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Oberösterreich, or Upper Austria in English, is one of Austria's nine federal states. The state is located in the northern part of the country, bordering Germany to the northwest and Czechia to the northeast. Niederösterreich, or Lower Austria, binds the region to the east and Steiermark as well as Styria and Salzburg to the south. Geographically, the area can be divided into three subdivisions. Mühlviertel and part of Bohemian Forest stretch across the country's north, bounded by the Danube river in the south. In the central part of the region are located Alpine foothills, and the southernmost part is represented by the mountainous landscape of the Austrian Alps. The highest peak in Upper Austria is Hoher Dachstein, at the top of the mountain is located the only glacier in the area. Upper Austria's capital city, the biggest agglomeration in the region and an economic hub, is Linz, located on the shores of the Danube river.
Linz is the third largest city in Austria and the capital city of Oberösterreich. Located in the Linz Basin on the shores of the Danube, the town offers a considerable number of historical and cultural sights. Also, it is one of the main economic centers in Austria. In the city resides Voestalpine, a technology group designated for the production of steel. The Danube River flowing through the city represents an advantage in terms of trade and travel. Some of the town's predominant historical and cultural destinations are, for example, a neo-gothic St. Mary's Cathedral or the main square with a trinity column. In the city is also located Mozarthaus, where the Austrian composer W. A. Mozart composed one of his symphonies. The courtyard of the house is open to the public.
The city of Hallstatt is often regarded as one of the most picturesque towns in Upper Austria. Hallstatt is located on the shores of Hallstatt Lake, in the Alpine region, and near the highest peak in the Oberösterreich, Hoher Dachstein. Thus, the town is the starting point of numerous hiking and cycling routes and is popular among climbers. Atop Hoher Dachstein is a glacier available for skiing and freerides. A considerable number of slopes and ski resorts can be found in the Alpine area close to Hallstatt, posing as a popular winter destination. During summer, water activities such as swimming, boating, and canoeing options on Hallstatt Lake and other adjacent lakes are available. In close proximity to the town are various caves. Dachstein Giant Ice Cave is considered to be the most popular. However, Hallstatt itself has a rich history, intertwined with the centuries-long salt mining tradition of the area, which UNESCO protects as a UNESCO World Heritage region of Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut.
Oberösterreich is a popular touristic destination for its diverse nature and multiple historical cities. The castles and palaces of the area add to the various attractions in Oberösterreich. Among the most popular castles in the territory belongs the Clam Castle, which was first established in the mid-12th century. Several renovations took place on the castle grounds, shaping it into the image visitors can see today. Apart from the castle, chambers, farmhouses, riding schools, hydropower plants, farmland, and forests also belong to the Clam estates. The castle has various tours and exhibitions to offer. Part of the building functions as a medieval-styled bed and breakfast that can accommodate visitors.
Oberösterreich, or Upper Austria, is situated in the northern part of the country, neighboring Czechia to the east and Germany to the west. Three nature areas cover the land of Upper Austria. The Danube, the largest river flowing through the region, crosses the area from west to east in the northern third of the territory. To the north of the Danube, the "Mühlviertel," or Mill District, spreads out. Part of the area also belongs to the mountains of Bohemian Massif. A mountain range known as the Bohemian Forest is located in the place where the German, Czech, and Austrian borders meet. To the south of the Danube and particularly in the central part of the region are where the northern Alpine foothills are located. The landscape is primarily flat with lower hills and forests, which allows for widespread agriculture. Southern areas of Oberösterreich are characterized by Alpine hills and mountains, divided into two portions, the Upper Austrian Alps and Eisenwurzen, and are also located to the east of the Enns. The Alpine area is home to Upper Austria's highest peak, where the region's only glacier area, Hoher Dachstein, is located at an altitude of 2995 m above sea level.
Upper Austrian nature is composed of a diversity of conditions. The territory is made up of numerous protested landscape areas. In the southern part of the region is located the Kalkalpen National Park, which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List. Austria's first World Natural heritage beech forest is also located in the park. Various endangered animal and plant species can be found on the grounds of the Kalkalpen National Park. More than half of the Oberösterreich land is generally used for agriculture, with significant crops being wheat, rye, sugar beets, potatoes, and fruit. One-third of the area is covered in forests.
Climatic conditions of the Upper Austria region are diverse and are relatively highly dependent on the height above sea level. In general, the area is located in the Central European transitional climate zone, with considerable influence from the Atlantic Ocean. Linz Basin is the warmest area in the territory, with temperatures decreasing correspondingly to the altitude. The warmest month in Linz is July, with an average daily temperature of 24°C, while January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 0°C. October tends to be the driest month in Linz, with an average of 42 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during June, with an average of 83 mm.
Oberösterreich, called Upper Austria in English, has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Lakeside settlements of Mondsee culture have been found in the area, dating back to approximately 3400 BC. Mining of mostly salt started in the Oberösterreich territory around 1000 BC and is now historically known for salt mining. Celtic tribes established the kingdom of Noricum, which later came under the rule of the Roman Empire, as one of its districts, called Pannonia. After the fall of the Roman Empire, various tribes, such as Visigoths, Huns, Ostrogoths, Rugians, and Lombards, passed through or occupied the country.
The central part of Upper Austria was called Traungau during the Middle Ages, which belonged to the Duchy of Styria until 1254. In 1261, a Principality of Austria above the Enns was established. Later, in the 16th century, the county underwent a reformation, which resulted in the majority of the Upper Austrian population becoming Protestant. Several religious conflicts took place during the Middle Ages. The official name "Upper Austria" was created for the region after World War I. In 1938, after the "Anschluss of Austria," an operation during which Austria was annexed to the German Reich, the new name, Reichsgau Oberdonau, was given to the territory. The area of Reichsgau Oberdonau also included southern parts of Czechia, which were inhabited by a primarily German population. After the war, in 1945, the area was reannexed to Czechia. The territory of Upper Austria was utilized as a US occupation zone until 1955.
Nowadays, the population density in the Oberösterreich federal state is one of the highest in Austria, as, after World War II, over 100,000 refugees moved to the area. The prevailing percent of the population is of Roman Catholic religion, and most people are German speaking. Linz is the capital city of the region. Other significant agglomerations are Wels, Steyr, Traun, Braunau, and Bad Ischl.
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