Austria travel guide, including map of Austria, history, vital stats on Austrian culture and when to travel to Austria
Fresh air, fresh air and more fresh air – Austria is the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
But Austria isn’t just about the Alps. The wooded foothills, gently rolling farmland and flowering meadows in Austria’s lowlands provide equally enchanting vistas. And when your feet grow weary from all that walking, chill out in Salzkammergut and Carinthia’s sparkling lakes. Or head to Vienna for Hapsburg heritage, Salzburg for baroque splendour or the Unesco-listed Wachau valley for medieval monasteries and castles galore.
Take a hike the luxury way – Combine walking in the Alps south of Salzburg with stays in cosy, family-run hotels
Head to the Wachau region – You won't be able to walk a mile along the Danube without bumping into a charmingly crumbling abbey or castle
Treat your taste buds on the Käsetrasse – A trail of traditional dairy farms running through Bregenzerwald’s mountain forests
Go boating or fishing in Carinthia – ‘Austria’s Alpine Riviera’ boasts over 1,000 lakes and pools
Take the train to Vienna – Belle époque cafés and winery walks in the suburbs
Unwind in Bad Radkersburg – Thermal waters sooth sore muscles after a day’s cycling in the surrounding countryside
If you’re planning on regularly hiking Austria’s mountains, join the Österreichischer Alpenverein (the Austrian Alpine Club), which has a branch in Britain. Members get a 50% discount on the ÖAV’s 500-plus mountain huts dotted across the Alps.
Capital of Austria: Vienna
Population of Austria: 8.3 million
Languages in Austria: German
Time in Austria: GMT+1 (March-October GMT+2)
International dialling code in Austria: +43
Voltage in Austria: 230 AC 50 Hz
Visas for Austria: Visas for Austria
Money in Austria: Euro (€). Major credit cards and travellers’ cheques are widely accepted. It’s customary to add a tip of around 5% to 10% for taxis and in restaurants, cafés and bars, even if you’re just buying one drink at the bar.
Austria travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Austria tourist board: Holidays in Austria: The Official Travel Guide
Austria is great to visit at any time of year. The best time depends on what you want to do. In winter the high levels of snow make Austria an ideal destination for winter sports, plus the cities are quieter and enchanting with a white dusting – just make sure you dress warmly.
April to October is the best period to go hiking, mountain-biking and lake-swimming in the Alps, though some alpine resorts close down April-June. June and August see the highest temperatures in the Alps but also the highest levels of rainfall.
Vienna International (VIE) 18km from Vienna; Innsbruck Kranebitten (INN) 4km from Innsbruck; Salzburg Mozart (SZG) 3km from Salzburg; Klagenfurt (KLU) 3km from Klagenfurt; Graz (GRZ) 9km from Graz
Austria has an efficient network of trains between its major cities and towns. Trains tend to be quicker but more expensive than comparative bus services.
Austria’s bus system connects the small towns, villages and lakes the trains don’t get to. Timetables are available from local tourist offices. Roads in Austria are impeccably maintained and a pleasure to drive – but don’t attempt alpine routes in winter unless your vehicle has snow chains.
Cycling is very popular in Austria. You’ll find bike-only pathways in rural areas as well the cities; there are bike rental outlets throughout the country.
From mountain huts to 5-star luxury, Austria has it all. In Austria’s tourist hotspots, such as Vienna and Salzburg, you’re advised to book in advance for the busy months of July and August. In alpine resorts, prices can double during the ski season (December-April) and the summer high season (July-August). Visit in May or November for the best deals.
Austrian specialities include Wiener schnitzel (veal fried in breadcrumbs), Knödel (dumplings) and Tafelspitz (boiled beef with potatoes and horseradish). Don’t miss a visit to a Kaffeehaus to sample Austria’s world-renowned Viennese pastries.
Wash this hearty fare down with one of Austria’s many high-quality lagers or a generous glass of schnapps.
Vegetarians are well provided for in major cities. In Austria’s countryside restaurants, they may struggle to find one meat-free dish.
Austria has an excellent healthcare system. If you are an EU citizen, a European Health Insurance Card covers you for most medical care. No vaccinations are required, though it’s worth checking your tetanus jab is up to date. Tap water is safe to drink – in fact, it’s said to be better than the bottled water.
In touristy areas in Austria, as in other parts of the world, be aware of pickpockets.
Found everywhere from Austria to India, Ethiopia to Colombia, these rare cattle breeds – the star of a new photography book – are dignified, fascinating, and udderly charming More
From rumbling around on old steam trains to indulging in a night of open-air cinema, the Austrian Tirol is shaping up to be this summer’s hotspot destination..... More
From stunning art installations to challenging mythological creations, these astounding fountains take creativity and credulity to refreshingly new heights. Which is your favourite? More
Forget Paris, Rome or Venice this Valentine's Day and visit these quieter, loved-up destinations instead. They offer all the charm and romance, but without the crowds... More
Sleep under giant ice sculptures, eat off frozen plates, and have a go at building your own igloo for the night. Whichever hotel you choose, be sure to brace yourself for the cold... More
Lush Alpine Meadows, cosy farmhouses and over 900km of walking trails makes Alpbachtal the perfect place for fresh air, exploration, and relaxation… More
Amazing views? Tick. Fantastic food? Check. Big on adventure? Absolutely. The Austrian city of Innsbruck, Tirol has it all - get the perfect introduction with this snapshot guide... More
Dare to go whitwater rafting, try out the thrilling mountain bike trails and follow in the footsteps of James Bond in adventurous Ötztal… More
This summer, spend your days in the action-packed peaks and meadows of and your evenings relaxing in the spas. St Anton am Arlberg offers the best of both worlds… More
Want an adventurous destination to keep the whole family busy? Look no further than Wildschönau. From walking trails to mountain bike challenges, there's something for everyone... More
Want to enjoy winter sports in summer? Look no further than Zillertal, a natural adventure playground deep in the Austrian Tirol... More
Get your heart pumping this summer in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. With Germany’s highest peak, routes for mountain bikers, and water sports on picturesque lakes, the adventure never stops... More
Venezuelans skate to church, Norwegians hide their brooms, and Catalans are obsessed with festive pooping. We reveal the weird and wonderful festive traditions around the world... More
Orange wine is this year's hottest beverage. Simon J Woolf reveals the best and most atmospheric places to try this uniquely coloured wine and learn about the extraordinary process that creates it. More
Author and falconer Ben Crane reveals the best places on the planet to witness mighty eagles, hawks and falcons in action More
Just voted the most liveable city in the world for the ninth year in a row, the Austrian capital is bursting with cool cafes, vast city parks and culture. Here’s why you need to get there now. More
Photographer Massimo Listri scoured Europe for the continent's most beautiful libraries. From medieval monasteries to 19th-century institutions he discovered a veritable 'bibliophile beauty pageant’ More
Admire Canada's serene lakes from on board the classic Rocky Mountaineer, or spot wildlife along Zimbabwe's alternative safari tracks – take your pick from these wild and wonderful train experiences... More
With its epic landscapes and world-class hiking, the Austrian Tirol is waiting to be explored. Discover 8 reasons why you should visit this picturesque slice of Europe.... More
Wanderlust subscribers now receive a free £50 voucher valid on trips from a great selection of top tour operators
And the best bit is, this isn't a one-off offer, you get one every time you renew as well!
The £50 discount can be redeemed against one trip booking with one of our tour operator partners, by the expiry date printed on the voucher. The £50 can even be redeemed on top of any discounts our partners are already offering, ensuring Wanderlust subscribers get the best deal possible.
Simply quote your unique voucher code when booking to claim the discount. This offer is only available to Wanderlust subscribers.
UK subscribers automatically receive the voucher each year. Overseas subscribers receive it upon request.
The clue is in the name with this brand new tour from BSpoke. Visit the stunning Lake Constance and take in Germanic, Swiss and Austrian beauty all in one cycle trip!