Introduction

Austria is known as one of Europe’s most popular playgrounds. Although it is landlocked, the moutains and lakes provide plenty of venues for fun. All types of skiing have a long history in Austria: alpine or downhill or Nordic which is cross-country. There’s also tobogganing. In more recent years, kayaking and mountain biking have become increasingly popular. Hiking is there for all ages to enjoy. The other most famous cultural activity that drives tourists to Austria is music. A number of famous composers incuding Mozart, Strauss, Mahler and Haydn are from here and there are a number of very popular music festivals to enjoy. Austria is exceptionally clean and well-run which makes it a haven for safe and relaxing vacations.

  • Size and Population

    Austria is located in Central Europe and is about the size of Maine. It runs 36o miles across from west to east and 183 miles north to south. That’s about twice the size of Switzerland!   Over 95% of the population speaks German, but it is an Austrian dialect. The population is very homogenous and about two-thirds of them are urbanized. The population is over 8 million. Half are men and half are women. Due to Austria’s low birth rate, they have an aging population. The major cities are Vienna (1.6 m), Salzburg (145,000) and Innsbruck (120,000). Vienna was the center of the Austro- Hungarian Empire (1867-1918).

  • Simple Geography Overview

    Beginning from the west, two-thirds of the country is dominated by the Alps and in the eastern side runs the Danube River. Because much of the northern Alps are made of limestone, there’s an elaborate cave system complete with underground rivers. The lakes and rivers are full of fish. Snow is present year ’round above 8000 ft. <see Geography section>

  • A Few Interesting Facts

    Excellent education system with 1 teacher to every 11 students.

    When the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo, World War I broke out.

    The Alpine Ibex, a kind of mountain goat, is making a comeback after nearly going extinct.