Sunday, January 13, 2008

Visiting Germany and Austria

When one mentions Germany, more often than not I would think of football, beer festivals and fast cars. But there is of course more to Germany than all that. With a rich cultural tradition and gorgeous landscapes, it’s easy to imagine why so many find a wealth of attractions in Germany. The country possesses a bustling nightlife, numerous holidays and festivals, and picturesque scenery. Composed of sixteen states, each with their own personality, Germany is a major industrialized nation. But don’t let that fool you—there are miles and miles of natural wonders to behold: from the Black Forest to the Bavarian Alps to the beaches on the Baltic and North Seas. Other interesting places worth visiting would be Cologne Cathedral, Neuschwanstein, Heidelberg Castle, Checkpoint Charlie and Marienplatz.

German travel typically begins in one of the country’s major cities. The capital, Berlin, is always a popular destination, particularly with the renovation it has undertaken to the city center since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There are many Berlin hotels to choose from with price ranges to suit any kind of travelling requirements. Beyond Berlin, there are more cities to experience and many are drawn to jaunty Oktoberfest in Munich, the elegant Baroque architecture of Dresden or Hamburg known as the Green City on the Water due to its plethora of parks and lawns, and of course Frankfurt, the centre for international businesses and technology. Each of the cities offers a different experience to the German tourist.

If you are a German tourist with a passion for the nightlife, you will find no better place in Europe than Berlin. Overall, choosing a place to stay in Berlin hotels or any other German hotels is easy since anywhere in Germany you'd be able to find the type of accommodation that will suit your taste and budget.

Austria. For anyone who's seen the classic movie The Sound of Music, then Austria would be nothing new to you. Located in central Europe, Austria is a landlocked country bordered by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland. The country was a centre of power in Europe at the time when it was ruled by the mighty Habsburgs. Although today it is relegated to being a minor player in the European Union, Austria offers some of the most impressive destinations on the Continent.

Vienna, the capital, was once the citadel of the Habsburgs who ruled the country for over 600 years. The city is an architectural gem and a centre of music from the medieval times. The Hofburg (Imperial Palace) and the adjoining Augustinian Church are two of the marvels of architecture. Other notable sights in Vienna include the Museum of Fine Arts, Belvedere Palace, and the Sigmund Freud Museum.

The southern city of Graz, the largest in central Europe, has a very relaxed and mediterranean flair. It is situated on the sunny side of the Alps and offers an exciting architectural mix between old - winding lanes and the remains of a castle that has never been taken - and new - Kunsthaus gallery with its blue bubble and an artificial island in the river - both created for Cultural Capital of Europe recently.

Salzburg, the city that gave Mozart to the world, is a picturesque abode surrounded by tall mountains. Your tour of Salzburg is incomplete without a visit to the 11th-century Hohensalzburg Castle, the Museum of Fine Arts, and St. Peter's Abbey. Four kilometres to the south of Salzburg is the interesting Hellbrunn Palace whose grounds contain trick fountains and water-powered figures.

Austria is thronged by tourists round the year. You will always be able to find places to stay in Austria at hotels in Vienna or even Wien hotels.

Enjoy your trip to Germany and Austria!

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