Austria Country Information
Discover the elegance of Austria with Prathvi. There are so many wonders in this country that is the epicentre of opera, Art Nouveau, the waltz, hearty apfelstrudel, and tasty Sacher torte. You can glide through the opulence that defines the Habsburg palaces, hike to the top of the Gothic spires at St. Stephen's Cathedral, followed by a glass of wine in a traditional Heuriger garden or in the vineyard-lined Danube River valley. Let the strains of The Sound of Music draw you to Salzburg, where you'll visit Mozart's home. Follow this up with a stay in the picture postcard perfect village of Hallstatt, the gem of the picturesque Salzkammergut Lake District, and finally, explore the snowy peaks of Tirol.
If you want to stray away from the beaten track and create a unique authentic set of travel experiences, Prathvi can make some suggestions. Whether it is a trip to the village of Herrnbaumgarten, near the Czech border, which hosts the Nonseum, a museum full of exhibits invented by eccentrics - from a heated garden gnome to finger nail guillotines to high heel protectors; an underground train and boat ride into the Salzwelten salt cave in Hallein near Salzburg, one of the oldest in the world; a voyage into the yesteryears through a visit to the largest open-air museum of Lower Austria, which is an entire village where eighty historical buildings were disassembled from all over the Weinviertl and rebuilt again true to their original construction at Niedersulz; or an exploration into the complex wonders of nature in the National Park Hohe Tauern where peaks like the Grobglockner, the highest mountain of Austria, wide glaciers as well as the impressive Krimmler Water Falls are an unending source of adventure, these gems are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Let Prathvi help you explore the nooks and crannies of this tiny country that is overflowing with imperial history, stunning vistas, architectural wonders and melodic culture. For any traveller, an extraordinary destination awaits in Austria.
Modern Austrian history begins with the defeat of the Axis Powers in the First World War, when the non-German speaking territories of the former Habsburg Empire achieved independence. The Republic of Austria was established in 1918. The inter-war period was marked by severe social conflicts arising from economic and political instability, culminating in the (fairly benign) absolutist rule of Dollfuss, his assassination in 1934, at Nazi behest, and the gradual rise of pro-Nazi Austrian groups. In 1938, Hitler incorporated Austria into the German Reich with the Anschlub ('Joining').
After the Second World War, Austria was occupied by the USSR, US, UK and France for 10 years, and did not regain its independence until May 1955. On 15 May, after long and difficult negotiations between the 4 powers and Austria, the State Treaty was signed. The key aspect was Austria's commitment to "permanent" neutrality, which Austrians subsequently came to see as a basic element of the Austrian state's identity. Austria has used its neutrality to play a mediating role, often offering Vienna as a venue for meetings of rival parties during the Cold War and since. Following East-West rapprochement and the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1989, and Austria's accession to the European Union in 1995, the logic of neutrality is no longer so absolute. Austria has participated in NATO-led military missions, EU-led civilian missions in the former Yugoslavia and recently in the EU humanitarian mission in Chad (EUFOR) and the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo ("EULEX"). However, there remains a strong political attachment to neutrality, and there is no early prospect of it being formally rescinded.
Culture on the territory of what is today Austria can be traced back to around 1050 B.C. with the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures. However, a culture of Austria as we know it today began to take shape when the Austrian lands were part of the Holy Roman Empire, with the Privilegium Minus of 1156, which elevated Austria to the status of a Duchy, marking an important step in its development. Austrian culture has largely been influenced by its past and present neighbours: Italy, Poland, Germany, Hungary and Bohemia.
Mozart City Tour and Lakes and Mountains
The first part of the tour starts at Mirabell Palace. Next we pass by Mozarteum and the Marionette Theatre. Further along we see the County Theatre, Mozart's Residence and Trinity Church. We cross the river Salzach and pass the Law Courts on our way to Hellbrunn Palace having a short stop here. Returning to Salzburg we pass by Frohnburg Palace, Nonnberg Abbey, the Neutor tunnel, the Horsepon and St. Blasius church before we reach Mozart square. The second part of the tour starts at 2 p.m. from Salzburg Sightseeing Office and shows you the scenic surroundings of the city of Salzburg. In St. Gilgen we see the birthplace of Mozarts' mother. Enjoy the atmosphere in St. Wolfgang with the renowned White Horse Inn, where we admire the church with it's famous altar and where we have a boat trip across St Wolfgang lake during summer period. We also shortly stop in Mondsee on our return.
The Ice Caves Tour
This tour takes you along the scenic Salzach Valley to Werfen, where the fortress of Hohenwerfen has protected the pass since the 11th century. Take a moment to enjoy the impressive view before we make our way to the parking lot of the caves. From there we continue on foot and via cable car to the entrance of the caves where your thrilling and chilling adventure begins: a walking tour through the wonderful world of unique ice formations. The average temperature in the summer is 0 degrees Celsius/32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grand Danube River Cruise
Welcome on board of the MS Vindobona! In the first half of this cruise, you will pass some of Vienna's most significant buildings like the Urania observatory, the "Kunsthaus Wien" (which has been re-designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser) and the Gasometer building. After passing the modern Hydro Electric power plant Freudenau you will continue to the Reichsbruecke. On the second half of this cruise you will get an unforgettable view of Vienna's tallest buildings - the UNO City, the Danube Tower (252m) and the Millenium Tower (202m). Afterwards you get to appreciate the lock Nussdorf and the Thermal Waste Treatment Plant Spittelau, which has been designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. On the way back you will see the Rossau Barracks, the Vienna Ring Tower and the St. Rupert's Church, which is the oldest religious edifice of the city. You then return to Schwedenplatz.
City Tour and Schonbrunn Palace
This city tour will introduce you to the the most important sights of the Austrian capital. As we drive around the famous 'Ringstrasse', Vienna's main boulevard, we pass by the State Opera, the Museums of Fine Art and Natural History, the Parliament building, the Burgtheater (National Theatre), the City Hall and the University. The highlight of this programme is the visit to Schonbrunn Palace where we take a tour of some of the most magnificently decorated rooms. We return to the city centre, passing by Belvedere Palace, where you will have the opportunity to end your tour, or you can choose to continue to the State Opera House, where the tour ends.
I personally thank Mr Rajesh for helping us to finalise our Europe Trip this Chritmas. We thank the complete team of Prathvi for all the support and making our vacation a memorable holiday.
- Rita Ghai