If you love mountains, then Austria is the country to visit. With some of the world’s best skiing, as well as scenery, this jewel of central Europe also offers culture, cuisine and cracking hospitality.
When it comes to wonderful mountain landscapes and great countryside, Austria really is hard to beat. But while many people will know all about the country’s mountains and winter sports, less well-known are this country’s cities, as well as its cultural and historical highlights. Exploring them all could take a lifetime, but it is great fun to make a start by visiting.
Winter time is perhaps what Austria is best known for though and it is at this time of year that most people will visit the country for the first time. Ski and winter sports venues such as those found in the Ziller Valley really are quite remarkable. The Ziller lift pass covers three ski areas, with routes for every level of skiing ability. Like other ski resort areas in Austria, there is also a great range of other leisure activities available at the hotels and resorts in the area, whether you prefer relaxing in a spa or trying something different like snowboarding.
Summer as well as winter
But areas like the Ziller also come alive during the summer months, when the mountains are green and the sun is out. There are many places in Austria which are not so well-known, where you can find a range of delightful things to see and do. A good way to make sure that you see as many of the highlights on offer as you can is to tour the Romantic Road. Beginning in Salzburg, this route winds down all the way to Vienna, with highlights such as Lake Wolfgang, monasteries like St Florian, the Salzkammergut, or Austrian Lake District and the banks of the River Danube along the way.
The country’s cities are beautiful and engaging, with Vienna, Salzburg and Graz, being recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These cities are architectural delights, with buildings ranging from Baroque palaces to Renaissance castles and quaint medieval streets. Festivals including Vienna’s ‘Sound of Music’ festival help to keep things interesting, while Austria is famous across the world for its hearty cuisine, with cakes and pastries being a national speciality.
There are also plenty of things to see and do which are away from the major cities. Facilities for hiking, cycling and other outdoor activities can be easily found in the country’s rural areas. More rural areas have architectural delights too, such as Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg, with its characteristic wooden villages. Many areas also have dozens of festivals, centring on local food, tradition and cultural identity.
Austria is so much more than skiing and Snow Mountains. With green valleys, welcoming villages and stunning cities, any trip here is well worthwhile. Take some time to discover it and you will never regret it.