With awe-inspiring mountains, a mess of scenic foot and cycle paths, and elegant cities high on culture, the German-speaking country of Austria is an ideal place to visit for either a short city break or a natural retreat. Its capital Vienna offers luxury hotels, fine dining, and a hotbed of opera and ballet, while the Austrian Alps are very popular with nature enthusiasts.
The natural first place to start when visiting Austria is its capital, Vienna. With its baroque cityscape, countless cultural sights and interesting museums, Vienna is one of Europe’s top destinations for a wonderful getaway for couples, friends and solo travellers alike. Additionally, old-time castles and delightful local delicacies make it feel like a visit to a different time period. The transport system makes it easy to get around, giving easy access to its main spots. Visit the Kunsthistorischen Museum to marvel at the collection of Bruegel’s paintings, shop on Mariahilfer Strasse, where a fleet of department flagship stores can be found, while those interested in the history and culture of the city should head to the centre of Vienna, where the majestic St Stephen Cathedral, the State Opera and lots of cool galleries, museums and bars await.
Meander the streets where Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn once roamed before exploring the Schloss Schönbrunn, Vienna’s former imperial residence, complete with its own zoo, luxurious gardens, and glorious monuments. As the evening descends on the beautiful blue Danube River, head to one of the city’s top-class restaurants where delicious local treats can be sampled.
Away from the capital, Innsbruck is a major city in the Western Austrian region that’s famous for its ski culture. The Winter Olympics were hosted here in both 1964 and 1976, and there are plenty of tracks to take in should you want to. The thermal waters at Aqua Dome are a popular daytime activity for those in the area with great spa and swimming facilities. Salzburg is another city worth visiting and is known as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Bursting with historic architecture, the contrast of this and natural scenery is truly unique with the Alps looming large in the background.
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