Arizona has some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States, from the majestic Grand Canyon to pine forests, mountain meadows and snow-capped volcanoes. While the north of the state is criss-crossed by mountain rivers and canyons, the south and west are red deserts with amazing rock formations, Native American tribes, and ghost towns from the days of gold and silver mining. Phoenix, the state’s largest city, borders Scottsdale, Arizona’s number one resort. Both cities offer unique shopping, art galleries and numerous cultural events.
- Travelationary: Covers basic information about Arizona geography and economy.
Arriving by plane
There are no direct flights from Austria or Switzerland to Arizona. Eurowings (EW) flies non-stop several times a week from Frankfurt/M. to Phoenix. Flights to Phoenix with a stopover offer: Lufthansa (LH)/United (UA) from Frankfurt/M. via Denver or Chicago; Lufthansa (LH)/American Airlines (AA) from Munich via Philadelphia; United (UA) from Berlin via New York and Denver; Austrian Airlines (OS)/United (UA) from Vienna via Chicago; Swiss (LX)/United (UA) from Zurich via Washington. Condor flies from Frankfurt/M. to Phoenix.
Phoenix-Tucson: 45 mins; Phoenix – Las Vegas: 1 hr 10 min; Phoenix – San Diego: 1 hour 15 minutes; Phoenix – Los Angeles: 1 hour 20 minutes; Phoenix – El Paso: 1 hour 25 minutes; Phoenix – Albuquerque: 1 hour 15 minutes
The Jet Blue Airpass lets you book 3 or more flights across the entire Jet Blue network in the US at once. The Jet Blue Airpass is valid for 90 days, can be changed flexibly, and luggage is included. For more information on the availability of limited contingents, contact STA Travel at +49-69-255 150 000. Jet Blue flies to Phoenix, Arizona.
Arrival by car
Several interstate highways run through Arizona. I-10 (via Phoenix and Tucson) and I-40 (via Flagstaff) connect Arizona to California and New Mexico. An interstate connection runs south from Flagstaff via Phoenix and Tucson to the Mexican border. Arizona can be reached from Mexico via border crossings near Nogales, Douglas, Lukeville (south of Gila Bend) and Yuma. Speed Limits: Within built-up areas Urban Interstate Highways: 65 mph (104 km/h) Outside built-up areas Rural Interstate Highways (freeways): 75 mph (120 km/h) Intercity Buses: Greyhound and Trailways buses service many cities in Arizona. Gray Line offers rides and excursions to Tucson, Sonoita, Las Vegas and Mexico. Flixbus drives from Tucson and Phoenix, among others. Tolls: There are no toll roads in Arizona.
Note on arrival by car
Average bus travel times: Phoenix – Tucson: 2 hours; Phoenix – Las Vegas: 9 hrs; Phoenix – San Diego: 8 hrs; Phoenix – Los Angeles: 7 hours; Phoenix – El Paso: 8 hrs; Phoenix – Albuquerque: 10 hrs.
Arrival by train
Amtrak trains connect Phoenix to all major cities. Trains run direct from El Paso to Los Angeles. The following Amtrak lines run through Arizona: Sunset Limited (Benson – Tucson – Yuma), Southwest Chief (Winslow – Flagstaff – Williams Junction – Kingman).
The Amtrak USA Rail Pass is valid on the entire Amtrak network. Detailed information under Arrival USA.
Passport and visa regulations
Entry with children
Since June 27, 2012, children need their own travel document (passport / children’s passport) for trips abroad (also within the EU). Entries of children in the parental passport are no longer possible.
Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau
Galleria Corporate Center, 4343 North Scottsdale Road
US-85251 Scottsdale, Arizona
(480) 889 27 05, (800) 782 11 17 (toll free within the US).
http://www.scottsdalecvb.com Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau
400 East Van Buren Street, Suite 600
US-85004 Phoenix, Arizona
(602) 254.65 00, (877) 215.57.49 (toll free within the US).
http://www.visitphoenix.com Arizona Office of Tourism
c/o Arizona State Government Office (website: tourism.az.gov)
1110 W. Washington St., Suite 155
85007 Phoenix, Arizona
(602) 364 37 00, (866) 275 58 16 (toll free within the US).
The Apache Trail is suitable as a day trip with an all-terrain vehicle. It connects Apache Junction on the edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area to Theodore Roosevelt Lake and runs through the Superstition Mountains and Tonto National Forest. One of America’s most scenic trails, the Apache Trail winds through deserts and canyons, over rocky outcrops, past sparkling lakes and along attractive state parks.
Museums in Phoenix
Inside the Arizona State Capitol is the Arizona Capitol Museum. The Arizona Science Center with a planetarium is located in the Heritage and Science Park. Other museums worth visiting include the Phoenix Art Museum, featuring art from the 16th to the 20th centuries, the Heard Museum of Arizona Native American art, anthropology, history and culture, and the Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park. The Musical Instrument Museum houses the largest collection of musical instruments in the world.
Located in the Sorona Desert, Phoenix is the capital of Arizona. It is the sixth largest city in the United States. The sun shines most of the time in Phoenix and the heat during the summer months can only be endured in air-conditioned rooms. In the center of downtown, Copper Square hosts concerts, markets and street theater. Historic Heritage Square is a restored neighborhood of 19th-century buildings housing museums, restaurants and shops. The Arizona Center is a large shopping center in the middle of the city.
To become active
Local operators offer raft trips on the Salt and Verde Rivers, as well as combined raft and jeep trips in the Sonoran Desert. The Colorado River is a white water rafter’s paradise. Alternatives include hang gliding, historic airplane flights and hot air balloon rides.
Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon
The city of Sedona sits amidst red rock formations and bluffs at the base of Oak Creek in the Verde Valley. Lush greenery thrives in the beautiful Verde River Canyon. Attractions such as Slide Rock State Park and the Chapel of the Holy Cross draw tourists to Sedona. You can visit prehistoric ruins of the Indians. The Verde Canyon Railroad is nearby. Excursions and jeep tours of the valley and hot air balloon rides are available, and often include western-style riverside barbecues or live entertainment. The region is ideal for hiking tours.
Scottsdale offers interesting cultural offerings, excellent shopping opportunities and is well suited for outdoor activities such as playing golf, horseback riding, cycling or hiking. There are numerous 4 and 5 star resorts and over 200 golf courses. Shop at Scottsdale Fashion Square and The Borgata. Old Town Scottsdale resembles an old western town and is home to restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops. The Scottsdale Civic Center Mall houses the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the Scottsdale Center of the Performing Arts. To the northeast is Taliesin West, home and workplace of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Scottsdale Historical Museum is also worth a visit.
Lake Havasu City
In the desert city you will find the curiosity of the London Bridge, which was dismantled in London and originally rebuilt in Lake Havasu City. Today it crosses the Colorado River and is the center of a number of shops, pubs and inns in the pseudo-English style (‘English Village’).
Tonto National Monument
Tonto National Monument is a well-preserved cliff-top settlement founded by Salado Indians 500 years ago, and their weaving, jewelry, weapons and tools are on display in a visitor center.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
South of Sedona is Montezuma Castle National Monument. The Native American structure, set into the rock face above Beaver Creek, has 5 floors and 20 rooms. These rock dwellings of the prehistoric Sinagua, who settled in Arizona 2000 years ago, are very well preserved.
This popular western town is the second largest city in Arizona. Nestled in a mountain range in the Sonoran Desert, Tucson is known for its consistently sunny weather. The town is only 160 km from the Mexican border. The Mexican influence can be seen in the architecture, the good cuisine, the lively festivals and colorful cultural festivals. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a natural history museum, botanical garden and zoo. Also of interest are the Tucson Museum of Art, the University of Arizona Art Museum, the Center of Creative Photography and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Tucson has a vibrant student nightlife.
A former Spanish garrison site south of Tucson, Tubac is an artists’ colony with shops, the Tubac Center of the Arts and art galleries, and the walled Presidio (Spanish Fort). Historical buildings, a museum and an underground archaeological collection can also be visited.
A gigantic Plexiglas sphere called Biosphere 2, northeast of Tucson near Oro Valley, houses the laboratory for a unique experiment. Inside the Plexiglas sphere are five separate, self-contained ecosystems where the University of Arizona conducts climate and ecology research. The experiment was originally intended to help populate Mars and show that it is possible to create ecosystems that are independent and self-sustaining.
The majestic saguaro cacti can be seen at Saguaro National Park in the Sonoar Desert near Tucson. Tohono Chul Park is a desert sanctuary where you can get a glimpse of desert life while stopping for cold refreshments in the tea room. Papago Park is a rolling desert park located between the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale. In addition to the vegetation typical of the regional desert and interesting geological formations, Papago Park offers the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Gardens as main attractions. Also in the park are picnic areas, small lakes, golf, baseball and softball fields, hiking and biking trails, and the gravesite of George WP, Arizona’s first governor. On the border with Mexico, in the Sonoran desert, is the desert park Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument overlooking the Ajo Mountains. Beautiful specimens of organ pipe cacti, 15 m tall saguaro cacti, 25 other species of cacti and other desert plants grow here.
Arguably the most famous tourist destination in the entire United States, the Grand Canyon is undoubtedly impressive in size. The oldest layers of rock in the world can be seen on the steep walls, which shine in various shades of red and brown depending on the incidence of light. The Grand Canyon Railway runs between Williams and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the most visited side of the canyon.
- Usaers: Provides a full list of major rivers and mountains in Arizona.
Viewpoints over the Gran Canyon
The lookouts along East Rim Drive from Grand Canyon Village to Desert View offer spectacular views. There is a free shuttle bus service to West Rim Drive. A free-floating glass structure at an altitude of 1,200 meters, the so-called Skywalk in the Grand Canyon West area of the Hualapai Reservation, can be reached via a visitor center. There are also spectacular viewpoints along the North Rim, such as from Grand Canyon Lodge, the Bright Angel Point Trail, Toroweep Overlook and the Cape Royal Scenic Drive. In the valley there is a lodge (phantom ranch) and several campsites; however, one should book in advance.
Over and through the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon can also be visited by plane or helicopter. Spectacular views are guaranteed. Rafting trips throughout the canyon are also offered. There are numerous hiking trails through the park along East and West Rim Drives, and mule rides down the Bright Angel Trail to the Colorado River provide interesting access.
Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
The Lake Powell area northeast of the Grand Canyon, entering the state of Utah, is a true wonderland of red rocks and blue water. Various boat trips are organized on the huge, idyllic lake, including to the Rainbow Bridge, the largest natural stone bridge in the world. Speedboat and houseboat rentals are available from Lake Powell Resort. Rafting tours into the Grand Canyon start from Lees Ferry. Nearby is the unique Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, a must-see horseshoe-shaped loop in the Colorado River.
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is located in northeastern Arizona’s colorful Painted Desert. When the swamps that were here around 200 million years ago dried up, the fallen trunks of the giant conifers sank into the mud and were chemically transformed into quartz. They still shine in their original colors today, and numerous fossils are imprinted on their surface. In 1906 the area was placed under nature protection.
About 200,000 Navajos live in the 15,600 square km large Navajo reservation. The formerly semi-nomadic tribes are known for their adaptability and have adopted many of the skills of Spanish and other early settlers into their culture. They still live in traditional hogans (dome-shaped houses made of wood and adobe) in small, widely scattered settlements. The rock dwellings of the Anasazi, which are also in the reserve, were inhabited by Indians as early as the 13th century. Attached museums offer insights into Navajo culture. In the middle of the reservation is the 1560 sq km Hopi Indian Reservation, home to 7000 Hopis. They have lived in this area for 1500 years and are known for their amazing farming skills in this dry and barren soil.
Monument Valley is located on the border between the states of Arizona and Utah on the Navajo Nation Reservation. It has repeatedly served as a film location and film backdrop and is therefore known worldwide for many films such as Easy Rider, Forrest Gump, Thelma & Louise and numerous westerns. Extraordinary rock formations made of red sandstone let the visitors become very still and marvel.
There is excellent shopping in Phoenix. The business district includes the new Arizona Center and the US$14 million Mexican-style Mercado with shops and restaurants. The Civic Plaza in the city center is another big shopping area. Popular Arizona souvenirs include Navajo silverwork, turquoise jewelry, sand paintings, woven carpets, Hopi paintings and silver jewelry, kachina carvings (especially the famous dolls), earthenware, basketwork, and paintings.
The Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix is home to Arizona’s theater company, opera, ballet and playhouse. Nightclubs and evening entertainment abound in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, and throughout the state’s many resort towns.
Many restaurants offer American, Mexican, Chinese and Italian cuisine.
Best travel time
Warm and comfortable all year round; fresh breezes in the mountains, quite hot in the deserts.
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