Lonely Planet guide to Austria

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Austria has few peers as a year-round holiday destination, with plenty of winter sports in the Alps, some of the most impressive and overblown architecture in Europe and an unrivalled musical tradition that even The Sound of Music couldn't sully.

Austria's cities have plenty to engage visitors: Vienna is the capital, hub of the country's musical life and littered with beautiful buildings; music, art and architecture reach baroque perfection in Salzburg, Mozart's birthplace; Innsbruck's snow-capped peaks frame fascinating historic buildings.

When To Go:

For warm weather, aim for the months between April and October. In the summer high season (July to August) crowds are bigger, prices higher and temperatures in cities can rise to uncomfortable levels.

Austrians also take their summer break at this time and many famous institutions close down. Consequently, June and September are also busy months for tourism, and are quite often the best times for city trips and hiking in the Alps.

During winter you'll find the cities less crowded and the hotel prices lower (except over Christmas and Easter), but it can get bitterly cold. The length of the skiing season depends on the altitude of the resort - skiing is possible on glaciers nearly year-round.

Alpine resorts are very quiet from late April to mid-June, and in November and early December. School children have week-long breaks over Christmas and during February, making it a good time to avoid the pistes.
Festivals occur year-round, although the majority of music festivals are held between May and October.

Fast Facts:

Full Name: Republic of Austria
Capital City: Vienna
Area: 83,858 sq km / 32,378 sq miles
Population: 8,022,300
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1 ()
Daylight Saving Start: last Saturday in March
Daylight Saving End: last Saturday in October
Languages: German (official), Turkish (other). Language spoken by an ethnic minority, Slovenian (other); language spoken by an ethnic minority. Official in Carinthia, Croatian (other). Language spoken by an ethnic minority. Official in Burgenland, English (other). Young people are often fluent in English. Hungarian (other), language spoken by an ethnic minority; official in Burgenland
Religion: 88% Roman Catholic, 6% Protestant
Currency: Euro (€)
Electricity: 230V 50HzHz
Electric Plug Details: European plug with two circular metal pins
Country Dialing Code: 43


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