Few countries have so much variety packed into such a small space. Austria’s architecture and mountains are as awe-inspiring as the hearty food is filling, and as the classical music is moving. Austria’s culture is distinct and proud, but an adequate dose of multiculturalism ensures that there’s plenty of food options besides cakes, pork, potatoes and sausages. To top it off, the public transportation is superb, even by European standards.

Travel-worthiness verdict: One of Europe’s top must-see countries

Cultural Icons: Coffeehouses, classical music, alpine skiing, castles, the Habsburgs’ impact on history

Prices: Expensive

You’ll love: The natural beauty, the coffee culture, the architecture, the public transport

You’ll hate: The off-hand and rude service, the prices

Difficulties traveling: Prices

Language(s): German

Culture, Arts, and Society: Austria is a modern, developed country. Most well known abroad is Austria’s influence on classical music, but across the board, it has a rich heritage in the high arts. Austria is also very well known for its architecture. When the Habsburgs developed the architecture that Vienna is today known for, they absorbed influences from many different European styles.

Ethnic Makeup: 88% of people in Austria speak German as their first language. The remaining population is largely made up of immigrants from Turkey and the former Yugoslavia.

Food: Austria’s coffee culture is very well known, as are its pastries. Apple Strudel is one of the most notable. Austria’s most well known national meal is probably Wiener Schnitzel, although this is by no means the only icon of Austrian cuisine. Like other central European countries, Austria has a wide variety of sausages.

Top Destinations

Vienna: The capital, with great art, great coffee, and great architecture.

Salzburg: Mozart’s birthplace.

Innsbruck: A large town in the alps with a variety of adventure activities in the surrounding peaks.

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