Austria – the birthplace of Mozart, yodelling and, of course, lederhosen-clad men.
Today’s country, however, is very different to the one painted in those images. Few places in Europe offer up as much style, panache and diversity as Austria when it comes to holiday options. Summer or winter, this country lays out a smorgasbord of tourism treats that includes UNESCO listed cities, medieval mountain villages, Europe’s most beautiful countryside and some of the world’s best ski resorts. The only thing missing is the beach, but with lakes like Austria has, who cares about the sea!
Located in central Europe, Austria was the centre of the Habsburg Empire for centuries and that legacy lingers still. We could go on and on about the architectural beauty of this place; the opulent Habsburg palaces in the capital Vienna, Salzburg’s Baroque castles, the gingerbread-style houses of Innsbruck or the fairytale city of Graz – you get the picture. Let’s just say when it comes to ‘the wow factor’ Austria has it by the bucket load, and we haven’t even mentioned the countryside yet! There may be no beach, but there are plenty of dramatic mountainous vistas to be had. Add to this an abundance of lakes where you can cool off in the summer months, green rolling hills, never-ending vineyards to the south and forests as far as the eye can see and you have more photo opportunities than you can shake a camera at.
Beneath all this beauty though you have a very modern country where electro pumping nightclubs sit happily by centuries old cafes and dance festivals compliment nights at the opera. Where infrastructure is as efficient as you’d expect from a Germanic country and hotels and restaurants know a thing or two about top-class service. And if it’s culture you’re after then head to the cities, which are overflowing with museums and imperial history. Of course, no travel guide on Austria would be complete without mentioning those famous slopes. Ski resorts here aren’t as pretentious or as showy as elsewhere in Europe and tend to be less expensive than those in France and Switzerland. That said, you’ll find conditions every bit as good and facilities in resorts like Kitzbuehel are amongst the best in the world. The only question is, skis or snowboard?
Austria’s climate is typically Central European. This means that it has four distinct seasons including cold winters that can drop to temperatures well below freezing and hot sunny summers that boast of temperatures in the mid-30s. The best time to visit Austria depends on your holiday needs. Are you coming for the slopes, to experience the festive Christmas atmosphere or to enjoy the country’s beautiful countryside? Austria is a country that offers holiday choices all year round.