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Austria

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Austria

The heart of Europe

Stunning mountain scenery, charming villages and beautiful cities boasting a master blend of architecture and music are just a handful of reasons why Austria should be on everyone’s travel list.

Overview

Austria is a land-locked country, sharing its borders with Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Due to its location as the gateway between East and West Europe, the country is steeped in history as well as boasting some of the most magnificent landscapes. This is home to the Danube, the Tyrol and two stunning and world-famous cities of culture, music and art: Vienna and Salzburg. 

The great outdoors beckons, with summer offering the perfect location for hikers and winter providing a skier’s paradise. Meanwhile, sweet-toothed visitors will be unable to resist the temptation of Sachertorte in cafes on almost every street corner.

Top Cities Vienna (capital), Salzburg and Innsbruck. Languages German is spoken by 98% of the population, and English is widely understood in the tourist areas. Currency Euro Time Zone Time zone in Austria is (GMT+1), making Austria 1 hour ahead of London. This time difference remains the same all year. Drinks Imported beer: £3.55/$4.85 Domestic beer: £3.50/$4.75 Water: £1.90/$2.60

Meals Inexpensive meal: £10.65/$14.60 Meal for 2, mid-range, 3 courses: £44.30/$60.70 Hostels Shared dormitory rooms start at around £14.60/$20.00 per night. Hotels 3-star accommodation in the cities averages around £87.00/$127.00 and 5-star accommodation around £220.00/$302.00. Tipping It is customary to round up the bill in cafes and restaurants - an average being 5-15% of the total. Check if there is a service charge added and if so, leave a little less. For taxis, round to the nearest Euro or give 10% of the fare

Taxi Taxis are reliable and are metered. Expect to pay around £1.55/$2.13 per km after the standing charge of approximately £3.35/$4.60. Prices are slightly higher in the evenings and on Sundays. Taxis are found everywhere, including train stations and taxi stands. For a trip from Vienna airport to the city centre, expect to pay around £32.00/$44.00. Public transport There are four types of public transport available in Austria: the U-Bahn in Vienna (metro), Schnellbahn (S-Bahn), Strassenbahn (tram) and the bus. Expect to pay around £1.95/$2.70 for a single bus or metro fare. The most efficient way of getting around Austria outside of the cities is by train, which is fast, punctual and economical. Tickets must always be purchased in advance, and the fines for travelling without a ticket are high. In addition, there are international bus connections such as Eurolines or Flixbus. Highlights Don’t miss the opera and theatre season in Austria which runs from September to June. In July and August, there are several festivals taking place across the country, so do check before visiting to see what’s available. While in Vienna, visit the iconic Schonbrunn Palace and gardens or attend a classical concert at the beautiful Kursalon, in the Stadtpark Gardens. Built in 1865, this fascinating building is popular for concerts, balls and evening meals. Families will enjoy a day at the Prater amusement park and a ride on the historic ferris wheel. For a good walking orientation of the city, take a stroll along the Ringstrasse which takes you around the historic centre. Here you’ll find the State Opera House, the Burggarten, the Hofburg, the National Library, several museums, Parliament, the Volksgarten, the Burgtheater, Town Hall and the University. Alternatively, why not hire a bicycle and take a trip along the dedicated cycle paths beside the Danube? The route is an eye-watering 300km long and runs from Passau to Vienna! Salzburg is not to be missed. This stunning city will take you back in time as you marvel at the architecture from a horse-drawn carriage. Salzburg is also home to the Mozart museum and the most delicious chocolate ‘Mozartkugeln’. If it’s the ‘Sound of Music’ scenery you’re looking for, then stop by in the lakes region for a refreshing summertime swim in Salzburger Land or enjoy long hikes in the mountains to admire the scenery. In winter, this is where you will find some of the most famous ski resorts such as Saalbach.  Of course, Innsbruck is also a perfect destination for anyone looking to explore the ski areas and is home to the Bergisel ski jump. Take the cable car throughout the year to the top for magnificent views of the city and beyond.

Interesting Facts

The name Austria comes from the Germanic word ‘austro’ meaning ‘east’.

The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world.

Approximately one-quarter of the 8.7m population of Austria lives in Vienna.

Vienna has the oldest zoo in the world which was founded in 1752.

62% of Austria is covered by the Alps

Edelweiss is the national flower.

The longest river in Austria is the Danube at over 349km long.

The highest mountain is the Grossglockner at 3,798 metres and is famous for its hairpin curves (note that it is closed in the winter due to snow).

The largest lake is the Neusiedler See which is shared with Hungary and does not flow out to a river or the sea. The lake is very popular with watersports enthusiasts.