Language: The official language is Austrian (Standard) German, which is nearly identical to standard German except for some specific vocabulary differences. First language of most Austrians is, however, Austro-Bavarian. Italian is spoken in the southern regions that border Italy. But English is widely spoken, especially in the cities.
Climate: Austria has a temperate continental climate. Day-time temperatures in July and August are around 25°C (77°F), but can often reach 35°C (95°F). Winters are cold in the lowlands and very harsh in the Alpine region with temperatures often dropping below -10°C (14°F). In the Alpine region large temperature fluctuations occur all year round and nights are chilly even in mid-summer. The northern Alps are generally a lot wetter than the rest of the country. The southeast (Styria and Carinthia) is dry and sunny.
Time Zone: CET - Central European Time
Phone Code: +43
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Transportation: There are six airports in Austria with scheduled flights. The most important international airport is Vienna which has connection to all major airports of the world. Austria has plenty of connections with all its neighbours daily. Every neighbouring country (even Lichtenstein) has trains at least hourly. Trains are the best and most common from of mass transportation in Austria. Comfortable and moderately priced trains connect major cities and many towns; buses serve less significant towns and lakes.
The predominantly Roman Catholic country is more conservative than its neighbours, but is slowly becoming both legally and socially more liberal concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. Registration of same-sex relationships was introduced in 2010, primarily in response to pressure from the European Union.
Similar to other Central European countries, LGBT communities are well developed in all the larger cities, such as Vienna, Linz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Graz.
Vienna hosts an annual Regenbogenparade (rainbow parade), and the Life Ball, Europe's largest charity event supporting people with HIV/AIDS.
As one of Europe's favourite ski destinations, Austria also hosts both Ski Bums St Anton Gay Ski Week and the Gay Snow Happening in Solden, in mid- to late- March.