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If you've ever seen The Sound of Music, you'll know that Austria is a land of gorgeous palaces, culture and stunning mountain scenery. In fact, it's a country that is perfect for a road trip.

About Austria

Austria was once at the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which covered most of Central Europe. Today this land-locked country still shows many signs of its illustrious past, with cities rich in baroque architecture and culture, but it's also a modern, forward-thinking nation. It's the country that gave the world Mozart and the Viennese waltz but it's also the country of Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst. Most of Austria is covered by the Alps but in the east, the mountains make way for large plains. Like its diverse scenery, Austria's population is diverse too, with a German-speaking majority and significant communities of Eastern European descent as well as people with Turkish ancestry.

The must-sees of Austria

One of the main attractions in Austria is its mountains, which have made this country a skiing mecca. However, there is plenty to do during the summer months too. Austria has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic centres of Vienna, Graz and Salzburg. These cities are definite must-sees for their museums, palaces and café culture. However, throughout the country you'll also find almost too many charming villages to mention, as well as the scenic outdoors.

A suggested road trip through Austria

A good place to start any road trip through Austria is Vienna, the capital. Let arrange a rental car for you, which they can have waiting at the airport or bring to your hotel. In Vienna, explore the historic centre as well as another World Heritage Site, the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn. Indulge in Wiener Schnitzel and Sachertorte or snack on sausages as you watch the Danube flow by. From Vienna, drive the 200 km southwest to Graz. See the city's famous clock tower, explore the museums and the historic centre and enjoy the views from Schloßberg. Then travel northwest to Salzburg, about 136 km away. This beautiful city was the birthplace of Mozart and was made famous as one of the major filming locations for The Sound of Music. Near Salzburg, also explore the city's scenic lake district, the Salzkammergut. Then drive almost 400 km via Innsbruck and the Alps to Bregenz on the shores of Lake Constance in the west. The lake is shared with Switzerland and Germany and apart from boat cruises, breath-taking scenery and water sports, this is also the setting for the Bregenz Festival. The highlight of this summer arts festival is the opera production, which features a spectacular floating stage that blends the best of modern Austrian design with the country's glorious musical heritage.

Locations in Austria