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Home of Lipizzaners, lakes and musical greats…

As its National Anthem tells us, Austria is a land of mountains, a land by the stream, a land of fields and a land of cathedrals. But as well as incredible scenery, you'll discover a land with a rich cultural heritage.

 

Culture and history

Austria prides itself on its etiquette, but if you’re worried you’ll make a faux pas during your stay, just remember politeness and respect will get you a long way.

The traditional greeting is a quick, firm handshake while maintaining eye contact. You’re also expected to use a person's title (‘Herr’ for a man and ‘Frau’ for a woman) and their surname until you’re invited to address them by their first name.

Meals in Austria are leisurely, so you won’t be rushed from your table as you would in other countries and you probably won’t be given the bill until you ask for it ('Zahlen bitte' or 'Die Rechnung, bitte').

Here the hills – but more accurately the cities – are alive with the sound of music, and Mahler, Haydn, Strauss and Mozart are among Austria’s many celebrated musical sons.

Flight time

From London to Vienna it’s approximately two hours 15 minutes; to Linz approximately three hours and 35 minutes. Just enough time to read a few chapters of your book!

Currency

Euro - The official currency is the euro; one euro is divided into 100 cents.

Passports and visas

British citizens don't require a visa when travelling to Austria, but you’ll of course need a current passport, valid for the duration of your stay.

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.

Phrases

Time to refresh your school-taught German or acquaint yourself with these essential words and phrases…

Ich spreche nicht Deutsches – I don't speak German

Sprechen Sie Englisch? – Do you speak English?

Guten Tag – Hello

Auf Wiedersehen – Goodbye

Bitte – Please

Danke – Thank you

Ja – Yes

Nein – No

Entschuldigen Sie – Excuse me

Timezone

Austria is one hour ahead of GMT.

Electricity

The mains voltage is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). Sockets take small round two-pin plugs, so most British appliances will require an adaptor. It’s always handy to take one with you, as it can be hard to track down a shop selling them while you’re on holiday.

Language

German -

German is spoken throughout Austria although regional dialects are pronounced so you may encounter variations from Hochdeutsch (standard German). It’s always worth learning a few handy phrases before you go.

Tipping

Most restaurants in Austria include a service charge and tax in the final bill, but it’s still customary to round up the total when paying if you’ve been satisfied with the service. It’s also usual to tip taxi drivers an extra 10% of the fare and porters are typically given a tip of around €1 per bag.

Climate

There are three different climatic regions in Austria. To the east, the weather is more continental with hot summers, moderately cold winters and low rainfall.

In Alpine areas you'll find there are high levels of rain, longer winters and shorter summers, while to the west the climate is influenced by the Atlantic, with cooler temperatures and humid westerly winds.

Be warned though: at high altitudes the weather can change very quickly, so if the sun’s shining don’t hesitate to take your photos!

Health

The chocolate cake, Sachertorte, is widely available in Vienna, so you may be at risk of over-indulgence; other that that there are few health precautions to worry about.

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

Austria's population is 8.5 million, compared to the UK at 63,705,000.

Nestled between no less than eight countries, landlocked Austria is 83,871 square kilometres, which is similar in size to Ireland.

Smoking

Smoking is banned on trains and at railway stations. There is also a smoking ban in enclosed public spaces, but there are exceptions in some establishments, with separate smoking rooms sometimes available.

The ban has proved controversial so you’ll spot some bar owners ignoring the law!



Climate

Oberammergau Passion Play

The magnificent stage for Oberammergau

Experience the 2020 play