Austria is a small, landlocked country in Western Europe. It shares a border with Germany in the northwest, the Czech_Republic in the north, Slovakia in the northeast, Hungary in the east, Slovania and Italy in the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the west. The country is very mountainous. As much as 68% of Austria is located over 500 meters (1,640 feet) above sea level. Its tallest mountain is 3,797 meters (12,457 feet) tall. While German is the main language spoken in Austria, it also recognises Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian as regional languages.

More on Austria

Visitors to Austria will find that it has something to occupy them any time of the year. In winter you can go skiing at its many ski resorts, while at other times of the year you can explore its beautiful cities and countryside. Vienna is the music capital while Salzburg is simply gorgeous, with its baroque churches. In Innsbruck, you can get panoramic views of the Austrian Alps.

Fast Facts about Austria

* Official Name: Republic of Austria
* Capital: Vienna (Wien)
* Population of Austria: 8,037,000 (2003)
* Currency: Euro
* Languages spoken: German
* Religions: Roman Catholic 78%, Protestant 5%, others 17%
* Size: 83,858 sq km (32,377 sq miles)

Preparing Money for Austria

The currency used in Austria is the Euro (EUR). The following are the latest rates for Euro in the last 24-hours.

Planning your visit to Austria

Austria is a member of the Schengen Agreement, so visitors from EU and EFTA only need to carry an ID card to enter the country. Everybody else needs to bring his passport. Visitors who do not need a visa are citizens of Albania, Andorra, Antigua_and_Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia_and_Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa_Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong_Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New_Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South_Korea, Taiwan, United_States, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela.

By Plane
The main international gateway to Austria is the Vienna International Airport (VIE), located 18 kilometers from downtown Vienna. It receives flights from all over the world. The other international airports are located in Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg. You can also fly to Munich and take a train or bus to Austria.

By Train
There are train services connecting Austria with all its neighbors. High-speed ICE (Inter-City Express) and RailJet trains connect Austrian cities with Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt, Passau and Budapest. You can get details on rail passes to Europe here.

Planning your travel within Austria

The most practical form of transport is the train. They are comfortable, moderately priced, and can get you can practically any city or town in Austria. The train tickets are sold by the O”sterreichische_Bundesbahnen (O”BB), the Austrian Federal Railways. Through their website you can purchase your ticket online and print it out yourself. The fare is calculated according to distance travelled.

Apartment Rentals

When deciding to visit Austria, the capital is the best place to experience the very best of what the country can offer. Why not look to stay in a short_term_Vienna_apartment to rent and experience the city with your own agenda. Enjoy the seclusion a private apartment can offer along with other homely comforts.

Recommended Travel Guidebook

My favorite travel guidebook for Austria is the Austria Eyewitness Guide, because it follows a format that I find useful to users, not to mention I have also contributed to some of the titles in the Eyewitness series of guidebooks.

Principal Cities of Austria

List of Austrian cities with estimated population for 2010.
1. Vienna (1,700,000)
Capital and biggest city in Austria.

2. Graz (260,000)
Second largest city in Austria. One of the best preserved cities of Central Europe.

3. Linz (190,000)
Third largest city in Austria. Located near the Czech border, on both sides of the Danube.

4. Salzburg (150,000)
City famous for its baroque architecture, setting for The Sound of Music and birthplace of Mozart.

5. Innsbruck (120,000)
State capital of Tyrol, located in a valley between high mountains.

6. Klagenfurt (90,000)
State capital of Carinthia, located on lake Wo”rthersee and the Glan river.

7. Villach (60,000)
Second largest city in Carinthia, with evidence of human habitation going back to 3500 BC.

8. Bregenz (28,000)
Austrian city on the shores of Lake Constance, the third largest lake in Central Europe.

9. Eisenstadt (12,000)
Former seat of the Eszterha’zy Hungarian noble family.

Places of Interest in Austria

1. Lake_Constance

Austria’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

1. Historic_Centre_of_the_City_of_Salzburg
2. Palace_and_Gardens_of_Scho”nbrunn
3. Hallstatt-Dachstein_/_Salzkammergut_Cultural_Landscape
4. Semmering_Railway
5. City_of_Graz_-_Historic_Centre
6. Wachau_Cultural_Landscape
7. Ferto~_/_Neusiedlersee_Cultural_Landscape
8. Historic_Centre_of_Vienna

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