EUROPE

Reasons to visit and love Austria

To many, Austria is the last bastion of Western Europe, or its first, depending on which way you’re looking from. To me, Austria embodies the greatness of the West but keeps a subtle Southern aroma in the background. And I believe that is true in both form and spirit. Because as modern and European as Austria is, you’ll also find the warmth of the Southern spirit here, albeit in moderate amounts.

Zorhan Mokoele | TDO local expert from South Africa

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By Calin

If you love outdoor activities, look no further. Calin was born and raised in the beautiful region of Transylvania where he fell in love with adventures. Now he wants to show others that you can have fun and be active at the same time. He's also a happy husband and a father of three. Despite that, he maintains his lifestyle, which includes meeting amazing people from around the world while travelling to various destinations. It seems like apart from travel, he's also very good at time management.

a Romania based traveler

When I was younger and strolling Vienna’s streets alone at night, I always got a deep sense of a milder, softer, and more approachable Germany out of it. If German spirit had a dash of Italian chic, well... that’s Austria alright. But just a dash, as the Germanic roots still dominate everything, from social structure to city aesthetics, politics, and even food.

If you happen to enter from the East, you wouldn’t need a border to tell when you’ve crossed over to Austria. It’s remarkable really. The streets are impeccable, the buildings are all well-kept even in small villages nobody hardly visits, the sky is bluer, and the grass is greener. A country that is so neat and put together, it’s hard to choose a highlight reel of but a few places to recommend you’d visit.

Austria is remarkable. All of it. A jewel of a place that managed to outgrow its small size to influence the world forever through prominent names such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Haydn, Gustav Klimt, Johann Strauss, and Franz Schubert to name a few. (We don’t talk about Hitler)

Vienna, despite its notoriety, is still greatly undervalued. Named as the city with the best quality of life for eight years straight, Austria’s capital is a maze of splendor that gradually builds outward from its Museum Quarter – its nucleus, home to the quintessential Austrian DNA in terms of music, arts, and architectural excellence. An overdose of pure excellence with every molecule put together to create one thing – splendor. No words can do a stroll through Vienna’s Museum Quarter justice. And I would need a book to walk you through the many attractions you’d surely love to visit. But...

I can try to create a perfect day for you, though. And I would set this perfect day in winter.

First, get a Cappuccino Viennese and some breakfast at either Café Kafka or Phil on Mariahilferstrasse, then start your day with a walk to the Klimt Museum down the street. Admire the artwork inside until you have to take your seat at the Lipizzaner Horses show where you will see some of the most beautiful horses on Earth perform on classical music in a spectacle hall in the middle of Vienna. As you walk out at the end of the performance, visit the little, almost secret, church on the other side of the square. Nestled behind a humble entrance, it's far less breathtaking than the famous Votivkirche or St Stephen's Cathedral, but you'll find a feeling of peace inside that eludes the two. Think of how people crossed its doors centuries ago to find it almost exactly as you do.

Now you should knab a bite of Wiener Schnitzel because the day is far from over and although cliché, it doesn’t make it less delicious. For dessert, get a piece of Sachertorte at café Sacher (the place where it was invented in the 1800s). Then waste a couple of hours in The Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the City Hall, a perfect Christmas market if there ever was one.

You end the night by either attending the Opera, one of the world’s most respected, or by listening to a concert by Liszt. Out of all the Austrian musical geniuses, it’s Liszt who’ll sparkle the most magic on your trip there.

This day trip is what a starving man must feel while looking at a stake through a window. It’s tantalizing and offers him great delight, but to sink your teeth in, you’d need weeks, if not months of exploring.

The landlocked better half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is also an exceptional ski destination with countless slopes and high-end facilities swarming with tourists from all over the world in the winter. From charming villages to the mighty Alps, you can shoot a dart at random at the Austrian map, and you’re bound to land on something wonderful to visit.

Most of all, what I love about Austria is the way of life they have invented. Austrians are not as gushy as the Italians or the Spanish, nor are they as grave or distant as the Norwegians, the Swedes, or the Germans. They have the joie de vivre of the French, the impeccable manners of the Germans and their head for science and the Arts, as well as that bulletproof reliability.

You walk the streets of Austria and at no point will you want to be anywhere else.