AUSTRIA  |  Austria Travel Guide
Tuesday, September 28, 2021



Countryside of Schröcken, with Bregenzerwald in the background (cc)

Austria is famously the land of mountains and music. It is the land of Mozart and The Sound of Music, and towering Alps and stunning scenery. There are classic ski towns here by the score, and year-round glacial slopes to carve. There are more champion alpine skiers per capita here than anywhere else in Europe, and more forest land per square inch of the country than in any other part of the continent. The capital city of Vienna is where the Habsburgs redefined decadence, and where symphonies and orchestras have regaled music lovers for centuries. This is where the Vienna Coffee was created, together with the pervasive coffeehouse culture – a coffee, a newspaper, and the marble-top coffeehouse table. And last but not least, this is also the home of California's most colorful governor – oops, Gubernator – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Republic of Austria spans some 83,853 square km in south-central Europe. The entire western third of the nation lies in the Alps, and much of its central and southern territories are Alpine as well – some 75% of the country is mountainous. The nation boasts a greater percentage of forested land than any other European nation – about 39% of its terrain is covered with trees. Austria shares its borders with eight other nations: Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west, Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, and Italy and Slovenia to the south.

Austria’s government is partitioned into nine states and its capital is Vienna. It maintains a parliamentary democracy, with a strong central government. The president presides as the chief of state, and the head of government is the chancellor. From 1955, Austrian politics have vacillated between conservative and socialist policies. Recent issues include the influx of Yugoslav refugees and subsequent right-wing anti-immigration movements. Also controversial over the past decade have been growing unemployment levels, tax increases, and cuts in social services. Austria’s unemployment rate hovers around 5.1%.

Austria’s population is approximately 98% ethnic Austrian, with the remaining 2% split among several eastern European ethnicities, including Croat, Hungarian, Slovene, and Czech – minorities that cluster along Austria’s eastern border. Approximately 80% of the population claims a Roman Catholic religion, with 5% claiming some faction of the Protestant faith. Some 65% of all Austrians reside in urban settings, with 25% of the population living in the country’s five largest cities: Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. The population density is approximately 97 people per square kilometer.


Destinations in Austria (11)

  • Best Small Towns in Austria

    Best Small Towns in Austria. Austria has some of the most picturesque small towns anywhere, most of them in scenic alpine settings, some beside lakes or at the foot of ski resorts, and many of them with that endearing Tyrolian...

    Read More
  • Bregenz, Austria

    Bregenz is adored by culture-hounding tourists – for its artsy aspirations, its gutsy experimental architecture, and its fabulous lakeside festival. The city has an old town with historic interest, and an alpine lake, Lake...

    Read More
  • Great Castles of Austria

    Great Castles of Austria. The 10 greatest, best, most popular, most picturesque, most famous castles in Austria, including Schönbrunn Palace, Burg Hohenwerfen, Hochosterwitz Castle and Festung Hohensalzburg, among others.

    Read More
  • Innsbruck, Austria

    Innsbruck is a winter sports mecca of international renown, with two Olympic Winter Games under its belt, in 1964 and 1976, and no fewer than 15 world-class ski resorts on its doorstep. There are year-round glacial slopes such as...

    Read More
  • Ischgl, Austria

    Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is actually one of Austria's premier ski resorts, strung out along the western end of the Austrian Alps, hard...

    Read More
  • Kitzbühel, Austria

    Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and fabulous skiing on its doorstep to boot. In fact, it is to Austria what St. Moritz is to Switzerland and...

    Read More
  • Salzburg, Austria

    Salzburg is famous as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the world's most celebrated composer, and the locale of the 1965 film musical, The Sound of Music, starring Julie andrews as Maria von Trapp. The city...

    Read More
  • St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria

    St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum ski resort, but with huge notoriety as the domain of expert skiers and the party crowd. Here, in 1907,...

    Read More
  • Zell am See & Kaprun, Austria

    Zell am See is a lakeside health resort, while Kaprun is a glacier ski resort. In the early 1970s, in a stroke of marketing genius, the two paired up to create the Europa Sports Region – a well-networked infrastructure with...

    Read More
What's New?

New and Updated Travel Guides

  • Cuzco is the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, and the epicenter of the Andean Quechua culture. It has a monumental... Read More

  • Thimphu is the seat of the last of the Himalayan kingdoms. It sits in splendid isolation in a long, high valley in the... Read More

  • Mostar is where Christians converted to Islam, and where moussaka – consisting of sliced eggplants sautéed in... Read More

  • Santiago is Chile's capital of cool. It's mostly a modern metropolis, but with more than 500 years of history and relics... Read More

  • Tampere is a city of rock. In fact, Tampere, Finland, like Manchester, England, evolved from a market town into a major... Read More

Trending Themes:

Guides to Popular Ski Resorts

  • Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More

  • Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More

  • Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More

  • Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More

  • Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More

  • St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More

  • Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More

  • St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More

  • Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More


Copyright © 2010-2013 Indian Chief Travel Guides. Images tagged as (cc) are licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.