It’s hard not to like Austria. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, populated by one of the most cultured people in the world. Once the seat of the most progressive of the 19th Century empires, Austria still celebrates its hey-day as the home of Mozart and many other great artists and musicians.
The entire country is one big photo opportunity waiting to happen. The Alps dominate, but even the lower lands to the north are mountainous and picturesque. Steep river valleys about everywhere, and nearly every town and hamlet has a ski resort or cross-country ski track. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was known for its big and gorgeous castles, particularly the white ones (like the Hohensalzburg) that we Americans often envision in our fairy tales.
Tourists and businessmen alike will find Austria as I have — clean, friendly, safe, and town proud. It’s transportation and communication services are among the best I’ve used. Austrian cuisine is similar to Bavarian cuisine, but generally better. Some of the finest, and least expensive, guesthouses I and my colleagues have stayed in were Austrian.
Travelogues by Region
The coloring of the locations on the map above indicate different regions in Austria. Those places that are clickable on the map have travelogues available. All the others are coming soon!
Vienna is rated #1 in my list of top Romantic Places to visit… and the #1 place I recommend to anyone coming to Europe, especially in the summertime. It is simply too fantastic for words — the biggest museums, the grandest churches, the hugest market district, and the city most lavishly decorated with flowers that you will ever see. Here, I offer a four-chapter travelogue on Vienna — an introductory page, plus travelogues on the Altstadt or Old City, Museum Quarter, the Schonbrunn Palace and City Ring, and a gallery of city Architecture.
Welcome to the land where Mozart was born and the “Sound of Music” was filmed! The city of Salzburg is a fabulous place to visit with all its museums, churches, squares, gardens, palaces, and views. The chapters include a tour of the Hohensalzburg Castle and its surrounding areas including St. Peter’s Cemetery and the Catacombs, Salzburg’s Old City that includes tours of the Cathedral and a visit to Mozart’s Birthplace museum, and a visit to the north bank to see the Kapuziner Kloster and the Mirabellenplatz.
Salzach River Valley
The Salzach is a Danube tributary that cuts through some of Austria’s most breathtaking scenery. Each town is a ski resort, with hospitality galore and photo ops in all directions. Three travelogues are available here. The first is Bischofshofen, located roughly a half-hour southeast of Salzburg and home of one of the world’s premier ski-jumping stadiums. St. Johann is a classic ski resort town that provided me with dozens of Christmas card-like shots. Also available is Villach, a small town in the far southern province of Carinthian (Kaernten).
The Danube River
The Danube River is among the longest in Europe, spanning across several countries, but for many reasons the Danube is most often thought of as Austrian — perhaps because it is immortalized in classical music. It is also in Austria where the Danube turns from a moderate river to a mighty one, and the cities along it are beautiful and striking. The travelogue for Linz is in four parts, including a main page, a post on the Altstadt (or Old City) with its fabulous churches and huge palaces, a walk along a winding section of the river, and a post on the Pöstlingberg Castle above the city, now a very popular tourist attraction with its fabulous manor and museums. There is also the city of Wels that is loaded with gorgeous architecture. Wels sits on the Traun River, a Danube tributary.
Western Austria (Tirol and Vorarlberg)
This is the part of Austria most tourists visit during ski season, as it is the most accessible from Germany and Switzerland. It is also very lively in the summertime with its proximity to Lake Constance. The best known of the western Austrian cities is Innsbruck, home to two Olympiads and a true all-weather destination. Bregenz is popular for its outdoor concerts and cultural events, while Feldkirch is a very popular small town destination with the beautiful Schattenburg Castle as a backdrop.