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AUSTRIA

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Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt, Austria, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / macsim

Austria is a parliamentary republic officially known as the Republic of Austria.  It is located in central Europe and is bordered by Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia.  The country has a population of more than 8 million and German is the main language spoken, however there are many dialects and variations resulting from all the nearby countries.  Austria dominated the politics of Europe under the Hapsburgs in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The Austria Empire collapsed at the end of World War I and the country was annexed by Hilter during World War II.  When democracy was restored in 1955, Austria made a commitment to political neutrality.  In recent decades Austria has been a major economic influence in Europe and it has one of the highest standards of living in the world. 

The Alps dominate the landscape of Austria and, but the country is also well known for its music.  Famous composers born in Austria include Mozart, Haydn, Liszt, Schubert and Strauss, while Beethoven spent most of his career in Austria.

Visas:

Austria participates in the Schengen Zone and Schengen Visa requirements.  That means there are no border controls between members and no border inspections by rail or vehicle when traveling from Austria to Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia.  Some countries that are not members of the Schengen Zone require a Schengen Visa to enter Europe.  More than 40 countries outside the Schengen Zone do not require a visa.  Exemptions include citizens of Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.  For a list of exempt countries and requirements, refer to the Austrian Embassy in Washington for excellent information.

Currency:

Austria is a member of the European Union and its currency is the Euro.

Railways:

The Austrian Rail System (OBB) offers many ticket options for rail transport.  In addition to participating in Eurail passes, they also have an Einfach-Raus ticket that offers single day rates for small groups on smaller regional trains, similar to the Bayern Ticket in Germany.

Weather:

Summer is the best time to visit Austria as a tourist, while winter is the best time for skiers to plan a vacation.

Best Time to Visit Austria:

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 Durnstein

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 Melk

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 Salzburg

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 Vienna

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