Choosing to recently visit Austria, was probably one of my smartest travel choices to date. I was blown away with the sheer beauty of this country more and more each day of being there, which made it pretty difficult to leave there to be honest. Situated in Central Europe, this German-speaking country oozes with imperial charm, natural beauty, rugged alpine terrain and cool fresh air. Austria is a federal republic so it is comprised of nine independent federal states, or provinces: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna.
Austria is an absolute dream for nature loving outdoor enthusiasts, with skiing and hiking being its main draw-cards. Austria also caters to high-brow culturists looking to take in classical music concerts, operas and eating in some of the finest restaurants in the world. A country that seamlessly transitions from the imperial palaces and grandiose architecture of Vienna to the emerald green mountains and crystal clear lakes of mountain towns such as Zell am See; there is no shortage of beautiful countryside and impressive history to delight its visitors.
During my nine days of travelling through Austria by rail (ÖBB) I made my way from one end of the country to the other. I visited a total of seven cities, villages and towns during my trip; Vienna, Steyr, Gmunden, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Zell am See and Innsbruck. I chose to concentrate more on visiting the smaller mountain towns and of course, I had to visit the top three major cities; Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck.
Austria is known for museums and culture, hiking and outdoor sports, such as skiing and mountain biking, incredible views accessed by some of the highest cable car rides and of course, amazing food and beer…lots of beer! I was never disappointed with any of the places I was visiting, as they all offered something beautiful to see and involved walking (lots of walking…just ask my busted boots how they are doing) around some of the most beautiful trails and cobblestone streets.
The Austrian way of living is happy and active for the most part due to the close proximity to incredible mountains and more hiking trails than I could imagine and is well above the average quality of life in other countries. Recently, Vienna was voted as the #1 city in the world for quality of life.
As a I made my way across this beautiful country, staring out the train window with jaw dropping views surrounding me, I fell deeply in love with its majestic mountains, vast green valleys dotted with sheep and cows, turquoise coloured streams that flowed beside the train tracks and not to mention those cute little villages with traditional wooden styled homes and guesthouses.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be updating the blog with tons of posts all about the places I visited, things to do and see and of course, bombarding you all with tons of photographs to increase your wanderlust.
They say that in Austria the “hiiiiills are aliiiive with the soooound of muuuuusic.” Well, you know what? They aren’t wrong. From your first glimpse of the mountain ranges as you deeply inhale a breath of fresh alpine air, you may, or may not start to spin around, hands in the air, à la Julie Andrews.