COUNTRY OVERVIEW AND TRAVEL GUIDE
Officially called the Republic of Austria, this small Alpine country is located in the Southern part of Central Europe. German is the official language, the population sits at almost 9 million & Vienna is the Capital City. Read on to discover all Austria has to offer!
"Ahhh, Austria! It's the musical capital of Europe, and while it’s a great title to claim, there is so much more to this land-locked gem. The food, the architecture, the landscapes, and the quaint cities; there are endless ways to spend time in this diverse destination.
Here are just a few ways to experience Austria; Why not take a ferry into Hallstatt? As you leave the train station, the ferry is surrounded by a postcard-worthy backdrop of mountains. And what setting would be complete without a town nestled in those mountains and suspended on the water’s edge? It’s Brilliant! Maybe you prefer visiting Vienna’s world-class museums and eyeing the impressively ornate white stone buildings speckled throughout the city. The beautiful architecture is only made more picturesque when horse-drawn carriages pass by like clockwork.
No matter where you are in Austria, you can’t miss trying some of the country’s delicious cuisine; think, schnitzel, strudel, goulash, and sausages. These dishes are not for the faint of heart; five pounds can be gained just thinking about all the excellent fare I sampled here. Finally, if you’re a Sound of Music Fan, how about following Maria's trail from Salzburg town out to the mountains to see if the hills really are “alive with the sound of music”? The scenery is beautiful, the city is impressive, and there’s a sort of whimsy to the whole experience. Whatever adventure you plan to have in Austria, there’s one thing I’m sure of, and that is, it will be unforgettable!
CITIES IN THIS GUIDE
CAPITAL CITY: Vienna
VOLTAGE: 230 V
TIME ZONE: CET - Central European Time and CEST - Central European Summer Time
TELEPHONE CODE: 43
COUNTRY EMERGENCY CODES: 122 (Fire), 133 (Police), 144 (Ambulance)
Weather & When to Go This greatly depends on what you plan to see and do in Austria. The best overall time to visit is in the spring and fall, notably from April to May and September to October. During these two seasons, the prices are lower than the heavily touristed months of July and August, you pretty much have your pick of accommodations and the streets will generally have fewer crowds. The exception here would be if you plan to hike a number of Alpine trails. The summer months of July and August are best for ensuring that the trails will be snow-free and of warmer temperature.
What to Pack A trip to Austria is best done in layers, of clothing that is. This is especially true if you will be spending time in the Alps. The weather is unpredictable, and rain is expected in any season. Having a lightweight poncho or raincoat is a great article of clothing to have on hand. Be sure to also include long, lightweight pants if hiking where ticks are prevalent. Other necessary items include swimwear, shorts, t-shirts, tanks, and a dress (or two). A sturdy pair of hiking sandals or shoes is necessary for all the walking, but don't forget a nice pair of sandals or slingbacks if going out for dinner or to the opera. You can find a more comprehensive packing list in the templates section of this website.
Travel Insurance There will be no other item that you take with you on any trip that will be more important than travel insurance. Life happens my friends, things go wrong. Even the best-planned trip is not without its potential mishaps, and a great place to start is your own credit card. I purchased insurance for years before finding out that my credit card offered incredible protection for up to 15 days of International travel at no extra cost to me. You can also look at insurance through your bank or a company such as World Nomads, which has very reasonable prices for their coverage.
Safety Austria is an incredibly safe destination for families, groups and female solo travellers. As a solo female traveller, you need to remember to use common sense. Just as in most large cities, there's a potential for issues of safety late at night. Probably not the best idea to wander the streets alone in the wee hours. Also, as with other large cities, pickpocket incidents can and do occur. Keep your belongings close, bags zipped shut, and use RFID protectors when possible. That being said, Austria is very safe to wander and explore on your own in the larger cities and smaller towns.
Transportation I found the train system in Austria to be very convenient, clean and punctual. It was an ideal way to get from one city to the next. One of the highlights was arriving in the town of Hallstatt by train then being shuttled into town by the awaiting ferry, it was a stunning welcome! The main cities have taxis, tram and buses while Vienna is the only city at the point of writing that has a metro system. The transport systems in the cities are clean, and an inexpensive way to travel.
Vaccines Some people are resistant to the idea of vaccines and medications, and that is understandable. It is best to look into them with your doctor before travelling to see your potential exposure and make your own decision. The suggested vaccines for adults travelling to Austria are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and rabies. The rabies vaccine is only for people that may be off the beaten track exploring caves and places where mammals with rabies could be living. The Hepatitis A vaccine's effectiveness will typically last for 25 years in adults, while Hepatitis B can last a lifetime when done in the proper succession. If you're an active traveller getting them once will allow you to travel without worry for years to come.
Entry Requirements A country's entry requirements may change over time. Usually, the requirements are the same from one year to the next, but it is always best to check before departing. A common condition for most countries is to have a valid passport for at least six months beyond the date you expect to leave the country. Currently, if you reside in Canada, your passport is required for Austria, and if you are staying longer than 90 days, you will also need a Visa.
National Holidays While National Holidays are a grand celebration in any country, it's best to know if the museums and monuments you are visiting will be open during those times. In Austria, particularly Vienna, only restaurants, cafes and bars will be open on National Holidays; these holidays include Christmas Day, New Years Day, and Labour Day. If there is an attraction you'd like to visit, it's best to check the website ahead of time to ensure it's open.
Budgeting for Austria
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? - There's no way to sugar coat it; Austria is expensive. Not quite the shock and awe of the prices in Switzerland, Denmark or Iceland, but expensive non the less. This section will give an idea of what to expect in terms of cost for hotels, transportation, attractions, & food. Use the budget planner in this section to see if Austria is a feasible destination for your next adventure.
BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IN VIENNA - In order to get cheaper accommodation, you will probably be staying at a property outside of the Ring Road; this would mean taking transit or walking to the centre of town but the cost savings would be considerable. In 2020, the average cost of a stay at a hostel for one night is approximately €25 while the cost of a budget hotel would be approximately €35.
OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR BUDGET TRAVEL TO VIENNA - The average cost per person, per day for accommodation, transit, attractions and meals would be around €45. You will have to omit some of the pricier admission fees to stay within this budget or splurge on one or two days to see the attractions you really want to visit.
MID RANGE TRAVEL
MID-RANGE COST FOR VIENNA ACCOMMODATIONS - Accommodation in the mid-price range will enable you to stay in a hotel closer to, or within the ring road of the city centre. In 2020, the cost of mid-range accommodation is approximately €60 - €100 per night.
OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR MID-PRICE RANGE TRAVEL TO VIENNA - The average cost per person per day for accommodation, transit, attractions, and meals would be around €110 - €140. This would allow for entrance to most attractions and a sit-down meal or two in a cafe or restaurant.
LUXURY COST FOR VIENNA ACCOMMODATIONS Accommodation in the luxury price range will land you a hotel in a great location in the centre of the city. In 2020, the cost of luxury accommodation is approximately €150 - €200 per night.
OVERALL COST PER DAY FOR LUXURY TRAVEL TO VIENNA - The average cost per person per day for accommodation, transportation, attractions, and meals would be around €250 - €300 This would allow for entrance to all attractions and sit-down meals in restaurants two or three times per day.
Resources for Booking
These are the sites I rely on most often for booking hotels and checking reviews. Booking.com is my go-to site, where I have booked over 70 hotel stays. Airbnb is also a great option when booking homestays, and Trip Advisor will help verify reviews for any hotel bookings, attractions and tours.
COST OF MEALS
The average cost of food per day can range from approximately €10 to €55 or more. Budget eating will be at fast-food chains and street vendors selling items like sausage and noodles, (which are very tasty). Typical eat-in prices will be about €25 per meal.
COST OF ATTRACTIONS
A budget day will include mostly walking the city and visiting low entrance fee sites like the Botanical Gardens. Higher budgets will be able to see all museums and attractions. Attractions will cost approximately €7 to €45 or more if you plan to purchase Opera tickets.
COST OF TRANSPORTATION
Using the metro in Vienna is relatively inexpensive, as is the tram and bus system. If using only the metro, tram and bus, the average cost is about €5 - €8 per day. The cost of using taxis as the primary source of transport will average €55 or more per day. The cost of travel between cities will be approximately €25 to €150 depending on how far you're going across the country and the type of transportation you'll use.
Budget Planner This free budget template will help you plan everything from hotel and airfare to transportation, attractions and more! If you would like more free planning templates, click here!
Things to See & Do
1. HOFBURG - SISI MUSEUM - A fascinating and beautiful look at a day in the life of Royalty. This museum is so well thought out and items on display are done so in a very creative way. Be sure to get the audio guide as it's very informative!
2. VIENNA OPERA - Decent seats at the opera are expensive! If they are out of your budget don't let that stop you from enjoying the exterior architecture of this lovely gem. TIP: In the summer, you can watch a performance from outside the building on a large outdoor screen, free of charge!
3. BELVEDERE - A beautiful marvel both inside and out. This eighteenth-century UNESCO Heritage site is a stunning example of Baroque architecture not to be missed.
4. NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM - A wide variety of items from animals to minerals to art and many other items in between. Like many museums in Vienna, the building is a piece of art in itself and the Natural History Museum is no exception.
5. ALBERTINA - Not as large as other museums, however, the artwork on display makes it first class! The view over the opera from Albertina is special, and more so when the sun is setting on the facade. Great photos of the Opera from the top steps here!
6. KUNSTHISTORISCHES - The interior is a work of art in itself. The objects on display were both beautiful and fascinating and deserve your time when visiting Vienna.
7. KARLSKIRCHE - An exceptional example of Baroque architecture located on the Southside of Karlsplatz. Go inside to see the impressive interior or sit on the steps and relax at the pond admiring the facade.
8. GRAB A SEAT AND WATCH THE CITY GO BY - The streets are alive with horse and buggy, opera-goers and everyday life. What better way to take it in than sitting at a cafe while indulging in the country's popular fair of Goulash or Wiener Schnitzel?
1. HALLSTATT SKYWALK - At 350 meters above the rooftops, take in the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and Hallstatt Lake. The viewing platform is called the World Heritage Skywalk and can be reached by either walking up to the top or taking the funicular.
2. HALLSTATTER SEE - The lake that the town of Hallstatt sits on is called Hallstatter See or Hallstatt Lake. One of the best ways to enjoy the lake is to take a ferry ride, which will last 50 minutes and is a great way to take in Hallstatt's iconic views from the water.
3. OLD TOWN - Take a stroll through the town, admiring the beautiful pastel facades of Hallstatt's buildings and their wonderful overflowing flower boxes. The length of the main road through the town is only one kilometre, so taking a stroll and stopping in the little shops is a pleasant way to spend an hour or two.
4. HALLSTATT SALT MINE - Take a tour of the World's oldest Salt Mine. This incredible mine has been worked for seven thousand years and made for a fascinating afternoon tour. TIP: It would be a good idea to get an audio guide as many of the tours, and the movie subtitles that were translated to English do not provide as much information for non-German speaking visitors.
5. HALLSTATT OSSUARY- While there is not much to see in the Ossuary, some may find it interesting. The ossuary is essentially a House of Bones. There are 1200 skulls, many of those that have been delicately painted by artists or family members to honour their loved ones. It is a lovely spot for some quiet reflection.
6. RELAX ON A WATERFRONT PATIO - Grab a seat on a patio terrace overlooking Hallstatt Lake and take in the view while sampling delicious Austrian cuisine.
7. HIKE AN ALPINE TRAIL - One of the best locations to start your hike is from Hallstatt Lake; head up the Salt Brine Trail and reach the Salt Mine at 1200 feet. The views are magnificent, and you will pass a waterfall on the way to the mine.
8. HALLSTATT MUSEUM - This is a small museum but quite informative nonetheless. If you plan on visiting the Salt Mine, it would be a great stop before your tour as it gives a detailed history of the mine and displays the tools and clothing of the early miners.
1. OLD TOWN GRAZ - A UNESCO Heritage designated town which is a wonderful area to explore on foot. Some of the historical facades to admire include Rathaus (Town Hall) built in 1893), and Haus am Luegg adorned with beautifully ornate stucco details.
2. SCHLOSSBERG - Take the funicular or hike to the top of Schlossberg Park which overlooks the city. Stay for a while and enjoy a bite to eat while taking in this most beautiful view. You can also admire the Clock Tower which is the cities best-known landmark.
3. GRAZ CATHEDRALE - Built in the 1400s, Graz Cathedrale is a wonderful blend of Gothic and Baroque architecture. The exterior is modestly adorned with a few bands of delicate carvings on pale yellow stucco. While not the most ornate facade, it is still quite lovely; definitely worth a walk-by and a peek inside.
4. THE STYRIAN ARMORY - Enjoy a display of the world's biggest historical armoury. This collection has been a part of the provincial arsenal since 1644. Be sure to pick up an audio guide as there are no descriptions posted on the displays.
5. ISLAND IN THE MUR - Described as a metal floating upside down seashell, this structure is actually a bridge connecting two sides of the River Mur. You can simply walk across and admire the structure or stop and have a quick bite in the cafe.
6. KUNSTHAUS GRAZ - this alien-like structure was built in 2003 and houses an ultra-modern art museum. Take a tour of the inside or stop by to take a peek at this most unusual yet impressive facade.
7. LANDHAUS - Built in the 1550s, Landhaus currently houses the provincial parliament and is a remarkable example of Renaissance Architecture. You can take a tour inside or admire the beautiful architecture of the inner courtyard.
1. HOHENSALZBURG FORTRESS - The fortress gives you a stunning view of the city and is the most recognizable landmark in the skyline. Make sure to visit the museums, they are quite interesting and well organized. There is an audio guide that will take you through in about 45 minutes but leave a bit longer to take in the views.
2. MIRABELL PALACE AND GARDENS - This wonderful Baroque palace was built in 1606, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many find the gardens more appealing than the palace; both are stunning so it's up to you to decide a favourite.
3. OLD TOWN - A great place to wander many pedestrian-only streets, admire the architecture, and get a little shopping in at the quaintest boutique shops. In Old Town, you will find many artisans selling everything from traditional dress and sweets, to lovely Christmas decorations, fashion and jewellery.
4. DOMQUARTIER - A stunning UNESCO Baroque complex. The Domquatier covers 1.3 kilometres of museums, a cathedral, Staterooms and a breath-taking view over Old Town from the cathedral terrace.
5. ST. PETER'S CEMETERY - The oldest cemetery in Salzburg. It is the most visited attraction in Salzburg. One of the notables buried here is Mozart's sister, Nannerl. If you're a Sound of Music Fan, you'll want to stop here as this is the place the von Trapp family hid before successfully fleeing to Switzerland.
6. GETREIDEGASSE LANE - Located in Old Town this enchanting medieval lane is adorned with beautifully ornate iron shop signs. Not only is it a great destination for boutique shopping, but it was also the birthplace of Mozart in building No. 9.
7. RESIDENZPLATZ - A magnificent square perfect for taking a break from walking the lovely streets of Salzburg. At the heart of the square is a marble fountain built in the 1600s and is the spot where Maria from the Sound of Music splashes in while singing "I Have the Confidence in Me."
8. HAUS DER NATUR (HOUSE OF NATURE)- After visiting countless art museums it's always nice to find a museum of a different kind, and The Haus der Natur fits the bill. The displays are interesting and well thought out. The range of topics at the House of Nature is extensive; see everything from medicine and geology to space and animals. Have your comfy shoes, there's a lot to see and it can take hours to go through.
In this section, you will find a collection of Google Maps showing the attractions to see in Vienna, Graz, Hallstatt and Saltzburg. In addition, there are attraction site plans and other map-type literature collected during my time in that destination to help you plan your travel to Austria.
VIENNA ATTRACTION MAPS
GRAZ ATTRACTION MAPS
SALZBURG ATTRACTION MAPS
HALLSTATT ATTRACTION MAPS
10 DAY ITINERARY FOR AUSTRIA This Itinerary is for Train Travel with Stops in Vienna, Graz, Hallstatt and Salzburg This itinerary is accompanied by links to Google Maps that show where the points of interest are located. Feel free to use them to help plan your trip. You can use the Google Maps app on your phone and download the area of interest when connected to wifi, then use it in real time on the streets without being charged for data. Please note - Points of Interest can change over time, and it would be advisable to double-check with your phone carrier that you will not be charged.
A night to remember. Fresh cheesecake, figs, and pinot noir.
DAY 1 - 6
Hover Over To See The Plan
DAY 1 - EXPLORE VIENNA
Explore Vienna - Go shopping (or window shopping) on Naglergasse
Stroll the streets of Graben & Kohlmarkt to admire the architecture
Kirche St. Peter - Church
Stroll through Stephansplatz - Main Square
St. Stephen's Cathedral
Albertina - Museum
Karntner Strabe - Shopping Street
The Opera - Enjoy the architecture of the building or catch a show
Night Photos of the Liberation Monument and Karlskirche
DAY 2 - EXPLORE VIENNA
Belvedere - Baroque Palaces
Wander the streets and enjoy the charm of Vienna
Hofburg Palace in the afternoon
DAY 3 - EXPLORE VIENNA
Admire the Architecture of Hofburg theatre
Walk the grounds of Volksgarten
Austrian National Library
Kunsthistorisches Museum - Art Museum
Admire the beautiful architecture of the Parliament
Rathaus - Town Hall
DAY 4 - EXPLORE VIENNA
Museum of Natural History
DAY 5 - TAKE THE TRAIN TO GRAZ
Train to Graz in the AM - travel time is approximately 2 1/2 hours
Kunsthaus Graz - "Alien" building in the centre of Graz
Grazer Murinsel - Floating Platform Bridge with Playground and Cafe
Schlossberg Park Funicular - Take the Cable Car up to the Park
Schlossberg Park - Overlooks the City of Graz
Rathaus - Town Hall
Sackstrabe - Antique shops, galleries, workshops, and jewellery stores
DAY 6 - EXPLORE GRAZ
Sackstrabe - Pretty Street with Antique Shops and 2 Museums
Landhaus - Home to the Styrian Provincial Government
Landeszeughaus - The Armoury
Hauptplatz - The Main Square
A night to remember. Fresh cheesecake, figs, and pinot noir.
DAY 7 - 10
Hover Over To See The Plan
DAY 7 - TRAIN TO HALLSTATT IN THE AM
Train in the AM - Travel Time is Approximately 3hr 15min.
The Hallstatt Stroll - Shops and Traditional Timber Houses
Gasthof Simony - Quaint alley with Brightly Coloured Buildings
Gasthof Gruner Baum - Lunch on a patio overlooking the water
Church of Saint Mary
Marktplatz - Town Square
Catholic Church and Ossuary (painted skulls)
Postcard View of Hallstatt
DAY 8 - EXPLORE HALLSTATT
Hallstättersee- Schiffahrt - 50 Minute Boat Cruise - book in advance
Take the Funicular up to Rudolph's Tower and the Salt Mine
Take in the Spectacular View from Rudoph's Tower
Take a Tour of the Oldest Salt Mine in the World (pre-book tickets)
DAY 9 - TAKE THE TRAIN TO SALZBURG
Train in the AM - Travel Time is Approximately 2hr 35min
Mozartplatz - Square with Mozart Statue
Stroll Through the Streets of Old Town
Fontana della Residenza - Square and Fountain with Horses
Kapitelplatz - Square with a View of the Fortress
St. Peter's Cemetery
St. Peter's Abbey
Franziskanerkirche - Church
DomQuartier - Salzburger Residenz
DAY 10 - EXPLORE SALZBURG
Schloss Mirabelle - Palace
View the Fortress from the Salzach River
St. Sebastian's Cemetery
Take the Funicular up to the Fortress
Stift Nonnberg - the Convent from the Sound of Music
DAY 11 - OPTIONAL DAY TO SEE THE ALPS AND HOHENWERFEN
Untersbergbahn Cable Car - See the Alps from 5300 feet
Being prepared before your travels will help reduce the likelihood of misfortunes and undue stress during a vacation. A great way to start planning and make yourself organized is by using printable lists and templates like the ones feature here. These PDF's will help with your travel budget, to-do lists and packing.
Austria Travel Tips
Photography Tips I was pleasantly surprised that I could take photos in almost every attraction across Austria. This is a Yipee moment! Anyone who travels often and is an avid photographer knows the pain of the "no photos" sign. Austria was a welcome change.
Two great spots for photos in the city are in front of Karlskirche and the Albertina Museum steps. First, Karlskirche, which is situated on a lovely pond. It makes for some wonderful photos of the church reflected in the still water, especially at blue hour. Second, if you go to the top of the steps of Albertina, you can get a great view over the Opera with the cars speeding by - great for those long exposure night shots. Suggested Settings: Exposure: 30 sec.; Aperture: f/22; ISO: 100
Solo Travel Tips Austria is a wonderful place to travel solo! I enjoyed wandering the streets gazing at architecture, visiting museums and sitting at outdoor cafes watching horse-drawn buggies ramble over cobblestones. I found all forms of transportation to be safe for solo females, and it is a great country to start exploring if this is your first experience with solo trips. As mentioned above, use common sense and don't go out on the streets alone in the wee hours.
Driving Tips Driving in Austria is relatively easy as the roads are well maintained and the street signage is mostly universal. You will need an International Drivers Permit to drive here, and if you have never applied for one before, it is quite easy. In Canada, it is merely a matter of having a passport photo taken and either applying online or using a company such as CAA to provide you with the permit. At the time of writing it is $25 to obtain this licence through CAA.
Budget Tips If you have your heart set on seeing the Vienna Opera, but it isn't in the budget, you can grab a seat and watch outside! In the summer, the Opera is shown on a large screen on the facade of the building. Be sure to find the day and time of the show you want to see, then find a spot to plunk down and enjoy the show.
Cuisine - Which Foods to try Strudel, schnitzel and sausage, Oh My! What's not to love about these comfort foods? Unless you are vegetarian or vegan, of course. You can find at least one vegetarian or vegan item on most of the restaurant menus. I, on the other hand, loved the schnitzel and sausage! So much so that I actively sought it out in all the restaurants I went to; fortunately, I spend more time walking than taking transit to burn off all this comfort food.
Souvenirs and Keepsakes There are so many wonderful keepsakes and gifts to take home from Austria. On the less expensive side, there are chocolates, jams and snowglobes. For chocoholics, you may never find creations like those produced by Zotter, flavours such as tequila with salt and lemon, almond roses, and apple balsamic. The name in jam from Austria is Staud's, locals love it, and I can attest that it is one tasty concoction. I wouldn't typically look for snowglobes, but they were created in Austria and having a keepsake bought where it was invented is always special. On the pricier side, a company named Freywille produces stunning and very colourful enamel jewellery like this beauty. Other souvenirs include Mozart Balls, Manner Wafers, Demmers Tea, Enzian Schnapps, Austrian porcelain, and Austrian glass.
Create a Photo Book
No one wants a vacation to end, but when it does, it's always nice to have mementos of the amazing experiences you had during the trip. Mixbook is the ultimate way to share those memories with loved ones as well as look back and reminisce years down the road.
CLICK TO SEE MIXBOOK SAMPLE PAGES CREATED FROM PAST TRIPS
Use these related posts to get even more in-depth information on Austria. You can also go to the home page and type Austria in the search bar to see all relevant posts. Please be advised that this is a new site and quality content takes time. I will be continually posting new articles, photos, maps and pages a few times a week. I have so much information I can't wait to share and help you plan a perfect trip!
THE CHURCHES OF AUSTRIA
Your Guide from Vienna to Salzburg
YOUR GUIDE TO SALZBURG
Hotels, Attractions and More!
YOUR GUIDE TO HALLSTATT
Arrival, Sights and Accommodations
FAVOURITE EUROPE HOTELS
Best Mid-range Boutique Hotels
PHOTOS THAT WILL
INSPIRE YOU TO VISIT AUSTRIA
YOUR GUIDE TO VIENNA
Hotels, Attractions and More!
Welcome to Austria!
THE MUSICAL CENTRE OF EUROPE
THIS INFORMATION WAS CURRENT AS OF OCT 18TH, 2020. REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY TO SOME COUNTRIES CAN CHANGE QUICKLY. PLEASE ENSURE TO VERIFY IMPORTANT INFORMATION BEFORE DEPARTING FOR YOUR NEXT DESTINATION