While today’s Austria is but a fraction of the size of the once mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire, it is nevertheless rich in culture and traditions. The Habsburgs ruled from Vienna for some seven centuries, and today the city is known for its wonderful palaces, great composers, and grand balls. Not surprisingly, Austria is a paradise for winter sports. Two-thirds of the landscape is shaped by the Alps, with Grossglockner being the country's highest peak at 12,460 feet. Traditional costumes of lederhosen and dirndls can still be seen, as well as traditional wooden architecture, particularly in rural Tyrol.
Zac Steger is a freelance writer and photographer who has traveled extensively through the German-speaking countries. His credits include AFAR, German Life, AAA Highroads, Upsala Nya Tidning, NUVO and The Globe and Mail. View more of his work at zacsteger.com and follow on Twitter @zacsteger.