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Austria

As one of Europe's most cherished holiday destinations, the Alpine republic attracts tourists year-round, and winter is almost as busy as summer in its spectacular mountainous regions. Visitors are enticed as much by the charming beauty of its provinces as they are for its splendid imperial cities like Vienna, and beautiful Salzburg, as well as its profusion of fabulous ski resorts.

The nation’s Alps are blessed with high altitude mountains bringing about long and lavish snow season extending well into spring. With fabulous scenery, a wealth of perfectly groomed pistes, a highly enviable and unrivalled après-ski culture and premier world-class ski schools, Austria is extensively distinguished as one of the world's best snow-sure skiing destinations.

Holidays in Austria promise an amazing variety of experiences, surprises and pleasures thanks to the irresistible charm of its imperial cities, the Alps’ pristine sceneries, its profusion of fabulous ski resorts, as well as its people’s very special culture and lifestyle.

As one of Europe's most cherished holiday destinations, the Alpine republic attracts tourists year-round, and winter is almost as busy as summer in the spectacular mountainous regions. Austria is a mishmash of pristine sceneries, imperial cities, historic towns, love of tradition and desire for the novelty. Experience the Austrian “Gemütlichkeit”: a singular lifestyle that favors the most exquisite moments in life.

Austria offers a plethora of cultural treasures. This embraces its “high culture”, but also its everyday culture and the special lifestyle of the people living here, the culinary specialties that serve as the landmarks of Austria and its individual regions, and the encounters visitors have with the incomparable people of the country - promising an amazing diversity of experiences, surprises and pleasures. These qualities are pretty impressive today since they result from a great variety of influences from West and East, as well as from North and South. Austria has always played a special role in the center of Europe as a venue for cultural exchange.

Visitors are enticed as much for the charming beauty of its provinces as they are for splendid imperial cities like Vienna, and beautiful Salzburg, as well as its profusion of fabulous ski resorts. The legacy of Austria’s imperial past is very much concentrated in cities like Graz, Innsbruck or Vienna, where the grand imperial atmosphere reigns. The entire city center of Vienna is filled with traces of the imperial dynasty, illustrated by the many magnificent palaces attracting millions of visitors each year, such as the Schönbrunn Palace – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As for Graz, Austria’s second-largest city, it is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the old town - as the largest medieval historic district in all of Europe, and Eggenberg Palace.

This nation a is a genuine paradise for voyagers and explorers. It ensures a prodigious holiday for the whole family through its extensive family-friendly activities, museums and mountainous excursions. The republic of Austria has a long Alpine tradition. Anyone who reckons that Austria’s mountains are a closed-off, secluded world is mistaken. Their inhabitants have always nurtured relationships and exchange with other regions and cultures. Even the very first settlers of the Alpine regions of Western Austria preferred the high altitude parts to live in, since they provided a higher protection. And yet, the supposedly insuperable borders of the mountains were already conquered in the area’s early history, and the region was bisected by trade routes extending as far as the Mediterranean.

Austria is predominantly a nation of upland areas and high mountains, with the Eastern Alps occupying a good 60 percent of its territory. The nation’s Alps are blessed with a long and lavish snow season. The high altitude of many of its mountains brings about ideal snowy conditions, extending well into spring. And there are profuse reasons to love winter in Austria. Its skiing regions offer a great variety of ski runs, activities and fabulous scenery. With a wealth of perfectly groomed pistes, unrivalled après-ski and off-the-slopes activities and premier world-class ski schools, the country is widely recognised as one of the world's best snow-sure skiing destinations. You'll find a wealth of extensive possibilities all over the country. If you desire to mix it up, preferring to ski a different slope every day during your journey, you will most likely enjoy Arlberg – now Austria’s biggest contiguous skiing area-, or Skicircus – one of the world’s top 10 largest ski resorts. Or you may prefer intimate atmosphere, such as hidden gems like Sankt Johann- Alpendorf or Hochkönig. Amongst Austria’s 426 ski areas, you are certain to be satisfied.

Lifestyle in Austria conveys a sentiment of a friendly and unique atmosphere (“Gemütlichkeit”), leaving you with a warm glow. The Austrian notion of Gemütlichkeit is hard to explain. This term is so specific and unique to this country, it embodies cosiness, comfort and homeliness. You will find lashings of this during your winter skiing adventure. Warm and cozy chalets invite you to relax nursing a hot spicy Glühwein or schnapps in front of a crackling log fire.

If you wish to immerse yourself deeper into the Austrian culture, experience its Après-ski. The Austrian’s Gemütlichkeit way of living is fact also present in their Après-ski culture, which is highly enviable and unrivalled - adding to the attraction of this destination. Here parties kick off in the early afternoon with friendly crowds, delicious food, catchy tunes, Jägertee, lashings of fantastic local beer or schnapps in a room where the old-favourite après-ski songs erupt in a general jolly chorus.

And after a long day skiing on the pistes of the Alps, let you tempted by the wonderful Austrian dishes, which reveals a lot about the country’s mentality. As a matter of fact, the saying “you are what you eat” fits well to Austria’s numerous regional specialties, which undoubtedly reveal their epicurean tendencies and their love for their native cuisine. Many of the culinary specialties stem from the tradition of Royal-Cuisine (“Hofküche) delivered over centuries, derived from that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Typical Austrian culinary specialties include Wiener Schnitzel, apricot dumplings, the Linzer Tochte, the Sacher Tochte or the Millirahmstrudel. However, a great number of the dishes considered to be traditional dishes have seen the light of day through centuries of intercultural dialogue. The Austrians have always been masters in uniting a great variety of cultural influences on a single plate. In fact, Austrian culinary specialties read like a stroll through the cultural history of Europe, like a journey into the past. For example, the famous Wiener Schnitzel’s roots are to be found not in Vienna but in Venice. Italian chefs were frying meat in a breadcrumb wrapper as early as the sixteenth century.

Beyond the ski slopes, there is a multitude of possibilities in terms of thrilling experiences. Austria’s winter wonderland offers an infinite number of activities off the slopes, thanks to the prodigious arena of mountains and lakes. Discover spectacular panoramic views, wild animals and winter flora. Owing to its extensive areas of natural thermal waters and fresh Alpine air, Austria has a long nurtured a tradition based on well-being and health with a wealth of superior spas just a stone’s throw from the ski slopes. For adrenaline junkies, you can get your fix on the dizzy heights of frozen waterfalls while ice climbing. You may yet favor a touch of magic into your winter adventure by taking a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride with local schnapps or tasting hot doughnuts under one of Austria’s world renowned Christmas markets’ twinkling lights.

At any time of the year, Austria is a fascinating country to visit. But the period from late November to the end of the year holds a very special meaning. As a matter of fact, you get closer to some of the most beautiful aspects of this country’s deeply rooted folk traditions, which come alive in joyful and colorful celebrations. As early as the 12th of November to 6th of January, Christmas lights sparkle and decorations adorn the streets of Austria’s cities and villages. Shop for souvenirs and Christmas tree decorations, or just appreciate the festal ambiance and join the locals in the early evening to enjoy a steaming mug of Glühwein and some roasted chestnuts. During the four weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, charming Christmas Markets pop up in every Austrian town, all over the country. Visit these Christmas markets, taste numerous delightful displays, cookies and pastries that symbolize the spirit of Christmas...

The possibilities are unlimited, and you’re guaranteed to live unforgettable moments on your holiday in Austria.

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