Austria

Austria posts by Kyle the Vagabond

Heldenplatz Square, Vienna

Heldenplatz Square, Vienna

The since-retired land of the Habsburgs and Mozart still boasts proudly its classical heritage from the mighty Alps down to the shores of the Danube. Exuding a decidedly aristocratic culture, Austria still offers the explorer a wide array of modern day outdoor adventure opportunities, with some of the most scenic terrain in all of central Europe to use as its playing field.

Currency:

Euro; Conversion Rate: 1 Euro = $1.48 (May 3, 2011) For more currency conversion visit xe.com

When to Go:

Like many central European nations, the seasons are remarkably distinct and come with their respective sets of activities. Summer runs from June to August and is the best time of year for hiking and mountain biking, although it brings with it oppressive crowds, higher prices, and sometimes uncomfortable heat. Winter in the plains region can be bitter and cold, although in the Alps region this means plenty of powder to cover the slopes. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, most notably May and September tend to be the most comfortable months with the most agreeable mixture of activities.

The Vagabond’s Personal Top Picks:

au-map

1. Tour the Catacombs of St. Stephens Cathedral, Vienna

Constructed as early as 1147 AD, Vienna’s most prominent symbol of the Church is also home to over 11,000 skeletal remains that fill the hollows chambers of the catacombs.

2. Watch the world go by from Cafe Central, Vienna

Arguably one of Vienna’s most famous coffeehouses, it is renown for the long list of literary, musical, and political heavyweights that have frequented its vaulted interior. The live classical music from the Grand Piano is an added bonus as well.

3. Explore the “Austrian Riviera” on the shores of Lake Worthersee, Klagenfurt.

At 16 km in length, Europe’s largest alpine lake offers the summer visitor a myriad of watersports and sunbathing opportunities, not to mention spirited exploration of the surrounding foothills.

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