Country guides Europe
Austria Travel Guide
The 'Eastern Empire' of Europe, Austria is one of the cultural hubs of the continent, with grand palaces and Baroque abbeys on a par with the famous landmarks of Paris and London. The rich cultural history of cities like Vienna and Salzburg has given birth to symphonies by Beethoven and waltzes by Strauss, as well as ground-breaking intellectuals like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
The former centre of the Habsburg Empire, Austria's illustrious history is evident not only in its grand buildings, but its busy cultural calendar, filled with balls, festivals, and other events that play a major role in the European social calendar.
Outside of the major cities, the rolling landscape of Austria provides endless entertainment with quaint villages and fashionable resorts dotting the valleys and vistas of the Austrian Alps. Skiing in the Alps at resorts like St Anton and Zell am See is among the most popular activities on a winter holiday in Austria, while the idyllic summers can be spent on cruises on the Danube or cycling the vineyards of rural Burgenland and Styria.
Best time to visit Austria
The weather in Austria is warm and pleasant between April and September. The best time to visit Austria is May and September, which is generally agreed upon by the swarms of tourists who visit during that period. The weather in Austria tends to be a little cooler than other parts of Europe, making the summer months of July and August a good time to visit.
What to see in Austria
-See an opera by Beethoven or Mozart at the Vienna State Opera Theatre.
-Tour Swarovski Crystal World in Innsbruck.
-Visit Mozart's birthplace in Salzburg.
-Watch the magnificent Lipizzaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna.
What to do in Austria
-Go skiing in the Austrian Alps.
-Try your luck at the elegant casino in the Schloss Kleßheim Palace.
-Take a ride in the Giant Wheel in Vienna's Wiener Prater park.
-Tour the immense Imperial Palace.
There are plenty of direct flights to Austria from both the UK and the US, mostly landing at Vienna International Airport. The flight from London to Vienna takes a little less than two hours. There are also regular trains to Vienna from all over Europe.
A Death in Vienna by Frank Tallis, The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer and Requiem in Vienna by J. Sydney Jones.
The Blue Danube Waltz (Johann Strauss), Symphony No. 9 (Ludwig van Beethoven) and Alle Jahre Wieder (Roland Neuwirth).
Before Sunrise (1995), The Illusionist (2006) and Amadeus (1984).
Rich Austrian hot chocolate
Apfelstrudel (apple strudel)
Buy in Austria
Swarovski crystals and Austrian lace
Pack for Austria
Dress clothes: Austria can be very traditional, and formal dress is appropriate at many restaurants, clubs and events.
What's on in Austria
The Vienna Ball Season is the highlight of the European social calendar each winter. Thousands of music lovers gather for the Danube Island Festival every June. The Vienna Festival gathers artists, musicians, dancers and theatre performers from all over the world.
Did you know?
-Many world famous composers such as Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Liszt, Strauss, Mahler and Bruckner were Austrian.
-The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world, used since 1191.
-More than 60 percent of Austria's electricity is supplied by renewable sources.
A final word
A refined blend of cultures and a proud sense of history make a holiday in Austria an attractive prospect for many travellers.