The Republic of Austria (or Österreich, as it is known to its German-speaking population) offers a mixture of mountains, music, architecture and the arts. The beauty of the Danube Valley in Lower Austria is almost unparalleled, with beautiful vineyards, verdant forests and an abundance of ancient fortresses dotting the landscape.

Austria is a largely mountainous country due to its location in the Alps. The Central Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps are all partly in Austria. Of the total 84,000 square kilometres that make up the Republic of Austria, only about a quarter can be considered low lying, and only 32% of the country is below 500 metres. These lower lands are found predominantly in the eastern area of the country and are comprised of low lands and plains.

As would be expected, most of Austria has an alpine climate, as a result of the domination of the Alps within its realm. In the East, especially along the Danube, there is less rain than in the alpine areas. Austria's temperatures are similar to that found in Canada, with cold winters and relatively warm summer temperatures reaching 20-35 degrees Celsius.

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