Silvretta lake at the Bielerhohe Pass. Photo by Friedrich.
Austria, landlocked in the centre of Europe is efficient, safe, uncrowded (well, by locals, total population is only 8m), and has stunning towns and magnificent mountains.
The rise and fall of the Habsburg (aka Hapsburg) dynasty (1278- 1914) and the Austrian Empire is a monumental story in Europe’s history. It’s gone but not forgotten by tourists gaping at the mass of gothic, baroque and rococo royal relics or listening to concerts devised by long-dead Vienna inhabitants – Mozart, Strauss, Brahms and Beethoven to name but a few.
Museums, especially in gorgeous Vienna, offer a lot more than Habsburg lifestyle samples and cover many topics in great depth and style.
The climate offers a comfortable warmth in the summer and acceptable cold in winter, encouraging year-round outdoor activities, particularly summer hiking and winter skiing.
Transport systems are brilliant and road access to other European cities is easy, while locals are friendly and many speak English.