Austria Tourist Attractions

General Information

Austria with its capital city in Vienna is located in the southern part of Central Europe and two-thirds of the area is mountainous. The country has a population of 8 million and 1.5 million people live in the capital city. German is the official language.

The area of Austria belongs to five bigger geologic formations. They include the Eastern Alps, foothills at the base of the Alps and Carpathians, Pannonian Basin, Vienna Valley and Czech Massif. The most important mountain ranges of the country are located in the Central Alps, e.g., Hohe Tauern with the highest peak in Austria – Grossglockner (3,797 meters) and Ötztal Alps with Wildspitze (3,774 meters). The highest parts of mountains are glaciated and the most popular is the Pasterze Glacier which flows to the feet of the highest peak of the country. North of the Alps, the Alpine Foothills spread and turn into Czech Massif. Also the Sumava range bordering with the Czech Republic belongs to the Massif and it is 1,378 meter high in Plöckenstein. In the north-eastern part of the area there is a wavy Carpathian foreground. Its relief is diversified due to its step hills made of volcanic rocks. Thermal springs of mineral water can be found here. In the west there are lowland areas with the Vienna Valley and a small part of the Hungarian Lowland. The most low-lying part is a marshy land of salt lakes – Seewinkel with the biggest lake – Neusiedl Lake (115 meters).

Almost the whole area of Austria lies in the watershed of the Black Sea and is drained by the Danube and its tributaries. The main tributaries of the Danube in Austria are: the Inn with Salzach, Enns, Drava with Mura and border Morava. The biggest lakes in Austria such as Boden and Neusiedl Lakes have a glacial origin. The bigger lake concentrations are located in Upper Austria and in Karynthia. Forests constitute about two fifths of the area. In the lower parts of mountains there are beech forests or beech and fir forests which turn into spruce forests in the highest areas. Above the forests, there is an area of thicket and mountain pine, and much higher there are mountain pastures with rare Alpine species, e.g., edelweiss. Austria is a country where much attention is paid to the preservation of nature, and the fact that 28.2% of its area is under protection is a proof of it. In Austria there are 177 special areas protecting the landscape with the area of above 10 km2. The majority of them are located in the Alps. National parks were grounded in the Hohe Tawern and Karwendel mountains. Alpine relief and flora with massive glacial lakes flowing into valleys are preserved there.

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