By Jessica Russo
Austria is way more than just the filming location of The Sound of Music. Filled with painting-like landscapes, quaint colorful villages, and fascinating history, this itty-bitty country may be small in size, but it's huge in beauty and culture. Easy to navigate and packed with charm, Austria deserves a top-tier spot on your travel wishlist.
1. Its adorable towns and villages
How could you visit Austria and not check out the quaint candy-colored towns that fill the country? Take in the charm of picture-perfect Hallstatt, nestled on the banks of the teal Hallstatter Lake in the shadows of the stunning Salzkammergut mountains. Stop by the cute town of Durnstein on the Danube, or the beautiful village of Alpback - known for its floral magic in the summer, and ski resorts in the winter.
2. Its landscapes
Sunny alpine meadows, sky-high mountains, and sparkling turquoise lakes - Austria is a dream. Sure, everybody knows Austria for the snowy Alps, but there is so much more to Austria than just ski slopes. Visit the Krimml Waterfalls in Tauern National Park and experience the tallest falls in Central Europe! Find your inner peace in Tyrol, at glistening Lake Schlegeis, or hike through Vilsalpsee or Kaunergrat. While ski season is beautiful, the vibrant colors of Austria come alive in the summer.
3. Its Christmas markets
Skiing isn't the only reason to visit Austria in the winter. Austrian Christmas markets are serious business. Head to Vienna, Salzburg, or Innsbruck during the months of November - December and find romantic winter wonderlands of glistening lights, snow-covered roofs, and the sweet smell of seasonal sweets. Can you think of a more magical way to spend the Christmas season? Because we can't!
4. Its amazing cities
Did you know that Vienna is the world's most liveable city? According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Vienna holds the perfect balance of convenient transportation, museums and cultural institutions, fair rent prices, access to nearby travel opportunities, safety, and diversity among people. Um, when can we move?
While Vienna may be awesome, plenty of other Austrian cities give it a run for its money. Nestled in the heart of the Alps, you'll find the charming city of Innsbruck, known as a historical gem of amazing architecture. Then, there's Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart! Beyond Mozart, Salzburg is known for its picturesque old town adorned with churches, castles, and palaces - a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Its art and music scene
Austria is all about culture. From Klimt to Mozart, some of the world's most legendary creatives germinated their first ideas in Austria. Visit the Mozart House in Salzburg, or wander through the incredible Belvedere Museum in Vienna! The cities of Salzburg and Vienna are sort of like open-air museums on their own, as awe-inspiring architecture lies around every corner.