Tirol – capital: Innsbruck, pop.: 113,392
- Upper Austria – capital: Linz, pop.: 183,504
- Vorarlberg – capital: Bregenz, pop.: 26,752
The Austrian Parliament has two chambers. The National Council, or Nationalrat, has 183 members, who are elected by direct popular vote to serve a four-year term. The Federal Council, or Bundesrat, is the upper house with about 62 members who represent each province. Its members serve a four or six-year term.
Austria has a rich cultural heritage. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart occupies a place of his own as a composer, while Franz Schubert enjoys great popularity too. In the world of philosophy and ideas, Siegmund Freud continues to provoke controversy while Ludwig Wittgenstein was one of the major influences in 20th century thinking. The paintings of Gustav Klimt are widely admired.
Austria has a mixed industrial and agricultural economy, while tourism is also an important source of income.
In cuisine, some of Austria’s specialities like Wiener Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel have become international dishes which need no translation.
Cycle through lush green valleys or walk among spectacular mountains criss-crossed with sparkling streams in summer. Austria awaits you with fresh air, individuality, “Gemütlichkeit” and value for money.
Austria has several cities that are popular tourist destinations, but the most touristic cities in Austria are:
- Vienna: The capital city of Austria is a cultural hub, with its grand architecture, museums, opera houses, and charming coffee shops. Vienna is famous for its historic landmarks such as Schönbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
- Salzburg: The birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is a picturesque city that is known for its well-preserved Baroque architecture, stunning Alpine scenery, and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the Salzburg Cathedral, Hohensalzburg Fortress, and the Mirabell Palace.
- Innsbruck: Innsbruck is a charming alpine city located in the heart of the Austrian Alps. It is famous for its beautiful mountain scenery, historical landmarks such as the Golden Roof and the Imperial Palace, and for hosting the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976.
- Graz: Graz is a vibrant university town and the second-largest city in Austria. It is known for its stunning architecture, picturesque Old Town, and excellent culinary scene. Visitors can explore the Schlossberg hill, the Kunsthaus Graz museum, and the Graz Cathedral.
- Hallstatt: Hallstatt is a small village situated in the Austrian Alps, and it is known for its picturesque scenery, historic salt mines, and beautiful lakeside setting. It is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and skiing.
These are just some of the most popular touristic cities in Austria, but there are many other beautiful and interesting cities to explore in this charming country.
even more information:
- Austrian National Tourist Office – Provides general information about hotels, culture, events, holiday specialists, regions and cities as well as holiday tips.
- Austria Accommodation – Lodging directory offering details of properties, occupancy calendars and search by criteria.
- Lonely Planet – Austria – Facts and advice for traveling along with background material on the culture and history of the country.
- Ski amadé – Gives information about the regions covered by organisation. Contains details of snow conditions, piste maps, accommodation, activities and online ski pass bookings.
- Ski Arlberg – Details area covered by the Arlberg ski pass. With information about lifts, slopes, and accommodation as well as interactive maps, snow reports and webcams. (Requires Flash.)
- Switzerland and Austria for Visitors – Travel articles, annotated web links, and other resources for planning a trip to the country.
- Tiscover Austria – Information about travel, leisure, sports and weather. Online booking service and details of ski and hiking resorts, snow reports, sports, events, live cams, flight and train schedules.
- TourMyCountry – Reviews and information written from a personal point of view by an Austrian. With details of history, sightseeing tours, cuisine and image gallery.
- Travel.State.Gov – Austria – Offers travel information including Quick Facts, embassies and consulates, entry and exit requirements, safety and security, local laws, health, transportation and Fact Sheet. From the U.S. Department of State.
- World Travel Guide – Austria – Tourist and business travel information with facts on climate, visa, health, passport, currency and customs requirements.