The birthplace of a number of famous composers and home to Emperors, Austria has an impressive history which is matched by its many current attractions. Bethan Norris reports.

Winter sports enthusiasts may already be familiar with some of Austria's many attractions as the country is home to some of the best ski resorts in Europe. St Anton, Ischgl, Kitzbuhel and Solden are just some of the destinations popular with skiers keen to  combine their love of outdoor sports with traditional mountain charm. Austria's highest mountain is the Grossglockner, situated in the central eastern Alps and the Pasterze, Austria's most extended glacier lies on its eastern slope.



However, Austria has something for everyone in all seasons and visitors to the capital city of Vienna will be able to indulge themselves in a host of cultural activities, such as visiting the Hofburg - home to Austria's Emperor until 1918 - and listening to the Vienna boys' choir singing mass every Sunday, in a tradition unbroken since 1498. Music lovers will also appreciate a visit to Salzburg where it is possible to visit Mozart's birthplace in the heart of the old city, at 9 Getreidegasse.


The more active visitor might be keen to experience surfing on an artificial wave at the Almkanal in Salzburg. The waterway was installed in the 1200s to bring water to the city and after the wave was installed in 2010, surfers can now experience the narrowest wave in the world.



Austria is also home to many spa towns which have been popular with European visitors throughout history. The spa town of Baden, near Vienna, boasts 18 sulphurous springs and was originally popular with the Romans, as well as Austrian royalty. Baden is also home to Strandbad which is a hot spring combined with the largest beach in Austria.




Things to do and see

Hellbrun Castle in Salzburg
The castle has a trick fountain park, according to Martin Reichmayr at inlingua Salzburg "We highly recommend a trip in hot weather - during the tour through the trick fountain park some water squirts might surprise you and cool you off!"



Worthersee Lake
"The most famous lake is called Worthersee and is located in the surroundings of Klagenfurt, the capital of the region," says Jasmin Pucher from Sprachenzentrum Deutsch in Osterreich "Our language school is just a stone's throw away from the lake. From the Pyramidenkogel which is a famous tower close to Klagenfurt, visitors have a great view of the entire Worthersee and the small villages surrounding it."


The Imperial Butterfly Park
Part of the Hofburg Palace, the butterfly park is in an Art Nouveau palm house containing lush vegetation, a tropical landscape and hundreds of butterflies.




Food and drink


"Webster Vienna Private University is located in a beautiful part of the second district," says Sandra Schneider. "We are surrounded by excellent restaurants. For example, at Mochi one can get the best sushi in town. If you prefer to have a real Viennese dish eat a Wiener Schnitzel. For breakfast dishes and a quick lunch I would suggest going to Café Ansari."



"A well-known local speciality is the Carinthian cheese noodles, which are stuffed with curd, potatoes and mint," says Jasmin. "We are also proud of our Schlickkrapfen-soup which usually contains noodles and a meat filling. A traditional Carinthian dessert is the Reindling which is made from yeast dough mixed with sugar, cinnamon, raisins and butter."


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