Austria borders Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Modern Austria dates back to the ninth century, when the name “Ostarrichi” (Old High German for “Eastern Territory”) was first used in an official document.
The country is known the world over for its music: Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Mozart, and Strauß (father and son) are some of the more prominent names of composers but Austria has more recent musical exports including Falco and DJ Ötzi.
One of the most popular destinations in Austria (Österreich) is, of course, its capital city, Wien (Vienna), which offers imperial tradition, wine taverns, the coffee house (Kaffeehaus), and a blend of modern and traditional architecture. There are of course so many beautiful and distinct areas of the country, all worth a visit at one time or another.
There are nine federal states (Bundesländer)
- Burgenland – capital Eisenstadt;
- Carinthia (Kärnten) – capital Klagenfurt;
- Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) – capital St. Pölten;
- Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) – capital Linz;
- Salzburg – capital Salzburg;
- Styria (Steiermark) – capital Graz;
- Voralberg – capital Bregenz;
- Vienna (Wien) – capital Vienna
If you are driving, make sure to have purchased an Autobahnvignette (toll sticker) and Warnwesten (safety vest, one of the latter for each occupant of the car – and they must be kept inside the vehicle, not in the trunk) before entering Austria.
Austrian Airlines offers non-stop flights from New York (JFK) and Washington, D.C. to Vienna and features numerous non-stop flights from destinations within Europe and the Middle East to Vienna as well.
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.