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Things to do in Austria

  • Schonbrunn Palace Schonbrunn Palace Vienna, Austria
    Schonbrunn Palace was at one time the summer residence of the royal family in Vienna, Austria and is considered one of the most prominent cultural structures in Austria, and beginning in the 1960s, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The palace and grounds, the estate, showcases the most avid interests, tastes and aspirations of the Hapsburg monarchs who has lived here. The Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian II, bought a huge floodplain by the Wien River in 1569, set below a hill, and sitting between Hietzing and Meidling; where in 1548, the previous owner constructed a mansion, naming it Katterburg. Maximillian had the area fenced and imported game animals to live there for the court's sport hunting, that included boar, deer, pheasants and ducks. In a smaller, but different area, turkeys and peafowl were placed, as well as fish ponds. Schonbrunn means "beautiful spring", and corresponds to the artesian well that was supplying the water to the royal court, and in the following century, it would be utilized for hunting and recreational use. Eleonore Gonzaga really enjoyed coming there to hunt, and would come here as often as possible, and the estates was left to her by her husband, Ferdinand II, the Holy Roman Emperor. During the period from 1638 to 1643, she would add a palace to the Katterburg mansion, and sometime in 1642, the first mention of Schonbrunn was written on an invoice, and the origins of the Schonbrunn orangery was related to Eleonore as well. During the 17th to the 19th centuries, these "orangerys" were either greenhouses or conservatories, because of the growth of citrus trees that could be grown there all year long, especially in those areas where the winters were harsh and cold, like Austria. Emperor Leopold I would give architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach the order to construct a completely new palace, with his initial draft turning out to be very utopian in scope, trying to incorporate the many antique and contemporary ideas of the age and hoping to do better than the model he used, Versailles. The next one was smaller and closer to what the emperor had in mind, and the construction started in 1696, and three years later, a gala event was held and celebrated in the middle portion of the new palace. There were very few portions of that palace that survived the century, since Maria Theresa of Austria, who received the estate as a gift from her father, with him not having much interest in it other than to use it as a summer residence, following her coronation. She had the architect-of-the-court, Nicolo Pacassi, rebuild the palace and garden in the Rococo style and by the finish of the Theresianian epoch, the palace was the nucleus of the country's empire and royal family, using it as a summer residence until Charles I of Austria abdicated in 1918.  The magnificent sculptured garden area that exists between the palace and the Neptune Well, is called the Great Parterre or Great ground floor, where a huge beautiful French garden sits, taking up most of the garden area and was designed by Jean Trehet in 1695; it also contains a maze. The estate contains more wonderful attractions than these, including the world's oldest zoo that was started in 1752, a palm house that replaced ten earlier and smaller glass houses that sat in the western parts of the park, an orangerie that was constructed in 1755, and other staple luxuries that were part of European palaces of this kind. Other areas in the western portion of the park became an English garden in 1828-1852, with a wonderful botanical garden on the farthest edge of the western part, and had been an arboretum that was rearranged in 1828, about the time the old palm house was constructed. It is in the restoration stages and part of it will house orangutans, as well as an office and restaurant. Along the great parterre, there are 32 unique sculptures of deities and virtues.

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St. Stephen's CathedralSt. Stephen's Cathedral Vienna, Austria
St. Stephen's Cathedral is the mother church for the Archdiocese of Vienna, where the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, OP resides in the city of Vienna, Austria. The spectacular gothic and Romanesque structure that sits in the heart of the city, was the work of Rudolf IV, and sits above the ruins of two churches that were here centuries ago. The first was a small parish church that was consecrated in 1147, and since it is the most prominent structure in the Austrian capital, it has seen many significant events in the country's history and has become one of the city's most recognizable symbols, with a marvelous multi-colored tiled roof. During the middle 12th century, the city had grown into one of the most significant centers of German civilization in eastern Europe, and the four churches that were there, including a parish church, could not handle the city's growing religious needs. Bishop of Passau Regimar and Margrave Leopold IV would sign the Treaty of Mautern in 1137, called the city a Civitas, and transferred the Church of St. Peter to the diocese. Under the treaty, Leopold would get huge stretches of land that lay beyond the city's walls, except for that portion that would be used for the new cathedral that became St. Stephen's. The grounds where this new cathedral was constructed had been thought just open fields, but when a heating system had to be installed in 2000, there were graves discovered some 7 or 8 feet below the surface, and after being carbon-dated, were found to be from the 4th century AD. Their discovery implies that an older church or religious building had been there that predated the Ruprechtskirche, that is thought to be the oldest church in the country today.  Following those events, the church would witness some of the most incredible times in history, both for the cathedral and the country, and is considered to be one of the most important sites to be visited in Vienna today. There is so much history about the church and the events that took place here, that a visitor would have to spend a considerable amount of time investigating it. The reading alone would take the better part of a day, with the extraordinary architecture taking even more time to view and certainly take picture of.

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Local Restaurants in Austria
  • Korso
    The menu is very European so that you have a great opportunity to try the local cuisine in an atmosphere of refined elegance and unique cuisine. Ouverture offers; beef tartar is marinated in creamy spicy pepper fond with tassiasch olives, salad is with young veggies with charvroux goat cheese and thyme oil, goose liver is terrine with braised oxtail, red beet and sweet wine jelly. Prelude offers; lobster cream soup with lobster ravioli, beef consommé with lovage roulade and eggdrop. Intermezzo offers; scallops fried with smoked mushroom fond and remanesco, veal liver in onion-Madeira jus with radicchio-risotto and pines. Scherzo is John Dory with Brussels sprouts, watercress and with fresh cheese filled pasta cases, halibut & lobster in olive oil poached halibut and roasted lobster with served three ways cauliflower, bass fillet in fried fennel with tomato butter and herb-noodle leaf. Rondo offerings; venison medallions with chestnuts, quince and potato-almond pastry, bio beef filet filled with celery, perigord truffle and potato puree au gratin, veal tafelspitz is medium roasted with braised parsnip and gnocchi.

  • Drei Husaren
    This restaurant in Vienna offers their meals in menus, that include salad, soup, entree and desserts. Menu 1 offers; variation of leaf salads with raspberry vinaigrette, clear beef broth with Viennese soup filling, roast salmon on saffron risotto, variation of chocolate mousse or cookies. Menu 2; freshwater crayfish salad with avocado and tuna tartar, oxtail soup with strudel of minced meat and root veggies, roast bass on ravioli stuffed with eggplant and olive butter, browned omelette with semolina and vanilla-curd ice cream or cookies. Menu 3; salmon tartar in vine leaf with potato cream, quails consommé with truffled semolina dumplings and sherry, roast saddle of veal with Madeira sauce on celery ravioli and chards, pyramid cake stuffed with iced mocha parfait and vanilla sauce or cookies. Menu 4; roast shrimps with Caesar's salad and lemon confit, chicken consommé with truffled veggie royal, roast sirloin in cognac sauce with leek strudel and shallots marinated in red wine, iced nougat parfait with berries compote or cookies. Menu 5; duckling parfait with apples marinated in port wine and sesame brioche, chervil cream soup with curd dumplings, Guinea fowl breast with spinach tagliolini and morel sauce, chocolate cake with praline mousse and pistachio praline or cookies. Menu 6; marinated beef slices with truffle sauce and salads, chicken ginger cream soup with small curd-herb dumplings, fillet of beef "Cafe de Paris" with potato-ham roll veggies of the season, iced apple strudel with caramelized apple slices or cookies. Menu 7; tomato mousse on leaf salads, smoked char soup with semolina dumplings, braised Kalbsbacker on roast polenta with veggies and lovage sauce, roast perch-pike with ravioli stuffed with olives, roquette and saffron sauce, browned omelette with strawberry-yogurt ice cream or cookies.


Venison Medalions Korso Vienna, Austria

Veal Tafelspitz Korso Vienna, Austria



 Roast Sirloin Drei Husaren Vienna, Austria

Roast Sea Bass Drei Husaren Vienna, Austria

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  • Kunsthistoricsches MuseumKunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria
    The Museum of Art History in Vienna, Austria, or often called the Museum of Fine Arts is contained in the absolutely magnificent palatial building on Ringstrasse, that is crowned with an octagonal dome, and is one of the most prominent and beautiful fine arts and decorative arts museums in the world. The term Kunsthistorisches Museum applies to both the main structure and the institution and has had over 620,000 visitors since 2007. The museum opened in 1891, about the same period that the Naturhistorisches Museum was opened, by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary, and actually have the same exteriors and face each other across the well known Maria-Theresien-Platz. There were both constructed between 1872 and 1891, and designed by Gottfried Semper and Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer. The two museums were ordered built by the emperor so that the Habsburg's art collections could be preserved and accessible to the public. The facades are made of sandstone, rectangular in shape, and crowned with a dome that reaches almost 200 feet into the sky. The interior is elaborately decorated with stucco ornamentations, marble, gold-leaf and paintings, making it a fantastic work of art itself. As you can see by the photo to the right, this is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the world; especially since there are twins, and they house one of the most spectacular treasures in the world, if not the best. The main collections of this museum are the ones that were donated by the Hapsburgs, especially the portrait and armor collections of Ferdinand of Tirol, the collections of Emperor Rudolf II, the major part of this collection has been scattered, and the paintings collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm. Some of the most phenomenal paintings in the collections include the works of; Jan van Eyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Durer, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Raphael, Diego Velazquez, and Johannes Vermeer. The collections of the museum include; the coin cabinet, the library, Egyptian and near Eastern collection, collection of sculpture and decorative arts and the collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. In the Hofburg gallery there is the Ephesus-museum, secular and ecclesiastical treasury, collection of ancient musical instruments and the collection of arm and armor. Other parts of the museum that aren't housed here include the Austrian Theater museum in Palais Lobkowitz, collections of Ambras Castle in Innsbruck and the museum of carriages and department of court uniforms in the Schonbrunn Palace.

  • Belvedere PalaceBelvedere Palace Vienna, Austria
    The Belvedere is a magnificent baroque palace complex that was constructed by Prince Eugene of Savoy, that sits in the fifth district of the city of Vienna, Austria and contains the Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere museum. During 1697, Prince Eugene had a huge park built, with the palace being constructed in 1714 as an entertainment villa, and later called the Lower Belvedere, with an orangerie and paintings gallery; as well as living quarters, suitable for the royal prince and his entourage. The architect that designed the villa, was Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, one of the foremost architects in the country baroque, and it is said that he created a complex of buildings that would become his masterpiece. The Venetian sculptor, Giovanni Stanetti, would assist him, as well as other assistants brought to the country by Prince Eugene. Stanetti would create the Italinate sculptural details, like the figures that ran along the balustrade and various garden sculptures. The Lower Belvedere was completed in 1716, and the extraordinary ceiling of the Marble Hall, was painted by Marino Altomonte, which celebrates the prince as the new Apollo and leader of the muses. This room also houses the Apotheosis of Prince Eugene that was sculpted by Balthasar Permoser. The state bedroom, Pardeschlafzimmer, is suitable for levees, with delicate grottesche like that done by Jean Berain, painted by Jonas Drentwett, and the marble-gallery stucco-decorations and figures were created by Domenico Parodi. The inner marble room contained ceiling-paintings by Giacomo de Pro that was done in 1720, and the donnersaal contains ceiling frescoes by Altomonte and feigned architecture by Gaetano Fanti done in 1716; with a state dining room to the east. There is a beautiful garden area that is enclosed by clipped hedging, in the formal French style with graveled walkways and jeux d'eau by Dominique Girard, who had been trained in the gardens of Versailles, the student of Andre Le Notre. In the upper partarre lay a huge water basin with stairs filled with nymphs and goddesses that connected the lower and upper partarres. In 1720 to 1723, the Upper Belvedere was constructed that is pictured to the right, and built to complete the main garden axis, with Hildebrandt again the architect, and another central marmosaal, where the signing of the Austrian State Treaty occurred in 1955, and the Schloss increased in size to give the prince a major summer retreat. These ceilings were painted by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone and there is a spectacular altarpiece in the chapel that was painted by Francesco Solimena.

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  • Liechtenstein MuseumLiechtenstein Museum Vienna, Austria
    The Liechtenstein Museum, located in Vienna, Austria, was named after one of the continent's most noble families and houses the princely collections that contain significant European artworks, that has become one of the best private art collection in the world. The museum owns many locations, the Liechtenstein City Palace in Bankgasse and the Liechtenstein Garden Palace in the IX district Alsergrund. The museum reopened in 2004, and when it did, many of the princely collection pieces were returned here, having been shown elsewhere until 1938; and was known as the most magnificent private collection on the earth. The Garden Palace that houses the museum was built in the reign of Prince Johann Adam Andreas I of Liechtenstein, who became one of the most prolific builders of his time. He would oversee many other castles and palaces throughout Austria. The restoration included bringing the frescoes back to their original glory, modernizing the interior, refurbishing the ceiling paintings, cleaning and remounting the sculptures and vases and restoring the stucco decorations to showcase their brilliance and splendor. The frescoes in the Sala Terrena on the first floor had been open to the environment and thus were exposed to the variable climate conditions which naturally affected them is various ways. These marvelous pieces were brought back to their original condition with a lot of hard work and perseverance. Many of the ceiling paintings had been retouched in various ways, depending on the artist, and then to maximize the mess, a thick coat of varnish had been applied that naturally turned yellowish over the years. This was a difficult endeavor, but with the patience and time that was used, they have been restored to their beautiful condition. The astounding work that was done here is nothing short of amazing and the infinite details of the former works were brought to light in this restoration. The museum is to be commended for its excellent work and the people that did it are masters of the arts for sure.  In the permanent exhibition category, there are numerous galleries that showcase the talents and the artworks of many centuries and are a testament to the artistic endeavors of the monarchs that collected and preserved these incredible works of art. In the museum the following can be thoroughly enjoyed; the art of Pietre Dure, the library, Peter Paul Rubens as the history painter and portraitist, along with his most significant collaborator, Anthonis van Dyck, the religious art of gothic and renaissance Italy, Flemish painting and the artistic development of Peter Paul Rubens, the portrait in the late gothic and renaissance periods and Peter Paul Rubens, Adrian De Fries and Massimillano Soldani Benzi.

  • Mirabell Palace and GardensMirabell Palace and Gardens Salzburg, Austria
    The Palace of Mirabell has become one of the most interesting places to visit in Salzburg, Salzburgerland, Austria and was constructed in the baroque style using French and Italian models in 1606 by the Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau. The geometrically arrayed gardens contain many mythology-themed statues that were created from 1730, as well as the Italian sculptures by Ottavio Mosto, created in 1690, and are divided into four groups; Pluto, Paris, Hercules and Eneas. It has become one of the most favored locales for weddings in the city.  The palace was a present for the archbishop's concubine, Salome Alt and is more famous for the magnificent and beautiful gardens that encompass the palace. His successor, Prince archbishop Markus Sittikus re-named the estate, Schloss Mirabell, meaning "beautiful view", and almost a century later, Prince archbishop Franz Anton Harrach would reconstruct the castle, almost from the base, with plans created by Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt between 1721 and 1727. In the great fire of Salzburg during 1818, the palace was almost destroyed, and then rebuilt by Peter Nobile in the following years. The huge tower in the center of the eastern wing was taken away and the facades redone in the neo-classical style.  The western wing contains some of the most embellished aspects of the palace, with incredibly decorated facade, rich in color and detail. The first floor is rusticated, illuminating a baroque style of pastoral serenity, and the central staircase is copied from the original Shloss Altenau of Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitneau. It is called the "Donnerstiege", which mean the staircase of thunder, although the name is in reference to the artist that created the statues and sculptures, G. R. Donner, that created the decorations in 1726. The matching fresco on the ceiling was painted by Altomonte and G. Fanti in 1723, but unfortunately destroyed in the fire of 1816. The stairway is a baroque jewel, with too much marble, sculptures and other artworks that have made it an extraordinary part of the rich heritage of the city. It isn't the only piece of work that is hidden, since the Marmosaal or marble hall is another exquisite piece of baroque work that is amazing in its exhibition. The list of magnificent works in the palace can only be appreciated and understood by going there in person, with many days to spend perusing the marvelous palace and grounds. So, see you there!

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  • Hellbrunn CastleHellbrunn Castle Salzburg, Austria
    Hellbrunn Castle is located in the Morzg district of Salzburg, Austria and is a magnificent baroque villa almost as big as a palace that was constructed during 1613-1619 by the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Markus Sittikus von Hohenems. There is a clear spring that is located nearby on the property that gave its name to the estate; which doesn't have any bedrooms since it was intended to be used on during the daylight hours, and in the evening, Markus would go back into the city of Salzburg. The estate is quite well known for the many water games or jeux d'eau that occurred on the grounds and visitors consider it a favorite part of the tour. The games were thought up by Markus, as a way to amuse his guests, knowing he had quite a sense of humor and didn't mind making anyone of his guests the object of his pranks. Some of these included a stone dining room table that had stone chairs around it, that had been piped with water, so that whenever the mood struck Markus he would activated it and it sprayed water on the seats of the guests. Of course, in any of the watered areas, there was always one place or seat that didn't get watered and that is where the archbishop sat or was. Another one is a mechanical and water operated music-playing theater that was constructed in 1750, and would show different types of workers doing their jobs, or a grotto and crown being pushed up or down by the force of the water, that symbolized the rise and fall of power. The villa is set in a huge park like area, that has a zoo nearby, a small building called the monatschlossi or small month palace, since it was constructed in a month after one of the guests had told the archbishop that it would be an attractive addition on the small hill and improve the sights from a window in the villa; and a stone theater. That building is now used to contain the ethnographical part of the Carolina Augusteum Museum of Salzburg. The estate has become so popular and renown throughout Europe that it has become the Austrian 10 euro The Castle of Hellbrunn coin, that was created in 2004.  The estate has many surprising features, that include the stone table and chairs, a playground, the sound of music pavilion, stone theater, marvelous view of the mountains, the month palace, water parterre, crown grotto, mechanical theater, water automats, the Neptune grotto, and the main palace. The banquet hall in the villa is one of the most spectacular rooms in the building, with painted ceilings, and painted walls with sculptured stucco and doors painted on the walls to look like windows that view various aspects of the estate. The floor is made of tiles and the entire room looks like a banquet hall or even ballroom should look like for the wealthy of Austria. There are many water features that are located throughout the estate, with fountains and sculptures that will invoke pictures of that period dancing in your heads. 

  • Mozart Residence
    The world famous composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and raised in Salzburg, Austria, and would work for the archbishops of the city from 1769 to 1781. His house has become one of the most favorite attractions in the city, and his entire family is buried with him in a small church cemetery in the old part of the city. There are numerous monuments and various signs of his presence in the city that bring joy to the visitors and the citizens that are proud to have him for one of the important people born there. The house of Mozart is well known locally as the dance master house, that occurred before the family moved, but nonetheless retained this reference. Mozart would grow into a prolific composer of the classical period composing more than 600 works, which would become the epitome of choral music, concertante, symphonic, chamber, piano, and operatic music; which perhaps explains why he was one of the most popular of the classical composers. Mozart was certainly no ordinary prodigy, if that could possibly happen, but he was extraordinary, composing by the age of 5, and performing before the royalty of Europe, as well as being very good at the violin and piano. By the time Mozart reached 17 years, he was a court musician in Salzburg, but needed to see more of the world and became very restless, finally leaving and looking for better opportunities to showcase his talents. Even when he was traveling, he still composed; but while in Vienna, in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position, so he stayed in Vienna, becoming very well known, but not getting much money. While he was there, he would write many of his best known works, in concertos, symphonies, the Requiem and operas. His early death, at 35 years, would become the object of legends and myths, but no one is really sure; just that he left a wife, Constance and two small sons. Mozart learned like a starving beggar, and eventually developed a magnificent style that spoke of his brilliance and maturity, embodying the light and grace, as well as the dark and passionate, envisioning a humanity of redemption by art, forgiven and reconciled with the natural environment around us. He would influence composers and musicians for centuries, with Beethoven creating his early music in the shadow of the great man. Mozart's father was a minor composer himself, teaching both Wolfgang and his sister, Maria Anna, another child prodigy, in fact, the entire family would end touring Europe and the grand courts of the major monarchs. Maria Anna, also called Nannerl, started getting lessons from their father, Leopold, and 3 year old Wolfgang watched with great and inspired interest, and soon became a pupil as well. Leopold, would be the only teacher Mozart ever had, but while he traveled through Europe with his family, he met and spoke with many composers and musicians, with one important influence probably being the best, Johan Christian Bach, that Wolfgang visited in London during 1764 and 1765.  His story is like many of the usual sadness that accompanies great men that suffered poverty, all the while composing and playing in front of the wealthiest people in the world.  He would slowly decline, and then before his death he was able to write many excellent musical compositions, and then slowly passed away with few people attending the passage of one of the greatest composers of all time.

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  • Schloss AmbrasSchloss Ambras Innsbruck, Austria
    The Schloss Ambras/Amras/Omras is a grand castle in Innsbruck, Austria, set high in the hills above the city, which has become one of the most magnificent sights in that city. The historical and cultural significance of the castle and estate was its close relation to Archduke Ferdinand II, which was his residence from 1563 to 1595. The basement portion of the castle contains two rooms full of weapons and armor, while on the main floor, there is a very valuable art collection and on the top floor, was the bathroom of the archbishop's wife, Philippine Welser. There is a Spanish hall located between the lower and upper parts of the castle that highlights the excellent example of German renaissance architecture and has many marvelous frescoes along the walls.  There had been a fort located on the site of the castle, built in the 10th century that became the seat of the House of Andechs, which was destroyed in 1133, although there aren't any remains, but some of its materials were used in the modern castle. It was constructed by Archduke Ferdinand II, the second son of Emperor Ferdinand I. After Ferdinand II was mad the provincial sovereign of Tyrol in 1563, he had two Italian architects transform the current medieval fortress into a renaissance castle for his wife, Philippine Wesler, an untitled woman that he had married in secrecy. It would become the official residence for Philippine, and the perfect place to put Ferdinand's collection of portraits, arms and armor and curiosities. When he died in 1595, his second son, Karl II of Austria would inherit the estate, and since he didn't care about it or use it, he sold it in 1606 to Emperor Rudolf II. The estate would be used little over the next century and a half, going into general disrepair, and in the 17th century, Emperor Leopold I would move some of the magnificent holdings to Vienna, where, today, they can be seen in the National Library. Archduke Karl Ludwig, the governor of Tyrol, had the palace transformed into a summer palace in 1855, but then it began to deteriorate once more. In 1950, Ambras would be taken care of by the Kunsthistorisches Museum and during the period from 1970 to 1981, the castle would be renovated and then opened to the public. Ferdinand II was one of the best patrons of the Hapsburg family, beginning the fantastic collections that were housed at the castle, where a museum of sorts would be constructed to the most modern ideas of the period. 

  • Armory (Landeszeughaus)
    The Landeszeughaus is located in Graz, Austria, and is the biggest original armory in the world, getting visitors from around the world, and contains about 32,000 pieces of tools, weapons, suits of armor for battle and parades. It was constructed in 1642 to 1645, by a trolean architect named Antonio Solar, and was in the province of Styria, that needed a huge arsenol to defend the region from the constantly invading Ottoman Empire. A large defensive perimeter was built 80 some miles south of the city, in what is now Croatia/Hungary, which was used to defend the area against the invading Turks. The weapons that would be stored at the armory would be used by the soldiers that lived at the perimeter. The Austrian empress, Maria Theresa, wanted to close the armory, about a century after it was used regularly, since she was decentralizing the defense of the country; hoping to bring all the weapons and armor to the city of Vienna. The Styrian estates begged to keep the armory and even if it wasn't used as such, at least it would be a symbol for their fights against the Turks and the relationship that it had with the defense of the city and country. WWII didn't become a threat to the huge collection, since they were split up and put in various castles around the city of Graz, and after it ended, all the relics were returned to the same building, which had somehow escaped any damages. The armory is not only the biggest in the world, but also the oldest museum in the province, and became a part of the Landesmuseum Joanneum in 1892.  The collection includes the most armor, guns, pistols, and helmets that have been added over the centuries, and are not allowed to be touched. 

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