Austrian Alps

The Alps are Europe's major range of mountains, spanning from the Mediterranean coast of France via Switzerland, N Italy and Austria to Slovenia. As such, a considerable area of Austria is part of this mountain range, accordingly hiking, skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing rate highly among Austrian's favourite pastimes. The clean air, spectacular sights, lakes and glaciers and well-tended trails and hikes contribute to the Alps allure and attract numerous tourists and visitors. The Alps flora and fauna is unique as well: the Edelweiss, Austria's national flower, and Gentian ('Enzian') may be rare, but they have shaped the worlds image of Austria and the Alps. Local animals such as chamois, marmots and ibexes are well adapted to the alpine habitat. Mt Grossglockner is Austria's highest peak featuring a spectacular glacier ('Pasterze') and a 50 km long panoramic road, which is easily accessible in summertime and offers some of the most spectacular views in Austria. The 'Hohe Tauern' National park was established to protect the fragile ecosystem of the most fantastic areas surrounding Mt Grossglockner. Eisriesenwelten are the largest accessible ice caves in the world. Its frozen waterfalls and elaborate ice formations can be admired on guided tours taking you for 75 minutes into a fascinating world . Its caves and passages adorned with frozen stalagmites and other ice formations are named after famous characters in Norse mythology. The enormous caves are located in the proximity of Werfen, an easy distance from Salzburg.

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