Tucked into the Central European Alps, landlocked by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland, Austria is influenced by many of the surrounding cultures but exists in its own little world.
Despite its high altitude, Austria’s climate is temperate with summer days frequently reaching into the low 30°Cs. It’s a wealthy country; its gross domestic product ranked 12th in the world, and has a cultural sophistication that stems from its long history and the money in the country coffers as well as with the private citizens.
Start your trip to Austria in Vienna. The country's largest city has just under 1.8 million residents, the majority of whom speak German (although many people know a second language and third as well). Touring Vienna is as simple as walking out your hotel door and starting on a journey through history. The Schönbrunn Palace is a popular destination, as is the Naschmarkt flea market, and the museum trifecta of the Leopold Museum, the Kunsthalle Wien, and mumok. You can make your base in one of the many five-star hotels, including Hotel Sacher Wien and Hotel Imperial Vienna.
Once you're done with Vienna – if that's even possible – head to Admont to see the beautiful Benedictine Abbey or travel to Wattens to view the splendour at the Swarovski Kristallwelten, where some of the world's most beautiful crystals are created.
And you can't talk about Austria without mentioning skiing. Cities don't get more perfect than Innsbruck, tucked between two mountain ranges with a wealth of ways to hit the slopes. Salzburg is another skiing option, where you can stay at the divine Hotel Schloss Monchstein.