Austria – the most detailed information about the country with photos. Attractions, cities of Austria, climate, geography, population and culture.
Austria is a country in central Europe. It is one of the most prosperous and peaceful countries of the European Union, which is landlocked, and shares borders with Switzerland and Lichtenstein in the west, Germany and the Czech Republic in the north, Slovakia and Hungary in the east, Slovenia and Italy in the south. Austria is a federal parliamentary republic, which consists of 9 federal states. The official language is German. The majority of the population is Catholic.
Austria is the heart of the once powerful Habsburg Empire, which occupied a huge part of Europe and subjugated most of the neighboring countries, it is one of the cultural centers of the European continent and a haven of Western musical tradition. It is a country of stunning nature, from the snow-capped and forested majestic Alps to the graceful Danube and the ice caves of the Eisrizenwelt. Austria attracts with its rich cultural heritage, the majestic architecture of Vienna and Salzburg, stunning natural landscapes and a calm, friendly atmosphere.
Useful information about Austria
- Official language is German.
- Currency is the euro.
- Visa – Schengen.
- The standard of living is very high.
- Population – more than 8.8 million people.
- Area – 83 879 square meters.
- Capital city – Vienna.
- Time zone +1. Relative to Moscow time -1 in summer and -2 in winter.
- Form of government is federal parliamentary republic.
- More than 70% of the population are Catholics.
- The electricity grid has a voltage of 220 to 230 V, 50 Hz.
- It’s good manners to leave a tip of 5-10% of the amount, provided, of course, that you liked everything.
- Austria is one of the safest countries in the world with a very low crime rate.
- ATMs in Austria are called Bankomat. They are widespread and you can withdraw money even in small villages. Almost all stores and restaurants accept bank cards.
Geography and nature
Austria is a mountainous country that is landlocked. Mountains occupy more than 70% of the territory, and 2/3 is located at an altitude of more than 500 meters above sea level. More than half of the country is covered by forests. The foothills are covered with deciduous forests (beech and oak), while the mountains are dominated by conifers (spruce, fir, larch, cedar). Higher there are alpine meadows and glaciers. Austria’s highest peak is Mount Grossglockner (3,798 m).
Forest in the Austrian Alps
Austria can be divided into three geographical areas: the Eastern Alps occupy the largest part, the foothills, the Bohemian Forest (Boehmerwald) and the Danube valley and, finally, the smallest part – the Vienna Basin (part of the Central Danube Plain). The animal life is typical of Central Europe. Although Austria has preserved more wildlife and natural habitats. There are: red deer, elk, roe deer, brown bear, wild boar, mountain eagle, chamois, wood grouse, grouse.
The largest river in Austria is the Danube. The far west belongs to the Rhine valley. Other major rivers are the Inn, the Enns, the Drava and the Morava. In the mountains there are many mountain rivers with fast flowing and clear water. There are more than half a thousand lakes scattered across the country. The largest of them: Utter, Traun, Lake Constance and Neusiedler See.
The climate is temperate, transitional to continental climate, strongly dependent on altitude zonality. Summer is warm and sunny in the plains and foothills, cooler and rainy in the mountains. Winter also has differences. The mountains are usually quite cold and have a lot of snow, the plains have mild winters and low sub-zero temperatures.
Winter in the Alps.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Austria to explore its cultural and historical heritage is in June and September. It’s usually warm and dry during this period. For skiing, the best time to visit is from November to March.
In ancient times, the territory of Austria was inhabited by Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was conquered by the Romans and turned into a Roman province. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Austria was conquered by the Franks. In 803 the Austrian Brand was formed, which became the Eastern Brand at the end of the 10th century.
The name of the country Osterreich is translated from Old German as “Eastern State. “Austria,” on the other hand, has been used to name the country’s territory since the 10th century.
In the Middle Ages Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Tyrol were independent states. In 1156 Austria became an independent duchy, ruled by the Babenberg dynasty. In 1276 they were succeeded by the Habsburgs, who ruled the country until World War I, under whose rule the state reached its greatest prosperity.
In the 15th century the power of the Habsburgs in Europe began to grow rapidly. From 1438 onward, the dukes of Austria became Holy Roman Emperors almost permanently. In 1526 Bohemia and Croatia became part of the Austrian Duchy, in 1687 Hungary became part of the state as a result of the Union, and at the end of the 18th century Galicia, Lesser Poland and South Mazovia were annexed. The Habsburg state at that time was one of the most powerful states in Europe.
During the Napoleonic wars, the Austrian Archdukes lost the title of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, but acquired the title of Emperor of Austria. In 1815 the German Union was created, and the Austrian emperors became its presidents. Around this period Lombardy and Veneto were annexed to the empire. In 1859, after the Austro-Italian-French War, the Italian territories were lost, and in 1866 the German Union ceased to exist. Since 1867 the empire became known as Austria-Hungary.
Autumn in the Alps.
After World War I Austria-Hungary ceased to exist. Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia left the empire. Austria became a republic. In 1938 the country’s territory was annexed by Nazi Germany. Austria was liberated in April 1945. Since October 1955 the law of permanent neutrality is in force. Austria has been a member of the European Union since 1995.
Austria is divided into nine federal states. Vienna is the capital city.
The federal states of Austria:
- Burgenland – administrative center the city of Eisenstadt.
- Carinthia – administrative center – the city of Klagenfurt.
- Lower Austria – the administrative center – the city of St. Pölten.
- Upper Austria – administrative center Linz.
- Salzburg is the administrative center of the city of Salzburg.
- Styria – the administrative center is the city of Graz.
- Tyrol – the administrative center of the city of Innsbruck.
- Vorarlberg – administrative center – the city of Bregenz
- capital city of Vienna.
Austrians are serious about formalities and etiquette, they are friendly, fairly open and very respectful of tradition. Do not compare them to the Germans, or consider their language purely German. Austrians are a separate nation with its own dialect. The vast majority of people in Austria are Catholic. Religion and tradition play a large role in the life of an Austrian. Most of the main church holidays are weekends. Austrians adore titles and are very proud of them. In a business letter, they are sure to indicate their degree, starting with a master’s degree. There is also such a mark in the Austrian passport.
Some rules of etiquette in Austria:
- When greeting, you should say “Grüß Gott” and when saying goodbye “Wiedersehen” (“Auf” is usually omitted).
- Do not raise your voice or shout in public – this could be interpreted as aggression.
- You should always use Sie when talking to older people or strangers.
- When getting to know each other, Austrians shake hands and look each other in the eye. Lack of eye contact may be interpreted as condescension.
There are six international airports in Austria. The largest is located in Vienna. Others are located in Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg. The most affordable and easy way to travel around the country is by train. Austria has a dense network of railroads, which also includes high-speed trains. By train you can reach Austria from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland. Bus service within the country is not very common. Basically, buses are used to travel between small towns and remote villages.
Autobahn in Austria
Austria has excellent highways, for movement on which you need to buy a vignette. You can buy a vignette at gas stations or Kantor points.
- The A8 freeway from Munich to Salzburg.
- The A93 freeway from Rosenheim through Kufstein to Innsbruck and Tyrol.
- E43 (A96) from Leutkirch via Wangen to Bregenz and Vorarlberg.
- E56 from Regensburg via Passau to Linz.
- Freeway A23 (E55) via Tarvisio to Villach.
- Freeway A22 (E45) via Brenner to Innsbruck.
- E652 in Fillach.
- E57 via Spielfeld to Graz.
Cities in Austria
Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria with a population of almost 2 million people. It is the heart of the country and one of the cultural and economic centers of Europe. Vienna is famous for its theater, music and museums. Mozart and Strauss were created here, talented architects turned Vienna into a pearl of European continent and the Habsburgs gathered the richest collections of art and culture. The historic center of Austria’s capital is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Salzburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Austria. Its old town is a gem of Baroque. Also the historic center of Salzburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here the genius Mozart was born, and the mighty castle Hohensalzburg is the largest fully intact medieval fortress in Central Europe.
Halstatt, a tiny village lost in the Alps, has long been one of Austria’s symbols and most popular destinations. It is a small settlement in a picturesque natural area on the shores of a lake with beautiful houses and stunning scenery.
Other interesting cities in Austria:
– capital of Tyrol, known as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, historical buildings, charming old town and sports facilities.
- Graz is the capital of Styria and the second largest city in Austria. Known for its universities and old town. – The third largest city in the country and the capital of the federal state of Upper Austria. Located near the border with the Czech Republic and is famous for its ancient streets and architecture.
- Fillach is the second largest city in Carinthia, which is located on the border with Italy. It has a rich history and is known for cultural events.
- Bregenz is a small town and the capital of Vorarlberg. It is located in a picturesque area on the shores of Lake Constance.
- St. Pölten is the capital of Lower Austria and one of the oldest cities in the country.
The Hofburg is the imperial palace in Vienna. A huge, luxurious building that has been the winter residence of the Habsburgs since the 13th century. Numerous reconstructions are reflected in its architecture, in which you can find elements from Gothic to Art Nouveau. The palace has over 2,000 rooms and several museums.
Schönbrunn is the summer residence of Empress Maria Theresa. A sumptuous 18th century Baroque palace with a beautiful garden. Located on the outskirts of Vienna and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna is one of the most important masterpieces of European Gothic architecture and one of the largest religious buildings in Austria. For a long time, the building of the cathedral with its tower was the highest structure in Europe.
The Hohensalzburg is a medieval fortress on the Festungsberg, the hallmark of Salzburg. It is the largest building of its kind in Europe that has been preserved in its original state.
Old Town in Innsbruck
The Old Town in Innsbruck is a medieval historical center with unique architecture, surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.
Benedictine Abbey in Melk
Benedictine Abbey in Melk is one of the most famous monasteries in the world. Located on a rock overlooking the Danube. Within its walls are valuable artifacts and historical rarities.
Hohenwerfen is a mighty medieval castle located on a rocky ledge above the Salzach River. It was founded in the 11th century. It is located 40 km from Salzburg and is open to the public.
Hochosterwitz is a medieval castle east of St. Weith on a high rock. It is considered one of the most important monuments of the Middle Ages in Austria. The castle has been mentioned since the 9th century. Throughout its history, it has never been conquered.
Maria Sala Church
The Maria Sal Church is a medieval Gothic church above the Solfeld, which is one of the most popular places for pilgrims. It is distinguished by its twin towers and beautiful old tombstones.
The Eisrisenvelt is the largest network of ice caves in the world, located in the federal state of Salzburg. One of the most striking natural attractions in Austria.
The Grossglockner Alpine Route
The alpine road Grossglockner is one of the most beautiful mountain roads in Europe, built on the site of the ancient Roman road. It is 22 kilometers long and runs through the mountains at an altitude of over 2000 meters. The road consists of a long series of curves leading to the top of the tunnel at Hoktor. This path will offer magnificent views of the mountains and a stunning panorama of Austria’s highest peak, Mount Grossglockner.
St. Anton am Arlberg
St. Anton am Arlberg is a famous ski resort located in Tyrol. It is a legendary place for all fans of skiing.
Hotels and guest houses can be found in almost any Austrian village. Most are considerably more expensive than in other cities in Europe. Often there is a cleaning fee, so you need to look carefully at the terms of accommodation when booking. Accommodation in Vienna and Salzburg costs much more than a room in a picturesque Alpine hotel somewhere in the Austrian countryside. To check into any hotel, you must have an identity document.
A guesthouse in Austria
Austrian cuisine is delicious and exquisite. It absorbed the culinary traditions of Bavaria, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Dalmatia. The real star of Austrian cuisine is desserts. Bread also plays a big role. Even the smallest Alpine village often has its own bakery.
Austria sights in brief
Austria is a great country that has managed to preserve its identity, its identity and culture to this day. This country has given the world a huge number of talents, especially in music. Perhaps this part of the world has a “fertile ground” for life and creativity. And maybe it’s all in the ability of the Austrians to love and respect their history, preserve and care for the monuments of architecture and nature.
Geography of the country
Austria is a mountainous country located in the heart of Europe. It has no access to the sea. It borders with:
- Czech Republic – to the north;
- Slovakia – in the north-east;
- Hungary – in the east;
- Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland to the south;
- Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Germany to the west.
The capital is Vienna. The entire state is divided into nine states; each territorial unit has its own legislature, government, and governor. The official language is German.
A bit of history
The history of the country goes back more than 10 thousand years. This territory was conquered by the Roman legions, then lived here Huns, Avars, Alans, Slavs, and only in the IX century the Germans, the ancestors of the modern population, came to the land.
In the XV century Austria became the Archduchess.
The 18th century was the peak of the power of the state. And then there is a gradual decline. Napoleonic wars, struggle with Prussia for supremacy, and defeat in the First World War were the reasons for that. After the end of World War II, the country lost its independence.
And only since 1955, becoming an independent state again, Austria has declared neutrality and declared its refusal to participate in any armed conflicts. And today, it is not a member of any armed blocs and factions.
And yet, the most interesting thing in every country of the world, are its attractions . They show the country from all sides, revealing all the hidden corners, making it possible to know and get to know the state.
With regard to Austria, perhaps this is one of the few countries in the world, having such a huge number of attractions. Such interesting places a large number, and not only in the capital, but even in small towns. In addition to human-made objects, there are many picturesque natural beauties. All this is worth a closer look.
Austrian castles – a trip to the Middle Ages. On the territory of this country there is a great many of them, and what a wonderful state in which they have survived.
If you drive a few kilometers north of the Austrian capital, you will find yourself in the small town of Leobendorf, where this beautiful castle is located.
The location of the castle corresponds to all the necessary parameters of that time (XII century): it is built on the hill Rorwald, near the reservoir – the river Danube. At one time it was the property of the Habsburgs, but in the XVIII century it was taken over by Count Wilczek, who changed the architecture of the castle.
The Ambras Castle
This magnificent building is located in the city of Innsbruck, one of the industrial cities of Austria. Built in the 16th century, on the orders of Archduke Ferdinand II. There, on the site of a dilapidated fortress, the monarch wanted to erect a residence. After the death of Ferdinand the castle was sold. Over the years, new owners were replacing the old ones, and only in the 80s of the twentieth century, the castle was opened to the public.
The castle is located in the city of Graz. It was built in the XII century, and interestingly enough, up to 1809, it had never been captured. It is located on a high hill, from which a stunning view of the city opens up. The most interesting place of the whole structure is the clock tower, built in 1265.
Located in a picturesque place, 40 kilometers from the city of Salzburg. The castle was built on a rock in the Salzach valley, the prince bishop Gebhard Salzburgski, in 1077. The history of the castle is rich, it was rebuilt, ruined, destroyed, rebuilt, it was subjected to fire, even used as a training camp for the police. Now it is a museum, attracting a huge number of tourists.
Nature of Austria – a fairy tale. Picturesque lakes and rivers, mighty mountains and wooded hills, boundless green meadows of the plains – everything stirs the imagination, amazes with its natural splendor.
Lake Schlegais is a lake of unimaginable beauty in the Zillertal valley. This water body was artificially created in 1970, but one gets the impression that it has always been there, so natural and laconic is the interaction of this ecosystem.
Located in a valley not far from the village of the same name. The quietest and most secluded place. The lake is fed by ice springs, is at an altitude of 1500 meters. The view is stunning, surrounded by emerald lush grasses, flowers.
This palace complex is located in the capital, Vienna. Built in the early 18th century as a summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Architectural style – Baroque. The complex consists of: upper, lower Belvedere and garden.
Used to be the winter residence of the Habsburgs. This palace was built in the 12th century, and all the Austrian rulers lived there. Under each ruler made some building works: something was completed, something was rebuilt. In modern history it entered as a “rostrum” from which Hitler had announced the anschluss on March 15, 1938.
The oldest zoo in the world. Since 1570, on the territory of the modern zoo was a menagerie. But it became a zoo in 1752, but only for the emperor. Since 1779, visits were available to every resident, admission was free.
Mozart Museum in Salzburg
Represents the house-museum of the great composer, it was here that the future virtuoso was born. The museum shows the instruments on which Wolfgang played, his music books are hung on the walls, and many of the composer’s original household items are preserved.
The tower of the madmen in Vienna
This is a museum of pathology. There are various organs and parts of the human body preserved in special vessels. All the exhibits are subject to genetic mutations, so it is not a sight for the faint-hearted. In addition to the “internal content” of the tower, the appearance of the building is terrifying and frightening.
To summarize the above, there is only one thing to say: Austria is a country of treasures. Treasures, not in the literal sense, but in the sense of history, culture, nature, art. Here every piece of land is a monument of history and architecture, every street – a work of art, and what to say about the natural beauty of this country, words can not describe, there you need only to be.