Alert : Its the Austria in Europe in this post and not Australia.
Only thing I ever knew about Austria was that it was not Australia and its capital was Vienna. Credit to the general knowledge books where we had to memorize the capital cities of countries of the world which we had no clue about.
While I was staying in England, I read more about this country. Being a landlocked country, without a coastline, I was not sure would it be worth going there. This called for more research. Same time Spectre, The James Bond Movie was released with much fanfare with its spectacular shots shot in the Tirol region of Austria. The scenes were simply breathtaking, they looked like being shot in the backdrop of a painting. The whole movie had several shots filmed in Austria and that’s when i decided i have to visit this amazing country.
Depending on the number of days you plan to spend it Austria, you need to build your itinerary. If you just have 2-3 days, then probably touring Vienna would be a great idea. If you have a week, then take a day trip to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia which is just 45 minute train ride from Vienna. You can also take a tour of the villages around the Danube.
If you have around 10-15 days, then my recommendation would be to divide Austria into regions as mentioned in the site http://www.austria.info/uk/where-to-go and list the places which you want to visit, hire a car to visit all of them. Its a wonderful place to drive with amazing roads and breathtaking scenery. I visited Austria in March during Easter and I recommend that as one of the best times to visit. It was cold, but not freezing, the snow had not melted at various places and there was enough sunshine. However all of summers, spring and early winters is a great time to visit.
Austria like Germany has wonderful roads, so if you can drive, rent a car and drive down to enjoy the amazing scenery. Other alternatives are to take trains and buses, which I also did. Thoroughly enjoyed the rail journeys which go through some picturesque trails. Postbus site was our weapon to book train and bus tickets always always. http://www.postbus.at/en/ . All the days we spent in Vienna, we used the metro extensively. Buying day passes is economical if you have to visit various destinations in the city.
Austria is a sheer delight in terms of food and patisserie. It has many world renowned delicacies to its credit. Schnitzels, sausages, pretzels, linzer torte, apple strudels, sacher torte are ones you cannot miss. While in Vienna or Salzburg, visit Hotel Sacher for the original Sacher cake. While it may be an expensive affair, you will not regret it.
What to shop: May sound funny, but i bought Easter eggs from Salzburg. Other than this there are lots of knick knacks to shop, woolen clothing, scarfs, spices, chocolates. However what steals the complete limelight is Swarovski . Native of Austria with a large establishment in Innsbruck, you will find some fabulous Swarovski stores at many places in Austria and trust me thats the best variety of Swarovski you will ever get. Do not miss to buy atleast one small piece of this sparkling crystal for yourself.