Austria, with its capital Vienna, is situated in Central Europe. Austria’s geographical position has long made it a crossroads for trade routes between the major European economic and cultural areas. Austria borders eight countries: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. Except for Switzerland and Lichtenstein, all these countries are part of the European Union.
For a small country there is a plethora of tours and pilgrimages that can be taken. The Danube from Passau in Germany to Vienna has numerous spectacular monasteries, castles and churches and the Wachau Valley is where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned on his return from the Crusades. The Way of St. James passes almost the length of the country and leads all the way to the Camino in Spain, passing beautiful villages and stunning scenery. Austria maintains many of its traditions and the village processions on Corpus Christi (early June) and the Feast of Maria Assumption Day (August 15th) display this in full splendour. Austrians still wear national dress on Sundays, bank holidays and family gatherings which make for an interesting sight.
Spend the days leading up to Christmas or Christmas itself in a magnificent alpine setting where the advent customs of its regions, towns and villages are the perfect antidote to the pre-Christmas rush. Be part of authentic advent traditions whilst visiting the Christmas markets in the picturesque lakeside villages of St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang and Hallstatt as well as the magnificent baroque city of Salzburg, the imposing fortress of Hohenwerfen and Oberndorf, the home of the famous carol Silent Night.