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.
Whether navigating great rivers, winding round remote islands in search of endemic wildlife or crossing continents in the wake of great explorers, these adventure cruises are sure to float your boat... More
From jostling floating markets in Thailand to islands made from reeds in Lake Titicaca, these incredible attractions are colourful, uplifting and gravity-defying … and guaranteed to float your boat... More
Bright, festive and a lot of fun, these 9 fabulous markets from around the world are proof that not all the best Christmas markets are in Germany... More
From navigating vineyard-edged rivers to stepping ashore in the heart of culture-packed cities, there’s nothing quite like meandering along Europe’s rivers. Here’s what you can expect on a river cruise... More
Bright, sunny and exuding a warm, cosy glow, these golden destinations are guaranteed to bring a little sunshine into your life... More
Take a load off your thighs, as we pick the European, Asian and African rides that'll put the electricity back into your next cycling escape, in every sense... More
Picking one single country to visit can be a challenge – so why not cross a few borders while you’re away? These trips pack in a glut of different cultures, food and experiences... More
Cycling is a brilliant way to travel. Moving at a slower pace, you can engage more deeply with your destination. Whether you want a challenge or to mosey along the flat, here are our top cycling trips... More
We reveal the best destinations to travel to in May, for ideal weather, natural wonders, cultural highlights, primetime wildlife watching experiences and longer-term trips... More
We all know how hectic and stressful modern life can be. Help is at hand in the scenic wonderland of the Austrian Tirol, where stresses seem to disappear among the clouds... More
The Austrian Tirol was made for hiking, where multi-day trails loop over jagged mountains and past turquoise lakes. Discover seven of the region's best hikes... More
Austria’s capital can often seem so densely packed with culture that you don’t know where to begin, but it's also been voted the best city in the world to live in for 10 years running... More
Eagles have always been a symbol of pride, strength, power and independence. With these stunning images of eagles around the world from Mike Unwin and David Tipling's latest book, it's easy to see why... More
The Austrian Tirol is one of those regions that you can't believe you didn't know existed. Discover the best outdoor adventures among the mountains, from hiking to paragliding... More
With its epic landscapes and world-class hiking, the Austrian Tirol is waiting to be explored. Discover 8 reasons to should visit this picturesque slice of Europe.... More
With some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in Europe, the Austrian Tirol isn't short of impressive hikes. Discover 7 of the best walks achievable in just a day... More
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
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.
From: £1479.00More …
From: £1279.00More …
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!