Thursday, August 19, 2004


Austria is located in southern Central Europe. It has common borders with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Given its geographical position, Austria's culture over the centuries has grown into a fascinating blend of numerous European heritages. This is one reason why it has established itself as one of the continent's most popular travel destinations. Another is that, within an area of no more than 83,858 km2 it harbours a wealth of unique attractions: an extraordinary variety of landscapes, from Alpine peaks to rolling plains; and an immeasurably rich legacy of art treasures from every era of European history. In addition, Austria is the ideal venue for innumerable sports, from hiking to climbing, from yachting and windsurfing to diving and canoeing, from golf to cycling and mountain biking, and from hang-gliding to summer skiing. Despit its mountain topography, Austria's cities, towns and villages are all readily accessible via its modern road and rail network. You can even drive your car (or take a bus) close to the countries highest mountain, the Grossglockner (3,797 metres). The renowned Grossglockner High Alpine Road climbs to an altitude of 2,576 metres. Austria's nine federal provinces, taken together, may make up a single country, but each has an entirely individual character in terms of its scenery and cultural traditions.

VIENNA, the country's capital and one-time Habsburg residence, is an intriguing mix of contemporary architecture and stately historic building styles, the excitement and dynamism of urban life and the amenities of a major metropolis. The Vienna Woods surrounding the city are a recreational area which would be the envy of any European capital.

BURGENLAND, in the East of Austria, is a region of fertile plains stretching to the horizon around the shores of Lake Neusiedl, Central Europe's only steppe lake. Close by is a National Park which serves as a sanctuary for countless rare bird species.

LOWER AUSTRIA encloses Vienna on all sides. To the East it is undulating hill country, a patchwork of vineyards, and to the North the hills are densely wooded. The Wachau, the picturesque stretch of the Danube Valley between the abbeys of Melk and Göttweig, is a major tourist attraction. Crossing the Semmering southwards, you enter STYRIA, known as the "green province" for tis vast expanses of forests. Between the glacier-clad peak of the Dachstein (2,995 metres) on its northern border and the vineyard-clad hillsides south of the provincial captial Graz, it harbours an abundance of scenic and cultural treasures. One of its most attractive areas is the Styrian Salzkammergut, a region of lakes and mountains centres around Bad Aussee.The enchanting Salzkammergut, also stared by

UPPER AUSTRIA, is famed for its natural beauty and its health resorts. It owes to Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth, who spent many summers taking the waters in Bad Ischl. Further North, the Mühlviertel is an area of wooded hills extending up to the boarder of the Czech Republic.

CARINTHIA, in the south of Austria, is best known for its large bathing lakes - like Wörther See, Ossiacher See and Millstätter See. The province also includes the highest point in Austria, the summit of the Grossglockner, and it is a treasure house of art and culture.The Hohe Tauern National Park, a paradise for hikers and nature lovers, is shared by Carinthia and

SALZBURGER LAND. The City of Salzburg has long since established itself as a metropolis for superb music-making. It owes its fame partly to Mozart, who was born in the city's Getreidegasse, but also to its annual summer festival.

TIROL's delightful old towns and cities are strung out along the Inn Valley like pearls on a necklace: Innsbruck, Hall, Schwaz, Rattenberg and countless others. The side-valleys of the River Inn have become household names among winter sports enthusiasts - the Zillertal, Stubaital and Ötztal are just three of many.Austria's westernmost province is

VORARLBERG. Within a small area it encompasses the full range of scenic variations from the majestic peaks of the Silvretta Mountains to the Rhine Valley and the shore of Lake Constance, which it shares with Germany and Switzerland. The lake stage hosts sumptuous opera productions during the annual summer festival in Bregenz.

The longing for a holiday in Austria cannot be easily explained, sketched or demonstrated. Our friends, the two penguins Joe and Sally are the manifestation of this desire. They are curious and fascinated by the appeal of discovering a destination and the unknown - the wonderful quality of a truly Austrian experience.Joe and Sally are well travelled. In fact they have been practically everywhere and seen everything there is to see. Finally, the two are experiencing the wealth of enjoyment Austria has to offer.


Austria is located in a temperate climatic zone with a Central European climate influenced by the Atlantic climate.
The four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) each have typical temperature and climatic characters. Due to the topographical diversity and the relatively large West-East expanse, there are three differentiating climatic regions: East: Pannonian climate with a continental influence – low precipitation, hot summers but only moderately cold winters. Alpine Regions: Alpine climate - high precipitation ( except inner alpine valley regions such as the upper Inntal), short summers, long winters. Remainder of the country: transient climate influenced by the Atlantic (in the West) and a continental influence in the South-east.

Austria's topographic diversity accounts for a great variety of flora and fauna, including endemic species that are under preservation.

In Austria there is a predominantly Central European fauna: deer, stag, rabbit, pheasant, fox, badger, marten, partridge. Native to the alpine regions are the chamois, groundhog, eagle and mountain jackdaw. Characteristic of the Pannonian fauna is the vast bird population in the reed beds of Lake Neusiedl (heron, spoonbill, scooper, wild goose, and many more). In recent years, Austria is home again to a small bear population, which can mainly be found in the heavily wooded southern and central mountainous regions.
The diversity of topographical and climatic conditions accounts for the country's species-rich flora. Austria is one of Europe's most heavily wooded countries. Characteristic are the deciduous forest (oak, beech) and the mixed forest (beech, fir) and in the higher altitude regions fir, larch and pine. Especially diverse and colorful is the alpine flora: edelweiss, gentian, alpine carnation, arnica, alpine rose, heather and much more. The northern edge of the Alps is especially dominated by grassland; typical in the Pannonian region are the scrub forest, mixed deciduous forest and the steppe moors. East of Lake Neusiedl one finds a specific salt steppe flora. Austria's nature parks, that stretch across 3 percent of the country, document the diversity of the landscape with its in part unique natural landscapes, such as the rain and virgin forests.

Post Offices are generally open Mondays to Fridays 8am to 12 noon and 2pm until 6pm.Main and station post offices in larger cities are open round the clock, including Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.Monatary transactions in all post offices Monday to Friday until 5pm. In approx. 340 towns and villages, post offices are open on Saturdays, generally from 8am to 10am. They will cash Austrian and foreign Eurocheques and postal cheques.

Postal charges for letters and postcards from Austria to countries abroad:Priority (20g): EUR 0,55 to all European countries; EUR 1,25 to all other countriesNon-priority (50g): EUR 1 to all European countries; EUR 1,25 to all other countries.
Stamps are available at post offices and from tabacconists.Letter boxes are painted yellow or orange. Red stripes indicate collection on weekends and public holidays.Telephone: every Austrian telephone is connected to the direct dialling system. Trunk calls also can be put through by direct dialling to all European countries and almost all overseas countries. Public call boxes and card-operated pay phones can be used for direct dial calls within Austria and abroad.International dialling codes from Austria:Great Britain 0044Ireland 00353The international country code for Austria is 0043. For telephone calls within Austria, a zero (0) has to be dialled before the respective area code except for Vienna with its area code