Did you know?
- “The Sound of Music” is based on the true story of the Von Trapp family and their escape from Nazi Austria!
- Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of the Porsche company, was an Austrian.
- The German name for Austria is Osterreich which means “Eastern Empire”. This refers to the time when Austria was part of the Holy Roman Empire.
- Croissants and Danish pastries aren’t French or Danish inventions. Both were originally Austrian specialties from Vienna.
- Austria shares a border with 8 countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany.
- In Austria, check your restaurant and taxi bills, as a service charge is often included in the bill.
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to Austria do not need a visa at this time.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
Australian Embassy in Austria:
Ph. +43 1 506 740
Fax. +43 1 506 74185
The official currency of Austria is the Euro. Notes come in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5.
The recommended currency to take to Austria is the Euro. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have Euro’s with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Vienna is approximately €2.50 - €3.50.
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately €10.
- The price dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately €25.
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately €4.50 - €5.
Viennese cuisine is strongly influenced by southeast European cuisine, notably that of Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Dalmatia. Austrian desserts and cake are particularly renowned. National savoury specialties include wiener schnitzel, a traditional dish of bread crumbed and fried veal escalope and tafelspitz is possibly Austria’s most famous food, regarded as the ‘national dish’ and consists simply of boiled beef. Calf’s liver with herbs in butter (geröstete leber), goulash, which is made of beef, pepper, paprika and onion, various types of smoked and cured pork dumplings (knödel) with sauce are other tasty dishes. Popular desserts include kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancake and stewed fruit); palatschinken (Austrian pancakes); powidl, a delicious plum stew; apfelstrudel and the classic pudding, Cheese Danish, which is sweet and stuffed with raisins. Mehlspeisen is the national term for cakes and puddings. There are around 60 varieties of torte, which are often consumed with coffee.
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
Austria enjoys a temperate Central European climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot with cool nights. In Vienna and other low-lying cities, temperatures during the day are absolutely lovely during July and August. Winters are cold, below freezing in January and February. The ski season in the Alps runs from December to April but the mountains are also popular with hikers and climbers over the summer when the weather is usually warm and bright.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
The public transport system in Austria is one of Europe’s best. Trams, buses and trains are inexpensive and generally run on time. Taxis can be expensive and often slower than the trains or trams if you get stuck in traffic and, of course, walking is a must in Europe’s finest cities.
When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Austria?
High-quality goods such as handbags, glassware, chinaware and winter sports equipment represent the cream of specialist items found in Austria. Slightly less expensive souvenirs include delicious chocolates wrapped in paper with Mozart’s face (called Mozartkugel), sold everywhere throughout Austria; a bust of any famous Austrian; soft toys dressed in lederhosen or dirndl; snow globes and beer steins. A value-added-tax of 20-32 per cent (called MwSt) is included in the list price of items sold.
Austrians always appreciate polite manners and punctuality.
Nudity in media and advertising is wide-spread in western Europe.
Celebrations & Public Holidays
Austria has many events and festivals happening in every city throughout the year, many of them being music related. The most well-known festival is the Salzburg Festival, which runs from July to September every year and offers patrons music and dramatic performances held all over Salzburg.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year’s Day
- Easter Friday and Easter Monday
- Labour Day (May 1st)
- Ascension Day (40 days after Easter)
- Whit Monday (50 days after Easter)
- Assumption Day (August 15th)
- National Day (October 26th)
- All Saints Day (November 1st)
- Immaculate Conception Day (December 8th)
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
It is difficult not to be moved to hum a Brahms lullaby or a Strauss waltz as you explore the sights of Austria’s beautiful Baroque capital, Vienna, which for centuries was the centre of the splendid Habsburg Empire. Vienna is a city of music, but it is also synonymous with gourmet fare, cream cakes, superb coffee, the angelic strains of the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the proud prancing of the Lippizaner stallions at the world-famous Spanish Riding School. Most of the city’s tourist attractions are within the inner-city area which was once enclosed by city walls. The walls have been replaced with the Ringstrasse, a wide ring road. Further out in the suburbs is the thrilling Prater amusement park with its massive ferris wheel and the opulent Schönbrunn summer palace. Visitors also should not miss a trip to the Vienna Woods, peppered with ancient ‘heuringen’ (wine taverns).
Nestled on the banks of the gorgeous Salzach River, Salzburg is a city of enchanting beauty. Its historic city centre, with its narrow, cobblestone streets, amazing baroque architecture and pretty town square is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. Home to one of the most well-known music festivals in the world, The Salzburg Festival, and being the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is a very musical city, and many events are music oriented.
Small Group Tours
Explore the stunning European Alps on an adventure across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, taking in the leafy forests of Lake Bled and the beautiful Italian Dolomites.