Diverse to the core, culturally rich and truly majestic, Austria is a country that effortlessly transitions between upscale cities and lush green landscapes. One moment you’re meandering through mountain valleys and the next bustling around imperial Vienna.
Traveling across the country, you will find deep valleys, impressive mountains, beautiful meadows and many more picturesque sites to feast your eyes on. This is one country that is every traveler’s dream destination and one you will not regret visiting.
Austria Travel Info
Language: Austria has four Official languages: German, Slovenian, Hungarian and Austrian. You can easily get by using English as your language to communicate with the locals as most people are also fluent in English.
Visa: To get a visa to enter Austria, you must have a passport valid for the next three months, with two blank pages for the Visa stamp. You need a copy of the completed application form or a hard copy of Schengen electronic visa form, your onward/return journey tickets and proof of sufficient funds.
Electricity: Austria operates on 230 V supply of electricity with a frequency of 50 Hz. Associated plug types are Type C and F. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each country you visit.
Austria Festivals & Celebrations
Viennale: The Viennale International Film festival started in 1960 and takes place every year in October. A large number of films are premiere in this film festival across several vintage cinema halls of Vienna. Among the genres screened are documentaries, experimental cinema and short films along with special galas and discussions with directors.
Wiener Festwochen: This festival continues up to six weeks and is celebrated as a mark of respect to every cultural aspect of the country. The opening takes place outside the city hall of Vienna. The purpose of the festival is to understand art and acquaint people with the rich culture and traditions of their nation.
Danube Island Festival: In the month of June, from the 23rd to 25th, the Danube Island of Vienna gets converted into the hub to a celebration where about 3 million people gather to celebrate the Danube Island Festival. Musicians from across the globe perform for visitors for around 600 hours continuously, and food and drink vans in large numbers line Danube’s banks.
Safety In Austria
Safety is not a concern for people traveling to Austria. Apart from the occasional few minor bag snatching and pickpocketing incidents, Austria is in general a very safe country to visit. Based on my own travel experiences in Austria I would not leave home without travel insurance. I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your trip to Europe.
Top Things To Do In Austria
Vienna is among the grandest and most beautiful cities of the world with a splendid blend of nature and architectural style. The ancient Baroque Church and the Gothic buildings stand next to the world’s most advanced and modern buildings. The Danube canal is the highlight of Vienna along with some world-class architecture, and some interesting shops and cafes. The city also has a number of museums, the best among which is the Albertina, housing the largest graphic art collection in the world.
Visit The St Stephen’s Cathedral
This is among the most famous attractions in Vienna that you must see while in Vienna. The cathedral is built in Gothic style of architecture and has stood tall and taken care of and guarded the masses since the past 700 years. It was even the venue for the wedding of Mozart in 1782. Guided tours will help you explore the rich history of the cathedral and also witness some rare pieces of art as well.
The historic town of Innsbruck is located in the beautiful Inn Valley and is surrounded by high mountains and is, therefore, a well-known spot for winter sports and has also been the host of Winter Olympics. There are a number of historical monuments for the visitors to explore and learn about the chaotic history of the place.
Hike the Eisriesenwelt
This cave is roughly 42 kilometers long and is the world’s biggest ice cave. It is among the most loved tourist sites and provides a lot of thrill and excitement. When you move from Salzburg towards the caves, the landscape is incredibly soothing to the eyes. The best part is that although these caves are among the world’s best ice caves, yet they are extremely accessible, and almost everyone can admire and explore them.
Go Skiing in Arlberg
This particular mountain range has some excellent ski resorts. Known as the Skiing hub of the Alps since a ski school was opened here by Hannes Schneider. The school has brought about a revolution in the techniques of skiing. St. Anton, one of the five Skiing villages of Arlberg is famous for building the first winter cable car. Arlberg is a favorite among both beginners as well as professionals and provided something of interest to almost everyone.
Explore the City of Kitzbuhel
Kitzbuhel is the most popular Austrian city and is swarming with tourist throughout the year. Winters witness Ski-loving crowed coming here in large numbers as this place as awarded the best ski resort continuously for three years by the world’s largest ski resort’s test portal. Snow clad mountains of the city are the hosts to the world-famous ski race, the Hahnenkammrennen, held annually. It is the most attractive Alpine attraction for any skiing lover.
Sit by the Schlegeis Lake
In Tyrol in the Zillertal Valley is a place that is full of artificial lakes. You will be overwhelmed by the beauty of Schlegeis Lake and the four more artificial lakes that sit calmly amid mountains. Hiking and climbing these incredible surroundings is the most preferred activity here. The Alpine road to Schlegeis is roughly 13 kilometers long, starts 1 kilometer above sea-level and has many twists and turns. It passes through four rock tunnels and many other places that are utterly surreal.
Visit Hofburg Imperial Palace
The glorious cultural heritage of Austria can be best reflected by its Hofburg which was home to Habsburgs from 1273 to 1918. The Swiss courtyard, Schweizerhof, is the oldest section of the palace and was named after the guards who were deployed to protect its boundaries. This courtyard is joined by another courtyard, In der Burg, which is larger and has the monument of its Emperor Franz II in the centre. Today, the palace houses a raft museum and the office of the Austrian President.
Climb the Grossglockner
It is the country’s highest peak and is a segment of the Alpines. It is 12,461 feet high and has peaks that are pyramid shaped, which is formed by two pinnacles. Fortunately, it is an easy mountain to climb for those with some experience. A grading of PD+ is given to the route which depicts that it is not a difficult one. The Franz-Josefs-Hohe point on the mountain attracts roughly 1 million visitors each year.
Experience the Café culture of Vienna
Vienna has some of the most regal cafes to boast among which Café Sacher is the best. It has an atmosphere of royalty with immaculately dressed waiters at your service. Have an amazingly rich chocolate cake topped with apricot jam which had been the favorite of the Emperor. For the ones who like it outdoor, it has a pavement terrace, but for the real experience, you need to dine in the lavish chandelier-lit café.
Other than these top things to do in Austria, there is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Plan ahead so that you can take your time exploring and be prepared to be flexible because sometimes travelers you meet along the way will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems.
What To Eat In Austria
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in Austria are listed below.
Wiener Schnitzel: This is a must-try dish which is meat that is thinly sliced, originally veal, and is coated in breadcrumbs before frying. The presentation is done with lemon slices on the side. This simple dish is an important element of Austrian Cuisine and a cultural heritage of Austria.
Apfelstrudel: The café culture of Vienna famous across the world and when you stop at one, eat an apfelstrudel for sure along with coffee or tea. This is also among the traditional Austrian Dishes and this apple strudel is served with whipped cream, and vanilla ice-cream will suit all those with a sweet tooth.
Tafelspitz: This dish is also Austrian to the core. Boiled beef is cooked with veggies and spices in a broth. It was among the favorites of Emperor Franz Joseph I, who preferred a boiled beef slice in all his meals. The dish is traditionally served with the broth, where the broth is eaten first and the meat later.
Goulash: Goulash is a simple, yet attractive dish served as a soup or stew made of meat, paprika, and spices. At times, noodles or dumplings are also added. Originally, Goulash comes from Hungary where it is called Gulyas meaning herdsman.
Wiener Wurstel: Also called Viennese sausages, this is a typical street food of Vienna. These are sold on wurstelstands and are a favorite among both tourists and locals. These sausages are delicious and are served with mustard.
Where To Stay In Austria
Austria is an incredibly expensive place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Austria is easy however finding affordable accommodation, if you’re on a tight budget, is the hard part. Hostels and dormitories make travel to Austria affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have already been snapped up. Austria is a pretty popular year-round destination you know!
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Austria.
If you’re backpacking in Austria or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Europe much more affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
Austria Trip Planner
Best Time to Visit Austria
The best time to visit Austria is between April and October, if you want reasonably warm or mild weather. If you want a hot holiday then aim to visit between June and September, even then good weather can’t be guaranteed. For skiing, go between October and March.
Austria Travel Budget
Austria is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to Austria really depends on the level of comfort you will expect while here. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating street food then budget between 35 to 60 euros a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between 60 to 100 euros per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants in places like Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck then budget about 250 to 500 euros a day.
- Budget: €35 – €60
- Mid-range: €60 – €150
- Splurge: €150 -€500
Meal For One
- Budget: €10 – €25
- Mid-range: €25 – €60
- Splurge: €60 +
Austria Packing Guide
Packing for a trip to Austria, like most other places in Europe is easy, just remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing for Summer trips and warm, waterproof clothing for the Winter or colder months. Be prepared for the weather to get extremely cold during the winter. You will need high quality, durable thermal wear plus scarves, woolly hats, thick gloves and a thick winter coat. If you forget to pack something you can buy anything you need in Austria but prices are generally high.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Austria include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
For the full list of everything you need to pack for a trip to Austria check out the Jetset Bunny Ultimate Europe Packing List For Female Travelers.