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The echoes of Maria’s song may still be bouncing off the snow-capped Alps, but although three quarters of Austria is swathed in them, there’s more to Austria than mountain ranges. Dig deeper and you’ll discover a rustic kingdom with hospitable locals who can’t wait to share their heart-warming cuisine and waltzing culture with you.
If you can peel your eyes away from the marvellous mountain tops, you’ll be greeted by the rich vastness of the Pannonian Plain, the lush Danube Valley and its gorges, crystal-clear lakes, steep ridges lined by firs and various vineyards. From the broad Tryols valley to the clinking cow bells of the farmland, your time can easily be filled appreciating the views of rural Austria.
Although it’ll mainly be the sleepy idyllic villages and their pretty, advent calendar charm that will have you stopping in your tracks, Austria’s capital Vienna dominates the cultural and political landscape of the country. Vienna is crammed full of activities and attractions for the discerning traveller, whilst still preserving its rustic allure. Admire Vienna’s palaces, museums and concert halls a city tour and conclude with a cheeky slice of Austrian’s finest chocolate cake or apple strudel!
Music plays an unavoidable part in Vienna’s narrative as famous composers Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Bruckner, Strauss and Mahler have roots in the country and capital, and Beethoven spent most of his life composing in Vienna. Although it’s primarily classical music that resonates among the baroque buildings, Slavic and Hungarian folk forms influence the country’s melodies too. It’s evident that music is important to Austrian culture; even the national anthem was attributed to Mozart after World War II.
You’ll delight in the simmering splendour of the Baroque palaces and bejewelled concert halls which pepper many of the main cities, such as Hofburg Palace or Golden Roof in Innsbruck. Austria is now one of the richest countries in the world so you can marvel at an economy at its finest here.
Come dinner time, expect to munch on beef, pork and vegetable dishes which epitomize satisfying comfort food. Influenced over time by Balkan, Jewish, Eastern European, Italian and French dishes, you’ll find that Austrian delicacies are some of the most trans-cultural in Europe.
History enthusiasts will admire the gothic, modern, rococo and Romanesque architecture of Vienna, but make sure you also take time to explore the various Stone Age settlements and archaeological sites in Carnuntum. And go on, after all that sightseeing, you deserve just one more wurst or schnitzel!
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