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Austria, my home country. Where do I start? I guess history is a good place and it was the Habsburg dynasty that shaped this country's fate for many centuries. Austria is known all over the world as the setting for the Sound of Music and people instantly associate the idyllic lake and mountain sceneries with Austria. From the High Alps in the West to the plains in the East, Austria is a beautiful country. Almost everyone has heard of its capital Vienna, of places like Salzburg and Innsbruck, but other cities like Graz, Linz, Bregenz and Klagenfurt have their own charm and definitely merit a visit.

The famous Alpine lake district where "Sound of Music" was filmed offers up almost dream-like landscapes with towering mountains, pristine lakes and charming villages. Visit the famous imperial castles in Vienna, check out the Opera or attend a concert by the world famous Vienna Boys Choir. Music lovers will enjoy Vienna which has been the home of many famous composers including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss Sr., Johann Strauss Jr., Ludwig van Beethoven and Arnold Schonberg. The famous white horses of the Vienna Riding Schoolare another unique attraction. You can experience culture galore here.

In the summer Austria is beautiful for hikers and sightseers, owing to the many baroque castles, monasteries and churches you can visit. Athletes such as mountain climbers, bikers, hang-gliders and even golfers will have a ball here.

During winter Austria becomes a veritable wonderland for winter sports, no wonder since it's one of the word's top destinations for skiers. In addition Austria offers many other activities, such as taking a cruise on the Danube, tasting fresh wine at one of the Heurigen in and outside of Vienna, attending one of the many festivals (such as the Mozart Festival in Salzburg, the Bruckner Festival in Linz), enjoy a luxurious spa treatment at one of the many spa towns or explore one of the quaint little villages and sample a taste of Austrian Gemutlichkeit.

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