Austria


Austria / Practical guidelines


General Information

The Capital

Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and at the same time one of the nine Austrian provinces. With around 1.9 million inhabitants, Vienna, situated on the Danube, is Austria's most populous city, the second largest in the German-speaking area and the sixth largest city in the European Union.

Emergency

122 Fire
133 Police
144 Ambulance
112 Emergency 

Festivals and Public Holidays

Only those that are valid in all federal states:
New Year's Day, Three Kings, Easter Monday, National Day, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Corpus Christi, Assumption Day, All Saints' Day, Holy Trinity, Christmas, St. Stephen's Day, New Year's Eve


Climate

Austria generally has a temperate continental climate. The average temperature in Vienna is about 30° F (-1 C) in the winter and 70° F (21 C) in the summer. Thunderstorms are common during the summer months. The weather in Austria varies widely according to location and elevation, however.

Salzburg has Alpine influences because of its proximity to the mountains. Summers are warm and pleasant, although rainy days are common. Winters are cold, temperatures hovering just above or below freezing, with plentiful snow.

Time Zone

Austria is located in the Central European Time Zone. European Summer Time is used between the end of March and the end of October, meaning clocks are moved forward an hour during that period.

Time differences:
UK: - 1 hour
Canada/USA
East coast: - 6 hours
West coast: - 9 hours.

Electricity and Water

Outlets in Austria are 220 volt. Most appliances will require adapters, which can be purchased at airports and locally.

Weights and Measures

Long distances are measured in kilometers in Austria. A kilometer equals about 2/3 mile.

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Shorter distances are measured in meters. A meter is 3.28 feet (1.09 yards).

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Weights are measured in kilos. One kilo equals 2.20 pounds.

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Postal Service

Stamps can be purchased at post offices, Kiosks, and most shops that sell postcards. Post Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Phone Calls

Country codes for calls placed from Austria:
UK: 00 44 + phone number 
USA/Canada: 00 1 + phone number

Country codes for placing calls to Austria:
UK: 00 43 + phone number 
USA/Canada: 011 43 + phone number

To be paid locally

Fuel costs, costs for fuel service (if applicable), costs for rental cars (see rental car conditions, e.g. one-way rental, permits, child seats, snow chains etc.), tolls, food, costs for excursions booked locally by yourself, private expenses (e.g. costs for souvenirs, medication, etc.), tips, entrance fees (if applicable), transport costs (e.g. taxi, bus, train, ferry), tourism levy (if applicable), parking fees (if applicable), lift fees (for ski lifts and cable cars), ski pass (if applicable).

Arrival and Departure

Getting There

Austria has six airports that are generally used for passenger traffic: Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Linz and Klagenfurt. Austria is a signatory state of the Schengen Agreement, which has lead to the abolition of internal border controls. With a Schengen visa, you may travel freely throughout the entire Schengen zone. 

Travel Documents and Formalities

If you intend to go to Austria as a tourist for a period not exceeding 90 days and your country does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program, you need a Schengen travel visa. 

Customs

For arrivals within the EUTobacco products or alcoholic beverages in your luggage are only tax-free to the extent that they serve your own needs. If the following indicative quantities are exceeded, you must demonstrate that the goods are intended for your own use


For arrivals from outside the EU:
When passing through customs, you must declare the following goods, i.e. submit a customs declaration:
- goods not intended for personal use
- goods purchased outside the EU which exceed the allowances for tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, still wines, beer and pharmaceuticals and the allowances for other goods
- goods which are subject to import prohibitions or restrictions

Other goods up to a total value of 300 Euro (entry by land);

for air travellers up to a total value of 430 Euro.
For travellers under the age of 15, these two exemption limits are generally reduced to 150 euros (regardless of the means of transport used). 

Driving

(International) Driving License

An international drivers permit (IDP) is required for Austria. It can be purchased through the AAA club and is valid for one year. When driving abroad, carry both your IDP and your state driver's license with you at all times. An IDP serves as an officially and internationally recognized translation of your license.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to be able to drive in Austria and other EU/EEA countries as a visitor after 29 March 2019.

Insurance

If you are traveling with your own car please check with your car insurance what documentation is necessary. 

Road Code

Front and rear seat belts are obligatory in Austria. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to sit in the front seat. It is illegal to talk on a hand-held mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle in Austria.

Be careful about drinking and driving: A driver whose blood alcohol level exceeds 0.5 will be considered legally intoxicated.

Signs leading onto Austrian motorways normally indicate the next major city or cities along the way rather than the actual direction of travel. It is therefore important to know what cities lie along the intended route.


Speed Limits

In towns: 50 km/h (30 mph)
On motorways: 130 km/h (80 mph)
On open roads: 100 km/h (62 mph)
In residential areas: 30 km (18 mph)

Parking

Very little free parking is available in downtown areas. Parking along the street often requires feeding a parking meter, which may be located some distance from the car. After you’ve deposited the required fee, the meter will produce a ticket that must be placed in the windscreen. 

Be careful about observing no-parking signs, as violations may result in your car being towed away. The two main parking signs are:

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Blue zones are specially marked short-term parking zones (Kurzparkzone), where parking is allowed for up to three hours for a fee.


Breakdown and Accident

An emergency telephone number will be included in the documents you receive from your rental car company. Emergency phone calls can be made free of charge from any public telephone. Emergency phone numbers are: 
- Police: 133
- Medical emergency: 144
- Fire: 122

Petrol

The main choices are Bleifrei (unleaded), Super-Bleifrei (super unleaded) and Diesel. The German word for petrol is Benzin. A service station is called a Tankstelle.

Toll Roads

A sticker on the windscreen is required to drive on Austrian motorways. A ten-day pass costs about €8.00. The stickers, called a “vignette,” are available at all service stations and at the border.

Directions and Maps

Although brief directions are included in your travel documents, we recommend buying a good road atlas. 


Navigation System

The best solution is always a GPS. While rented units are often available, downloading an offline software for your smartphone is a good alternative. Free service is available from "HERE Maps". Although you won't be able to search by coordinates when offline, you can do so while connected to WIFI in your hotel and save places to favorites. The directions from HERE are not very detailed. If you prefer a more detailed navigation, other products are available from TomTom or Navigon at an annual fee. Should you already own a GPS unit you can download the relevant maps prior to departure.

Accommodations

Check-In

The check-in time is normally between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. unless otherwise stated in your travel documents. Earlier arrival can be arranged with your hosts. Please notify your hosts if you will be arriving after 8 p.m.

Money Matters

ATMs

ATMs are widely available. All common international credit cards are accepted. English instructions are usually available.

Health

Medical Insurance

Check to make sure your health insurance covers travel abroad. If not, you would be wise to take out travel insurance. Unfortunately we cannot issue insurance contracts clients outside Germany.

Local Health Care

UK / EU:
Austria has a very comprehensive and well-regarded public healthcare system, called statutory health insurance (SHI). Public healthcare is applicable to all Austrians, EU passport holders, and those from EEA countries, as long as they hold the European Health Insurance Card. Make sure you are treated by a provider who has a contract with one of the GKK regional health insurance offices to be able to use your EHIC. Doctors usually display a sign saying "Kassenarzt" (contracted doctor) or "Alle Kassen", which means they operate under the state system.

If you are admitted to hospital, you’ll need to present either a valid EHIC or e-card to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.

The emergency doctor service (nights and weekends) is 141.


Etiquette

Tipping

Service is normally included in the restaurant check. Nevertheless, it is common to round up amounts, say from €37.50 to €40, in recognition of good service. Smaller amounts are rounded up to the next euro. The tip is not left on the table.

In hotels a tip of €1 per bag or service is common. Taxi fares should be rounded up to a convenient figure.