Austria

Quick Facts

Region: Europe

Population:
8,210,281

Religion:

Most of the population is Roman Catholic with small communities of Protestants; there is also a small Muslim minority.

Language:

The official language of Austria is German.

Area (sq. km):
83,858 square meters

Time:

Austria uses Central European Time, which is GMT + 1.

When To Travel

Austria and the Czech Republic enjoy a moderate climate with summertime temperatures that are usually quite comfortable with highs in the mid-20s and lows in the mid-teens. Both countries, however, are situated between two major climatic regions, the oceanic and continental, which results in variable weather. Afternoon rain showers are common, as are cool temperatures in the teens and high temperatures in the 30s. To make your trip as enjoyable as possible, please come prepared for all kinds of weather! Waterproof, breathable rain gear is a must; a sweater or light jacket for evenings is suggested. Please see the suggested packing checklist under 'What to Take' for more details and don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you leave.

The European summer months, May to September tend to be the best time to visit Austria, with reasonable weather and nice long days. During the winter months the days are shorter and the tourism focuses more around skiing in the Alps.

Useful Travel Facts

Airports:

Vienna International Airport is located 16 kilometres (10 miles) southeast of the city. The City Airport Train runs to the City Air Terminal at Wien Mitte. The S-Bahn (overground train) connects the airport to Wien Mitte and Wien Nord railway stations with a journey time of 25 minutes; it provides connections to the Vienna U-Bahn (underground rail) system. Taxis to the city leave from outside the arrivals hall. Buses go to Wien Mitte, S├╝dbahnhof and Westbahnhof railway stations and to Wien Schwedenplatz and the Vienna International Centre.

Telephone:

The international code for Austria is 43. To place an international call from Austria, you will first need to dial the international access code (00) and the appropriate country code + local number. Placing calls from public telephones in Austria is inexpensive, and you can use coins or a phone card, which may be purchased at post offices, newsstands, tobacco vendors and some hotels. When calling from a standard, coin-operated phone, a digital readout tells you when you must put in more coins, but don’t overdo it—these phones generally do not make change. Phone cards are easy to use and especially convenient when calling long distance, as there is no need to keep inserting change. Simply take the receiver off the hook, insert the card, wait for the dial tone and then dial your local or international number. The window at the top of the phone shows how many units are being deducted from the card.

Electricity:

Electricity in Austria runs on a 220-volt, 50-cycle current with a round two-pin socket. A current converter and plug adapter are necessary if you plan to bring appliances from home.

Food:

Home to the Wiener schnitzel and apple strudel; like many things in Austria, the food has a strong German influence. Chicken huhn is also popular. Sausages and sauerkraut are commonplace, as are huge steins of beer.

Shopping:

Look out for high-quality goods, which represent the cream of specialist items found in Austria such as glassware, handbags and chinaware.

Visa: Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, USA and British citizens, do not require a visa to visit Austria for a maximum stay of 3 months. Other nationalities should check with the Austrian Embassy or Consulate in their country for up to date visa information.

Useful Words & Phrases

Further Reading

Insight Guide Austria This guide is noted for its wonderful photography, superb production and informative short essays. It is a highly recommended introduction to Austrian history and culture. Andrew Wheatcroft The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire Of Europe’s empires, the Habsburgs ruled over more diverse peoples and cultures than any other since the Romans. The history of the family and its eccentric monarchs is fully revealed. ALSO RECOMMENDED Eyewitness Guides Eyewitness Travel Guides: Vienna A superb guide to Vienna, featuring color photos, dozens of excellent maps and district-by-district synopses of the city's attractions. Gordon Brook-Shepherd The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey Detailed, impressively well researched and readable, this book is a wide-ranging narrative history of the last 1,000 years of Austria and the Austrian character. Alain Erlande-Brandenburg Cathedrals and Castles: Building in the Middle Ages A pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages. Features hundreds of drawings and color illustrations, a brief chronology and more. Germain Bazin Baroque and Rococo Art An excellent illustrated survey of Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, this volume in the acclaimed “World of Art” series is a good companion to the golden age of Middle Europe. Michel Parouty Mozart: From Child Prodigy to Tragic Hero This pocket-size, fully illustrated biography of Mozart will enliven any exploration of 18th-century Europe. It follows Mozart from his days as a child genius entertaining the courts of Italy and France to his glory years at the concert halls of Austria. Isabel Fonseca Bury Me Standing The Roma, as the Gypsies call themselves, have a long tradition in Eastern European culture—influencing the music, foods, religious and folk traditions. This is an excellent book about them.