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Tourist information for Austria:

Western Austria is one of Europe's most beautiful areas. The scenery is stunning, encompassing the high Alpine peaks of the Tyrol and Vorarlberg as well as the gentler but still impressive mountains of Salzburgerland and Carinthia. Its cities are world famous for their lovely architecture and cultural heritage, among the most renowned being Innsbruck and Salzburg. The people are friendly and helpful, retaining a strong sense of national pride combined with a welcome for the many tourists. Winter sports bring most visitors to this part of Austria, with famous ski resorts like Kitzbuhel and St Anton, but the lakes, clean air and flower-filled meadows make the country a wonderful destination throughout the year. Whether you're looking for excitement in the high mountains or lazy walking in the meadows, or almost any outdoor activity, you'll find it here.

Map of Western Austria

Towns and places of interest in Western Austria:

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Innsbruck. Spectacularly situated beneath the high ridge of the Nodkette mountain, Innsbruck offers everything from mountain walking to museums to shopping in the Maria-Theresien-Strasse. Stroll through the Aldstadt with the famous Golden Roof, cross the river and take the funicular and cable car to the Hafelkar at 2334 metres. On the way back down visit the Alpenzoo. Schloss Ambras is well worth seeing. Plenty to see and do in the evening and a wide variety of bars and restaurants.

Mayrhofen and Zell am Ziller are the main resort towns of the Zillertal region southeast of Innsbruck. Favourites of the British ski-package industry, they are spectacularly situated and offer superb winter sports facilities and wonderful summer walking and mountaineering at all standards.

The Achensee is the largest lake in the Tyrol and is a great base to explore the region while taking advantage of all the watersports on offer.

Alpbach is one of the prettiest of the Tyrolean ski villages, easily reached from the Innsbruck to Salzburg autobahn. Good for beginners and intermediates it also offers excellent summer walking.

Kufstein, close to the border with Germany, is a great base for exploring the surrounding mountains such as the Wilder Kaiser and Zahmer Kaiser, both excellent areas for walking and mountain-biking. The lovely nearby lakes of Thiersee, Hintersteinersee and Hechtsee provide summer bathing and the area is flat enough for cycling, especially in the Inn valley. Soll and Ellmau are the main ski resorts of this area.

Kitzbuhel, perhaps the most fashionable resort in the Tyrol. Part of a huge ski area that includes the famous Hahnenkamm downhill run and which provides great opportunities for walking, climbing, hiking and mountain-biking in the summer. Vey lively at night during the skiing season.

Seefeld is among the most beautifully situated of all Austrian resorts, although the town is uninteresting. In the winter the skiing is excellent and the mountain railway and many cable cars make this a good centre for summer walking surrounded by dramatic scenery.

Solden, Untergurgl, Obergurgl and Hochgurgl are ski resorts in the spectacular Otztal valley close to the Italian border. This is where the 5500 year old frozen corpse of the man known as Otzli was found. Walkers and hikers are spoilt for choice in the summer, or if you're feeling lazy take the spectacular toll road and drive across the Timmelsjoch Pass to Italy.

In the far west of Austria are the famous and fashionable resorts of the Arlberg and Vorarlberg - St Anton, Zurs and Lech. Mainly geared up for skiing, the stunning scenery surrounding these towns makes them well worth a visit in summer.

Bregenz, on the shores of Lake Constance (Bodensee) is the main town of the Vorarlberg, and worth visiting for its lakeside setting, its festival in late July and August. its Old Town and Museums. A good choice of restaurants and bars, if rather expensive. A good centre for exploring the Alpine foothills and pastures of the lovely but little known Bregenzerwald and the Vorarlberg valleys beyond.

Salzburg is a must. Birthplace of Mozart, with the renowned Festival of music and theatre during July and August and many other cultural events throughout the year. The castle, Mozart's birthplace, the Baroque architecture, the museums, not forgetting chocolate-eating, are some of the many attractions. It's also a good base for exploring the lovely countryside of the Salzburgerland which rises to the Hohe Tauern Alpine National Park and Austria's highest mountain, the Grossglockner. The resort towns Zell am See, Badgastein, Saalbach and Hinterglem are excellent wintersports destinations and perfect for summer in the mountains, all being set in spectacular and beautiful scenery.

Klagenfurt is the Capital city of Carinthia (Karnten), an outstandingly beautiful region of Austria often ignored by the British. The pleasant town is set on the shores of the Worthersee, which is a major summer holiday destination with every possible watersport catered for. Klagenfurt is home to Austria's most visited tourist attraction, Minimundus, scale models of the world's famous buildings but containing much more, including a reptile collection. Around the 20 km length of the Worthersee are a number of fashionable resorts such as Velden and Portschach. The whole area is definitely worth a visit and is great for walking and cycling in the gentle hills, while to the north of Klagenfurt the land becomes more mountainous and spectacular.

Villach is a very attractive town in eastern Carinthia with a well-preserved warren of medieval and Rennaissance buildings, and a lively nightlife. Nearby are several lakes and spa towns offering bathing opportunities and watersports. The whole of this area is very beautiful with rolling hills to the west and higher Alps to the north - superb for walking at all levels. Medieval towns like Gmund or elegant lakeside holiday resorts like Millstatt are worth a visit. In the northwest of the region is picturesque Heiligenblut, southern gateway to the Hohe Tauern National Park.

Lienz is the provincial capital of the East Tyrol, a dramatically beautiful and relatively undeveloped area of Austria. The town is an attractive base for exploring the Alpine slopes to the north which are accessed directly by cable car and offer easy skiing and good walking. Further north again are the ski resorts of St Jakob, picturesque Kals and Grossdorf.

map of western austria