Austria is a country of startling contrasts, from the soaring Alps to the verdant swathes of the Danube Valley. This European beauty is noted as much for its historical buildings, awe-inspiring museums and galleries, as for its world-class skiing conditions and breathtaking mountain scenery which is splendid for walking. Groundbreaking cultural figures pepper Austria's history, from the composing geniuses of Mozart and Schubert, to the great mind of psychologist Sigmund Freud. Glorious architectural riches include reminders of the once-powerful Habsburgs, who dominated central Europe for seven centuries; the capital of Austria, Vienna, is magnificent with its ornate Opera House and the imperial Hofburg, while many other cities are similarly infused with historical magic, notably Mozart's birthplace, Salzburg, with stunning baroque churches set before a backdrop of snow-covered peaks.


This small, land-locked and mountainous central European country lies south of Germany, east of Switzerland and north of Italy. Whilst on its eastern frontiers, Austria is also exposed to a range of influences from countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia. The capital, Vienna, a city of 1.75 million people and home of the United Nations, is located in the north-eastern corner of the country. German is the national language and the currency is the euro. The Eastern Alps extend across the western and southern portion of Austria and there are lots of impressive peaks, such as the Grossglockner, Wildspitze and Weisskugel that approach 4000 metres. Amongst Austria's Alpine regions, there are many high valleys, popular with skiers during the winter, whilst during the summer months, these same high valleys provide lots of opportunity for trekking and climbing above picturesque villages, verdant pasture and clanging cow bells. Here, too, there are well-established long-distance walking routes and these are well served by comfortable mountain refuges. If you are looking for classic Alpine hiking on relatively quiet trails, Austria is a good choice.

Time Zone

The time in Austria is GMT + 1 hour. It does change to DST (Daylight Saving Time) in the summer.