Austria is an amazing country that is sometimes hidden in the shadow of its more well-known neighbours Germany and Switzerland. Its days as a superpower may be over, but the green spaces, the gorgeous architecture, and the wine all make Austria travel well worthwhile.
Austria is landlocked in central Europe, and shares borders with Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy. The local language is German, and like most of its neighboring countries the currency is the euro.
The Alps, in the west of Austria, dominate this area of the country, and much of the rest of Austria is hilly, with many valleys formed by the flow of rivers. The River Danube (Donau in German) runs through the country, and is particularly noticeable in Vienna, where it divides the city in half.
Austria’s cities are picturesque – from stately Vienna to charming Innsbruck, as well as Salzburg of the Sound of Music fame (most Austrians have never heard of this movie, but you can watch it every night at 8pm in the HI hostel there). Austria is made for hiking and skiing, and history buffs will find what they’re after in the excellent museums.
Getting to and from Austria
Many budget airlines fly to various Austrian cities from all over Europe. Ryanair’s “Vienna” airport is actually across the Slovakian border, but you can hop on a bus to the city without too much hassle.
Many people arrive in Austria by train, which is an efficient way to see the country. Train travel in Austria isn’t cheap though, so using a railpass is a good idea.
You can also arrive by intercity bus, but this is often more expensive than a train. Look for current specials or promotions before booking.
Austria travel resources
Check out our Best Cities in Austria podcast or browse the articles below.