As famous for its picture-postcard mountain villages and snowy peaks as it is for its imperial palaces and classical music, this Alpine wonderland is sure to delight.
From show-stopping Alpine scenery to elegant Habsburg architecture, discover the delights of this German-speaking nation. Austria is packed with cultural treasures and beautiful cities, as well as scenic landscapes comprised of mountain peaks, serene lakes and rivers.
During summer, head to the capital Vienna to explore sprawling palaces, cathedrals and museums. The former summer residence of the Austrian imperial family, the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace is a stunning example of European Baroque architecture. Take a guided tour around the Rococo-style rooms or stroll through the gardens and maze.
Also in Vienna is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a striking Gothic structure towering over the city. Climb the 343 steps to the top of the south tower for fabulous views over the city rooftops.
Don’t leave Vienna without sampling a slice of sacher torte (chocolate cake) and coffee in one of the city’s famous coffeehouses.
In winter, attention turns to Austria’s ski slopes, which are famous for great snow conditions and a lively après-ski scene. The gentle slopes of Alpbach are particularly good for beginners, while more experienced skiers will enjoy the challenging backcountry options in St. Anton.
During the Christmas season, experience Austria’s festive markets in Salzburg, Innsbruck and Vienna. Be alert to see people dressed as the krampus (a mythical Christmas devil) who occasionally roams the streets.
Overlooking the vineyards of the Wachau Valley is the Melk Abbey, a Benedictine monastery and stunning example of Baroque architecture. Take an early train from Vienna, then explore the abbey and the sleepy neighboring town of Melk.
For unrivaled views of the Alps, take a trip to the Skywalk of Hallstatt. Ride the cable car up Hallstatt Salzberg (salt mountain) to the lookout with a “World Heritage View” and explore the tunnels of the local salt mines.
Most flights arrive and depart from Vienna International Airport. From there, take one of the fast, efficient trains that cover the country. Buy a rail pass if you will be traveling frequently.
Fall in love with the Alpine peaks, imperial grandeur and appealing coffee culture of this spectacular country.