Small, landlocked Austria offers glorious Alpine scenery, monumental Habsburg architecture, world-class museums, cobbled quaintness, and Wiener schnitzel. Unlike Germany, it's industrious neighbor to the northwest, Austria is content to bask in its good living and elegant, opulent past as the former head of one of Europe's grandest empires. Austrians tend to be relaxed, gregarious people who love the outdoors. However, it’s not all bewigged Mozart ensembles and schnitzel; modern Austria boasts some of Europe’s most varied museums and contemporary architecture not to mention attractive and sophisticated cities whose bars, cafés and clubs combine contemporary cool with elegant tradition.
Austria is primarily known for two contrasting attractions: the fading imperial glories of the capital and the stunning beauty of its Alpine hinterland. Vienna is the gateway to much of central Europe and a good place to soak up the culture of Mitteleuropa. Less renowned provincial capitals such as Graz and Linz are surprising pockets of culture, innovation and vitality. Salzburg, between Innsbruck and Vienna, represents urban Austria at its most picturesque, an intoxicating Baroque city within easy striking distance of the mountains and lakes of the Salzkammergut. Salzburg is musical mecca for fans of Mozart and The Sound of Music, offering a dramatic castle, Baroque churches, near-nightly concerts, and an old town full of winding lanes. And just across the border is the German resort of Berchtesgaden, soaked in alpine scenery and Nazi history. The most dramatic of Austria’s Alpine scenery is around Tyrol, whose capital, Innsbruck, provides the best base for exploration.
Vienna, traditional and exciting unique mixture of imperial tradition with modern creativity makes Austria's capital one of the most popular destinations for city travelers from all over the world. Within Central Europe, Vienna is a prominent metropolis for culture and entertainment, but a city of vitality as well as. Buildings dating back to the baroque, historicism or art nouveau eras, combined with green spaces and large parks, still result in an atmosphere of a romantic imperial city. Additionally, Vienna is a capital of arts, due to several renowned museums, housing world-famous pieces of art: from the Museum of Art History, with the world's largest collection of Bruegel paintings, to the Austrian Gallery Belvedere, exhibiting masterpieces of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.
Vienna is furthermore also called the "City of Music", and indeed, many composers lived in Vienna, such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, Brahms, Mahler and Schoenberg, to only name a few. Still today, e.g. the Viennese Philharmonics, the Vienna State Opera, or the Vienna Boys Choir are some of Vienna's internationally important cultural testimonials.
In Vienna's traditional coffeehouses, it is very easy to just relax from the sightseeing tours, to enjoy local or international specialties, or to simply read newspapers (also foreign ones). In recent years, a modern coffee house generation has developed as well, with trendy interior design and hip music by DJs - coffee house tradition combined with modern trends.