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  • Zell am See

    Zell am See

  • Graz is known to be Austria's capital of culinary delights

    Graz is known to be Austria's capital of culinary delights

  • Mirabell Garden, Salzburg

    Mirabell Garden, Salzburg

  • You can walk up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress… or take the funicular

    You can walk up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress… or take the funicular

  • Vienna has a rich culture of classical music, opera and dance

    Vienna has a rich culture of classical music, opera and dance

Destinations » Holidays in Austria

Rich in culture, food, architecture, scenery and hospitality, Austria offers a huge choice of holidays throughout the year, from opera and theatre under the stars at Lake Constance to the art and cultural treasures of Innsbruck.

And, if you love walking and activities, Austria's beautiful lakes and mountains - including the breathtaking beauty of the Austrian Alps - will make your stay unforgettable.

Culture

Austria and its capital are synonymous with culture and musical excellence. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, musical innovators such as Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss were drawn to Vienna by the patronage of the Habsburgs, one of the most prominent royal houses in Europe.

This rich musical heritage is still vital today. Thousands of theatre events, concerts, exhibitions and dance performances take place in cities, towns and villages throughout the country.

There's also a very strong architectural tradition in Austria. Its landscape is defined by grand castles, fine palaces, elegiac cemeteries and inspiring cathedrals.

Famous castles include Festung Hohensalzburg, Burg Hohenwerfen and Castle Liechtenstein. Zentralfriedhof is Vienna's largest and most famous cemetery among nearly 50 other cemeteries in the capital. Beethoven, Brahmns and Schubert are buried here, amongst many other significant composers, artists and writers.

Food and drink

Because of its landlocked status, and the fact that Austria is bordered by several countries, its cuisine is one of the most varied in Europe, taking in German, Hungarian, Czech, Jewish and northern Italian influences.

Each Austrian state tends to have its own specialities, and from Tyrolian bacon to Salzburger Nockerl, there's plenty of gorgeous cuisine to try.

History

Austria has a unique and turbulent history. Its origins date back to 15 BC when the Roman Empire conquered a Celtic kingdom. This became a Roman province in the middle of the first century AD.

In 788 AD, Charlemagne took control and introduced Christianity. This laid the foundations for Austria to become an empire, and one of the great powers of Europe under the Habsburg dynasty.

Many centuries later, in 1867, the Austrian Empire transforms into Austria-Hungary, which collapses at the end of the World War I. In 1919 the First Austrian Republic is established, then in 1938 was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany until the end of World War II in 1945, when its former democratic constitution is restored.

In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty was re-established, declaring a sovereign state and ending occupation. The same year, Austrian Parliament declares that the country as permanently neutral.

Today, Austria is a democracy of nine federal states, and one of the most prosperous countries in the world.

Did you know?

Apart from Germany, Austria is the only country where the official language is German.

About 98% of Austrian people speak High German, or a dialect of it.

Austrian German is reported to have a softer sound, compared to Germany's German dialect.

Facts and figures

Capital Vienna
Official language Standard German
Currency Euro
Time zone Central European Time
Recognised regional languages Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian
Independence 27 July 1955
Accession to the EU 1 January 1995
Area 83,872 sq km / 32,383 sq miles
Population 8.3 million

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