The majestic Alps, skiing, mountain biking, exhilarating hiking and trekking, scenic high drives, the Danube, and classical music. These, among others, are what Austria is known for. This East Alpine country in Central Europe is also home to hilltop and lakeside castles and palaces.
Austria has a total area of 83,879 sq. km and has a largely mountainous terrain, due to the presence of the Alps. It is composed of nine federated states, with Vienna as the capital city and the country’s largest city. The country has a total population of around 9 million inhabitants. Its official language is German, though Bavarian dialects are also spoken in different parts of the country.
The area that is now Austria has been inhabited since the early Stone Age. The name Austria (Ostarrichi) has been used since AD 996. At the time, it was still part of the Duchy of Bavaria. Later on, in 1156, it became an independent duchy of the Holy Roman Empire. For several centuries, from 1273 to 1918, Austria was dominated and ruled by two houses: the House of Habsburg and the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, Austria became an independent Austrian Empire. It also became part of the German Confederation which lasted until the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. After the war, the Austro-Hungarian Empire emerged, a dual monarchy with Hungary that lasted from 1867 to 1918. Austria eventually became a republic after World War I. Today, Austria is ranked among the top richest countries in the world.
Among the popular attractions in Austria is its grand castles and palaces. Today, there are about forty-four castles in the country. Some of these castles were medieval fortresses. There are also castles built as residential palaces and even as wedding gifts. Most of these castles are built on a hill, by the lake, or in the woods, offering breathtaking views of the countryside and the Alps.
The history of castle-building in Austria dates back to the medieval period when castles were built in strategic locations such as hilltops as a military stronghold and defence against enemy attacks. As centuries passed, the purpose of castles gradually became more residential rather than strategic. Castles became grander and grander in their design and architecture. Many of these castles in Austria have been transformed into tourist attractions and castle accommodations. Others are still privately owned and are inhabited.
Travel back in time by visiting the oldest castles in Austria. The oldest castle that is still around today is the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Strategically located in the city of Salzburg, this medieval fortress was built in 1077. Aside from being the country’s oldest castle, it is also one of the largest castles in Europe. It is regarded as among the most beautiful castles in Europe as well.
The old-world grandeur of the castles in Austria has been carefully preserved. They continue to draw the attention of tourists and locals alike. The most popular castles in Austria are Hohensalzburg Fortress, Riegersburg Castle, Burg Kreuzenstein, Burg Hochosterwitz, Kufstein Fortress, and Hohenwerfen Castle.
Stay in an Austrian castle by visiting some of the best castle hotels in the country. Among the best castles to stay in Austria are Burg Deutschlandsberg, Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden, and Schloss Fuschl. Explore centuries of history and enjoy wonderful views of the countryside and the beautiful Alps during your stay in one of these enchanting and historic castle hotels.