Europe’s Gem – Austria

Europe’s Gem – Austria

Austria is a beautiful country and one not often thought of when planning a vacation in Europe. From the ancient, sprawling capital city, Vienna, to quaint Salzburg and off-the-beaten track villages such as Hallstatt, located on the shores of an idyllic alpine lake, there is something for just about everyone to enjoy in Austria.

If it’s culture that you’re interested in, you’ll surely want to begin your Austrian journey in Vienna, home of fantastic architecture and the seat of the Baroque musical movement. Composers like Bach and Mozart spent their days in Vienna, writing symphonies and drinking in cafes along the city’s busy pedestrian thoroughfares. Viennese architecture is one of the high points of a visit here, where buildings range from the grandiose Hofburg Imperial Palace to the looming Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

On the other side of the country, Salzburg is a quaint town known for its boutique shopping and mountainous scenery. The birthplace of Mozart, you will find no shortage of references to this classical composer in Salzburg, where you can even visit Mozart’s birthplace and explore a museum with his violins and pieces of music. No trip to Salzburg would be complete without a climb up to the impressive Hohensalzburg Fortress. This giant fort is located on a hilltop overlooking Salzburg and is Europe’s largest medieval fortress.

Austria is also an amazing country in which to escape the bustle of city life. With the Alps mountain range running through the country’s western corridor, there is no shortage of outdoor sports and alpine enjoyment to be had here. Pristine lakes are joined by snow-capped peaks that make for amazing hikes during the summer, while winter provides some of the best skiing and snow sports in Europe.

Wine-lovers will also enjoy sampling the finest of Austria’s vintner traditions. Along the Danube River Valley in Upper Austria you can explore tiny, undiscovered wine towns where grapes grow in in rows along the lush riverbanks. After a day’s drive, you’ll certainly want to stop into a heuriger, or wine tavern, to sample some of the local vintages.

Austria is a truly beautiful country and one that many tourists disregard, making it a wonderful vacation destination where you’ll find few crowds, fantastic weather and a plethora of activities to keep just about everyone happy.

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