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  • Burgenland
    Burgenland
    Burgenland is the easternmost and least populous state of Austria Read more >> →
  • Carinthia
    Carinthia
    Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state or Land. Read more >> →
  • Lower Austria
    Lower Austria
    Lower Austria is the northeasternmost state of the nine states in Austria. Read more >> →
  • Salzburg
    Salzburg
    Salzburg is a state (Land) of Austria. It is officially named Land Salzburg Read more >> →
  • Styria
    Styria
    Styria is a state or Bundesland, located in the southeast of Austria. Read more >> →
  • Tyrol
    Tyrol
    is a federal state (Bundesland) in western Austria. It comprises the Austrian part ... Read more >> →
  • Upper Austria
    Upper Austria
    Upper Austria is one of the nine states or Bundesländer of Austria. Its capital is Linz. Read more >> →
  • Voralberg
    Voralberg
    Voralberg is the western most federal state (Bundesland) of Austria. Although it has Read more >> →

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General infomation about Austria

 

Honestly, I wouldn't be able to describe Austrian's landscapes in as much detail as the article on come2upperaustria.com . Therefore I just copied and pasted the text in the hope the owner of this site agrees with it. However, here it goes:

"Despite its small size, Austria features a wide variety of landscapes. Between the steppes of the Pannonian lowlands in the eastern part of the country and the Alpine regions of the west, there are forests and rolling hills, wetlands, lake plateaus and – in the south – Mediterranean-influenced landscapes.

 

The alpine foreland

The Alpine foothills have always been farmland, where local farmers cultivate grain and fruit orchards and raise livestock. There are two »forelands« in Austria: the more northern lowlands and hilly country extend from the northern edge of the Alps to the Bohemian Massif, which begins at the Danube; they extend from the Salzburger Flachau district across the Upper Austrian regions of the Innviertel, Traunviertel and Hausruckviertel to the Mostviertel in Lower Austria, and even into the Tullnerfeld region. The south-eastern Alpine foreland includes hilly areas in southern Burgenland as well as hilly sections of eastern Styria.

In earlier geological epochs, sedimentary layers of clay, sand, and gravel up to 5,000 m thick were deposited in the Alpine foothills, and the extensive gravel deposits found in the »Traun-Enns Plate« were created. The current topography found in the Alpine fore lands evolved during the Ice Age. Today, the area is rich farmland boasting fields of grain and fruit orchards. Agriculture is an integral part of the Austrian landscape.

 

The Northern Alpine Foreland

The Traun River runs through Upper Austria’s Traunviertel where many large quadrangle farmhouses (»Vierkanthof«) are commonly found in the region. There are four adjoining and enclosed buildings which create a central inner courtyard (not to be confused with the »Vierseitenhof«, in which one of the sides can be formed by a wall instead of a building.) These farms can be found primarily in the Innviertel region of Upper Austria. The Mostviertel region of Lower Austria is another important section of the northern Alpine forelands. The name is derived from the apple and pear cider produced by local farmers.

 

The Eastern Alpine Foreland

On the eastern edge of the Alps, beginning at the Leithagebirge Mountains, the Alpine forelands is comprised of hilly regions in southern Burgenland and Styria as well as eastern Styria. The climate, which is relatively mild for Austria, is well suited for wine growing. An additional regional delicacy is pumpkin seed oil. Eastern Styria also is Austria’s largest apple growing region. Apples and apple dishes are prevalent and the juice is pressed to produce apple juice and cider.
The hot springs region of eastern Styria and the bordering province of Burgenland (»Thermenregion«) are popular destinations for Austrians and visitors from neighboring countries thanks to its numerous mineral springs and the relatively mild climate. The hill country is not only renowned for hot mineral springs, but also for the orchards and vineyards that flourish in its fertile soil. The area extends from the mountains of Joglland in the north to the hilly regions in eastern Styria, to the south and the chain of hills that form the border between Austria, Hungary and Slovenia.

The Alps

These imposing mountains, which extend from the Rätikon range of the Central Eastern Alps in Vorarlberg to the Gutensteiner Alps in the east, have been inhabited for thousands of years. Both the Verwallgruppe of the Zillertal Alps, which has few glaciers, and the Hohen Tauern, are especially popular hiking areas. The main chain of mountains is approximately 120 km long. The formidable mountains that constitute the mountain range form the geographical center of the Central Alps. The Großglockner, Austria’s tallest mountain with a summit extending 3,789 m, towers into the sky. The Pasterze, the largest glacier in the eastern Alps, lies at its base. The Ötztal Alps include the Wildspitze (3,774 m) and the Similaun (3,607 m), and is one of the largest mountain groups of the eastern Alps. The »Niedere Tauern« group of mountains with its popular hiking trails all the way to Hochgolling (2,862 m) form the last section of the Hohen Tauern range.

 

Mountains & Water

For thousands of years, Alpine rivers and streams, such as the Inn (which stems from the Swiss Engadin and travels 510 km to the Danube), have run through the valleys and have been important trade and transportation routes for local settlements. The Inn flows through Innsbruck, the capital of the province of Tyrol. Innsbruck, with the Golden Roof, Imperial Hofburg and Ambos Castle, is considered one of the most beautiful Alpine cities in the world. The 220 km long Salsas runs through the city of Salzburg. Both river valleys connect southern Germany to Switzerland and Italy via the Brenner Pass. Dynamic reservoir power stations such as Kölnbreinspeicher (Carinthia) and the high mountain water reservoirs of Kaprun attest to the significance of Alpine hydraulic power as a source of energy. The mountain lakes and the Alpine forelands are of unrivalled beauty and visitors have always enjoyed the picturesque lakes in the Salzkammergut region, which include the Wolfgangsee, Attersee, Mondsee, Hallstätter See und Traunsee.

 

Unparalleled Natural Alpine Beauty

One of the best ways to enjoy Austria’s Alpine region and the natural beauty of the Alps is by cycling and hiking. Visitors can roam among the oaks, beeches, spruce trees, pines and larches in the dense foothill forests or enjoy the wildflowers such as the gentians, Alpine rose and meadow saxifrage and edelweiss, or observe local chamois, wild goats, groundhogs, jackdaws and ptarmigans.

The mountain regions offer something for everyone. Cattle graze peacefully on the numerous Alpine pastures and hikers can enjoy the serenity of the mountains, and sometimes even stay in small huts in the mountain pastures that offer traditional Austrian Alpine cuisine. During late summer, the cattle are brought down from the Alpine meadows to the valley and the cattle drive is often celebrated with music and local dance traditions. The cattle are colorfully decorated for the event. Many traditional Alpine customs are still being practiced today, including those associated with the Twelve Days/Nights around Christmas and the demon runs in Salzburg and Upper Austria. A more recent tradition is the splendid annual spring »Daffodil Festival« in Bad Aussee.

 The Vienna Bassin

Austria’s capital, which is also the country’s most densely populated and most heavily industrialized region, offers a number of recreational options both in and around the city.

The Vienna Basin extends southward from the Danube to the Vienna Forest in the west, the Semmering and the »Bucklige Welt« in the south, and the Rosaliengebirge and Leithagebirge Mountains in the southeast and the east. The area consists of four different small landscapes, of which the most interesting is the Thermal Region from Bad Fischau to Vienna-Oberlaa. Many residents enjoy the local natural spring waters and local spa resorts are popular destinations, particularly during the cold winter months. The wine region in the southernmost part of Lower Austria is also very popular. The mild Pannonian climate provides excellent conditions for producing white wine, including the aromatic Zierfandler and opulent Rotgipfler wines.

Baden, not far from Vienna, is a popular thermal spa location, whose Roman thermal spa dates back to the Biedermeier period. Visitors can also enjoy the Art Deco thermal beach, the casino, a horse racing track and a golf course.

Mödling is located nearby, situated amidst picturesque craggy cliffs. Visitors are often impressed by the romantic palacial atmosphere, the town’s imperial past and well as its popular city theatre and summer comedy performances. The Laxenburg Palace grounds are like a large park and boat rides on the palace pond are an ideal way to spend a romantic afternoon. The wine taverns in Gumpoldskirchen and Perchtoldsdorf also host summer theater performances, and the thermal spas in Bad Fischau/Brunn as well as Bad Vöslau are also worth a visit. To the southeast lies the third »small landscape«: the barren »Steinfeld« area west of Wiener Neustadt. The fourth small landscape area in the Vienna Basin serves as a traffic hub of European dimension. This flatland and hilly region south of the Danube has fertile cropland, forests and vineyards.

 

Waldviertel & Mühlviertel

The Bohemian Massive north of the Danube is Austria’s oldest mountain range, a remainder the former supercontinent Gondwana. The Austrian part of this mountain range is covered with vast forests and encompasses the extensive forests of the Waldviertel region in Lower Austria as well as the old hilly cultural landscape of the Mühlviertel region in Upper Austria. In the area known as the »quarter above Manhartsberg«, the climate is drier and more harsh; agriculture, forestry and fish farming are predominant. The natural reserve Blockheide in Gmünd is a heather landscape and among the small fields and forests visitors can discover giant granite blocks of intriguing shapes, including colossal »wobbling« stones, as well as raised bogs (characteristic of this region). At the natural reserve Heidenreichsteiner Moor, visitors can enjoy and study the moor along a 2.5 km walkway.

 

Diversity in Bandlkramerland

The contrasting landscape between Nebelstein (1,017 m) in the north and Peilstein (1,061 m) in the south is ideal for hiking, cycling and crosscountry skiing in the winter. The hiking trails wind along the Krems, Ysper and Kamp Rivers– each with three impressive lakes that serve as power plant reservoirs. The Thaya Valley can be best experienced by taking a tour of the natural reserve Thayatal-Dobersberg. Fishermen will be delighted by the many fishing ponds and guests can enjoy thermal and mudbaths in Harbach, Therme Laa in Bad Großpertholz and in Gars am Kamp. The museums located along the »Textile Road« in Groß-Siegharts, Waidhofen/Thaya and Weitra commemorate a period of time when the Waldviertel was a textile region. The name »Bandlkramerland« stems from the itinerant textile laborers who used to work in the region.
Additional cultural landmarks include the monasteries in Zwettl, Altenburg and Geras, Burg Heidenreichstein as well as castles in Weitra, Rosenau, Ottenstein und Rosenburg. Between the Danube and Bohemian Forest, stately farmhouses, wellfortified castles and magnificent palaces dot the landscape of the Mühlviertel region. The region extends from Strudengau on the Danube in the south to Plöckenstein (1,379 m) in the north. Visitors can marvel at the river valleys and the steep gullies which lead into the Danube, as well as at the rustic scenery. Some of the agricultural areas near Rohrbach and Freistadt are located at high altitudes and feature mountain farms. For hundreds of years, salt and iron trade and commerce between Upper Austria and Bohemia shaped the region’s local economy. The horse-drawn railway was first constructed in 1832 along the old »salt road«between Linz and Budweis and was the first railway line in continental Europe. Today, historical castles and ruins such as Clam (home to theatre performances and concerts), the cultural center in Piberstein, and the panorama platform in Haichenbach bear witness to the region’s past.
Hiking trails offer visitors fantastic landscape views, dozens of museums, natural reserves and working museums featuring demonstrations of historical weaving techniques from blue-printing to candle-making; a trip to the Mühlviertel region is most certainly a rewarding experience. Additional places of interest include the Premonstratensian monastery in Schlägl, which was constructed in 1281, and the Cistercian abbey in Wilhering. In Sandl visitors can marvel at pictures painted on the back of glass. Austria’s largest collection of this traditional art form can be found in the Mühlviertler Heimathaus in Freistadt. A 500 year old winged altar by an unknown artist is the pride of the Kefermarkt church and is admired by tourists and art lovers alike.

 Styrian Tuscany

The hilly landscape and excellent wines produced in southern Styria have led some to nickname the region the »Styrian Tuscany«. 

Southern Styria consists primarily of the Leibnitz hinterlands and parts of the western and eastern Styrian hills. The region’s climate is mild, influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. In autumn, the high-pressure Adriatic system ensures long periods of pleasant, sunny weather.

 

Gourmet Grape Juice

The wine-growing conditions in the region are ideal, particularly for wine varieties such as »Blauer Zweigelt«, »Muscat Blanc«, »Sauvignon Blanc«, »Pinot Blanc« and »Welschriesling«. »Schilcher« wines, a special kind of rosé, are produced solely in Western Styria. The Southern Styrian Wine Route, the Sausaler Wine Route and the »Wind Clapper« Wine Route boast numerous wine taverns, vineyards and wineries as well as festivals (such as the Gamlitz Wine Festival held annually during the first weekend of October). The »Wind-Clapper« Wine Route is named after the wooden windmills in the vineyards which serve as scarecrows.

 

Thermal Spas in Styria

The thermal spas in Bad Radkersburg and Bad Gleichenberg attract many visitors to the area. Meteorologists have confirmed that Bad Radkersburg has more hours of sunshine than any other place in Austria. The thermal spas offer guests a place to relax and enjoy the highly mineralized thermal waters. Those of the »Stadtquelle« come from a depth of 205 m. Those in the »Bad Radkersberg Thermalquelle« come from a depth of almost 2 km and are among the hottest and most mineral-rich springs in the region.

 

Numerous Bike Trails

Cycling along the bike trails in southern Styria is the most ideal way to explore the region. The last 90 km leg of the 365 km Murradweg Trail (starting in Lungau) takes cyclists through the capital of Styria to the Slovenian border. The scenic Sterz, Römer, Weinland and Sulmtal Bike Trails also take cyclists through beautiful, picturesque countryside. Seggau Palace boasts an impressive Renaissance courtyard and is the site of an archaeological excavation of the Roman metropolis of Flavia Solva, including the temple museum Frauenberg, where ancient Romans once performed their rituals. The center now houses a conference center.

 

The Steppe Landscape of Seewinkel

The climatically mild Pannonian lowlands and the steppe landscape of the Seewinkel, are known for their rustic vineyards, and quaint villages with old elongated farmhouses. The largest part of the Pannonia lowlands lies in Hungary, between the Alps, the Carpathian Mountains, the Balkans, the Dinaric Alps, the Danube and Tisza Rivers. In Austria, the northern part of Burgenland belongs to the Pannonian Lowlands. This area includes Lake Neusiedl with the Seewinkel, and salt-steppe country dotted with small lakes and ponds. The lowlands are relatively hot and dry in the summer, not too cold in the winter, and very sunny – Burgenland has over 300 hundred days of sun a year and calls itself »the land of sun«.

Ideal Wine-Growing Conditions

The climate is excellent for wine-growing. The area has over 7,000 wineries. The vineyards and hilly regions around Lake Neusiedl account for more than a quarter of Austria’s total agricultural acreage. A large number of top red and white wines stem from this region. Here you will find many dedicated young wine-growers and impressive wine cellars. There are many traditions associated with wine-growing. In the region on the northern shore of Lake Neusiedl, locals celebrate the eleventh of November, the name day of their patron, Saint Martin, with the »Martiniloben«, a festival which lasts several days. This festival is one of the largest and most popular wine festivals in Austria. The »Festival of 1,000 Wines« in Eisenstadt is held annually at the end of August and gives visitors a chance to enjoy excellent local wines and traditional music.

 

Grey Cattle & Racka Sheep

In the salt steppe country of the Seewinkel area in Lake Neusiedl, visitors can discover the characteristic Pannonian flora and fauna. The area on the eastern shore of the lake is one of the most important steppe regions in Europe. During some seasons, a few of the 45 »ponds« – small salty lakes – in the area can be completely dried out and some can be over 70 cm deep.
Lake Neusiedl is the westernmost steppe lake in Europe as well as the largest lake in Austria. The lake is 33.5 kms in length, 12 km wide and never more than 180 cm deep. The lake has extensive marshes and a surface of approximately 285 km², (200 km² located in Austria and the rest located in Hungary). The lake is the center of an Austrian-Hungarian national park, 90 km² of which is located on the Austrian side and home to rare grey cattle and Racka sheep as well as over 300 bird species. The Tourist Information Center holds regularly scheduled natural history tours.

Storks in Rust & Operettas in Mörbisch

In 2001 UNESCO declared the region of Lake Neusiedl and its bordering regions in Austria and Hungary a world cultural heritage and natural heritage site. Since then, the old historic town center of Rust with its famous stork nests has been under UNESCO protection, along with the quaint historic streets of Mörbisch, a town that attracts opera lovers from far and wide with popular summer performances on its lake stage, and the Roman stone quarries of St. Margarethen where an opera festival and a passion play are held.
The day-to-day life and artisan traditions practiced in many small villages around the lake are well documented in the open-air village museum of Mönchhof. Visitors can also learn more about the region’s eventful history by strolling through Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland, and visiting many places of interest there, including the Baroque castle of the Esterházy dynasty. In the 17th century, the Esterházys were one of the most influential and powerful families in northern and central Burgenland and the family’s influence can be seen everywhere in the region."