Austria covers an area of 83,878 square kilometers with a population of 8,443,018 residents, (as of 1st of January 2012) including 970,541 foreign citizens (11.5% of total population).Vienna is the most densely populated province of Austria with 4,175 residents per square kilometer; Tyrol is the least densely populated province with 57 inhabitants per square kilometer (population as of 1st of January 2012). The average new-born life expectancy in 2010 is 80 years. Austria is bordered by Switzerland,Liechtenstein, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy. Austria is a federal state comprised of nine provinces; each province has its own capital.
Austria with beautiful places, traditions and activities that are distinct to the area. Along with neighboring Switzerland, it is the winter sports capital of Europe. However, it is just as popular for summer tourists who visit its historic cities and villages and hike in the magnificent scenery of the Alps. In order to help guide you in building a trip itinerary, below are some of the top tourist attractions in Austria that are sure to make your trip extra special.
Austria has a typical central European transitional climate (warm summers, cold winters and adequate precipitation). Additionally there are two distinct climatic zones in the interior regions of Austria: the east shows a Pannonian climate (warm to hot summers, relatively low precipitation and cold winters), while the central Alpine region has the characteristic features of the Alpine climate (as compared to the east, more precipitation in summer and long winters with heavy snowfall).
Things to see and do
Take in the awesome panorama of some of Austria’s beautiful lakes: they include Wörthersee, Wolfgangsee, Traunsee,Hallstätter see and Mondsee, one of the warmest lakes in the Salzkammergut; Carinthia’s lakes reach temperatures of around 28°C (82°F) and have won several awards for their water quality.
Donau-Auen National Park: The last protected patch of European rain forest is a floodplain area of wilderness that nurtures a diversity of plants and animals.
Enjoy coffee and cake: Relax and watch the world go by as you submit to Austria’s Kaffeehaus (coffee shop) culture: cakes and puddings(such as Torte, of which there are around 60 varieties) can be eatenguilt-free, knowing that it is all in the name of upholding a national institution.
Famous Ferris Wheel: While in Vienna, see the Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad) in the Prater amusement park, immortalised in the film The Third Man. Also worth a visit are St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Chapel of the Hofburg, the Parliament and the Votive Church.
Floating opera: Go to the Opera in style; besides the many opera performances in Austria’s major towns and cities, for one with a difference, journey to Bregenz and the Upper City with its St Martin strum (St Martin’s Tower), the world’s largest floating stage for summer opera productions.
Graz: Explore Graz on foot. Must-sees include the Landes museum Johanneum, encompassing the Alte Galerie’s gothic paintings, the Neue Galeriein the Herbenstre in Palace, the Cathedral, the Mausoleum of Emperor FerdinandII, the old quarter, the Schlossberg (Castle Hill) with its Uhrtrum (clocktower), and the Glockenturm (bell tower).
Hike the Alps: Once the snow has melted, walk and hike through the Alps’ varied landscapes, ranging from forests and green slopes to glaciers and rocks. The Vorarl berg’s alpine pastures provide gentle walks,while the Hohe Tauern National Park has more demanding trekking.
Ice caves: Witness the magical Eisriesenwelt in Werfen: ice caves, featuring wonderful ice sculptures all year round. These caverns are buried deep beneath the mountain wall that flanks the valley south of Salzburg.
Johann Strauss Ball: Dance the night away with elegan ceat a recreation of a traditional Austrian ball, at the annual Johann Strauss Ball, which takes place in a beautiful ballroom within the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.
Lederhosen Festival: Admire traditional Austrian attire at the annual Lederhosen Festival in Windischgarsten, where the wearing of the aforementioned costume is optional, but drinking good beer and chuckling at theelection of ‘Miss Lederhose’ is compulsory.
How to get there: Transport systems in Austria are highly developed and generally very efficient and reliable information is usually available in English. Individual bus and train Fahrplan (timetables) are readily available, as are helpful annual timetables. Austria’s main rail provider is the Österreiche Bundesbahn which has an extensive countrywide rail network.This is supplemented by a handful of private railways. Wherever trains don’t run, a Post bus usually does. Most provinces have an integrated transport system offering day passes covering regional zones for both bus and train travel.