Austria Travel Guide

Photo by Les


When you hear 'Austria', do you see a gold-gilded ballroom whirling to the sound of Waltz, a child prodigy, Mozart, playing blindfold for the emperor, or a yodeling Tyrolean in a Robinhoodian hat? None? Well, either way, the fact is music runs through Austrian veins and a day hardly goes by without your coming across one or another of its varieties. Umm, shall we dance?

There's no better place for the first few steps than Vienna. It will not only put you in the right Straussean mood but also inspire you to keep dancing. The major attractions are Hofburg and Schonbrunn palaces, dignified witnesses of Hapsburg imperial rule. The former, being a jewel itself, houses in its ornate chambers a museum dedicated to Sisi, a cult figure, the beloved empress and a pearl of pearls. The latter will come as a brilliant idea if you've got kids in tow. The oldest zoological garden in the world,Tiergarten Schönbrunn, will surely make their (and your?) day. Should you be starving, don't miss Naschmarkt. Best known for its flea market, it is also a top spot for locals to chill outside enjoying a drink or a meal in one of the numerous bars and eateries.

Of course, there's still Salzburg with its mesmerizing, baroque Old Town, Linz with the oldest Austrian church, and Graz boasting one of the best-preserved city centers in Central Europe. If you've had enough of urban clamor, take in the majesty of the Alps in the Alpenpark Karwendel in Innsbruck and find out that something as down to earth as a train trip (The Semmering Railway) may turn a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Just like your whole stay in Austria. And it's not true it will drain your pocket. Just shop wise, order your Wiener Schnitzel someplace else than downtown, and you should still be able to get yourself a nice souvenir for your fond memory of the Austrian ball.