Austria

Austria is a complex country: conservative on the one hand, modern and wealthy on the other. Known for its centuries-long history, fascinating culture, plenty of tourist attractions and last but not least – magnificent Vienna, Austria is a paradise for foreign visitors. Add to that the Alps, the picturesque region of the Tyrol or all the excellent skiing resorts – and you will soon find out what makes Austria an incomparably attractive country.

For ski-enthusiasts, Austria is one of the finest European destinations possible.  Europe’s highest mountains,the Alps,  covering most of the country guarantee beautiful, breathtaking views sure to delight even the most experienced skier. For the best in skiing or snowboarding, head for one of the legendary winter resorts, which include Kaprun, Kitzbuhel, or Zell am See, or choose between a plethora of other attractive ski destinations, such as Ischgl, Mayrhofen, Schladming, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Solden and St Anton am Arlberg. Considering the abundance of ski centres, everyone will find a perfect place to stay, no matter if you're seeking a  friendly family atmosphere t or you're a club-hound in search of exciting night-time fun.

While in Austria, don't forget to visit its capital - Vienna. This cosmopolitan city on the Danube River offers innumerable historical sights. A walk through the streets of Vienna will take you back in time to Habsburg monarchy with its ornate palaces, sophisticated gardens and elegant upper-middle class houses. You most definitely shouldn't pass up a visit to Schoenbrunn Palace surrounded by a beautiful park and  the Hofburg Palace – the winter residence of the Habsburgs. If historical monuments are you're thing, don’t miss St Stephen’s Cathedral (Stefansdom) and the Town Hall (Rathaus). Reserve some time to stroll around the streets of the Innere Stadt, the oldest and most interesting quarter of Vienna, which is also a perfect place for shopping, with a range of boutiques, stores and souvenir shops. Vienna is known for its Art Nouveau architecture, with its Secession Building, Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station and the Kirche am Steinhof (St Leopold’s Church). If traveling with children or seeking real fun, don’t miss the opportunity to take a ride on the Riesenrad a Ferris wheel in the Prater, a renowned  Viennese amusement park .

Art lovers of all stripes will have  plenty of occasions to enjoy the most precious masterpieces of European art – just visit the Museum of Albertina and Belvedere, the Leopold Museum, the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Naturhistorisches Museum. These are but the most famous ones, while the total number of museums exceeds a hundred.

Apart from Vienna there are many others cities such as Salzburg – the  home town of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Innsbruck in Tyrol – winter sports complexes  that are surely worth a well-deserved holiday rest. And while you're at it, why not visit some of the other attractive towns in Austria, including Graz, Eisenstadt, Bregenz and Klagenfurt, or some of the picturesque smaller towns. And if you want to take a break from sightseeing, try one of the national specialities. Take a hefty bite out of a Wiener Schnietzel, or have a hot steaming Apfelstrudel or Austria's world-famous  Sachertorte as a dessert.

For centuries Austria has been an important centre of European culture. Aside  from Mozart, Austria is the  birthplace of other renowned composers such as Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg. Ludwig van Beethoven lived most of his life in Vienna. At the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries Vienna was a mecca for Art Nouveau artists, such as Gustav Klimt or Egon Schiele. Austria is also proud of native sons such as Freud, Kafka, Musil and Rilke, as well as a ton of  other illustrious Austrians.

Imposing mountains, great skiing conditions and a well developed tourist infrastructure plus the warm and inviting atmosphere of Austrian winter resorts will captivate every fan of winter sports, while others will appreciate its beautiful cities, interesting people and rich history and culture. What’s more, Austria offers great museums and numerous festivals. Its excellent location in the heart of Europe makes it an easy-to-reach destination, so why not spend your next holidays in Austria?