15 Essential things to know before you travel to Amazing Austria

After having travelled in Austria’s small yet wonderful country, I am here with some essential and rarely told Travel tips for Austria. I say “rarely” because you don’t hear Not many people saying, “I am dying to visit Austria”- Some Backpackers tend to skip it because of its high price. Family vacationers prefer Austria’s surrounding nations, and the package tours include only Vienna in their hopping European cities.

Here are 15 essential Travel Tips for Austria – A land beyond music.

Index

  1. Austria Currency
  2. Using Cards for payment
  3. Cost of living for Tourists
  4. Cellular Network and Wifi
  5. Type of Power sockets
  6. Public Hygiene and Toilets
  7. Roads and Transport
  8. APPS to be downloaded
  9. Food and Beverages
  10. Alcohol and Smoking
  11. People and Language
  12. Safety & Scams
  13. What to see in Austria and when
  14. Tipping Culture.
  15. Bonus tip – Austrian customs

Do they use the euro in Austria?

Two viennese men exchanging euros in Austria

The Austrian currency is the euro.

I saw some Americans bargaining with shopkeepers at Saint Gilgen to accept USD. Very few places accept it, so get it exchanged for Euros initially.

There is no way to exchange INR for euros once you land in Austria. You even may be asked to show the money during the immigration process as proof of funds. So you must have euros in hand before arriving. Avoid getting 500 bills. Instead, have a lot of coins, especially 1, 2 Euro and 50 cents for payable toilets and luggage lockers.

What cards are accepted in Austria?

I used Visa Debit cards mostly, and they worked perfectly fine. Unfortunately, credit Card skimming fraud is increasing in European countries. Though only a few cases are reported in Austria, I never dared to use it. If you must use it, don’t swipe cards in petty shops by the streetside or at random cafes.

Group of hikers walking uphill in Zwolferhorn, Austria

Austria Travel Tips on carrying cash -There are plenty of ATMs, even in smaller villages. Make sure to draw enough money before hitting hiking trails.

Apart from the hut cafes along the mountain hiking trails, cards are mostly accepted; But Austrians prefer when you pay in cash.

How expensive is it to visit Austria?

Grey stone statues of Jews suffering in Vienna, Austria

Austria Travel Tips on budget – Austria is the most expensive country I have ever visited (till August 2022) –

The basic non-star hotel rooms outside the city centre start from 50Euros/night. A medium-sized Cappuccino cup at the underground metro station costs 2 euros. A meal for two at a regular restaurant costs at least 15 Euros. In July 2022, the diesel price in Austria was 2.2Euro/litre.

On the brighter side, public transport is super efficient and cheaper. Moreover, there are tourists card and transport card that reduces the budget burden little.

How much money do you need per day in Austria?

board sailor on turquoise colour wolfgangse lake with rolling green house an d beautiful houses with flowered balcony in background

Austria Travel tip on saving money – There are plenty of adventurous things to do. Do the math before you take up any cuz they break your bank balance.

On average, mom and I spent 340 Euros/day/2 people, including hotel accommodations in town centres, two times coffee in cafes, three times meals in inexpensive restaurants, public transport in cities, train journeys between cities, tourist attractions and a bit of shopping & excluding international air tickets. I have posted “how to travel cheaper in Austria.” as a separate content to help you plan better on a budget.

How much is an Austrian SIM card?

I bought two sim cards from the Wow Austria outlet at Vienna airport. It worked fine at most places with a good network. 30 GB Data for four weeks with a local calling option costs us around 25 euros for one SIM.

How do I get WIFI in Austria?

The mobile 4G internet was good throughout, except on a few hilly hiking trails. Vienna airport’s free wifi was decent. All the hotels we stayed in had speed wifi.

OBB train station at Krems with taxis.

Though OBB is supposed to have free wifi for its passengers, I couldn’t get it working on all four different train journeys we took.

Does Austria use European plugs?

Austria uses Type C & F – The ones with round pins. So Indians need to carry adapters.

Is Austria Clean?

A factory in the middle of grassland in austria

Yes!Super clean and also aesthetic! – The pretty countryside and a factory.

Constantly, Austria ranks one among the top 10 cleanest nations in the world for all the right reasons. People are super conscious, so the streets are litter free, even near the tourist hotspots. The hikers don’t throw their empty beer cans by the trail side. So you are always rewarded with fantastic trash-free street views and mountain views.

Public plaza in vienna with a brown colour beautiful church in the background

Many homeless and refugees sleep on these clean benches in cities like Vienna.

But – You spot carpets of cigarette butts near subway and train stations! We have taken subways at all times of the day. The workers clean them thoroughly in the morning -at night, it returns to the same dirty state.

Colourful grafiti wall by the stairway in vienna

There are strict rules against graffiti on Historical buildings. So Viennese unleash themselves and go all over the wall when they find an empty wall!

Is Austrian tap water Safe?

You can drink tap water directly. In most places, you find drinking water outlets and spouts from some historic statues. But most cafes or restaurants charge you when you ask for drinking water! So, carry a bottle, go to the restaurant toilet, and fill in the water from a handwash tap! Trust me, I did it and saw many do it.

kids playing in streetside water fountain at Salzburg

You can drink it, and your kids can play in it too!

Do you have to pay to use toilets in Austria?

Violinist busking by metro station side in Austria

Not really! Most cafes let you use their washrooms free of cost. At Melk docking yard, I asked the cafe waitress how much I had to pay to use their bathrooms. She laughed hysterically, saying, “Why would you pay to use toilets” – She doesn’t know how Dutches and Belgians made me pay to use their toilet. And there are few public toilets where you must pay 50 cents to use them.

Does Austria have good public transport?

View of long Europa bridge from above

My love for Austria began with its landscape beauty, continued with its people and got amplified with its excellent Public Transport system.

Remember, Austrian public transport isn’t free. It works on an honesty system. There will be occasional inspections, whether it is a tram or intercity train.

What is the best way to travel around Austria?

Trains and Public buses are the best way to get around Austria. They allow pets and bicycles inside. Plus, the platforms and seats are handicap-and baby stroller friendly. OBB app is super user-friendly and easy to book trains.

Train tracks with rolling green hills in background

Austria Travel tip for using Trains – You need not print the ticket if you have QR code of the confirmed tickets.

It may get overwhelming when you see a variety of trains in Austria and wonder what to book – But it is more straightforward once you know it. Our guide, “how to plan your Austria trip, “understand them better.

Is there a train pass in Austria?

As several companies operate Austrian railways, there is no common pass. If you are travelling in Austria for a year, then only consider ÖBB Österreichcard.

Is Austria on Eurorail?

aerial view of inn river and innsbruck

Austria Travel tip for saving money on Eurail pass- Eurail passes aren’t worth it unless you travel between multiple nations without a fixed plan for a longer duration.

It cost us 258 Euros for two people across four journeys. If I had to buy interrail pass for my 15 days period for those journeys, it would cost me 500 Euros! Do the math before booking Eurail passes.

Travelling inside Austrian cities

Buses are a great way to make day trips. Just remember that the bus schedule varies with seasons and Sundays. Only Vienna had an underground metro system. Some have trams.

How do I order a taxi in Austria?

The most important travel tip in Austria – Don’t book cabs!

There was Uber in Salzburg and Vienna – But expensive! Other smaller places like Melk, Innsbruck, Schafberg and other areas had local taxis, which you must book via phone.

How much is a cab in Austria?

A km ride costs you 10 Euros. Out of curiosity, I checked with my hotel owner at Kirchberg to know the taxi price from Kirchberg to Innsbruck. She rolled her eyes and said they charge you more than 150 Euros for 90KM!

Is it recommended to drive in Austria?

Austrians drive on the right lane with elegance and patience. Even though there is no single soul on the road, I never saw an Austrian driver skipping the signal. I didn’t hear honking except for Police and Ambulance sirens. So I recommend driving in Austria if only –

  • You are ready to pay a high diesel price.
  • You have planned to go to the most remote villages in the mountains where there is no bus.
  • You are ready to hunt for parking spots in busy areas.

Is it easy to go cycling in Austria?

Austria Travel tip to enjoy the countryside – Go cycling by the Danube, especially in Wachau valley.

Yes! Apart from Amsterdam, I find entire Austria to be the most cycle-friendly country in the world. There are exclusive lines for cyclers, and you are always rewarded with fantastic views. Your accommodation places love you when you arrive by bicycle than a car, and they make the perfect room for your bikes.

Must-have apps in Austria

  • OBB – Train booking
  • Google Maps – for routes and to track public transport timing
  • Wegfinder – an app developed by OBB to follow and get into public transport
  • Nextbike for renting bikes
  • Liferando – online food delivery.

Why is MakeMyTrip not available in Europe?

Due to GDPR rules being introduced a while back, a few apps like MakeMytrip can’t be operated in Austria. So to make any changes to your MMT bookings, you must use a VPN.

What is food like in Austria?

I could see non-vegetarians having the time of their life with a lot of diverse food. As a vegetarian, I got delicious food. The variety may not be as wide as what you get in India and Turkey, but whatever you get is tasty and healthy because Organic farming is genuine and spread across the country. Their dairy products, especially cheese, are heavenly. So cheese strudel, dumplings, and Käsespätzle make me drool even now.

I found Tyrol food better than any other region except for croissants and strudels in Vienna. You see a lot of berry-based dishes. As home to thousands of immigrants, major cities have a lot of Turkish food joints. So Falafel wraps, Halumi are easy to find.

I am not a Vegan food fan, but Austrians (especially Viennese) are! You even find vegetarian burgers at KFC in Vienna.

What is a typical breakfast in Austria?

Bread with jams and cheese. I never imagined there would be those many of variety of bread. Of course, the butter croissants were my first preference. But I enjoyed cutting up spennel (the round bread with some star on top) and filling it with berry jams and pesto cheese. Pretzels seemed famous among locals – but I found them salty and hard!

What do Austrian people drink?

Austria is coffee heaven.

Whenever I imagine the cappuccino I had in Vienna and Kirchberg, I crave it even now. You find tea in fewer places, but Austrians know and love their coffee. You must specify if you want cappuccino, latte or espresso. Cappucino quality is usually ample. So ask for cup size before ordering two.

Yes. Anyone above 18 years of age can drink in public.

So you see people drinking beer from tin in buses and trains. It felt as if Austria’s day started and ended with beer. But not even once were we troubled by any drunkards.
I tried multiple beers – My favourite remains Ottakringer, Gosser Lemonade Radler, and the best of all is Augustiner Bräustübl beer!

Wachau is “the” place for wine – I am not a wine expert, but that is my go-to drink always from now on. There is nothing better than Gruner Weltiner. It is cheaper, fruity and earthy.

Another local favourite drink is Schnapps – The fruit brandy. I had huge expectations, but I liked my wine better. Apricot liqueur from Wachau Weiser is better than all the fruit liqueurs I tried.

Where can I smoke in Austria?

It was shocking to see one of the cleanest countries that take organic farming seriously for health benefits smoking their lungs out. Apart from public transport and closed cafes, you can smoke everywhere in open areas.

Are Austrians hospitable?

After hearing so much about Germans being rude, I was prepared for not-so-friendly hospitality by German-speaking Austrians. But it turned out different. You may not be able to hitchhike, but they won’t turn their back when you ask for some help as a tourist. Shopkeepers may not come and show you things personally but wish you. When you ask them for help, they aid you with a limit.

Is Austria foreigner friendly?

Yes. With tourism as one of their primary income, Austrians welcome global citizens. And I must mention, they aren’t racists (at least not in front of us)! Not even once did they discriminate because of our colour or ethnicity. On the contrary, they admired my mother’s saree. So many ladies asked my mom how to drape it and where to buy it.

What language is mainly spoken in Austria?

They speak Austrian German. I learned that German and Austrian German are similar. So if you know either of them, you can understand the other. The Austrian-German uses Latin Alphabet with some unique letters. Like dots and other special characters above or below the letters. So you can almost read the signboards but likely pronounce it wrong if you don’t know the language. If you know English, it is easier to manage in Austria as most people speak it.

How religious are Austrians?

The major religion of Austria is Catholic Christianity. Muslims are the second highest majority. There is a significant number of synagogues too.
There were many active historic churches – At least two for a tiny village. Unlike Greece, they weren’t so specific on dress code for visitors. We were in the streets on Sunday early mornings, and I saw a few elderly walking into the chapel. So I feel they aren’t as religious as the Greeks and not atheists like the Swedish.

Is Austria a safe place to visit?

Austria Travel Tip for safety – Don’t be afraid to attend music shows after dark – It is super safe in most places

Perhaps, Austria is the only country where I walked on the remote hiking trail alone without fear. We have taken the underground metro trains after dark. Then, mom and I walked back to our rooms after concerts and other shows at 11 pm – All we found were well-lit streets and some fitness freaks jogging!

Electric scooters and segway are popular among locals and tourists. We saw a few tourists trying it for the first time and fell off. While we helped them, the police came to help the wounded lady within a minute. Of course, you won’t find police in their blue uniforms everywhere. But they arrive in the blue within a minute when something minor goes wrong.

What should I avoid in Austria?

Avoid Taxis as much as possible! They are a rip-off and a scam. I took a taxi from Uber for 2km and paid 17 euros online. The driver wasn’t happy and tried to fool me into thinking he hadn’t received the money until I showed him the proof.

Austria Travel tip to stay safe – Stay away from cows!

They will be lazily munching on grass throughout your hiking trail. They get furious and may attack you when you go near them. But don’t miss enjoying the bell chimes from afar. There have been several incidents where cows killed hikers!

There are a lot of asylum seekers in Austrian cities. Usually, they are located on particular streets. Those streets’ wall arts have too many “Anti-Police” slogans. When I talked to a Viennese cafe owner, she explained that some asylum seekers are trying to bring in anarchy by breaking what real Viennese used to follow. She suggested I avoid such kinds of streets after dark in any city.

Apart from being cautious about your belongings and not flaunting your jewels and purses, I don’t think you should be bothered by anything else.

What to see in Austria and when?

There are historical monuments and opulent palaces, and public Plazas.

Austrian history is old and has some fascinating facts dating back to Roman times. So history buffs like me are in for a treat. Whereas the best part of Austria is their countryside and mountains. The Danube river is lined with quintessential villages and never fails you with its charm. The Austrian mountains with rolling grasslands feel like a perfect painting or a postcard. You can never have enough hiking trails or cycling while enjoying one of the freshest air in the world. The cafe culture is fantastic in the capital cities of the states. Plus, organic farming and food are part of their lifestyle. So their food is refreshing, and you can feel fresh with every bite.

How many days are enough for Austria?

Take it easy in Austria, Don’t rush.

Rajasthan state is four times bigger, and my home state Karnataka is two times bigger than Austria. But don’t let the size fool you! I spent 15 days in Austria and could easily spend 15 days more. So I recommend at least 15 days to get a pinch of what Austria offers you, including some music concerts, a bit of hiking, a fraction of history and a little gastronomical voyage.

What is the best month to visit Austria?

If skiing and snowboarding are your wishes, December to March is the best. Suppose you think of hiking in the dry season; June to August is the best time. It is the peak tourist season, hence expect rates to be higher. Many locals whom I met on hiking trails recommend September.

Does Austria get hot?

Austria Travel tips for summer – it can get bloody hot!

Most blogs I read said Austria could never get cold, and apparently, it was true. Austria was famous for its pleasant summer. But, thanks to climate change, Austrian summers get heat waves now! So expect mild showers if you are fortunate at times and hot sun most of the time in summer. We suffered from temperatures as high as 33*C and prickly heat.

Is tipping expected in Austria?

It is not customary but appreciated.

Sometimes the waiters ask you before charging your card if you want to round up the amount. If you are happy with the service, you can. Hotels and BnBs keep separate boxes at reception if you wish to tip any particular services – housekeeping, front desk and restaurant.

What are some customs of Austria?

  • In any escalators, stand on the right and give way for climbers on the left – This is a severe rule. We were reminded of this twice by Austrians.
  • Shops shut by 4 pm on Saturdays. All shops remain fully closed on Sundays.
  • As they approach their closing time, they politely yet firmly ask customers to leave the premise – whether it is a monument or a shop.
  • Austrians are super punctual – Expect public transport to be on the dot or a maximum of a minute delay.

Everyone waits at crosswalks for the light to turn green.

  • They don’t like it when you compare them to Germans –They are German language speaking Austrian. If you ask an Austrian if they are Germans or tell them their traditional outfits are German, expect a rude comeback.
  • Reciprocate hi and bye when you enter and exit any shop – Everyone in Austria does that.

Expect waiters not to attend to you immediately – Austria has a shortage of occupation. Cafes run on minimum staff.

  • Austrian food joints don’t expect you to finish your meal quick and get off. Expect at least a two-hour dinner or an hour of a coffee break.
  • The waiters don’t bring in the bill unless you ask, even if you have finished everything on the table.
  • Many cafes expect you to check with the waiter before getting seated. Reservations aren’t always a must, but some seats will be reserved.

Found our Austria Travel Tips helpful? Let us know in the comment section below.

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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