Information on Austria
Austria is a German-speaking country in Central Europe, characterized by mountain villages, baroque architecture, Imperial history and rugged Alpine terrain. Vienna, its Danube River capital, is home to the Schönbrunn and Hofburg palaces. It has counted Mozart, Strauss and Freud among its residents. The country’s other notable regions include the northern Bohemian Forest, Traunsee Lake and eastern hillside vineyards.
Capital and largest city: Vienna; 48°12′N 16°21′E / 48.200°N 16.350°E
Official languages: German, Hungarian, Slovenian, Austrian German
Destinations: Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Lake Constance, more
Austria is a country of startling contrasts, from the Austrian Alps in the west to the Danube Basin in the east. It is not only famous as one of the world’s premier skiing regions, but also for its historical buildings, world-class museums and galleries, breathtaking scenery, magnificent mountains and established hiking trails. Visitors in search of culture and visitors in search of scenery are spoilt alike.
Austria has few peers as a year-round holiday destination, with plenty of winter sports in the Alps, some of the most impressive and overblown architecture in Europe and an unrivalled musical tradition.
Austria’s cities have plenty to engage visitors: Vienna is the capital, hub of the country’s musical life and littered with beautiful buildings; music, art and architecture reach baroque perfection in Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace; Innsbruck’s snow-capped peaks frame fascinating historic buildings.
Many places in Austria are themselves worthy of artistic acclaim, so it is little wonder that Austria has produced and inspired a catalogue of cultural figures. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria (and, in particular, Vienna) became one of the major centers of the cultural renaissance associated with the terms baroque and The Enlightenment; the musical achievements of this period are particularly notable and their note in cultural history still resounds. Remnants of Mozart’s legacy are everywhere. However, Austria has also yielded people such as artists Klimt and Schiele, composers Mahler and Schubert, writers Rilke and Schnitzler, psychologists Freud and Rank, and philosophers such as Husserl and Wittgenstein.
Austrians aren’t easy to categorize. In fact, the only reason Austrians stand out from their European neighbors is that they don’t stand out from the rest for anything in particular. Austrians are moderate in their outlook and behavior. Being at Europe’s crossroads, their culture is influenced from several sides. Most Austrians like to enjoy the good life. They spend a lot of time eating, drinking and having a good time with friends in a cozy environment, and are therefore very hospitable. Members of the older generation can be conservative in the sense that they frown upon extremes of any shape and form and, in general, are averse to change. They enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world and want to keep it that way.
LEISURE, CULTURE & SPORTS IN AUSTRIA
Vienna has a multi-faceted cultural life. It offers a choice of 50 theatres, four opera houses, two stages for musicals, 100 museums and numerous theatre, music and dance festivals. As if this weren’t enough, there’s also the Museumsquartier with its Baroque façade and which is home to one of the biggest cultural districts in Europe.
GUIDE TO LIFE IN AUSTRIA
This section of our website acts as a guide, providing you, our visitor, with practical and useful information with regards to life in Austria.