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Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, is one of the prettiest palaces in Europe

When it comes to European history, you can bet that Austria has been at the center of it. Once part of the Habsburg dynasty, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this small country has had an out-sized impact on European events. From wars (essentially starting World War I with Serbia) to geopolitics (the country frequently hosts high-level negotiations under the sponsorship of the United Nations), Austria has been in the midst of it all.

Visitors to Austria will discover incredible architecture, magnificent gardens and one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. Throughout the Austrian Alps, there’s plenty of outdoor activities to keep visitors busy: skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. In the cities, Austrians practically define high culture. Vienna is one of the most rarefied cities in the world – and one of the most livable. Salzburg is one of the most charming travel destinations anywhere in the world.