Austria is probably most famous as a tourist destination because of the beautiful Alps. Mountains cover three quarters of the country, with the remaining one quarter filled with vineyards, rolling hills, and river gorges. Most visitors come to see the mountains, and they will not be disappointed. Austria is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. From downhill skiing, to snowboarding and ice skating, Austrian winter sports abound. You can't pick a better setting, whether you are a beginner on your first trip or a seasoned expert there is likely to be something for you in the area.
If you're not interested in winter sports, head to the area during the summer months when the hiking is at its best. The stunning Alps make a unique backdrop for exploration. You can explore charming villages as well as historic cities. If you're more interested in the area's culture you won't be disappointed. Music enthusiasts can head to Vienna which has a rich history of classical and modern music. The country plays host to many festivals throughout the summer months that feature all styles of music from jazz to folk music. Shopping is another favorite past time in many cities and towns. You'll find shops that sell local handicrafts or art that is specific to the region. It's fun to browse even if you're not in the market for anything in particular.
For many people, "The Sound of Music" springs to mind when they think of Austria. The city of Salzburg, the setting place for the movie, is lovely to visit and explore. If you're particularly interested there's even a themed tour that focuses of points of interest from the movie.
The costs in Austria are comparable to elsewhere in Western Europe, although they are slightly higher than those you might find in the United States. To save money, consider cooking a few of your meals and eating out a little less. Restaurants can be quite expensive, particularly during dinner hours. Also consider visiting Austria during the shoulder season. Prices are higher during the winter months when people head to the Alps for the skiing. They're also higher during the summer months when many families travel here on vacation. You're likely to find the best deals during the spring or fall months when tourist crowds are at a minimum and demand is at its lowest.
Top Tourist AttractionsSchonbrunn Palace: Located in the city of Vienna this is a popular palace designed in imperial Baroque style with a beautiful gardens. It's been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Austria since the 1960s.
Fortress Hohensalzburg: The Fortress Hohensalzburg is in the city of Salzburg. It was originally built in the 12th century. It sits at the top of the Festungsberg mountain and is one of the largest castles in Europe.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road: A stunningly beautiful road between the states of Salzburg and Carinthia. It's predominately used by tourists and is closed during the winter.
Popular FoodsWiener Schnitzel: One of the most famous dishes in Austria, this is a breaded meat dish that is fried and usually served with potatoes. Traditionally it was always made with veal but it is more common to use pork today.
Apfelstrudel: Apple strudel is a traditional pastry dessert filled with apples and sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. It's often served with cream and makes a delicious finish to any meal
Tafelspitz: Tafelspitz is a boiled beef dish cooked with root vegetables and served with spices. The beef is usually simmered for a long period of time with the vegetables. The meal is then finished with a side of sliced potato and a minced apple, horseradish and sour cream sauce.