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Travel Notes: Europe: Austria: Austrian Regions

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There's more to Austria than Vienna and skiing.

A Waltz Around Austria

Austria is divided into nine provinces:

Burgenland, Carinthia (Karnten), Lower Austria (Niederosterreich), Salzburg, Styria (Steiermark), Tirol, Upper Austria (Oberosterreich), Vienna and Vorarlberg.


Burgenland is the area of eastern Austria, south of the River Danube. It extends down along the border with Hungary towards the Republic of Slovenia. Much of the Neusiedler See lies within Burgenland; popular with bird-watchers and campers.

The capital of this mostly rural province is Eisenstadt; connected by motorway with Vienna.

The southern region of Burgenland adheres to old values of the land where the pace is slower, prices are cheaper and the wines are splendid. The Pannonian cuisine is a reflection of the region's modest conditions.

Burgenland became an Austrian possession in 1491, and remained under Austrian control until 1647, when Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III ceded it to Hungary. Hungary had to return Burgenland to Austria after World War I, although the Hungarians secured the return of Sopron in 1922.


The province lies in southern Austria, bordering Slovenia and Italy. Called Karnten in German, this is one region visitors should make time to explore.

The capital of the rolling province is Klagenfurt, with Villach another major town in the region. Worthersee is the resort lake that lies between them; although much closer to Klagenfurt.

The area west of Villach is known as Upper Carinthia, rising to 3,797 m. From here, Grossglockner towers above the rest of the country as Austria's highest peak.

The lush mountain valleys and the well tended farmlands in Carinthia provide for rich savoury dishes. The physical energy needed to work the fields was traditionally fuelled by such delights as Ritschert (a casserole made of barley), Kasekrustelsuppe (cheese soup), Erdapfelsterz (fried mashed potatoes), or Frigga (dried bacon, polenta and cheese).

Carinthia was a Roman possession, until it became an independent duchy in 976. The Habsburg family took control of the area in the 13th century, and it became an Austrian crown territory the following year hundred. Carinthia lost some of its land to Italy and Yugoslavia after World War I, and the southern part of the province has many Slovenes living there today.

Carinthia Mountain Experience:
Wherever you look in Carinthia there are mountains, whether it's the magnificent Hohen Tauern, the beautiful Nockberge Mountains or the rugged limestone crags of the Carnic Alps and the Karawankens.

Cycling in Carinthia can mean anything from a gruelling hill climb up the Grossglockner to a leisurely run round a lake or a scenic trip through the National Park.

Klagenfurt and Lake Worthersee lie in the south of the province of Carinthia, close to its borders with Slovenia and Italy.

Lower Austria

Surrounding Vienna and filling the country's belly with the fruits of the Danube basin, Lower Austria is the country's largest province in more ways than one - locally known as Niederosterreich.

The land below the River Enns is gaining popularity for short breaks out of the capital, and the area has many fine restaurants. St. Polten (the provincial capital of Lower Austria), Krems, and Wiener Neustadt are the largest centres in the region.


The Province extends around the Salzach River, with Salzburg its capital.

Salzburg was originally a Celtic settlement and later the Roman trading centre of Juvavum. Numerous cathedrals, including one from the 17th-century in the Italian Renaissance style, adorn the city.

The Bauernherbst, literally farmer's Autumn, is a great time to pull up a chair in a Salzburg provincial Gasthaus. Between August and October, restaurant owners adjust their menus to incorporate the harvests of local farmers, and offer their guests true regional dishes.


Almost wholly within the Alps, Steiermark is Austria's south-eastern province, bordering Slovenia. Numerous lakes and forested mountain slopes make Styria a pleasure on the eye.

Graz is the provincial capital, built on a roman settlement.

Charlemagne established the region as part of the Frankish Empire, attaching it to the duchy of Carinthia. It became a separate duchy in 1180 and was acquired by the Duke of Austria twelve years later. As a Habsburg possession in 1282, it remained in the royal house until the collapse of Austrian-Hungarian empire during World War I.


The western corridor of Austria, between  Salzburg and Vorarlberg, is bounded to the north by Germany and to the south by Italy. When the Arlberg pass is closed during heavy snowfall, all traffic to Voralberg has to pass through the tunnel.

Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, was home to the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, and is near to many ski areas.

Tyrol once extended to Lake Garda, but after World War I Sud Tyrol was ceded to Italy. Many people in the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige still cling to their Germanic roots. Tyrolean cuisine descends from the days when fruits and fish from the south met on the tables with meat, game and vegetables from the north.

Upper Austria

The land above the River Enns, Oberosterreich, offers its guests traditional country-style helpings of dumplings, roasts and potato dishes.

There's something of a homecoming for the traditional plain-cooking of home-made blood and liver sausage, bacon dumplings and stuffed breast of roast veal. These dishes go down well with the beers brewed in Upper Austria.

The capital of the federal province of Upper Austria is Linz.

The Brucknerhaus was opened on March 23, 1974, with a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Some 200 cultural events are staged, including the Linz Bruckner Festival every September.

Digital City Linz:
You'll need to read German to get the best out of the service guide and links section.


See Austrian Cities.


Austria's westernmost province includes the towns of Bregenz, Dornbirn and Felkirch.

A lovely little region behind Bregenz and Dornbirn.

Alpenregion Bludenz:
The Alpine town of Bludenz lies 588m above sea level.

Lech am Arlberg:
Chic little ski resort above St. Anton; where Diana Princess of Wales used to like skiing.

Ski Arlberg:
Arlberg has always been famous for its beauty, reliable snow extending right down to the villages and the excellent condition of its slopes.

St. Anton:
A favourite with those who like to ski as hard as they party.

Where the mountains meet the lake and three lands come together - Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Austrian Cities:
The main attractions for visitors to Austria.

Austrian Culture:
Austria's illustrious history leaves a lot of memories behind. Uncover the delights of former glory.

TIScover Austria:
Austrian holiday information from Tourism Information Systems.

Austria Travel Notes

Kaffehauskultur Wien.

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