Austria is a German-speaking country in Central Europe, characterized by mountain villages, baroque architecture, Imperial history and rugged Alpine terrain. One of the most popular holiday destinations on the continent, attracts tourists year-round, and winter is almost as busy as summer in the spectacular mountain regions. Remarkably safe and clean, it offers plenty of affordable culture, natural beauty and great food.
Welcome to Austria
Austria Travel Guide
Austria enjoys a moderate continental climate: summers are warm and pleasant with cool nights. Winters are cold, with snow levels high enough for widespread winter sports.
The country can be visited year-round. For those you like to go skiing the best time to visit Austria would be mid-December to March.
For summer activities and sightseeing, April to September is the best time.
Vienna in particular can get crowded during July and August when the main festivals are being held and again over the festive Christmas season.
The prices are comparable with Western European countries, but Austria is by far less expensive than its neighbor Switzerland.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Taxi: USD 1.45 per kilometre
- One way ticket local transport: USD 2.4
- Vienna Hop-on Hop-off bus (1 day): USD 27
- Schönbrunn Palace guided tour: USD 18
- Ski lift pass (adult/one day): starting from USD 22
- Vienna Pass & Salzburg Card: There are several pass options which cover public transport and most of the sights.
Top 5 local food/specialities:
The Austrian cuisine is noted for its fine baked goods and desserts as well as hearty dishes of meat and vegetables.
- Wiener Schnitzel (Breaded thin veal usually served with lemon and fries).
- Apfelstrudel (Warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream)
- Palatschinken (Similar to French Crêpes)
- Tafelspitz (Boiled beef served in broth with vegetables)
- Kaiserschmarrn (Shredded pancake with stewed fruit)
Austria’s public transport is fast, efficient and comprehensive.
ÖBB runs a punctual train network, which includes most towns. An Austria one-country pass with Eurail or the ÖBB Vorteilscard can work out cheaper than purchasing single tickets.
Buses serve remoter villages and Alpine valleys.
Vienna has an extensive system of metro, bus, light rail and tramway services. There are bus systems in all the other main towns, and also tramways in Linz, Innsbruck and Graz, and trolleybuses in Linz, Innsbruck and Salzburg.
Despite convenience, high gas prices (among the most expensive in Europe) make it uneconomical to rent or drive a car. However if you can afford it, this is really one of the best ways to travel around a country where the scenery is spectacular and the roads in excellent condition.
Top things to do and see:
- Visit the Hofburg Palace, the former imperial palace. The area is huge and consists of 18 groups of buildings of different architectural styles with courtyards and gardens. Around the Hofburg there are several other attractions such as the Spanish Riding School, the Austrian National Library, the Sissi Museum and the Imperial Chapel.
- Experience the unique charm of one of the famous coffeehouses. Have some coffee (or hot chocolate!) and home-made cake.
- See the St. Stephen’s Cathedral – the symbol of Vienna.
- Visit Schönbrunn Palace – the former imperial summer residence.
- Take a trip to the Naschmarkt – the biggest food and flea market in Vienna with endless food stalls. The market operates from March to November.
- Explore the Brunnenmarkt – the longest street market in Vienna, selling mainly vegetables and fruits.
- Dine and wine at a “Heuriger” (traditional Austrian wine tavern).
Visit Salzburg Bordering Germany, the city with its medieval and baroque buildings and pedestrian old city is also home to the famed composer Mozart.
Go skiing The Alps are one of Europe’s major winter sport destinations, and keen snow freaks can go skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, sleigh riding, curling and skating across much of Austria.
Cross the Alps The 7 days Trans-Alpine hike starts in Germany and ends in South Tyrol, Italy. If you are into biking, there are also tours for mountain bikers and cyclists.
Go canoeing The Donau-Auen National Park is one of the last major wetlands in Europe. The park nurtures a diversity of plants and animals. A short drive from Vienna, the vast green space offers the perfect escape to the city with the winding Danube splitting the forest in two.
Explore Tyrol It is the country’s most mountainous province, with forests, valleys, lakes, alpine villages, churches and castles. Innsbruck, the region’s capital, has numerous historical buildings including a 12th-century castle.
Enjoy the beautiful panorama of the mountain lakes The most famous lakes are Wörthersee, Wolfgangsee, Traunsee, Hallstättersee and Mondsee.
Discover Graz The capital of the southern Austrian province of Styria invites to explore the narrow streets with Renaissance and baroque architecture, the medieval old town and its museums.
Go on a road trip The Grossglockner High Alpine Road (48 km long) is the highest surfaced mountain pass and leads through the East Alps from Bruck (Salzburg) to Heiligenblut (Carinthia). The scenery is stunning.
Visit Melk Abbey This famous Benedictine abbey is located in Lower Austria between Vienna and Salzburg overlooking the Danube river. The most prominent part of this massive 325-meter-long complex is the west end and its twin-towered church rising above a semicircular terrace range.
See the Hochosterwitz Castle One of Austria’s most impressive medieval castles is situated on a 172 metres high Dolomite rock near Sankt Georgen am Längsee in Carinthia.
Go hiking Hike through the Alps’ varied landscapes, ranging from forests and green slopes to glaciers and rocks. The Vorarlberg’s alpine pastures provide gentle walks, while the Hohe Tauern National Park has more demanding trekking.
Explore the Eisriesenwelt in Werfen The world’s largest ice cave is located about 40 km outside of Salzburg in the Salzach region and accessible by cable car. The caves offer uninterrupted vistas over the mountains. Many visitors combine the visit with a trip to the nearby Hohenwerfen Fortress.
Go on a scenic train journey The “Arlbergline” railway runs between Innsbruck and Bludenz and is one of the most spectacular routes in Austria.
Visit the Hallstatt Viewing Platform (Skywalk Hallstatt) Hallstatt is an idyllic tiny village, nearby the Hallstatt Lake and perhaps the most beautiful example of the many quaint traditional villages waiting to be explored in Upper Austria. The Skywalk hovers 360 metres above the lake and offers great panoramic views.