Austria prepares to celebrate the festive season with Christmas markets

With 'Views to Kill', its no wonder the former Bond actor, Sir Roger Moore couldn't resist attending the opening of the Christmas market in Henndorf, Austria, with his wife Christina Kiki Tholstrup this November.

But not only the tiny town of Henndorf outside Salzburg is getting ready to celebrate. Welcoming the start of the festive period, Christmas markets are opening all over the country, from the capital of Vienna, to the towering mountains of Kitzbühel in the Austrian Tyrol or Linz, capital of Upper Austria.

With twinkling strands of decorations lighting up the streets and rivers of cities and towns, you'll be content to wander with a cup of spiced mulled wine right into the evening, taking in the festive air as you go.

But in the Alpine regions, where glaciers glisten with snow and summits reach 3000 metres high, the winter magic is transformed into an experience all the more lively. And for making the most out of Austria's stunning lanscapes what better way to view the countryside than to put on a pair of skis and slide down slopes ranked among the best in Europe.

The location for one of Vienna's most famous restaurants, Motto am Fluss, is positively idyllic. Situated beside the Danube Canal, it mirrors the boats in the water with is architecturally elegant lines / © Tourism Austria / Peter Burgstaller. 

There's an endless list of things to do and see in Linz, capital of Upper Austria, during the festive season. From visits to the Christmas markets in the city's main square, Hauptplatz, to attending an opera in Landes theatre or a concert at the Brucknerhaus. And don't forget to do a spot of ice skating and take a boat trip on the Danube / © Austrian National Tourist Office / Roebl 

The region of Salzburg, with its 185 lakes, 120 peaks over 3,000 metres and 7,200 kilometres of marked hiking trails, is an ideal destination for nature lovers and winter sport fanatics / © Tourism Austria 

With a backdrop of towering mountains, everywhere you look in the beautiful city of Innsbruck, capital of Tyrol, is filled with picturesque views and the city's rich history. With imperial residences, museums, concert halls and theatres, its architectural gems make it the cultural treasure trove of the alpine mountains / © Tourism Austria 

Whether you're away on a weekend trip or for the whole of Christmas, the mountains of Austria offer the perfect setting for days of sun, snow and endless winter activities / © Austrian National Tourist Office 

The magic of Advent brings the best out of Austrian cities like Graz, where every winter a lively cultural scene emerges with concerts, operas, festivals, and festively-lit markets / © Tourism Austria 

Away from the hustle and bustle of the towns, take a trek on horseback or ski through the snowy landscapes. The region of Kitzbühel in the Austrian Tyrol offers landscapes picked straight out of a storybook, with cosy cottages to shelter in during the brisk starlit evenings / © Tourism Austria / Ascher 

Even on a frosty winter's evening the entrance to Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is full of charm. One of the most important baroque buildings in Europe, it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO and also hosts its own Christmas market during December / © Tourism Austria 

Vienna, Austria's capital, is fun for all ages, with plenty of activities to bring the family together at Christmas time / © Tourism Austria 

At the foot of the grand building of the City of Vienna, you won't be able to resist the handmade Christmas decorations or a mugful of mulled wine amongst the hundreds of market stalls of Child Jesus or Christkindlmarkt/ © Tourism Austria 

This impressive Baroque building is actually made up of two separate palaces, the Inferior and Superior, which houses the world's largest collection of Gustav Klimt, among which is the legendary painting The Kiss, and other works by Schiele and Kokoschka / © Austrian National Tourist Office / Popp Hackner