Travel guide

   Austria  Flag of Austria Osterreich 

                                                                  Hallstat Austria Hallstat Austria 

The quick travel guide to Austria and Vienna


Austria is a relatively small country, located in central Europe; it has borders with Germany to the west, the Czech Republic to the north, the Slovak Republic and Hungary to the east and Slovenia and Italy to the south. Austria is landlocked and its geography consists mostly of mountains and forests interspersed with farmland. Forests cover 39% of the country which is the highest proportion in central Europe. The population is around 8.3 million who mostly speak German, which is the official language. The currency is the Euro, which replaced the Austrian schilling in 1999. 

Austria covers 83, 900 square kilometres; 68% of the country lies above 500 metres, and the eastern Alps lie along its southern boundary. The highest point is Gross Glockner which rises to 3,979 m and is part of the Hohe Tauern range. As a consequence of the mountainous terrain Austria's climate is a mixture of temperate and alpine. Two other notable peaks are Wildspitze (3768 m) and Weisskugel (3739 m) which are both in the Otztal Alps in eastern Austria. 


Historically Austria was a part of the Holy Roman Empire and was ruled by the Habsburg dynasty during the period 1526 to the beginning of the 19th century. In 1806 the Holy Roman Empire collapsed as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1867 Austria joined with Hungary to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire which lasted until the start of the first World War in 1914.  The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed completely in 1918 with the end of World War I. After establishing the First Austrian Republic in 1919 Austria was annexed into Greater Germany by the Nazi regime in the so-called Anschluss in 1938. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Austria was occupied by the Allies.

Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. These are (clockwise from the north) Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Vienna, Burgenland, Styria, Tyrol, Voralberg. The Tyrol is well known among travellers as the home of Austrian skiing. The capital, Vienna, —has a population exceeding 1.6 million, and is Austria's largest city. 

Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,570. The country has developed a high standard of living, and in 2008 was ranked 14th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, and is a founder of the OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1998.


Location Map of Austria

                               Map of Austria 

Interactive map of Austria

View Larger Map


< EU guide                                                                                                                              Belgium >


Flag of European Union

Guide to Europe

Travel Guide to the European Union 2013