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If you currently think your neighbourhood coffee shop is nice, you might want to stay out of Vienna’s coffeehouses. After you’ve gotten used to these palatial, yet welcoming cafes—and their delicious coffee and Sacher torte—your local café will pale in comparison. Between coffee breaks, visitors can explore Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace and Imperial Palace. And if you have a chance, catch a performance at the State Opera House—it’s not to be missed.
Once a mining town, the resort area of Schladming is a playground for expert skiers and snowboarders. Four interlinked mountains feature world-class runs and exquisite off-piste opportunities. When the sun goes down, the slopes heat up with night skiers looking to keep their adrenaline pumping after hours. Accommodations range from quirky cabins to rustic lodges to supersized resorts, all heavy on the Austrian charm.
In wintertime, lovely Seefeld in Tirol channels the fairytale magic of a Christmas village. Located on a plateau amid mountains and valleys, it’s an ideal place for snow sports, particularly cross-country skiing. In fact, several Olympic and World Championship competitions have been held here. Off-season, the crisp mountain air and epic views make for excellent alpine hiking. When you’re ready for refreshment, you can’t go wrong with schnitzel and a local beer at one of the area’s charming restaurants.
Besides incredible ski conditions, Mayrhofen is known for its epic annual Snowbombing festival, a weeklong celebration of electronic music. The world’s premier DJs and electronic artists flock here to dance, party ski, and revel in Mayrhofen’s magical atmosphere. Where else in the world can you tour a cheese factory, show your snow art appreciation, embark upon a torch-lit evening hike and snuggle up in an igloo hotel, all in a single day?
It’s been 200 years or so since he lived here, but Mozart is still very much Salzburg’s favourite son. Visit the composer’s residence and birthplace, then explore the Altstadt (Old City), taking in the baroque architecture. If your musical tastes run more "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens" than "Requiem in D Minor," catch one of the many Sound of Music tours and follow in the footsteps of the Von Trapps.
A bevy of universities give Austria's second-largest city its lively pace. Baroque palaces are a pleasant contrast with 16th-century courtyards and provocative modern buildings. The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, teems with fine architecture, including the Burg castle complex, with its Gothic double staircase, and the graceful Uhrturm clock tower. A funicular takes visitors up the dramatic bluff. The River Mur dashes through the city, and thermal springs dot the surrounding countryside.
Coveted by empires and republics throughout its history, Innsbruck was the seat of the imperial court of Maximilian I by the end of the 15th century. Trams make getting around the city quick, efficient and cheap. Explore the Tyrolean capital's history at Archduke Ferdinand II's 10th-century Schloss Ambras, the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, the grand 15th-century Imperial Palace and Maximilian I's famous Golden Roof. One of Europe's most idyllic cities, Innsbruck is nestled in the heart of the Alps.
Also known as Baden bei Wien (Baden near Vienna), this spa town is chosen by those looking for a little bit of relaxation. The origin of the city goes back to the Romans who were the first to enjoy Baden’s sulphurous mineral springs. Later, Baden became a favourite of Austrian emperors who would come from Vienna (26 km) to enjoy a bath in hot waters. Today, visitors fall in love with the many historic buildings, monuments and picnic areas in beautiful parks around the city. Connoisseurs of classical music can follow in the footsteps of Baden’s most famous visitor, Ludwig van Beethoven, who visited Baden numerous times.