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Austria is a magnificent country to visit in Europe, culturally-rich and brimming with natural beauty, hearty food, and historical gems. Here’s all you’ll need to know before planning your trip to Austria.
getting to austria
Austria, similar to its neighbor Germany, is one of the leading international business hubs in Europe. It’s easily accessible from within Europe and from other continents. If flying, you’ll likely arrive into Vienna (VIE), but there are other international airports in Austria as well.
Coming from within Europe, Wien Hbf is the busiest and best-connected rail station in the country. It connects with many destinations around the continent, including overnight trains, making for an easy and time-efficient trip. For example, even take an overnight train from Rome to Vienna! If you’re heading elsewhere in Austria, there are stations in many other Austrian cities as well that serve international lines.
when to go
Personally, I think Austria is most beautiful in the winter and late spring. Austria has some of the most magical Christmas markets in all of Europe, but prices at this time are also quite high. During the summer prices are high and crowds are dense.
In spring and fall, you’ll find less crowds and somewhat lower prices. During these months (the ‘shoulder season’), Austria offers scenic hiking, off-season skiing and snow sports, as well as jaw-dropping castles and palaces to explore.
what to see
|Vienna||Imperial Capital, Klimt, Opera, Schonbrunn, Christmas Markets|
|Salzburg||Alpine City, Baroque Old Town, Hohensalzburg Fortress|
|Innsbruck||Hofburg Imperial Palace, Skiing, Alps|
|Graz||Medieval Old Town, Eggenberg Palace|
|Hallstatt||Alpine Lakes, Idyllic Country Setting, Echern Valley|
|Zell am See||Lake Zell, Skiing, Kitzsteinhorn Glacier|
|Saint Anton am Arlberg||Tyrolean Alps, Skiing, Museum St. Anton|
|Kitzbuhel||Hahnenkamm Ski Race, Museum Kitzbuhel|
|Linz||Baroque Old Town, Linz Modern Art, Ars Electronica Center|
|Kaprun||Kaprun Castle, Alpine Town, Sigmund-Thun Gorge|
|Wolfgangsee Lake||Mountain-Lined Lake with Quaint Lakeside Towns|
|Alpbach||Skiing, Sledding, Chalets, Ski Resorts|
|Villach||Thermal Baths, Carinthian Lakes|
traveling within austria
Traveling by rail is undoubtedly the best way to travel within Austria – there’s so much magnificent scenery to take in, and flying within a country so small is unnecessary. If you want to stop at more obscure places and experience life as the Austrians do, renting a car is a great option as well. Be sure to check whether or not you need an IDP (International Driving Permit).
detailed austria articles
Money-saving tip: Don’t input any dates to scan the best available times to go OR simply input ‘Italy’ instead of a specific airport – you may get a much cheaper flight!
When I travel, I personally prefer to use Airbnb. I book an entire apartment, giving me my privacy and the comfort of home amenities, such as a kitchen and washing machine. Since my dog(s) travel with me, it also allows me to filter based on pet-friendliness without the stress of disturbing hotel guests.
If you’re travelling long-term, Airbnb usually offers discounts for stays of a month or more – the discounts are significant, sometimes 50-60%! It winds up being cheaper than what I would have paid for my apartment rent back in the USA.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can get a discount by using my link below.
If you’re a budget-conscious traveler and not travelling long-term, hostels are a great option and are abundant in Austria.
For standard hotel stays, Booking.com usually offers the best deals.
Austria is among the safest countries in the world to visit. That being said, always trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in a situation, remove yourself.
In major cities, some common travel scams may be prevalent, but if you already are aware of the most common scams in Austria, you’ll know what to look out for.
money saving tips
Austria is definitely not a cheap country to visit. That being said, there are a few key ways you can travel to Austria with a budget-conscious mindset.
Most importantly is the accommodations. Most cities in Austria have compact city centers, so if you want to stay central, book your room as far in advance as possible. Waiting until the last minute will leave you with fewer options and higher rates.
Accommodations will also be more costly if you’re visiting during summer or winter, or if there’s an event going on in whichever city you’ll be staying in.
If you don’t already have one, create a Pinterest account! Pinterest is an invaluable resource for travelers. Simply input ‘Free things to do in….’ and see all the great options that come up. There are plenty of free things to do in the major cities.
Speaking of cities, get yourself a city pass if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing – museums, tours, public transport, etc. are usually highly discounted with the purchase of a city pass.
covid resources for austria
Before making any travel reservations, be sure to check the COVID restrictions currently implemented in Austria. Be aware that things are subject to change with no notice and that most travel insurance companies do not cover COVID-19 for cancellations or treatment. Travel safely, wear a mask, socially distance, and follow all local regulations.