Austria Geography and Surface

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Location and surface area

Austria is located in the southern part of Central Europe. It does not have an access to sea; the nearest maritime coast (Adriatic Sea) is about 80 km from its southern border. Austria borders on eight countries: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. The total surface area of Austria is 83,872 square kilometres (rank 115th in the world).


Austria is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. More than two thirds (68% exactly) of its surface area has an altitude in excess of 500m. The majority of the area is occupied by the Alps, namely Central Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps. The areas which could be considered lowlands are situated in the east (along the border with Hungary) and north (along the river Danube). In the very north, along the border with the Czech Republic, the landscape gets hilly again, though the Austrian granite plateau is geologically older and much lower than the Alps.

Highest peaks in Austria

Several peaks in excess of 3.5 thousand metres can be found in Austria, mostly in Hohe Tauern range at the border between Salzburg, East Tyrol, and Carinthia, and Ötztal Alps in Tyrol. Other major ranges include Lechtal Alps in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, Stubai Alps and Zillertal Alps in Tyrol, Niedere Tauern to the east of Hohe Tauern, and Karawanken in Carinthia. The highest mountain in Austria is Grossglockner in Hohe Tauern with 3,797m. Here you can see the full list of the 16 highest mountains in Austria.

Rivers in Austria

Thanks to its location and the Alps, Austria has many rivers with excellent hydroenergetic potential. The downside of this fact is that most of the rivers are not much useful for transportation. The only major exception is the Danube which flows through Upper Austria, Lower Austria, and Vienna. Other major rivers include the Inn, the Enns, and the Drau. Read more about Austrian rivers.

Lakes in Austria

The biggest two lakes are located at the opposite ends of Austria. Bodensee (also known as Lake Constance in English) forms the border with Germany and Switzerland in the west and Neusiedler See forms the border with Hungary in the east. There are many smaller lakes in the Alps and many of them became symbols of the Alpine landscape’s beauty. Among the best known are Traunsee, Hallstätter See, Wolfgangsee, or Attersee in the Salzkammergut area.