Boasting an abundance of spectacular mountain landscapes, Austria is outdoors paradise. One of Europe’s smallest countries offers unique cultural events, splendid cities and some of the finest skiing in the world.
The terrain of Austria is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps. Only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and Grossglockner is the highest peak (3,798 m / 12,461 ft). Surprisingly this pyramid-shaped mountain is not very difficult to climb. Grossglockner High Alpine Road, one of the most scenic panoramic roads in Europe, passes the summit. The peak is best approached from the Franz-Josefs-Höhe viewpoint.
While in Innsbruck, you should step on board the Nordketten Cable Car to enjoy the majestic views. It only takes 20 minutes to get from the city centre to high mountain terrain. The panorama from there is cloud-free 350 days a year.
Photo: Ioan Panaite, Shutterstock
Where to stay:
In Vienna, we encourage you to stay at 3* Art Hotel Vienna with excellentcen reviews. Located in a quiet street in Vienna’s Margareten district, this elegant design hotel is only a 10-minute bus ride from the city centre. Free Wi-Fi is also available. The 3-star property is decorated with many works of art, and various cultural events, such as wine tastings and art exhibitions, take place there regularly. The modern, individually furnished rooms at Art Hotel Vienna offer satellite TV, a safe, and a bathroom with hairdryer. Vienna Art Hotel features a 24-hour reception with an internet terminal, a 24-hour lobby bar, and a smoker’s lounge. A rich breakfast buffet is available every morning, and many restaurants are close by. A bus stop is 100 m away and provides direct connections to the State Opera. The Mariahilfer Straße shopping street can be reached by bus in 7 minutes. Public transportation tickets are available at Art Hotel Vienna’s reception. Guests can use the hotel’s private parking garage.
In Salzburg we recommend you to book Pension Elisabeth. This top rated guesthouse is only a 10-minute walk from Salzburg’s Main Train Station. The Old Town is 1.5 km away and can be reached in a 10-minute bus ride. The stop is right opposite Pension Elisabeth. The property offers 5 free private parking spaces right at the pension. Free public parking is also possible 100 m away. Each room at Pension Elisabeth offers satellite TV and a work desk, some rooms are equipped with air conditioning. Some have a shared bathroom and toilet. Pension Elisabeth features an internet terminal, free WiFi in public areas and a bicycle rental. A buffet breakfast is available in the modern, non-smoking dining room. The Salzburg-Nord exit of the A1 motorway is 5 minutes away, and the exhibition centre (Messe Salzburg) is reachable within 10 minutes.
What to do:
If you like winter sports, you should head to Ischgl-Samnaun ski area or Arlberg. Skiing is usually possible throughout the year in the glacier ski area of Hintertuxer Gletscher, known for the reliable snow conditions. It can be easily accessed with modern lifts or skyrides. The highest elevation reaches up to an altitude of 3250 m. In April you can have fun at Snowbombing Festival in Mayrhofen. This week-long feast features numerous artists, musicians, venues and other events.
Visit Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Tyrol, home of the biggest and most beautiful crystals in the world.
Experience a thrilling ride on Osttirodler, one of the most spectacular and longest Alpine coasters in the world! Hop on a sled and cruise down a twisting track through green forests, down to Lienz. The elevated track winds you through more than 2.7 kilometres of bends, loops and hair-pin curves at speeds up to 40 km/h.
Hike The Wild Waters Alpine trail to Riesach Waterfall. It takes about 6 hours to walk the entire path. Crossing the 50 meter long steel rope suspension bridge will cost you quite an effort.
Join one of the famous summer music festivals in Austria, like Popfest, Donau Festival and Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn in Vienna. You can also take part in Salzburg Festival, Carinthian Summer Music Festival or Bregenz Festival, which attracts visitors to the world’s biggest lake stage.
Take a trip to Traunsee, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. Its surface is approximately 24.5 km² and its maximum depth is 191 metres. Local attractions include a visit to a medieval castle of Schloss Ort.
Take the Schlegeis Alpine Road to view a breathtaking lake, located in the Zillertal valley in Tyrol. Climbing and hiking in these amazing surroundings are the most popular activities.
Pay a visit to the Admont Abbey, a Benedictine monastery located on the Enns River, known for its Baroque architecture and the largest monastic library in the world.
In the capital city you can enjoy the cosy cafés and Christmas markets. Relax at the Imperial Butterfly House, one of the most beautiful Art Noveau palm houses in the world. Have fun at Prater, the old time amusement park in Vienna, full of turbulent roller coasters and spooky ghost trains.
Go winter hiking in Eisriesenwelt – the biggest ice cave in the world.
Beer lovers can literally immerse themselves in beer at Starkenberger Beer Pools.
If you like creepy attractions, you should discover Stephansdom Crypt and Habsburg Imperial Crypt in Vienna, Hallstatt Charnel House or check out the ossuary in a little town of Eggenburg, 80 km south-east of Salzburg. Constructed in the early 14th century, is filled with artfully arranged bones of 5,800 Austrians.
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