Brief History of Austria

The history of Austria is rich and multifaceted, with a lineage that dates back to prehistoric times. In ancient times, the area that is now Austria was inhabited by Celtic tribes. Later, the Romans established their rule in the region, leaving behind architectural remnants such as the Carnuntum archaeological site. During the Middle Ages, the Babenberg and Habsburg dynasties played pivotal roles in shaping Austria’s destiny. The Babenbergs ruled until 1246, after which the Habsburgs ascended to power, transforming Austria into a significant European power. Under the Habsburg rule, Austria expanded its territories through strategic marriages and alliances. The dynasty produced influential figures like Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Maria Theresa.

In the 19th century, Austria was a key player in the tumultuous Napoleonic era and later became part of the Austrian Empire. Following the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Austria lost its influence in Germany and shifted its focus towards the Dual Monarchy, forming the Austro-Hungarian Empire with Hungary in 1867. This multinational state thrived until the end of World War I when it dissolved in 1918.

After World War I, Austria became a republic, but the interwar period was marred by economic challenges and political instability. In 1938, Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany during the Anschluss, leading to its involvement in World War II. After the war, Austria was occupied by Allied forces until 1955 when it regained full sovereignty through the Austrian State Treaty.

Since then, Austria has experienced a period of political stability and economic growth, becoming a neutral country and actively participating in international organizations. Today, Austria is known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and contributions to arts and sciences. The country’s historical legacy continues to shape its identity and influence its modern-day society.

About Austria

Country Code: +43.

Crime: Austria is generally considered to be a safe country with a low crime rate compared to many other countries. However, like any country, Austria is not entirely free from crime, and certain areas or situations may present some risks.

Austria’s overall crime rate is relatively low compared to other European countries. Crimes such as petty theft, pickpocketing, and property crimes are more common in urban tourist areas, so visitors should exercise caution and be mindful of their belongings, especially in crowded places.

Violent crimes, such as armed robberies and assaults, are relatively rare in Austria. The country has a strong rule of law and a well-functioning police force that helps maintain public safety.

Austria, like many other European countries, faces some challenges with organized crime, including illegal drug trafficking, human trafficking, and cybercrime. However, these activities generally do not directly impact the safety of tourists and are mainly targeted within specific criminal networks.

Austria has not been immune to the threat of terrorism, and authorities remain vigilant to counter any potential threats. The risk of terrorist attacks exists in many countries worldwide, but Austria has taken significant measures to enhance security and prevent such incidents.

Austria is known for its safe and well-maintained public spaces. However, travelers should still exercise common sense and follow safety guidelines, such as avoiding poorly lit areas at night and using official taxis or public transportation when moving around.

Like in any tourist destination, visitors to Austria should be cautious of scams and fraudulent activities targeting tourists. Common scams include overcharging at restaurants or shops and fake ticket sales for attractions.

Currency: EU Euro.

Electricity: Type F (2-pin round, Schuko). 

Language: German.

Latitude and Longitude: 47.5162° N, 14.5501° E.

Population: 8.956 million (2021).

President: Alexander Van der Bellen.

Christmas Markets in Austria

Christmas markets in Austria are a cherished tradition and a delightful way to celebrate the holiday season. These markets are known for their charming ambiance, festive decorations, and a wide array of seasonal treats and handcrafted goods. 

At these markets, you’ll find delightful holiday decorations, intricate crafts, and delicious seasonal delicacies. The Christmas markets in Austria generally start in late November and run until the end of December, creating a magical atmosphere that draws both locals and tourists alike.

Whether you are seeking unique gifts or simply want to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit, visiting a Christmas market in Austria is a fantastic way to experience the country’s festive traditions.

Vienna Christmas Market (Wiener Christkindlmarkt): One of the most famous Christmas markets in Austria is the Vienna Christmas Market, held in the heart of the capital city. The market takes place in various locations, including the City Hall Square (Rathausplatz).

Visitors can enjoy the beautiful lights, visit the Nativity scene, and shop for handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and toys. The aroma of mulled wine (Gluhwein), roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread cookies fills the air, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Salzburg Christmas Market: Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and a UNESCO World Heritage site, hosts a charming Christmas market in the historic old town. The market is set against the backdrop of the Hohensalzburg Fortress and features wooden stalls selling traditional crafts, regional delicacies, and holiday decorations.

The market is especially magical when snow covers the city.

Innsbruck Christmas Market: Innsbruck, nestled in the Austrian Alps, offers a picturesque Christmas market with a stunning mountain backdrop. The market is held in the medieval old town, where visitors can shop for handicrafts, enjoy musical performances, and savor local Tyrolean specialties.

Graz Christmas Market: Graz, Austria’s second-largest city, hosts a delightful Christmas market in the main square, Hauptplatz. The market showcases a diverse range of goods, from festive decorations and candles to wooden toys and local artworks.

Traditional Austrian delicacies like Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Punsch (punch) are readily available to warm you up in the winter chill.

Linz Christmas Market: Linz, a city with a rich cultural heritage, hosts a lovely Christmas market near the Danube River. Visitors can explore a variety of gift options, enjoy live music performances, and savor tasty treats like Bratwurst and Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes).

Eisenstadt Christmas Market: The town of Eisenstadt, located in the eastern part of Austria, also has a charming Christmas market. It is a more intimate setting compared to some of the larger cities, but it offers a cozy and traditional experience.

National Parks

Austria has several beautiful national parks that showcase the country’s diverse and stunning landscapes. These national parks are protected areas that are carefully managed to preserve their natural beauty, wildlife, and unique ecosystems. 

National Park Gesäuse: Located in the Austrian state of Styria, Gesäuse National Park is known for its rugged and dramatic landscapes. The park features towering limestone mountains, deep gorges, pristine rivers, and dense forests.

Hiking and rock climbing are popular activities here, offering visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the breathtaking Alpine scenery.

National Park Hohe Tauern: Hohe Tauern National Park is the largest protected area in Austria and spans across the provinces of Salzburg, Tyrol, and Carinthia. This park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts, with more than 10,000 plant and animal species calling it home.

The famous Grossglockner, Austria’s highest peak, is also located within the park. Visitors can explore numerous hiking trails, glacial valleys, and waterfalls while experiencing the Alpine flora and fauna.

National Park Kalkalpen: Situated in the provinces of Upper Austria and Styria, Kalkalpen National Park is characterized by its extensive karst landscapes, limestone cliffs, and ancient forests. The park’s centerpiece is the Reichraminger Hintergebirge mountain range, which offers excellent opportunities for hiking and wildlife observation.

National Park Neusiedler See-Seewinkel: This unique national park is located in the eastern part of Austria, bordering Hungary. It encompasses the Neusiedler See, a vast steppe lake, and the Seewinkel, a wetland area. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is crucial for bird migration. It provides a habitat for numerous bird species and other wildlife, making it a significant destination for birdwatchers and nature lovers.

National Park Thayatal: Thayatal National Park is situated in the northern part of Lower Austria, near the border with the Czech Republic. The park’s defining feature is the Thaya River, which has carved a deep and picturesque canyon through the limestone rocks.

Hiking trails lead visitors through forests and meadows, offering glimpses of the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in the area.

Top Tourist Attractions

Austria is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offering a wide range of tourist attractions for visitors to explore. 

Vienna: The capital city of Austria, Vienna, is a cultural hub known for its imperial history, stunning architecture, and vibrant arts scene. Visitors can explore iconic landmarks like Schönbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the State Opera House. Vienna is also famous for its classical music heritage, with attractions such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera.

Salzburg: The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg is a charming city nestled amidst the Alps. The historic old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts iconic attractions like Hohensalzburg Fortress, Mirabell Palace, and the Salzburg Cathedral. Visitors can also follow in the footsteps of “The Sound of Music” film and explore filming locations.

Innsbruck: Surrounded by the majestic Austrian Alps, Innsbruck is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and winter sports enthusiasts. The city hosted the Winter Olympics twice and offers activities like skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. Key attractions include the Golden Roof, the Imperial Palace, and the Bergisel Ski Jump.

Hallstatt: A picturesque village nestled by Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt) and surrounded by steep mountains, Hallstatt is often referred to as one of the most beautiful lakeside towns in the world. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls, explore the Hallstatt Salt Mine, and take in breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding landscapes.

Graz: The second-largest city in Austria, Graz, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a well-preserved historic center. Dominated by Schlossberg Hill and its clock tower, the city offers a blend of modern and traditional architecture, museums, and vibrant markets.

Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave: Located near Werfen, this is the largest ice cave in the world. The cave is a natural wonder, filled with mesmerizing ice formations, frozen waterfalls, and intricate ice sculptures.

Wachau Valley: A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Wachau Valley is a picturesque stretch along the Danube River, known for its terraced vineyards, charming towns, and ancient castles. Melk Abbey and the town of Dürnstein are popular highlights.

Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave: Located near Werfen, this is the largest ice cave in the world. The cave is a natural wonder, filled with mesmerizing ice formations, frozen waterfalls, and intricate ice sculptures.

Grossglockner High Alpine Road: This famous panoramic road takes visitors through the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park, offering breathtaking views of Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner, and the surrounding Alpine landscapes.

Lake Neusiedl: A vast steppe lake located in eastern Austria, Lake Neusiedl is a popular destination for birdwatching, water sports, and cycling. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an important habitat for diverse bird species.


Austria experiences a temperate continental climate with distinct seasonal variations. 

Spring (March to May): Spring in Austria is generally mild and pleasant. Temperatures gradually rise, and you can expect blooming flowers and green landscapes.

However, the weather can still be quite changeable during this season, with occasional rain showers.

Summer (June to August): Summers in Austria are warm to hot, especially in the low-lying areas. Temperatures can reach the mid to high 20s Celsius (mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit).

The mountainous regions offer a refreshing escape from the heat, and it’s a popular time for hiking and outdoor activities.

Autumn (September to November): Autumn brings cooler temperatures, and the foliage starts to change to vibrant colors, making it a beautiful time to visit. In September, you can still enjoy mild and pleasant weather, while November can be chilly, especially in the higher elevations.

Winter (December to February): Winters in Austria can be cold, particularly in the Alpine regions where snowfall is common. Skiing and winter sports enthusiasts flock to the country during this time.

In the cities, temperatures can vary, but it’s generally colder, and you may encounter snow in Vienna and other urban areas.

The eastern part of the country, including Vienna and the Danube Valley, tends to have a Pannonian climate, with warmer and drier conditions. The western and Alpine regions have a more mountainous climate, with colder winters and milder summers.