In the summer, with Salzburg stealing the music aficionados and Vienna drawing the mainstream, Innsbruck appears out-of-luck and out-of-date. The last time the city received global attention was in 1976 at the Winter Olympics. But if you leave this Winter Wonderland off your Austrian itinerary, then you are seriously mistaken and seriously missing out. With the first snow, skiers and other cold-weather junkies flock to Innsbruck for its fresh powder and Old World charm. The seat of regional power for centuries, it's crowned by the encircling peaks of the Austrian Alps. And while winter brings out the best in this town along the Inn River, the picturesque summers are also worth your notice.
The city that inspired Mozart, Haydn and Julie Andrews continues to enchant. And you too could be susceptible to its spell as you weave through its Baroque buildings and Romanesque archways, hoping to hear the lingering echoes of Mozart's pianoforte or a "Do-Re-Mi" from the von Trapp Family Singers. Since there's little chance of that, try visiting during one of the city's many festivals or concerts instead. While you're here, take a stroll through the Gothic Festung Hohensalzburg, say a prayer at Dom zu Salzburg or dine on schnitzel and dumplings in the Altstadt (Old Town) district. You'll soon learn that this city is steeped in more than just musical history; it also boasts a majestic arrangement of medieval strongholds and magical palaces and gardens.
History is at the heart of Vienna both literally and figuratively. The narrow streets of the Innere Stadt (Inner City) snake through antiquated buildings, providing an atmosphere so authentic that you almost expect a Vienna native like composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or psychologist Sigmund Freud to round a cobblestone corner and greet you with "guten tag." Extravagant baroque palaces from the Habsburg Monarchy loom over the city, just as Mozart's classical arias pour from contemporary cafes. If it's culture you seek, you'll find it here.
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