Welcome to Austria, a country celebrated for its natural beauty, fairy-tale scenery, and jaw-dropping views. Vienna is the capital and the largest city. It's the home of classical music, art, architecture, the world's oldest zoo, and stylish bars offering everything from comforting cocktails to craft beers.
Add to that the beautiful Schonbrunn Imperial Palace, museums and cathedrals and you can easily spend a week in this friendly city alone.
Austria has over 200 music and dance festivals each year: from world-class events to small regional gatherings. The International Jazz Festival Saalfeden (SalzburgerLand) held high in the mountains is considered Europe's most important festival for contemporary jazz, and it is lots of fun for all ages. Film lovers must coincide with a visit with Viennale during October, an international film festival running across the city's vintage cinemas since 1960.
Austria is a country where the city and outdoors seamlessly come together. Consider a driving tour from high alpine scenery in the west to the flat landscapes in the east. Don't miss Grossglockner Road, with around 36 switchbacks. You'll pass lakes, forested slopes, and glaciers from Bruck in Salzburgerland to Heiligenblut in Carinthia on the 48km trip. For those that like to peddle and are superfit, the uphills can be tough, but the downhills exhilarating.
Skiers are in their element in Austria. There are 7,214 kilometres of slopes and resorts served by 2,520 ski lifts. Some resorts offer over 300km of slopes making Austria one of Europe's most desired ski holiday destinations for all ages and levels. If you are not a skier, the cable-car ride from Innsbruck to the top of Hafelekar peak going up to 2,256 metre-tall, is worth doing for the gobsmacking views of the city and alps. Have your camera ready.
Don't overlook Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and home to possibly the best-preserved town centre in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring amazing baroque architecture. Along with gardens, fortresses, towering cathedrals, this city also has excellent food, more craft breweries like the Stiegl Brewery, and bars along where locals welcome you.
The dramatic Sound of Music alpine scenery makes Austria a year-round destination for activities like hiking in summer and skiing in winter. December and January, the winter, are the coldest months where temperatures often go below zero. The higher the altitude, then the snow is guaranteed in the Alpine region for a white Christmas.
By May, the temperatures are in their mid-20's during the day and continue through June. High tourist season is considered from June to August and low from November to March, though with the Christmas holidays, the ski fields beckon Austrians with some time off in their magical white paradise.
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