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An aerial view of Austria
Austria is full of rich cultural offerings and traditions, many dating from when Vienna was the seat of a powerful empire. There's plenty of music, too. This is the country of Mozart and Johann Strauss, music festivals in Alpine settings, and the original setting of The Sound of Music.
Austria also offers fairy-tale castles and skiing, spectacular scenery and Sacher torte. The grandeur of Vienna's imperial buildings matches Austria's huge romantic streak and its passion for rituals.
Whether in the coffeehouse, the church or the grand ballroom, Austrians seem to blend a kind of Italian romanticism and charm with a Germanic love for order. You can experience that romanticism with something as simple as a hike through the mountains of the Tirol—or as spectacular as a visit to Vienna's Spanish Riding School, where you can see the magnificent Lipizzaner stallions perform their gravity-defying "airs above the ground."
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EXCITING DESTINATIONS IN AUSTRIA
A popular ski resort area, Kitzbuehel was founded as a mining and copper town just southwest of Salzburg. Its lovely old town has a number of interesting sights, including the Kitzbuehel Museum, featuring works by the artist Alfons Walde, a cable car museum, a 15th-century church (Pfarrkirche St. Andreas), the 16th-century Lebenberg Castle (now a hotel) and fine Tirolean architecture. During the summer, you can swim in the Schwarzsee stroll the Alpine flower gardens.
Lovely Salzburg, is Austria's premier tourist city—it's as popular with Austrians as it is with visitors from the rest of the world. Most attractions in Salzburg are within walking distance of one another. Altstadt (old town), characterized by plazas and fountains, baroque churches, well-known cafes, stores selling designer fashions, and museums. This is the home of Mozart, and the Festung Hohensalzburg, the large white castle that looms above the historic quarter
Vienna today is robed in 18th-century charm and 19th-century grandeur. Its old-world ambience comes not only from its rich cultural traditions, but also from the history of its architecture. The Viennese invented the cafe society, and they continue to perfect the art of sophisticated relaxation. Spend some time visiting a Vienna coffeehouse, or go to a concert of waltzes by Johann Strauss. Vienna is a safe, clean city, and it has an excellent public transportation system
The baroque town of Hallstatt, Austria, has a dramatic setting on the narrow shore between Hallstatter Lake and the sheer face of a cliff. Attractions include the World Cultural Heritage Museum (incl. Celtic artifacts dating from the Iron Age) and the eerie Beinhaus (Bone House) of St. Michael's.Nearby are the 2,800-year-old Salzwelten salt mines and the two huge Dachstein ice caves - known as Mammut and Koppenbruller, respectively.
This lovely baroque town was the summer residence of Emperor Franz Josef and other royal family members. The villa is still home to Hapsburg descendants, but it is open to tourists year-round (except for November).
About 15 mi/25 km away is the lovely little town of Gmunden, complete with a pretty castle (Landschloss Ort) located on a peninsula. The town is also known for its ceramics, as well as for some downhill skiing and cross-country ski routes.
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