Austria is an exceedingly popular European holiday destination. Here are ten reasons why you should go…
1. Classical Music
Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Strauss are among the many classical composers who were born or lived in Vienna. So it’s no surprise that Vienna has been designated as the world’s Capital of Classical Music. On a trip to Austria you can visit world famous concert halls and hear compositions played by some of the world’s best Orchestras, such as the Vienna Philharmonic.
2. The Austrian Alps
The Alps are Austria’s largest natural tourist attraction and are truly spectacular to behold. This sparkling mountain range provides breathtaking scenery – snow-capped mountains, sweeping valleys and crystal clear lakes. The Alps are home to a host of charming villages which are brimming with culture. Active types can also enjoy skiing, hiking, cycling and kayaking.
As well as natural attractions, Austria boasts a range of man-made architectural wonders. History buffs can visit some amazing medieval palaces such as the Hofburg Imperial Palace as well as ancient and interesting monasteries like the St. Peter Abbey. Austria has some stunning modern architecture too, like the uber-modern blob-shaped Kunsthaus Graz, an art museum which is affectionately known as the ‘friendly alien’.
4. The Sound of Music
Many tourists visit Austria to retrace the steps of the Von Trapp family in the well-loved film and musical The Sound of Music. Salzburg has a variety of attractions for Sound of Music fans to enjoy, including the village of St.Glen where Maria sings her first lines and the Mirabell Gardens where the famous ‘Do-Re-Mi’ song was filmed.
Austria has many local delicacies to try, some of which you may have tried before, but the authentic versions taste much better. Apple strudel (apfelstrudel) is a popular pastry that you can find in most restaurants in Austria. Those with a sweet tooth will also enjoy Sachertorte, a special type of chocolate cake. Wiener Schnitzels are also a popular part of Austrian cuisine – a slab of veal coated in breadcrumbs which is often served with potato salad.
Whether it’s Viennese coffee or hot chocolate in the day time, or a glass of Austrian wine in the evening, Austria has some lovely beverages on offer. Austrians have been making wine for at least 3,000 years and the traditional coffee houses of Vienna are some of the oldest in the world. And did you know that the energy drink Red Bull originates from Austria? Not from the USA as many people think.
Austria enjoys a continental climate with hot and sunny summers, so sun seekers will be happy to feel the warm glow of European sun on their faces, especially in the East of the country. In contrast, the Alpine Region has short summers and long winters, which provides the perfect climate for snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
Railway enthusiasts will delight at the historic stream locomotives that offer epic journeys through breathtaking mountain scenery. Have a ride on the century-old Wendelstein Rack Railway and you will enjoy spectacular views as the train makes its way through seven tunnels, eight galleries and across twelve bridges to the 1,838 metre high mountain summit.
Vienna is where the Waltz was invented and even today it is so much a part of Austrian culture that every December Austrians Waltz in the New Year to the sound of the Blue Danube which is broadcast on public radio. The Viennese Waltz is the oldest and most romantic of all the ballroom dances, and ballroom enthusiasts shouldn’t pass by an opportunity to dance the Waltz in its Austrian homeland.
Yodel-ay-he-hoo! Yodelling was developed in Austria as a way for people in different villages to communicate with each other. Now that we have phones, people don’t really yodel that much anymore. But if you want to hear authentic Austrian yodelling, you could visit an Austrian folklore festival. Or you might find that some of the staff do it in tourist restaurants.
You can get to Austria by coach or by air. Whilst travelling by air is much quicker, travelling to Austria by coach also has its advantages. On most journeys from the UK you’ll pass through France, Belgium and Germany on the way, giving you plenty of beautiful scenery to admire.
A range of holidays to Austria can be found here.