When you think of Austria, it’s easy to imagine its snowy Alps and the “Sound of Music”. If you find yourself humming “do-re-mi”, it may be time to book one of the exciting guided tours of this lovely and historic area. It may well be a trip to remember. Start your tour in Innsbruck, the home of two winter Olympics. Most guided tours will take you to some of the historic Olympic venues and you may wish to pick up some souvenirs while you’re there. Nearby is the beautiful and historic city of Salzburg. Much of its architecture has been preserved over the centuries and there are many sites to see. Many of the guided tours of this area will show you the birthplace of Mozart, one of the most famous composers of all time. While in Salzburg, there are some guided tours that will take you to all of the places from the movie, “The Sound of Music”, including the Salzburg Cathedral, where the main characters were married and the Nonnberg Abbey. Dominating the skyline of Salzburg is the Hohensalzburg Fortress, a large, white fortress high on a hill above the city. At the right time of year, the Mirabell Palace has a fantastic garden showplace that visitors can stroll around. If you are interested in seeing the Alps themselves, go on one of the guided tours of the area that take you slightly outside of Austria proper, up into the magnificent mountains and to an infamous place called Berchtesgaden. This place is now a small, quaint town that is also the home to the historic Eagle’s Nest. Excellent guided tours of this area will tell you that the Eagle’s Nest was Hitler’s retreat in the years before and during World War II. They will put you into small buses for a hair-raising, scissor-back trip up the mountain until you find yourself winding your way to the top of the mountain. The view itself is breathtaking. Once you’ve arrived near the top of the mountain on which the Eagle’s Nest sits, many guided tours of the area will take you through a mysterious tunnel that ends at a golden—yes, golden—elevator that Hitler himself rode up and down to get to and from his retreat. At the top, you’ll arrive at the true top of the mountain and you’ll see the villa that once belonged to Hitler. Take out your camera because the view of the surrounding mountains is unparalleled. After visiting the Alps, many guided tours of Austria will finish up in the large and famous city of Vienna, Austria. Vienna was once home to the Austrian Emperor and was where Mozart lived and wrote the bulk of his musical work. Vienna is the center of culture, music and the arts in Austria and there are dozens of places to visit. For museum-goers, many guided tours of Vienna will show you the city’s museum quarter. The Sisi Museum is a museum centered around the Empress Elisabeth of Austria and visitors can see the historic Imperial apartments and other treasures from the reign of the Empress. The Hofburg is another wonderful place. Visitors to this museum can see the spectacular imperial jewels, dating back to the Hapsburg dynasty. In addition, the Naturhistorisches Museum, which houses many ancient pieces of art. Don’t forget the hundreds of lovely villages and towns you can explore in Austria. Some guided tours of Austria will stop at a small, traditional restaurant away from the big cities, giving you a chance to meet the local people and sample the local cuisine.
November 2, 2009