Austria

The low down:
Austria’s Tyrolean capital, Innsbruck, was put on the tourist map for its hosting of the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976. However, this is the least magnificent of the city’s boasts. From a bustling but aesthetically pleasing city centre featuring traditional medieval architecture to chic and vibrant wine bars; this is the Alps at their best. Sample the delicious local cuisine whilst admiring arguably the most picture-perfect snow-capped mountain setting offered by any European city.

Getting there:
Return with Easyjet to Innsbruck from £75.

Where to stay:

Hotel Weisses Kreuz, (Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 31)is £25 pp/pn for a double room.

Three of the best:
>> Visit the Alpenzoo. With more than 2000 animals of over 150 species, and an idyllic location, half-way up a mountain, this zoo is worth a visit, even if only to witness the spectacular views and enjoy the frighteningly steep funicular ride to reach it. Adults cost £5.50, students £4.

>> Splash out and treat yourself to a luxury a la carte dinner at the Sporthotel Igls Restaurant. Winning numerous awards for its cuisine, the restaurant also boasts panoramic views over Innsbruck from its enviable location on the top of an Alpine mountain. Expect to pay from £25 per person for a 3 course dinner.

>> Visit the Swarovski’s extravagant Crystal World, the lavish birth-place of undoubtedly the world’s most famous crystal makers. Be greeted by an opulent crystal fountain, and explore the bizarre interactive crystal art exhibitions, including the world’s largest crystal. Guranteed to dazzle. Adults go in for £7.
Emma Ronicle

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