Austria is a federal republic and a landlocked country of roughly 8.5 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,879 square kilometers (32,386 sq mi) and has an alpine climate. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 meters (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 meters (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speak local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, and Austrian German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.
The greater part of Austria lies in the cool/temperate climate zone, where humid westerly winds predominate. With nearly three-fourths of the country dominated by the Alps, the alpine climate is predominant. In the east—in the Pannonian Plain and along the Danube valley—the climate shows continental features with less rain than the alpine areas. Although Austria is cold in the winter (−10 – 0 °C), summer temperatures can be relatively high, with average temperatures in the mid-20s and a highest temperature of 40.5 °C (105 °F) in August 2013.
German is Austria's official language and is spoken natively by 88.6% of the population—followed by Serbo-Croatian (4.2%), Turkish (2.3%), Hungarian (0.5%) and Polish(0.5%).
The official language used in education, publications, announcements and websites is German, which is mostly identical to the German used in Germany but with some vocabulary differences. The German language is standardized between countries of German mother tongue, i.e., Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Liechtenstein, as well as those with significant German speaking minorities: Italy, Belgium and Denmark. (The German population in Elsass-Lothringen in France has no minority rights.) Many local dialects are spoken in Austria, and though their base is Austrian German, their corresponding speakers have certain degrees of difficulty when trying to understand each other.
Austria's population estimate in January 2014 was 8,504,850. The population of the capital, Vienna, exceeds 1.7 million (2.6 million, including the suburbs), representing about a quarter of the country's population. It is known for its cultural offerings and high standard of living.
Vienna is by far the country's largest city. Graz is second in size, with 265,778 inhabitants, followed by Linz (191,501), Salzburg (145,871), and Innsbruck (122,458). All other cities have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants.
At the end of the 20th century, about 74% of Austria's population were registered as Roman Catholic, while about 5% considered themselves Protestants. Austrian Christians are obliged to pay a mandatory membership fee (calculated by income—about 1%) to their church; this payment is called "Kirchenbeitrag" ("Ecclesiastical/Church contribution").
Austrian cuisine is a style of cuisine native to Austria and composed of influences from throughout the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Regional influences from Italy, Hungary, Bohemia, Germany and the Balkans have had an effect on Austrian cooking, and in turn this fusion of styles was influential throughout the Empire. Austrian cuisine is most often associated with Viennese cuisine, but there are significant regional variations.
The public transport system in Austria is excellent. Austria's rail network is comfortable, reliable and fast. The main rail website offers excellent information on timetables, services and discounts. The quality of service offered by the rail network makes it far more appealing than bus links. Cities such as Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Munich, Venice are all are regularly served from main stations. For the more adventurous there is also the possibility to travel further a field to destinations such as Warsaw, Berlin, Kiev etc.
Many Austrian cities and towns encourage cyclists through designated cycle lanes. There are many beautifully tended cycling routes throughout the country esp. in areas of natural beauty such as along the Danube River.
On a mountain walk above the valleys, you get a sense of boundless freedom. You can draw inspiration from this magnificent Alpine panorama, the thundering waterfalls and from your local mountain guide. He shows visitors those hidden places which provide viewing points for observing rare species of animals. Here, the exploration of unspoilt nature becomes an unforgettable experience.
Art-loving field marshal Prince Eugene of Savoy purchased Schloss Hofand extended it into a spacious baroque summer palace and hunting lodge. Under its subsequent owner, Empress Maria Theresia, the palace was a famous venue for extravagant parties of the Viennese court. But from the 18th century onwards, the buildings were largely neglected. For this reason, a major and very costly renovation project was commissioned this century to restore the entire complex, including the Meier hof, an idyllic country estate.
The Bregenzerwald is the perfect holiday region in any season for families, culture-lovers, hikers, gourmets, sportsmen and women. But, above all, it is a haven for anyone seeking peace and relaxation off the beaten track in dreamy landscapes.
In 1823 the glass business Lobmeyr was founded, located in the Kärntner Straße in Vienna. Today the factory and store are operated by the family's 6th generation, with clientele including Queen Elisabeth II and Elton John.
Ice-skating in winter, golf in spring, taking a dip in your choice of the numerous bathing lakes in SalzburgerLand in summer, and hiking in the autumn. There are few hotels that offer as much variety as Ebner's Waldhof.
The hotel offers a snack bar/deli. A bar/lounge is on site where guests can unwind with a drink. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast. An Internet point is located on site and high-speed wireless Internet access is complimentary.