Austria travel guide
Landlocked in the heart of Europe, Austria runs from the Alps in the west down to Vienna and the Danube in the east. For six centuries it was the heart of the mighty Hapsburg Empire, which at its peak included what is now Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic along with much of Romania, Bulgaria and the Balkans. The country's imperial inheritance is particularly striking in the grand buildings and cultural institutions of the Baroque-flavoured capital, Vienna, resplendent with palaces and captivating churches, cosy coffeehouses and inns, and grand ballrooms where Strauss waltzes still draw dancers onto the floor.
Another of the great classical composers spawned by Austria was Mozart, born in Salzburg, a beautiful historic city where stunning Baroque churches rise up against the backdrop of the Austrian Alps. The Alps stretch west to Switzerland and in winter skiers come from all continents to carve the slopes and experience the charm of the alpine villages and their welcoming inhabitants.
The appeal of Austria may lie in its preservation of a romantic classical past, but this does not mean modern Austria has stood back from development. Behind the stunning scenery and antique architecture a vibrant industrial and commercial society goes about its business in the cities and towns. Austrians work hard, but they also know how to play hard. Austrian hospitality and cuisine are legendary. From a cruise on the magnificent Danube River to a cycle tour through the Alpine meadows, or a breathtaking day's sightseeing in busy Vienna, visitors to Austria find it impossible to fit in a dull moment.
The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR). Currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change available in all towns, but it may be easier to use the ATMs. Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but bureaux de change at airports and major city rail terminals are open seven days a week. Most credit and debit cards are widely accepted though some small hotels and restaurants may only accept cash.
Language : The official language in Austria is German.
Electricity : Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are standard.
Entry Requirements :
US passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but a visa is not needed for a stay of up to 90 days.
British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, only need to be valid for period of intended stay in Austria. All other endorsements require at least three months validity beyond the period of intended stay in Austria.
A visa is not required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days in a half-year period for holders of passports with any other endorsement. Holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authories, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom', do not require a visa to visit Austria.
Canadians require a passport valid for three months beyond intended period of stay, but no visa is needed for a stay of up to 90 days.
Australians require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but no visa is needed for a stay of up to 90 days.
South African nationals require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay and a Schengen visa for travel to Austria.
Irish nationals require a passport but no visa is needed for travel to Austria.
New Zealanders require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but a visa is not needed for a stay of up to 90 days.
Passport/Visa Note :
The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. For most nationalities, passports are required to be valid for three months beyond period of travel. We always recommend that passports be valid for six months from the departure date.
Travel Health :
No vaccinations are necessary for business visits or general tourism in Austria. There is, however, a risk of tick-borne encephalitis for long-term visitors who expect to be visiting rural or forested areas in spring or summer. These travellers should consider vaccination and ensure they take precautions against tick infestation. Water and food are safe. Medical facilities are excellent. Medical insurance is advised unless from the UK - citizens of EU countries can get free emergency medical treatment at public hospitals in Austria on production of a European Health Insuranc
e Card (EHIC).
A 10-15 percent service charge is normally added to hotel and restaurant bills in Austria, but it is customary to leave another five percent if satisfied with the service. It is common to give the money to the waiter rather than leave it on the table, but leaving small change for other service personnel is fine. Taxi drivers expect a 10 percent tip.
Safety Information :
Travel to Austria is generally trouble-free; however, visitors are advised to take sensible safety precautions, particularly in larger cities.
Local Customs :
It is compulsory that vehicles are driven with their lights on throughout the year. Smoking is not allowed in many public places.
Business protocol is very important in Austria and business is formal, structured and conservative, more so than many other Western European countries. All correspondence, such as faxes and emails, should be formal. Dress is conservative, yet elegant; Austrians take great pride in their appearance and a good quality, well-fitting suit for men and women should be worn to make a good first impression. Austrians are also very title-conscious: always use last names with a preceding title such as Herr (Mr), Frau (Mrs) or Fräulein (Miss), along with their professional or academic title where applicable (e.g. Herr Professor Kaufmann). It is vital to arrive punctually for meetings and to be thoroughly prepared, as meetings are brief and to the point. Be prepared to engage in preliminary small talk, including a knowledge of current affairs, before getting down to business. English is widely spoken in business, but printed literature should be in German if possible. Offices open at 8am and close promptly at 5pm Monday to Friday.
The international access code for Austria is +43. Public telephone boxes can be used for direct dial calls within the country and overseas. Austria's mobile phone coverage is good, and internet cafes are widely available.
Duty Free :
Travellers from non-EU countries over 17 years are allowed to bring in the following items without paying customs duty: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of smoking tobacco, or a proportional mix of these products; 2 litres wine, or 1 litre of spirits with alcohol content more than 22 percent, or 2 litres of alcohol volume less than 22 percent; 60ml perfume and 250ml eau de toilette; and other goods to a total value of €175. Restricted items include pornographic material and fresh foodstuffs such as meat and dairy products. Travellers must have a European Firearms Pass if travelling with firearms.
Vienna International Airport
Location: The airport is located 11 miles (18km) southeast of Vienna.
Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 between April and October).
Contacts: Tel: +43 (0)1 7007 22233 (24-hour telephone information service).
Transfer between terminals: Terminals are adjacent and are walking distance from one another. There is also a shuttle service between gates B/C and F/G.
Getting to the city: Local trains and buses leave regularly for Vienna. There is also a City Airport Train, which provides a fast and direct service to the centrally located City Air Terminal that is connected to the underground, bus and tram networks. Trains depart every 30 minutes and operate between 5.05am and 11.36pm.
Car rental: Car hire companies include Avis, Hertz, Budget, Sixt and Thrifty.
Airport Taxis: There are taxis available in front of the Arrivals Hall. The taxi fare is metered and the drive takes around 30 minutes.
Facilities: There are numerous shops, including duty-free, as well as various restaurants and bars in all terminals. Bureaux de change and banks are available. Other facilities include airline lounges, luggage storage, business centres, and a medical centre.
Parking: Vienna International Airport has two multi-storey car parks connected to the terminal via covered walkways. Parking fees range from €4.70 per hour to €36.40 for a day, with additional days at a cheaper rate. Rates do vary according to section. Park C, the long-term parking lot, is generally cheaper but is still within walking distance of the terminal building.
Departure tax: None.
WA Mozart Salzburg International Airport
Location: The airport is located 3 miles (about 5km) southwest of the city.
Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between April and October).
Contacts: Tel: +43 662 85800
Getting to the city: You can make use of public bus lines 2, 8 and 27 to get from Salzburg Airport to the downtown area. Tickets can be purchased from the conductor, and cost €2.10 for adults and €1.10 for children. Bus line #2 goes between Hauptbahnhof railway station and the airport every 10-20 minutes, and takes about 20 minutes to complete the journey. Bus line #27 departs the airport every 15-20 minutes, and serves Hauptbahnhof via Wals/Viehhausen (journey time is approximately 40 minutes). Bus line #8 operates from Monday to Saturday only, departing every 10 minutes from the airport via Salzburg city centre (15 minutes), and terminating at the park and ride Alpensiedlung.
Car rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Europcar, Federal, Hertz, Megadrive, Sixt and Sunny Cars.
Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the arrivals terminal to take you to the Hauptbahnhof railway station (a short walk from the centre of Salzburg). The trip to the station (just 3 miles, or about 5km, from the airport) should take between 10 and 20 minutes, and cost about €14.
Facilities: Facilities include ATMs, bureaux de change, restaurants and cafés, free Internet access, a nursery and a play area, luggage storage and duty-free shopping.
Parking: Short-term parking is available in the parking garage, P1 and P2, for a maximum of 24 hours. It costs €1.70 per hour. Long-term parking costs €1.40 per hour and is located on P3 in the parking garage or in the outdoor lot.
Departure tax: None.
Innsbruck - Kranebitten Airport
Location: The airport is located 2.5 miles (about 4km) west of Innsbruck.
Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between April and October).
Contacts: Tel: +43 512 225 250
Getting to the city: Public bus route F connects Innsbruck Airport with the city centre. Journey time is about 18 minutes, and costs €1.50.
Car rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Megadrive and Sixt.
Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the arrivals area. A journey to the city centre should take about 15 minutes, and should cost €11.
Facilities: Facilities include ATMs, bureaux de change, restaurants and cafés, Internet access, baby-changing rooms, and duty-free shopping.
Parking: Parking at Innsbruck Airport is free for the first 30 minutes, then charges €1.70 for the next half hour and €1.70 per hour up to €17 for the first day and €10 per day thereafter. One week is charged at €69. Parking is available in a multilevel garage connected to the terminal by a covered walkway.
Departure tax: None.
Austria enjoys a temperate Central European climate with four distinct seasons. Summers, between June and August, are hot with cool nights. In Vienna and other low-lying cities temperatures during the day can get uncomfortably hot over July and August. Winters are cold, below freezing in January and February. The ski season in the Alps runs from December to April but the mountains are also popular with hikers and climbers over the summer when the weather is usually warm and bright.
Austrian National Tourist Office, Vienna: +43 (0)1 588 660 or
United States Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 313 397 535.
British Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 716 130.
Canadian Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 531 383 000.
Australian Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 506 740.
South African Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 320 6493.
Embassy of Ireland, Vienna: +43 (0)1 715 4246.
New Zealand Consulate-General, Vienna: +43 (0)1 505 3021.
Austrian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 895
Foreign Embassies in Austria
Austrian Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7344 3250.
Austrian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 1444.
Austrian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6295 1533.
Austrian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 452 9155.
Austrian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 269 4577.
Consulate of Austria, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 384 1402.
Austria Emergency Numbers
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