Austria is found in Central Europe and shares northern borders with Germany and the Czech Republic. It is also a neighboring country to Switzerland, Slovakia and Hungary and shares its south western border with Italy. The country was formerly ruled by an Austro-Hungarian Empire. The beginning of World War 1 was marked by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne, in 1914. In 1918, Austria became its own state. However, it wasn’t until a treaty, which was ratified in 1955, that Austria was recognized as an independent state. At this time, any possibility of unification with Germany in the future was strictly ruled out.

de_0093_austria - Skyline danube valley vienna at night


Austria is a beautiful place to see at any time of the year. Vienna is the nation’s capital and is located in north eastern Austria. Vienna is home to the top opera houses in the world, making it a very popular travel destination for music lovers. The Vienna State Opera features a different program each day. Tickets and information can be found here.

Because of the city’s beautiful architecture, its museums and churches also attract a lot of tourism. For a list of some of the top Viennese attractions, see here.

Salzburg is another popular city in Austria. The Old City is a picturesque town that has the Capuchin Mountain as a backdrop. It is the perfect destination for museum goers or travellers looking to take in rich architecture. Some tourist hot spots include Residence Square, the Old Market and Mozart Square. Other attractions are listed here.

Finally, to catch a breathtaking view of the Alps, be sure to visit the picturesque town of Innsbruck.

de_0095_austria - Innsbruck

Local Food & Drink

While visiting Austria, be sure to try the national dish, the Wiener Schnitzel (which translates into Viennese Schnitzel). This is a fried veal cutlet that is available in any Austrian restaurant and even on some street corners in the markets.

You have also most likely heard of the famous Austrian bread. Each village has its own bakery that offers a delicious variety of breads. Some of the more popular ones include rye or Semmel (which is a white bread roll).
Austria is also extremely well known for its pastries. There are many little pastry shops that line the streets in Austrian villages. One of the most famous pastries is the Apple Strudel.

When it comes to drinks, Austria has some high quality wines, especially of the white variety. If you are travelling through Vienna, you will also notice how popular the cafe culture is. Most cafes will also sell the very famous Austria chocolate cake, the Sachertorte.

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According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (the OECD), Austria is one of the safest countries in the world. Violent crimes are rare in the country’s larger cities as well as smaller towns and villages. Vienna has also been ranked the sixth safest city in the world.

Much like any busy tourist destinations, pickpocketers are always a concern. However, it is very unlikely that you will fall victim to a dangerous robbery. Be sure to always keep a close eye on your wallet, cameras and any other personal belongings. In larger cities, bike theft may also be a problem. This can be avoided by ensuring that your bike is locked at all times when you are not present.

Racism may also be a problem in Austria, much like any other predominantly white country. There have been reports of police questioning foreigners in larger cities like Vienna. However, if you are a visible minority, it is highly unlikely that you will be a victim to a violent racial confrontation.