Austria is a landlocked alpine German-speaking country in Central Europe bordering Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west, Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east and Slovenia and Italy to the south.
Austria, along with neighboring Switzerland, is the winter sports center of Europe. However, it is just as popular for summer tourists who visit its historic cities and villages and hike in the magnificent scenery of the Alps. Austria has a big number of lakes. Normally they are very clean, so you can swim in them; they provide camping places nearby. In winter you can use them for ice skating. In some places, you will have to pay to get on the lakeside. Beside all that rustic, tranquil nature and countryside, Austria has a whole other side too. As one of Europe's former great powers, Austria boasts a wealth of majestic architecture and historic structures. As it was long a centre of power in the Holy Roman Empire, you'll find not only palaces and magnificent city architecture but also grand cathedrals, monasteries and churches. (Picture © Credits to istock/sorincolac)