The hills are certainly alive for visitors who come to Austria

The millions of travellers who visit Austria every year do so for numerous reasons, depending on their interests and preferences. From ancient castles to alpine slopes, from rustic inns to five-star hotels, from magnificent cathedrals to legendary horses, Austria offers a scrumptious helping for almost any taste.

Vienna is a subject of its own, a cultural centre for centuries and home to some of the world’s greatest musicians, architectural marvels such as the Imperial Palace and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Schonbrunn (originally built for the imperial Hapsburg family) and of course the Spanish Riding School with those legendary White Stallions. This city can virtually overwhelm the senses, but it’s only one aspect of Austria’s attractions.

Visitors to Innsbruck can enjoy strolling the medieval streets of the city centre with its handsome burghers’ houses, and don’t miss the famous “Golden Roof” built for the marriage of Emperor Maximillian 1 to Bianca Maria Storza in 1494. Towering snow-capped mountains surround the city, magnets for hikers, climbers and skiers. Innsbruck is the old provincial capital of Tyrol, and all things Tyrolian flourish here.

The (relatively) new Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) really is another world; the most beautiful displays of crystal to be seen anywhere, and in such lavish profusion that the eye and mind are dazzled. The entrance, through a gigantic, surreal head with glittering eyes leads to several different halls and chambers; of course when you’ve looked your fill you can purchase a souvenir or a suitcase full – Kristallwelten is only a short drive from Innsbruck.

Do put Salzburg on your itinerary; this is where the hills came alive with The Sound of Music, and you can follow (and dance if you wish) in the footsteps of the Trapp family. This is also where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born, and the city commemorates its famous son in grand fashion. You may want to put the Mirabel Gardens at the top of your Do Not Miss list. The gardens are arguably the most beautiful in the country, and the views are truly enchanting.