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Last updated : Nov 2009
Austria Travel Guide
Austria travel information - TravelPuppy Austria
'From monarchy to modernism'

Austria, at the geographical heart of Europe, is renowned for its wonderful ski resorts set on spectacular mountains, overlooking crystal-clear lakes and voluptuously green valleys. Throughout the country are glorious architectural reminders of the once-powerful Hapsburgs and who dominated central Europe for seven centuries.

Nowhere is the legacy more evident than in the capital, Vienna, with its ornate Opera House and the former imperial residence of the Hofburg. Austria’s other cities are similarly infused with a historical magic, notably Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, with stunning Baroque churches set before a backdrop of snow-covered peaks, and Innsbruck, in the centre of the Austrian Alps.

But Austria is also a hothouse of striking contemporary architecture, reflecting a modern country at the forefront of engineering, invention and design, and whose modern and efficient social system ensures a high quality of living for most of its residents.

Austria has a justifiable reputation for music, the arts and literature, but also boasts a gourmet culture. The legendary Gemütlichkeit – a relaxed enjoyment of life – is in evidence in the cafés, where the art of coffee-drinking has been raised to a high art, and the many Heurigen, where the latest vintages are accompanied by vast quantities of food. Nightlife is versatile, offering laid-back taverns, beer gardens and excellent après-ski, as well as many trendy clubs and dance venues packed to the small hours.