AUSTRIA TRAVEL GUIDE AND TOURIST INFORMATION
Austria is a federal republic state with a parliamentary democracy. The area of the country covers 83858 square kilometers and consists of nine federal states - Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol (Tirol), Vorarlberg and Vienna, each with its own provincial government. The country is a member of the European Union, the United Nations as well as most UN organizations.
There are around eight million inhabitants in Austria, from which 98% speak German and the 6 ethnic groups that are officially recognized in the country include Burgenlandic Croatians, Roma, Slovaks, Slovenians, Czechs and Hungarians.
Austria includes the following regions: Achensee, Arlberg, Attersee, Bregenzerwald, Carinthian lakes, Danube, Dolomites, Gastein valley, Kitzbühel Alps, Kleinwalsertal, Lake Constance, March-Donauland, Mittelkärnten, Mostviertel, Mühlviertel, National park "Hohe Tauern", Nationalparkregion Großglockner-Großvenediger, Nature arena Carinthia, Neusiedlersee, OssiacherSee, Pitztal, Reschenpass, Salzkammergut,
Seefels Plateau, Semmering-Rax-Schneeberg, Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm- Leogang, Steirisches Thermenland, Stubaital, The Alps, Traunsee, Traunviertel, Wachau, Waldviertel, Wienerwald, Wilder Kaiser - Brixental, Wolfgangsee,
Wörthersee, Wörthersee, Zillertal, Zillertal Arena, Ötztal.
AUSTRIAN CLIMATE & WEATHER
Austria is situated in a temperate climatic zone characterized with a Central European climate and influenced by the Atlantic climate. The four distinctive seasons have typical temperatures and climatic characters.
Austria has a typical continental climate and three different climatic regions.The average high July temperature in the eastern lowlands is about 20° C (68F), and the January average temperature is -1° C (30F). In this area, the annual rainfall is often below 800mm (31 inches).The climate in the central area of Austria is influenced by the Alps, with shorter summers and higher levels of rainfall. Here, winters are long, bringing heavy snow to the mountains and frequent rain to the lowlands. The west part of Austria has milder and wetter climate. Rainfalls vary with the altitude and location, but the annual amounts are about 2000mm (78 inches). The average temperature is 16° C (62F) in July and 3° C (38F) in January.
Because of the topographical variety and the large West-East expanse, there are three differentiating climatic regions each with own characteristics:
East regions - Pannonian climate mixed with nuances of a continental one – low rainfall, warm summers with gentle and not very cold winters.
Alpine Regions: mountain climate with high rainfall (except in the interior alpine valleys such as the upper Inntal), brief summers and long-lasting winters.
The rest of the country: transitional climate with Atlantic shades (in the West) and continental ones in the South-east.
AUSTRIAN CUISINE - FOOD & WINES
You should most certainly try some outstanding Austrian dishes! With the help of its long-term experience, Austria has become a genuine heaven for the gourmets. Many diligent farmers, winegrowers and innkeepers have put their efforts into showing the joys of fresh, seasonal, local products. You can taste some typically Austrian meals such as Apfelstrudel (apple cake), Girardi-Rostbraten (beef with bacon), Kaiserschmarren (an omelet for desert), Knodel (special dumplings with many ingredients), Sachertorte (a chocolate cake by Franz Sacher) and many more.
There are also 4 special regions in which are grown grapes - Burgenland, Niederosterreich, Steiermark and Vienna. These regions produce one of the best wines in Europe. All in all, you should definitely try out some of the amazing Austrian foods and drinks!
AUSTRIAN FLORA & FAUNA
Austria's topographic variety is responsible for a great deal of flora and fauna species, including endangered ones that are under preservation.
Very characteristic for Austria are the Central European animals such as deer, stags, rabbits, pheasants, foxes, badgers, martens and partridges.
Pretty popular in the alpine regions are the chamois, groundhogs, eagles and mountain jackdaws. Typical for the Pannonian fauna is the large population of birds in the reed beds of Lake Neusiedl (herons, spoonbills, scoopers, wild gooses and many more).
During the last couple of years, Austria has been repopulated by a small number of bears, which mainly inhabit the heavily wooded southern and central mountain regions.
Again due to the topographic diversity of Austria, there can be found many different plant species.
Austria is pretty heavily-wooded in comparison with the other countries in Europe.
Typical for the country are the deciduous forests (oak, beech) and the mixed forests (beech, fir) plus woos of fir, larch and pine in the higher altitudes.
If you want a variety of colour in your life, you should visit some alpine regions and see the typical for them flowers – edelweiss, gentians, alpine carnations, arnicas, alpine roses, heathers and much more.
The northern slopes of the Alps are full of grazing grounds and meadows; in the Pannonian region there are mainly scrub forests, deciduous forests and steppe moors. East of the Lake Neusiedl you can find a rare salt steppe flora.
Austria's nature parks occupy 3 percent of the country’s territory. They also contribute to the diversity of the landscape with their unique unspoilt forests, such as the rain and virgin forests.
AUSTRIA SKIING TRIPS & HOLIDAYS
/Up-to-date skiing conditions and snow levels for the Austrian resorts are curently available on the Home Page of Austria Trips/
Austria can be a true fairy-tale when there is snow and if you have ski or a snowboard.
The snowy mountain slopes, the Apres-Ski and the Austrian "Gemuetlichkeit" will make your stay in Austria a magical experience which you will never forget. Furthermore, a vacation in Austria can be surprisingly affordable, relaxing and enjoyable!
The Stubai Glacier is one of the vastest skiing areas in the Eastern Alps, open all year long, containing about 68 miles of slopes and off-slope tracks suitable for all difficulty levels plus a 2.8 mile high altitude cross country slope.
From mild and easy runs for beginners and families to challenging tracks and breath-taking double black diamond runs, Stubai Glacier will offer you everything that even the most demanding skier can desire.
In the glacier ski area there are also lifts to the Elfer resort in Neustift. Neustift is widely known all over the world for its gorgeous ski tracks. You can also go on foot around the area along two winter hiking trails or take a ride on a toboggan along the numerous suitable tracks, among which is the longest natural toboggan run in Austria.
Austrian mountain resorts are better served than the ones in the USA, for example. There are many 4- or 5-star hotels in Austria where you can find indoor pools, saunas or whirlpools. Phones and TVs are always a part of each room and you will most certainly be able to pick up CNN or other English language channels.
You can ski literary into the village and most of the lifts are situated on a short distance from the hotels. Superb, fascinating hotels, with fluffy coverlets and neat, cozy rooms, await you. Combined without any doubt with a hot spicy 'Gluehwein' or 'Schnaps'!
Austrian Ski Instruction
Austria has not only gorgeous ski resorts, but also well-known ski-schools and instructors like the legendary Hannes Schneider. He is the founder of many ski-schools in his home country as well as in the United States and Canada. Some of the most gifted ski instructors in Austria offer ski lessons in English. Very important policy in Austria includes creating runs for every level of difficulty and ensuring that visitors can navigate through the terrain they want to ski on. This enables professional skiers and beginners alike to find the most suitable place for them on all mountains.
The Perfect Snow Conditions of Austria
The Austrian Alps are endowed with a long-lasting and abundant snow season. Up till the spring, the snow on the ground is usually powdery and fluffy. Packed powder can be found mainly on the groomed runs, while the deep powder – off-piste. You can inform yourself of the current snow conditions in the best resorts with the help of the Austria Snow Report – all times of the week, during the whole season.
Ski Run Marking System
Austrian ski resorts are most commonly neatly situated in valleys. The surrounding mountain sloped are skillfully engraved with long ski tracks that begin near the top and come directly into the resorts below. Usually, there are markings on all ski pistes above the timberline. The color of the signs, which represent disks, wide 1 foot in diameter, on poles, can help you orientate whether you are on an easy (blue), medium (red) or difficult (black) track. Edge signs, which are huge plastic balls on high poles, can inform you where you are on the track – inside (green), on the edge (green/red) or outside (red). You can also get maps from the lift stations, in which you can find numbered track indication, danger signs, rope barriers, safety nets and much more.
HIKING IN AUSTRIA
The best way to get to know a country in a personal and detailed manner is by taking the time to enjoy your vacation destination on foot. By walking in Austria, you will get much closer to nature than anywhere before, plus you will have the chance of discovering its people and traditions.
When visiting the cities in Austria you will have the opportunity for experiencing its imperial past and vibrant presence first hand. Exploring with a professional guide will enable you to take a look behind the scenes, which will set your experience apart from the typical tourist vacation.
Austria has to offer a vacation experience of a lifetime. We have made a selection of several places for you that will send you far beyond the ordinary holiday. These carefully chosen travel destinations will allow you to visit some of the best places that Austria has in avail, operated by some of our most trusted travel partners.
Austrian National Tourist Office website can be reached at http://www.austria.info.
For more detailed information about particular resort or a city please refer to the AUSTRIA TOURIST DESTINATIONS page.