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Austria is a land-locked alpine German speaking country in Central Europe bordering Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west, Germany and Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east and Slovenia and Italy to the south. Austria, along with neighboring Switzerland, is the winter sports capital of Europe. However, it is just as popular for summer tourists who visit its historic cities and villages and hike in the magnificent scenery of the Alps.
Austria enjoys a moderate continental climate: summers are warm and pleasant with cool nights - perfect for hiking and biking in the Alps. Winters are sunny, with snow levels high enough for widespread winter sports. Ski season is from December to March.
When to go
The best time to visit Austria is June to September for those seeking sunshine and low rainfull, whilst November to March are ideal for those seeking winter sports.
The Alps have high precipitation, short summers and long winters, and visitors should be prepared for all temperatures there. Seasons are distinct. Summer falls between June and August and has the highest temperatures, but also the highest levels of rainfall. Winter can bite hard, especially in December, January and February. Spring and autumn bring changeable weather, but quite often the most comfortable temperatures.
High-quality goods such as handbags, glassware, chinaware and winter sports equipment are the cream of specialist items found in Austria.
Shops and stores are generally open from Mon-Fri 0800-1800 (with a one- or two-hour lunch break in smaller towns) and Sat 1200-1700. Big stores and shops in tourist resorts now open Mon-Fri 0800-2100 and Sat/Sun 0800-1800.
Austria enjoys an enduring reputation for music, literature and the arts; visitors are just as likely to find Alpine New Wave punk-rock as they are yodelling. Nightlife is versatile, offering laid-back taverns, beer gardens and excellent après-ski, trendy clubs and dance venues. Viennese nightlife offers every taste: opera, theatre and cabaret as well as numerous bars and nightclubs.