Austria’s ski resorts are known to everyone – it has the snowiest slopes and the best slopes. The glittering Vienna and the lake region of Salzburg, castles, museums, and attractions await you. All about Austria from Tonnie Turisme – visas, tours, maps, and hotels.
Austria is a country whose every corner has its own “tidbit” for tourists. Fans of opera, sightseeing and architecture go, of course, to the Austrian capital Vienna, fans of classical music – to Salzburg, and to the purest lakes and hot mineral springs tourists go to the charming Carinthia.
Fans of modern art will find their own in the “cultural” city of Austria – Graz, and lovers of beautiful scenery and crystal clear lakes go to the foothills of Salzburg, where the famous son of Austria Wolfgang Amadeus once lived. For “idle” vacationers Austria has prepared excellent resorts, the ratio “price-quality” is reasonably considered one of the best in the Alps.
In addition, Austria makes a strong claim to being a “classic European ski destination for the professionals”. There is every reason for this: the quality and diverse hotel base, rich “après-ski” (which sometimes lacks in other European countries), and, of course, a huge number of well-groomed slopes, by which Austria is ahead of the Alps.
At the same time, most of them can hardly be attributed to the “warm-up”: they require skiers with good skills. In addition, the country has a lot of glaciers, which means guaranteed skiing, regardless of the weather.
- 1 Regions and resorts in Austria
- 2 Climate
- 3 Visa and customs
- 4 Transport
- 5 Communication and Wi-Fi
- 6 Hotels in Austria
- 7 Local currency
- 8 Safety
- 9 Lakes of Austria
- 10 Cuisine and restaurants in Austria
- 11 Entertainment and attractions in Austria
- 12 Holidays and events
- 13 Austria for tourism
Regions and resorts in Austria
The capital of the state – Vienna, the city elegant and solemn.
It circles travelers in the sounds of the waltz, impresses by the beauty of temples, palaces and squares, beckons aromas of strudels in cute coffee houses.
In the city of Strauss and Mozart in general, much is connected with art and music in particular: Vienna Opera, Konzerthaus, the Burgtheater, the Volksteater are true architectural masterpieces, worthy of attention, even if you do not have the chance to go to the play or concert.
Even more stunning are local palaces and castles: Schönbrunn, Belvedere, Hofburg, Kreuzenstein.
Complement the aesthetic palette of excursions to museums: in Albertina, you can admire the graphics, in Liechtenstein – the princely household items.
The second-largest Austrian city is Graz with well-groomed parks, baroque palaces, and original modern art objects. The heart of Graz is Hauptplatz square, the symbols are the famous Clock Tower on the Schlossberg mountain and the majestic ducal castle, built in the 15th century. In general, the architectural image of the cosmopolitan city, which managed to be the residence of the rulers several times in its history, is very eclectic.
Innsbruck is known for its amazing alpine scenery and popular ski resorts with modern infrastructure.
And everything here breathes Tyrolean culture: the souvenir shops are full of hats and suits of leather and linen, recognizable at a glance.
The Swarovski factory and the museum dedicated to the legendary jewelry can also be counted as peculiar sights.
Go skiing is possible not only in Innsbruck, but also in many other resorts.
Mayrhofen is equally good for young people (the nightlife here is bright), and for families with children. Zell-am-See is suitable for beginners: there are excellent schools with professional instructors and easy slopes.
Serfaus is a resort with impeccable service, modern ski elevators and cozy family hotels.
The country has a temperate climate, transitional to continental, strongly dependent on altitude. Winter is mild with frequent snowfalls, the coldest winter month is January, the temperature in the valleys falls to -2 ° C, in the mountainous areas – to -14 ° C. Summers are warm and sunny, with the hottest months being July and August (around +25 °C, on some days above +30 °C). Comfortable summer temperatures prevail in most parts of the country from early June to mid-September.
In the Alps at night is very cool, and in midsummer Vienna can be exposed to strong easterly winds. On the lakes of Carinthia in summer the water gets as warm as +26 ° C. There are two distinct tourist seasons: summer (July-August) and winter (Christmas). The best time to visit Vienna is early fall and late spring. Ski season at most resorts lasts from November to mid-April.
Visa and customs
Austria is a member state of the Schengen Agreement. A visa and travel insurance is required.
Import and export of currency is not limited, but the amount over 10 000 EUR must be declared.
Duties are not imposed on tobacco products in the following quantities: 250g tobacco, 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos (optional). Standards for alcohol: 1 liter of spirits (over 22%), 2 liters of liquor (under 22%) or sparkling wine, 3 liters of beer and 2 liters of any wine, except sparkling.
You may take into the country bottles of perfume up to 50 ml or eau de toilette up to 250 ml.
Importation of foodstuff is also limited: the customs officers allow not more than 0.5 kg of coffee (or 200 g of coffee extract), 100 g of tea (or 40 g of tea extract), 1 kg of meat and 15 kg of vegetables or fruits. Prices on the page are for November 2020.
Particular attention is paid to imported souvenirs: their total value may not exceed 175 EUR. An exception – souvenirs entering the country through the borders with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia: the allowable amount in these cases is reduced to 70 EUR per person. Animals are allowed in only with EU passports (in German or English).
Weapons, ammunition, explosives, psychotropic and narcotic drugs are prohibited.
Out of Austria can take out up to 1000 cigarettes, 200 cigars or 1 kg of tobacco (optional) and up to 250 ml of perfume. There are no restrictions on wine and liquor, but you should note that you can bring into Russia only 3 liters of alcoholic beverages, regardless of strength. Amounts of 10 000 EUR and more must be declared. The weight of your personal luggage can’t exceed 50 kg and its total value – 1000 EUR.
Using our convenient service you can choose a travel insurance in Austria with the required parameters (including insurance against covidence, zero deductible, etc.) and at a minimum price.
For tourists who do not have EU citizenship, Austria has a Tax free system: if you make purchases over 75 EUR, you can get back 13% of VAT. To do this you need to take a receipt with your passport data and a full list of purchases, show it together with the goods to customs (tags must be saved), get a stamp, and go to the Cash Refund.
Keep in mind: the queues and paperwork at the airport may take an additional 30-40 minutes.
You can travel around the country comfortably, quickly and inexpensively by train: rail transport is well developed here. It is not surprising that buses in Austria play an auxiliary role, for which they have earned the name “Post Bus”.
There are few long-distance routes, and the main function of buses is to take passengers to railway stations. On average the trip costs 1,30 – 5,30 EUR. It’s better to take a single ticket “bus plus train” from the beginning to the end – it’s cheaper than if you buy tickets separately.
In Austria there is a rail pass that works according to a peculiar principle – you can choose the point of departure and move from there to any direction for a distance up to 150 km for only 9 EUR.
Fast long-distance trains include EC (EuroCity), IC (InterCity), D, ICE (InterCity Express). Regional trains are called E and R, suburban trains are called S. You can check the schedule and pay for tickets on the website of Austrian Railways.
Public transport within cities
Public transport in most cities in Austria is represented by buses and streetcars, less frequently – trolleybuses. Vienna has the U-Bahn subway, and high-speed trains S-Bahn also run in Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. Tickets for public transport from 2 EUR can be bought at the Vorverkaufsscheine ticket and pre-sale ticket booths, as well as at tobacconist’s kiosks. Special option for tourists – preferential tickets valid from 1 to 3 days (20-30 EUR).
You can’t catch a cab in the street – you can “vote” till you’re blue in the face, no one will stop. When going long distances it is better to negotiate the price with the driver. If the cab driver is obliged to give the receipt, if this rule is ignored – do not hesitate to call the dispatcher.
You can call a cab by phone from a hotel or restaurant, or find one at special parking lots at railway stations, in large city centers and at the airport. The fare within the city is specified on the counter (standard tariff – 1,50 EUR per 1 km); the additional fee for boarding is approximately 5 EUR. Tipping is not obligatory but is welcomed (in an Austrian discreet way). Trip from Vienna airport to the city center costs from 33 EUR, from Salzburg airport – 30 EUR.
Bicycles for rent can be found in railway stations: one hour ride costs from 5 EUR, daily – from 25 EUR. The CityBike system works in Vienna: there are about 100 bike stations all over the city where you can rent a two-wheeled vehicle in a few seconds (in the first hour the service is absolutely free, in the second hour it costs 1 EUR, in the third hour – 2 EUR).
Communication and Wi-Fi
To always stay in touch when traveling in Austria, it is more convenient to register a local SIM card. It is better to choose the services of any of the largest operators in the country: T-Mobile, A1, Orange, BOB or Telering. The first three are the “sharks” of the market: their quality of service is at the highest level, but the prices are appropriate.
BOB and Telering have lower prices, but you should be prepared for surprises like “network unavailable” at the most inopportune moment.
“Sims” of Austrian operators are sold in company stores, branch offices, electronics stores and large supermarkets. Their average cost is 10-30 EUR, for international calls you pay from 0.50 EUR per minute.
You can top up your account in Tabak&Trafik stores – the minimum amount to pay is 10 EUR.
Another way to contact Russia is to call from a street payphone.
There are payphones in both large cities, and in villages, many have detailed instructions in several languages. Pay phones accept both coins and special Telefonkarte cards sold at post offices, kiosks and stores.
One minute of talk costs from 0,17 EUR, the most reasonable rates are on weekdays from 18:00 to 8:00 and at weekends (discounts may be as much as 33%). You can also call Russia from the post office: it will be even cheaper than from payphones.
Free Wi-Fi in Austria is a usual thing: it is available at airports and railway stations, in shopping malls and cafes. Free access points can be found almost at all ski resorts. Internet cafes cost 2-5 EUR per hour of connection.
Hotels in Austria
Austrian hotels and other accommodation facilities can be divided into several types. Tour operators usually assign the typical city hotels for “excursions” – in general, they are at the same level as throughout Europe. However, even in the “five-star” Vienna sometimes happens unpleasant surprises: small rooms, unsightly view from the window.
Hotels of the same category can differ significantly in level, so operators usually offer a limited number of checked options.
The hotels at the ski resorts vary from family hotels to chalets. Pensions are widespread: two- to three-story cottages for 6-10 rooms (the most economical variant), as well as “four” of a good level. Apartments in Austria – a phenomenon not common, and the so-called “hostels” as in France, is not at all.
For rest on the lakes mostly book hotels 4 *, “five” and “three” is not much, but there are inexpensive private pensions. Generally speaking, one should not count on VIP-service on the lakes, as the rest there is more rural than elite.
However, there are some advantages: hospitable attitude to tourists with children, private beaches, good half board. Most hotels have restaurants, bars, gyms, and saunas, often have swimming pools.
The monetary unit of the country is the Euro (EUR). 1 EUR equals 100 eurocents. Current exchange rate: 1 EUR = 88,8 RUB.
Austrian banks are open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 15:00, on Thursdays from 8:00 to 12:30 and from 13:30 to 17:30. Exchange offices at the stations are open until 22:00. You can also buy currency in post offices, hotels and travel agencies.
The most unprofitable rate – at airports and train stations: there tourists are often charged an additional surcharge. In general, the currency is better to stock up in Russia: the standard commission for transactions in Austrian banks is 3%.
Large hotels and almost all stores accept the most common credit cards: Visa, American Express and MasterCard.
The crime rate in Austria is extremely low: it is safe to walk in the cities and provinces even at night. In case of trouble, the vigilant police will immediately come to the rescue.
The only thing you should be wary of is pickpocketing, which is becoming more frequent in railway stations and other places where tourists congregate. There are no major infections in the country, even the water in the faucets and street fountains are so clean that you can drink it without worrying about the consequences.
The main dangers lie in wait for tourists planning to explore the Austrian nature. The first and most common is landslides and avalanches in the mountainous areas.
There is no need to panic: the main thing is to follow the advices of employees of ski resorts and stay in safe areas, as the tracks and villages are built in such a way as to best protect tourists. On some mountain roads rockslides are possible, but the Austrian public utilities and police do not sleep: the dangerous areas are timely fenced.
The fines for free riding are 70-100 EUR, for driving on toll roads without paying the toll – 120 EUR, for smoking in wrong places – up to 10 000 EUR.
When skiing you may have symptoms of altitude sickness or hypothermia, but the chances are minimal: almost all the trails are laid at an altitude of up to 3000 m. If you do get a headache, chills, drowsiness and loss of sensation in the extremities, you should immediately change into dry and warm clothes, drink hot tea and seek medical advice.
Sometimes ticks can be found in the woods, but basic precautions such as closed shoes and tight clothing are enough to protect against unpleasant consequences. If the insect does manage to bite you, you will need a visit to the medical center.
Lakes of Austria
In summer the main flow of Russian tourists goes to Carinthia lakes, where the water gets up to +26 ° C.
The lakes of Salzburg are more “decorative”, cold Alpine. Go there mostly individuals who want to spend time in silence and spectacular scenery. Tourists who have decided to relax on the lakes of Austria, will be alone with ideal pure nature (the water in the lakes – drinkable purity, and large crowds of tourists is not observed even in the peak season), to taste the air, fed with grass and coastal freshness.
There are no beaches in the usual sense of the word on the lakes. Most often it is soft grassy lawns with access to the water on wooden piers.
If the beach is owned by a hotel, mostly sun loungers and umbrellas are free, if the beach is municipal, the entrance will cost about 3-5 EUR.
Cuisine and restaurants in Austria
Good (and plentiful) food in Austria is easy. The imposing symbol of Viennese cuisine, the enormous breadcrumbed veal schnitzel, is certainly a sight to behold.
It is usually served with vegetable salads, as is the no less popular meat on the bone.
Also worth trying are the fried chicken “bachhun”, boiled beef with apple horseradish “tafelspitz”, omelette “kaiserschmarrn”, cheese soup, dried ham and goose liver “nockerl”.
The classic desserts are Austrian-style: the famous apple strudel, rum cake, soufflé “Salzburg Nockerln”, arme ritter white bread baked in an egg with jam and sugar, pancakes and chocolate cake “zachertorten”.
Glüwein (not to be confused with mulled wine, though similar: a hot drink made of red wine and water in the proportion 3 to 1 with cinnamon and spices), wheat beer “Weissbier”, lemonade with herbs “Almdudler” – national non-alcoholic drink – are all worth tasting. And, of course, coffee: merchant – strong double espresso, ferlengarter – weaker, melange – with milk and whipped cream, einschpenner – double mocha in a tall glass.
Austrians are mindful people in a good sense: if a tourist has stayed at this hotel or eaten in this restaurant before, he is likely to be remembered and given increased attention. Menus in eateries are mostly in German, much more rarely – in English. Somewhere at ski resorts are starting to meet menus in Russian – for example, in Sölden.
In many restaurants or hotels the service charge is already included in the bill, but, nevertheless, in Austria it is customary to tip 5-10% of the order.
The country has both cafes and restaurants familiar to Europe and authentic cafes and restaurants.
A striking example of the latter is Wurstenstand, which means “sausage stall”. The menu offers several kinds of sausages and frankfurters, baguettes and bread rolls and side salads and potatoes. Service is modest but the prices are appropriate as well: from 5-6 EUR for a good snack. Traditional atmosphere prevails in taverns, scattered in small towns and villages. They offer home cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere and the average bill for a dinner starts at 11 EUR.
Heuriger cellars are common on the outskirts of Vienna and in the wine regions of the country: they serve national dishes such as goulash and schnitzel, and focus on wine. Dinner with tasting costs from 30 EUR per person.
All kinds of cafes and pastry shops are popular in the cities, where you can try fragrant coffee and unsurpassed local pastries. There are also classic European restaurants of different levels: the average cost of dinner – from 51 EUR and above.
Entertainment and attractions in Austria
To visit Austria and avoid its classic-historical heritage is simply impossible. If you click a digital camera somewhere in the historic center of an Austrian town, you will certainly get a picture of the house where Mozart was born, if not personally, then at least one of his relatives.
Went to a cafe to try the famous “melange” – and sat at the same table at which Sigmund Freud once enjoyed strudel.
I went to a Viennese restaurant for an authentic veal schnitzel and ended up in the room where Strauss and Chaliapin once dined, and where Biedermeier-style paintings adorn the walls, which were paid for by a talented but morally unstable painter with a penchant for gambling.
Austria – one of Europe’s leaders in the number of attractions per unit area, and it is hard to say which is more significant: natural or historical. The most popular in terms of excursions cities: Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Melk, but in every small town there is “that table” or “that doorway,” where one of the great musicians (philosophers, painters, royalty – further in the list).
The Austrian Alps stand apart – a truly royal attraction on a European scale.
Holidays and events
Almost all Austrian holidays are in some way or another connected with religion: the Catholic Church is revered here. The most popular holiday is certainly Christmas, for which people prepare long before December 25. A month before Christmas Eve begins the Advent – the Christmas fast, during which houses are decorated with wreaths of Christmas paws with 4 candles, one lit every Sunday.
On the eve of the holiday in the cities open Christmas markets with traditional gingerbread, punch and mulled wine. Austrians spend Christmas holidays with their families, presenting their loved ones with chocolate and pastries.
New Year is celebrated more modestly, but even here there are customs: for good luck they eat pork, for health – horseradish, and for money – green peas.
The most popular New Year’s gifts are chimney sweep figures and marzipan gingerbread.
January 6 is Epiphany, or the Day of the Three Kings, in honor of the pagan magician kings who gave incense, gold, and smyrna to the infant Jesus. There are celebratory services in churches, and in the evening families gather for feasts with “Christmas logs” and other traditional dishes.
Easter is also loved in Austria, and here, as in Russia, it is customary to paint eggs. Yellow symbolizes wisdom, green symbolizes youth, white symbolizes innocence, orange symbolizes strength, and red symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ.
May 1 is Labor Day: parades are held in the cities and trees in the villages are decorated with ribbons. Second Sunday in May – Mother’s Day: women are given elegant bunches of spring flowers.
August 15 – Assumption of the Virgin Mary: masses are held in churches and houses are decorated with blessed plants. October 25 is Nation’s Day with lavish celebrations in the capital’s Heroes’ Square and across the country.
November 11 is Martinganzell in honor of St. Martin.
Balls and carnivals traditionally open on this day, and geese with dumplings, chestnuts and red cabbage are served to family tables. December 6 honors St. Nicholas and gives children delicious gifts: sweets, nuts and tangerines.
Each region of Austria also has its own festivals and holidays. At the end of January, there is Mozart Week in Salzburg, in May and June there are music evenings in Vienna, in July and August there is the Lake Festival in Meerbisch, and in September there are International Haydn Days in Eisenstadt.
Austria is famous for its castles, palaces and buildings, among other architectural works. Some of Austria’s most famous castles include Festung Hohensalzburg, Burg Hohenwerfen, Castle Liechtenstein, and the Schloß Artstetten. Many of Austria’s castles were created during the Habsburg reign.
Austria is a landlocked country of approximately 8.7 million inhabitants in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.
(CNN) — With its stunning Alpine peaks and placid crystal clear lakes, Austria is the epitome of idyllic. Positioned right in the middle of Europe, the German-speaking country boasts some of the most beautiful train journeys around, while its capital, Vienna, has been ranked as the most livable city on the planet.
Do they speak English in Austria?
While many Austrians know some English, they often hesitate to speak English unless it is necessary for foreigners to communicate with them. However, expats will be relieved to know that English is widely spoken in the business world in Austria, especially in the larger urban centres.
Is Austria expensive to visit?
The costs in Austria are comparable to elsewhere in Western Europe, although they are slightly higher than those you might find in the United States. To save money, consider cooking a few of your meals and eating out a little less. Restaurants can be quite expensive, particularly during dinner hours.
What is the best time to go to Austria?
The best time to visit Austria is during the shoulder months, in spring, between April – May, and in fall, between September – October. The weather is excellent for outdoor activities, and the crowd is sparser. The high tourist season between June – August sees excellent weather and sunny days.