Vehicle documents
Citizens of the European Union (EU) may drive in Austria with a national driving licence issued in their own country. Certain licences may need to be accompanied by a German translation; check with the national motoring organisation in your own country for more detailed information. Other nationals, however, are advised to carry an International Driving Permit. This is issued by the driver licensing authority, motoring organisation(s), or another delegated authority in your country of residence. Check with your motor vehicle insurance company regarding any documents you will need and whether additional motor insurance is required. The international registration letters of your country of residence must be displayed at the rear of your car.
Rules Of The Road
Carry your full valid driving licence (or International Driving Permit, if necessary), vehicle registration documents, and insurance documents with you at all times. All passengers must wear seat belts. Children under 12 years of age are not allowed to travel in the front seat unless special seats, or safety belts suitable for children, are used. Helmets are obligatory for motorcyclists. The amount of alcohol permissible in the blood while driving is 80 mg per 100 ml (8 g/l).

Roads, Tolls And Speed Limits
Motorways are subject to tolls, and further charges are applicable for some road tunnels and mountain passes. Speed limits in Austria are 130 kilometres (80 miles) per hour on motorways, 100 kilometres (62 miles) per hour on main roads, 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour outside built-up areas, and 50 kilometres (31 miles) per hour in built-up areas. Speed limits for motor vehicles towing trailers, or caravans are 100 kilometres (62 miles) per hour on motorways, and 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour outside built-up areas.
Driving Tips
On steep downhill gradients, be sure to engage a low gear immediately. The vehicle ascending a narrow mountain road generally has priority, but the driver who can most easily reverse to a passing place is obliged to do so. Information on traffic jams, accidents, roadworks, and weather can be heard on the radio station Ö3 every hour. On steep downhill gradients, be sure to engage a low gear immediately. The vehicle ascending a narrow mountain road generally has priority, but the driver who can most easily reverse to a passing place is obliged to do so. If your car is right-hand drive, you will have to alter your headlights with converters. Make sure you have replacement headlight bulbs, a first-aid kit, and a warning triangle in the car, as these are all compulsory while driving in Austria. If you are travelling to Austria during the winter (from November 15 to the first Monday after Easter), you are strongly advised to fit winter tyres to your car. Snow chains may be necessary in extreme snow conditions. Information on traffic jams, accidents, roadworks, and weather can be heard on the radio station Ö3 every hour. Blue Danube Radio (103.8 FM) broadcasts traffic news in English. If driving in Vienna, pay attention to trams, and always give them priority at junctions. Blue Danube Radio (103.8 FM) broadcasts traffic news in English. If driving in Vienna, pay attention to trams, and always give them priority at junctions


Campsites Austria

When To Go
For warm weather, aim for the months between April and October. In the summer high season (July to August) crowds are bigger, prices higher and temperatures in cities can rise to uncomfortable levels. Austrians also take their summer break at this time and many famous institutions close down. Consequently, June and September are also busy months for tourism, and are quite often the best times for city trips and hiking in the Alps.

During winter you'll find the cities less crowded and the hotel prices lower (except over Christmas and Easter), but it can get bitterly cold. The length of the skiing season depends on the altitude of the resort - skiing is possible on glaciers nearly year-round. Alpine resorts are very quiet from late April to mid-June, and in November and early December. School children have week-long breaks over Christmas and during February, making it a good time to avoid the pistes.

An eclectic mix of Hungarian, Italian, and German influences, Austria (Österreich) is a complex country, sophisticated and urbane, yet respectful of rural culture and traditions. While the modern republic of Austria is relatively small, its magnificent landscape and rich cultural heritage, epitomised by the city of Vienna, have ensured that the country maintains a significant profile within Europe. This cultural importance owes much to its illustrious past as part of the mighty Habsburg empire. The Habsburgs, whose name once virtually symbolised Austria, rose from medieval obscurity to become lords of almost half of Europe. Their state—and with it the Austro-Hungarian Empire—collapsed in 1918 in the wake of World War I. But every town, city, and hamlet in the land bears the stamp of their former imperial grandeur in the form of flamboyant palaces, splendidly appointed baroque churches, genteel spas, and meticulously manicured country parks.

Vienna is the principal focus of interest in Austria, because of its astonishing richness of architecture, world-famous museums, and a musical tradition that outshines most other European capitals. Salzburg, too, with its many sites associated with Mozart—including his birthplace—is an essential destination for anyone with an interest in the life and music of the composer. The Habsburgs found the city of Innsbruck, set in the spectacular mountain province of Tyrol, especially attractive, thus ensuring a particularly rich array of buildings in the old part of town.

Modern Austria is a federation of nine individual provinces: Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Burgenland, Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, and the city of Vienna. Three-quarters of the land is alpine, and skiing and mountaineering are not only major tourist attractions but an integral part of the country's culture. However, Austria's landscape is varied, and vineyards, castles, and lakeside villages also rank among the touring highlights. The River Danube, as it winds its way across Europe, flows for about 350 kilometres (217 miles) through the northern part of Austria. For many years pollution in the river was a major civic embarrassment, but a determined cleaning operation is already showing the fruits of success.

Until 100 years ago Vienna (Wien) was Europe's third-largest metropolis after London and Paris, and the capital of a great empire in central Europe. To a larger extent than perhaps any other European city, its culture was shaped by the imperial court and aristocracy. Many traces of that glorious past have survived more recent unhappy history, and nostalgia for a vanished era of pomp and elegance today pervades the city. The old city contains the cathedral, the Stephansdom; the Hofburg palace; as well as numerous aristocratic mansions and baroque churches. It is ringed by the 19th-century splendour of Ringstraße, where the Kunsthistorisches Museum houses one of the world's leading collections of European art. The music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Johann Strauss resonates through the city.

As one of the most beautiful European historic cities and the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg attracts impressive numbers of sightseers round the year. The city owes its rich artistic heritage to its prince-archbishops, who once ruled it as a semi-independent city state. Their magnificent Residenz, numerous ancillary palaces, castles, art collections, churches, and parks form the principal attractions of Salzburg. The town itself, squeezed between the River Salzach and the mighty rock of the Hohensalzburg, delights the stroller with its narrow streets, onion spires, sculptured fountains, and wrought-iron shop signs. A vast music industry has grown up around the name of Mozart, culminating with the annual Salzburg Festival which is a major highlight of Europe's musical calendar.

The capital of the Tyrol is set in a lovely spot on the River Inn at the foot of the Karwendel Alps and retains a distinctive provincial charm, making it one of the most attractive cities of Alpine Europe. Handsome old town houses, of which the Goldenes Dachl is most famous, line the traffic-free central area around Herzog-Friedrich Straße and Maria-Theresien Straße. The Hofburg, a sprawling cream-and-pistachio palace built under Maria Theresia, adjoins the Hofkirche, one of the chief masterpieces of German renaissance church architecture. Wilten abbey and Schloß Ambras on the outskirts of town deserve visits, as does the winter sports centre of Bergisel, which hosted both the 1964 and the 1976 Winter Olympics.

Metro, buses and trams
Vienna has a comprehensive bus and tram system. The same tickets may be used for buses, trams (Straßenbahn), local trains (stadtbahn), and the metro (U-Bahn). Tickets for both buses and trams can be purchased from machines inside the carriage and should be inserted in the ticket-punching machine on board. All main towns and cities have a good bus system. Trams exist in Linz, Innsbruck, and Salzburg. Trams, sometimes run against the traffic, and care should be taken when crossing the street. Vienna has an underground system referred to as the U-Bahn. Tickets can be purchased in tobacconists and Vienna public transport advanced sales offices. These tickets can also be used for trams (Straßenbahn), buses, and the local train (Stadtbahn). One-day and three-day passes can be purchased from tourist information offices, advanced sales offices, the Westbahnhof and Südenbahnhof railway stations, the airport, and at tobacconists.

Before you go get covered for all events

Entry Requirements
Citizens of the European Union (EU), as well as citizens of Andorra, Iceland, Monaco, Norway, Poland, San Marino, the Slovak Republic, and Switzerland, may enter Austria with a national identity card and stay for a period of 90 days. However, citizens of the United Kingdom and Ireland, where there is no national identity card system, must carry a valid passport and must renew their visa every six months. Travellers of other nationalities should consult the Austrian consulate or embassy in their own country before departure, for any visa requirements.

Emergency Phone Numbers
Ambulance: 144
Police: 133
Fire brigade: 122
Alternative pan-European emergency number: 112

Time Zones
Central European Time (GMT plus one hour). Clocks are put forward one hour from the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the end of October.

Currency Exchange
Travellers cheques are the safest way to carry cash, and you should buy these in your country of residence before you leave. Remember to record the cheque numbers separately so that your travellers cheques can be replaced if stolen. The most widely used credit cards are American Express, Diners Club, and Visa, but you are advised to check in advance. Foreign exchange rates are listed in most major newspapers and advertised in banks and Wechselstuben (bureaux de change). You can exchange travellers cheques at banks, savings banks, post offices, and Wechsels located in railway stations and airports. Banks are open from 08.00 to 12.30, and 14.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday. In Vienna, banks are open until 17.30 on Thursdays. Wechsel are open later hours and at weekends. Cash can also be obtained with Visa credit cards at ATM machines.


Service charge is usually included in the bill in hotels and restaurants. However, it is common practice to add 10 percent to a restaurant bill. Drinks are usually brought to your table in bars, and a few schillings are expected for this service. Taxi drivers expect a tip of S3–4 for short trips and about 10 percent of the charge for longer trips. Ski instructors are often given a tip at the end of the course of lessons.

Public Holidays

1 January: New Year's Day
6 January: Epiphany
Easter Monday
1 May: Labour Day
Ascension Day
Whit Monday
Corpus Christi
15 August: Assumption
26 October: National Holiday
1 November: All Saint's Day
8 December: Immaculate Conception
25 December: Christmas
26 December: Saint Stephen's Day

Travellers With Disabilities

The Austrian National Tourist Office publishes a book entitled Vienna for Guests with Handicaps. It gives information on accessibility to hotels, restaurants, entertainment, banks, health services, public toilets, and transport, for travellers with disabilities. Austrian Railways (ÖBB) provide free lightweight wheelchairs for passengers with disabilities. These must be booked three days in advance at a railway station.