Landlocked in the centre of Europe lays the small, mountainous country of Austria. Famed for its spectacular culture and landscapes, it is ideally suited to the more outdoors orientated holidaymaker wishing to escape from the busy modern day lifestyle.
Bordering 8 other countries including Germany, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic, Austria has a welcoming atmosphere and a well-run travel network, making it is easy to get around and to see the beauty this country has to offer.
Austria: art, culture and the waltz
Austria’s past as a European power and its cultural environment have generated a broad contribution to various forms of art, most notably among them music. Austria has been the birthplace of many famous composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss, Sr., Johann Strauss, Jr. and Gustav.
Eighteenth and nineteenth century composers were drawn to the city due to the patronage of the Habsburgs, and made Vienna the European capital of classical music. During the Baroque period, Slavic and Hungarian folk forms influenced Austrian music. Vienna’s status began its rise as a cultural centre in the early 1500s, and was focused around instruments including the Lute. Ludwig van Beethoven spent the better part of his life in Vienna. Austria’s current national anthem, attributed to Mozart, was chosen after World War II to replace the traditional Austrian anthem by Joseph Haydn.
Among Austrian artists and architects one can find painters Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele and Friedensreich Hundertwasser, photographer Inge Morath and architect Otto Wagner. Geography
The capital Vienna is a cultural marvel, with an array of splendid museums, concert halls, galleries, and architecture. There is a real sense of sophistication and glamour to the city.
Sitting astride the river Danube, Vienna is the country’s largest and most populated city with over 1.7 million inhabitants, as well as being the cultural and economic centre of Austria. At the heart of the city is the Innere Stadt, where you will find parliament, the cities university and the great Imperial Palace of the Habsburg court and its various empires.
The Danube has its source near Donaueschingen in south-western Germany and flows through Austria before emptying into the Black Sea. It is the only major European river that flows eastwards, and its importance as an inland waterway has been enhanced by the completion in 1992 of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in Bavaria, which connects the Rhine and Main rivers with the Danube and makes barge traffic from the North Sea to theBlack Sea possible.
Three major ranges of the Alps – the Northern Calcareous Alps, Central Alps, and Southern Calcareous Alps – run west to east through Austria. The Central Alps are the largest and highest ranges in Austria. The Central Alps run from Tyrol to the Austria border. The Northern Calcareous Alps, which run from Vorarlberg through Tyrol into Salzburg along the German border and through Upper Austria and Lower Austria toward Vienna. At 3,797 m, Grobglockner is the highest mountain in Austria.
The granite massif of the Bohemian Forest, a low mountain range with bare and windswept plateaus and a harsh climate, is located north of the Danube Valley and covers the remaining 10% of Austria’s area. Notable is the Manhartsberg a granite ridge which separates Waldviertel from Weinviertel.
Austria has a temperate continental climate. Summers last from early June to mid-September and can be hot in some years and rainy in others. Day-time temperatures in July and August are around 25oC (77oF), but can often reach 35oC (95oF). Winters are cold in the lowlands and very harsh in the Alpine region with temperatures often dropping below -10oC (14oF).
Winters last from December to March (longer at higher altitudes). In the Alpine region large temperature fluctuations occur all year round and nights are chilly even in high summer. The northern Alps are generally a lot wetter than the rest of the country. The South East (Styria and Carinthia) is dry and sunny. The area aroundVienna often experiences strong easterly winds.
Austria’s cuisine is derived from the cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Austrian cuisine is also the tradition of Royal-Cuisine (“Hofkuche”) delivered over centuries. It is famous for its well-balanced variations of beef and pork and countless variations of vegetables. There is also the “Mehlspeisen” bakery, which created particular delicacies such as Sachertorte, “Krapfen” which is fine soft bite cookies and “Strudel” such as “Apfelstrudel” and “Topfenstrudel” filled with sweetened sour cream. In addition to native regional traditions, it has been influenced above all by Hungarian, Bohemia Czech, Jewish, Italian, Balkan and French cuisine, from which both dishes and methods of food preparation have often been borrowed. The Austrian cuisine is therefore one of the most multicultural and transcultural cuisines in Europe.
Typical Austrian dishes include Wiener Schnitzel, Schweinsbraten, Kaiserschmarren, Knodel, Sachertorte and Tafelspitz. There are also Kasnockn, a cooked filled dough-bag with cheese on it and parsley, and Eierschwammerl (chanterelle) dishes. The Eierschwammerl are native yellow, tan mushrooms.
The candy PEZ was invented in Austria, also “Mannerschnitten”. Austria is also famous for its Mozartkugeln and its coffee tradition.
Holidays in Austria
Holiday Homes in Austria are easy to come by, whether you prefer the thrill and adventure of the Austrian Alps, or the tranquility and serenity or the pure fresh water lake.
Austria is already well established as one of Europe’s most popular destinations for winter sports holidays. But Austria holidays are becoming increasingly recognised as a great alternative to the typical summer destinations.
The winter Ski resorts, particularly around the area of Tyrol boast some beautiful Alpine scenery and the provincial capital of Innsbruck has some of the best skiing and snowboarding facilities in the world. In the summer Austria vacation homes in the Tyrol area attract many visitors seeking a back to nature experience with breathtaking views and attractive walking trails.
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