Austria is a landlocked alpine German speaking country in Central Europe with breathtaking mountain scenery. Officially the Republic of Austria, its name (German: Österreich), literally means "the Eastern Realm" or "Eastern Empire". Today's Austria was once the power center of the mighty multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Monarchy with its imperial capital in Vienna.
Austria has a long-established international reputation due to Viennese palaces, various world-famous composers like Mozart and Strauss and the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Austrian Alps. But it also has a few surprises up its sleeve in the form of contemporary art, cutting-edge architecture and innovative cuisine.
No country combines so effortlessly the urban and the outdoors. One day you’re enchanted by alpine summits, the next you’re swanning around imperial Vienna. Striking contrast everywhere.
You can hurtle down a black run in the skiing paradises of Kitzbühel and St Anton, or cosy up with a hot drink in one of Vienna’s famous coffee houses. You can wonder at the intricate church interiors and the ostentatious opulence of the old Habsburg palaces, or indulge over a steaming goulash in a rustic country inn. You can seek out wildflower meadows on summertime hikes or you can get an eyeful of Rubens, Raphael and Rembrandt.
Don’t try to squeeze it all in, though. More than anything, Austria is a place to recline, relax and relish. Its natural beauty is the result of many millennia of natural activity and its grand art, architecture and culture was painstakingly created over many centuries. These aren’t sights to be hurriedly ticked off a list; allow yourself plenty of time to luxuriate.
Austria is frequently cited as one of the best places to live in Europe, and it is not difficult to see why. Remarkably safe and clean, it offers plenty of affordable culture, natural beauty and elegant Baroque and neoclassical architecture, as well as an efficient public transport system.
|Languages spoken||German (other spoken - English, Italian)|
|Currency used||Euro (€)|
|Time zone||Central European time zone - GMT+1, in summer - GMT+2|
|Public transport||Plane, train, bus, car|
|Area (km2)||83,871 km²|