Charismatic, cosmopolitan cities, splendid Alpine scenery, exquisite palaces, Austria is one of the world's most affluent countries, and is overlooked by the second most prominent peak in Europe, the 3,798m Großglockner.
This remarkably photogenic nation was the home of one of the most influential neurologists in history, Sigmund Freud, and the birthplace of many famous composers such as Johann Strauss I, Mozart and Joseph Haydn.
Austria is great for a visit with friends for the cultural, artistic and party scene in Vienna or Salzburg. As a couple or with your family, you can enjoy wonderful Alpine forests or the majestic lakes of Carinthia. Whatever your tastes, your weekend in Austria will leave you with unforgettable memories.
There is no shortage of places to party in Austria. In Sölden or in Obertauern, nightlife plays a major role in resort life. But it is in Ischgl that the meaning of party moves into full swing, with must-see venues such as Trofana Tenne, Schloss-Lounge and Posthörndl. Top DJs come from around the world to mix at the nightclubs, much to the delight of party animals. So during your weekend in Austria, make the most of a super lively party atmosphere.
Spend some time at the Hofburg Palace, which was the residence of influential monarchs for more than seven centuries and is now a fascinating exhibition venue with three renowned museums. These are the Silver Collection, featuring many intriguing imperial artefacts; the Imperial Apartments, housing majestic grand 18th- and 19th-century furniture; and the Sisi Museum, containing hundreds of items once owned by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
The city is also revered for its awe-inspiring Schönbrunn Palace, another former royal residence that is known for its spectacular Baroque architecture and has more than 1,400 rooms. Other highly rated attractions include the enchanting Belvedere palace and museum, the acclaimed Tiergarten Schönbrunn zoo (the world's oldest zoo), the striking 12th-century St Stephen's Cathedral, and the princely Vienna State Opera.
In Vienna, take the time to discover the historical places of the Austrian capital and follow the Baroque footsteps of the legendary emperors and empresses. In Salzburg, for a romantic weekend in Austria, let yourself be enchanted by the magic of this classical music paradise and walk in the footsteps of Mozart and so many other composers during the famous festival. In the heart of Tyrol, enjoy some wonderful mountain hikes or ski in Europe’s most beautiful ski resorts. And throughout all of Austria, admire the well-preserved traditions and folklore, while enjoying the vibrant and lively nightlife of the big cities.
If you're looking for luxury accommodation in the city, you could choose the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, Hotel Sacher Wien or The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, or consider the more affordable MEININGER Hotel Wien Downtown Franz or the ibis budget Wien Messe.
Take in the astonishing views of Hohensalzburg Castle, which is one of Europe's largest and was completed in the late medieval era. You could also visit the beautifully preserved Baroque-style Hellbrunn Palace, the spectacular Benedectine monastery St Peter's Abbey, or the charismatic early-17th-century Mirabell Palace with its wonderful landscaped gardens.
The Hotel Sacher Salzburg and Hotel Schloss Monchstein are some of the most reputed deluxe hotels in the city, while the Crowne Plaza Hotel Salzburg - The Pitter and NH Salzburg City provide excellent value for money.
Popular with tourists taking skiing holidays in Austria in the winter and spring, Innsbruck is location of the grand Tyrolean State Museum, where you can see works of art from many distinguished artists and learn about the history of Europe from the prehistoric era. See the vast Renaissance-themed Ambras Castle, admire the tremendous Gothic church Hofkirche, and witness the unique 15th-century Goldenes Dachl structure with its 2,738 copper tiles.
The budget-friendly Baerenwirth - Hotel & Restaurant and BEST WESTERN PLUS Hotel Leipziger Hof are some of the top-rated places to stay in Innsbruck, as are high-end accommodation establishments such as the Grand Hotel Europa and The Penz Hotel.
Take a day trip to the magnificent 11th-century Melk Abbey in Melk, or climb to the top of the scenic Schloßberg hill and fortress in the Graz. For some breathtaking natural scenery, visit the shores of the exceptionally clean Achen Lake, or, for more medieval inspiration, see the 11th-century Hohenwerfen Castle overlooking Werfen.
Winter is the perfect time for spending the weekend in a ski resort. Vienna and Salzburg can be discovered in spring and autumn to take advantage of the fine sunshine and the pleasant temperatures. In the Alps, or on the banks of the Carinthian lakes, the temperature differences are more significant.
Austrian cuisine is a delicious concoction of German and Central European culinary inspirations. During your weekend in Austria, don’t miss the firm favourite – the Knödel – a potato, breadcrumb or ground rice dumpling served as a side to Schnitzel, breaded meat that you can always find in traditional restaurants.
If you are looking for traditional restaurants, you will be in your element wherever you go in the country. If you visit the vineyards of Burgenland, Styria or Vienna, step inside a “Heuriger”, where you can indulge in traditional dishes while enjoying the local wine. A tradition of choice for all wine lovers. In Vienna, there is also a great coffee culture, which you can drink in a variety of ways. For a typical coffee, order an “Einspänner”, served like in the 19th century in a glass with Chantilly cream: Viennese coffee in all its splendour!