Vienna is laid out in concentric circles. Many of the most impressive structures including the Staatsoper (State Opera House), and the Fine Arts and Natural History museums are located along the wide Ringstrasse, which follows along the line of the old city wall.
Two opulent palaces located away from the city center are Schönbrunn, built in the late 17th century for the Habsburgs and still used for state receptions; and Belvedere, commissioned by Prince Eugene of Savoy.
Such illustrious composers as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler and Johann Strauss once called Vienna home.
Excursions can be made from here through the Danube valley to explore ancient castles and abbeys, and to sample some of the best Austrian food and wine.
Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart. The city pays homage with two museums displaying the composer’s memorabilia, and the great summer music festival. The Collegiate Church is an outstanding example of Baroque architecture, and the area in front of the church is a popular marketplace.
Innsbruck is in the Tyrol, the heart of the Alps. The Imperial Church, built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), features statues of his Habsburg ancestors. The reward for a cable-car ride to the top of nearby Mount Hafelekar is a stunning panorama.
Bregenz is in Vorarlberg, the smallest Austrian province and one of the loveliest. Visitors can swim in and water ski on the Bodensee (Lake Constance) or enjoy musical performances on the floating stage during the Summer Festival.
Museum, Vienna. Paintings by Brueghel, Dürer, Rembrandt, Velázquez, Titian and Gustav Klimt, a founder of the Vienna ‘Secession’ school. It also has Greek, Egyptian and Roman art and artifacts.
World’s largest collection of drawings, engravings and prints by Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Raphael.
Jewish Museum, Vienna.
The story of Vienna’s Jews is told with holograms in the place of remembrance, and through presentation of the Max Berger Collection of Judaica.
Volkskunstmuseum, Innsbruck. Exhibit of traditional costumes, Christmas crèches, Tyrolean living rooms since Gothic days, folk art and masks.
Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg.
This 17th-century palace built for the city’s prince-bishops features trick fountains (which spray unsuspecting visitors) and impressive statues and sculptures.
Abbey of Melk.
This splendid Benedictine monastery towers over the Danube 40 miles from Vienna. A Baroque masterpiece, it occupies the site of a 10th-century fortress.
Ars Electronica, Linz.
A museum of the future, with five levels of 21st-century technology.
Modern works by Hundertwasser and others, and architectural and cultural exhibits.
Enter a world of sensory experiences based on crystal at the Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) in the Tyrolean town of Wattens. Interconnected chambers and caverns are hidden by a hill from which a spring rises, with a walk-through hand-shaped maze and the head of a watchful botanic giant spouting water. Displays include a 13-by-137-foot crystal wall and works by Keith Haring, Salvador Dalí and Niki de St. Phalle. There are two adventure playgrounds for children, but Kristallwelten was designed by André Heller to astonish and amuse young and old alike.