Austria Travel Planning Guide

Austria, Tyrol, Ehrwald, Seebensee with Sonnenspitze
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Austria is a very interesting tourist destination in Central Europe. A mountainous, landlocked country, only a third of its territory is lower than 500 meters above sea level.

Austria is in the center of some prime tourist territory; it is bordered by Germany and the Czech Republic in the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, and Slovenia, and Italy to the South.

Austria has extensive rail lines. When you look at schedules, you'll see Vienna represented as Wien, the German name.

Mountainous Austria offers quite a few opportunities for scenic train routes. The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) runs a network of 5700 km of rail lines. Smaller companies run lines on alpine routes. There are lines running only in the summer for tourists as well.

Below are some representative times for rail journeys in Austria to other tourist destinations. Times depend upon the speed of particular train chosen.

  • Vienna to Salzburg: 3-4 hours, 159 miles
  • Salzburg to Innsbruck: 2 hours, 86 miles
  • Salzburg to Munich: 1-2 hours, 70 miles
  • Vienna to Venice: 8-10 hours 273 miles

Resource Articles

Read up on Vienna, Salzburg, Bregenz, Villach and Hallstatt and other top Austrian travel destinations before you go. A little research can point you to the best vineyards in Vienna and its vicinity.

When visiting some of these top destinations, a tourist often takes a short tour of the city or a tour of the rural treasures found around the outskirts. Viator has a page of its top Austria tours to peruse.

Currency

The currency in Austria is the Euro. At the time the Euro was adopted, its value was set at 13.7603 Austrian Shillings.

Language

The primary language spoken in Austria is German. Dialects are spoken throughout Austria: Wienerisch in Vienna, Tirolerisch in the Tirol, and Volarlbergerisch in Vorarlberg. In major tourist centers, English is spoken widely.

Restaurants

You'll have a wide variety of eating options, including coffee houses, heurigen (wine bars) and pubs. In general, Austria restaurant food and service is remarkably well done, and not all of it is as heavy as you might expect. Still, you can dine on traditional Schnitzel (thin cut, usually of veal, breaded and fried) and Wiener Backhendl (chicken). To test if a Wiener Schnitzel is up to par, it can be sat upon in white trousers and should not leave a grease mark. This course of action is recommended only for brave souls with unlimited resources for buying trousers.

Tipping

A service charge of 10-15 percent is included in hotel and restaurant bills. Many people add 5% for good service. Attendants get a Euro or so, and taxi drivers expect 10 percent.

Rail Passes

As Austria is a small country, you might wish to purchase a rail pass for just Austria, but you might get a better deal by combining Austria and one or more other countries. A good combo is the Germany/Austria Pass Looking to go east? Try the Eurail Austria/Slovenia/Croatia Pass (Buy Direct or Get Information). A single country pass (Buy Direct or Get Information) for Austria is also available.

Driving

General speed limits (unless posted otherwise) are 50 km/h in towns, 100 km/h on highways, 130 km/h on motorways.

Driving on Austria's motorways requires the purchase and display of a "vignette" on your vehicle. Wearing seat belts is compulsory.

Airports

There are airports at ViennaLinzGrazSalzburgInnsbruckKlagenfurt.

When to Go

The weather in Austria varies with altitude. Maps are available with information on historic climate of Austria.

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