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Austria

General

Austria is a member of the EU.

Time

The time in Austria is the same as Amsterdam, Paris and Rome and one hour ahead of London.

Language

German.

Border formalities

Many formalities and agreements about matters such as necessary travel documents, car papers, requirements relating to your means of transport and accommodation, medical expenses and taking pets with you do not only depend on the country you are travelling to but also on your departure point and nationality. The length of your stay can also play a role here.

We advise you to consult the relevant authorities before your departure about:

  • which travel documents you will need for yourself and your fellow passengers
  • which documents you need for your car
  • which regulations your caravan must meet
  • which goods you may import and export
  • how medical treatment will be arranged and paid for in your holiday destination in cases of accident or illness
  • whether you can take pets. Contact your vets well in advance. They can give you information about the necessary vaccinations, proof thereof and obligations on return. It would also make sense to enquire whether any special regulations apply to your pet in public places at your holiday destination. In some countries for example dogs must always be muzzled or transported in a cage.

You will find plenty of general information on www.europa.eu but make certain you select information that is relevant to your specific situation.

For the most recent customs regulations you should get in contact with the authorities of your holiday destination in your country of residence.

Read more

Currency

The currency in Austria is the euro. Approximate exchange rates September 2016: £1 = € 1.18.

Credit cards

You can pay by credit card at most restaurants, shops and petrol stations in towns and tourist areas.

Opening times/Public holidays

Banks

Banks are generally open from 09:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 16:00.

Shops

Most shops are open Monday to Friday until 18:00 and on Saturdays often until 17:00.

Chemists, doctors

Information about duty doctors can be obtained from the local police. Chemists are open on workdays between 09:00 and 17:00. When closed they display a sign with the name of the nearest chemist on duty.

Public holidays
  • New Year’s Day
  • 6 January (Epiphany)
  • Easter
  • 1 May (Labour Day)
  • Ascension Day
  • Pentecost/li>
  • 15 June (Sacrament Day)
  • 15 August (The Assumption)
  • 26 October (National Holiday)
  • All Saints' Day
  • 8 December (Immaculate Conception)
  • Christmas

Communications

(Mobile) phones

The mobile network works well throughout Austria, except in very remote areas. There is a 3G network for mobile internet.

Wifi, internet

You can make use of a wifi network at more and more public locations, often for free.

Post

Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 16:00.

Roads and traffic

Road network

Remember, all traffic in Austria drives on the right and overtakes on the left! Headlight deflectors are advisable to prevent annoying oncoming drivers. Austria uses the metric system, so distances are measured in kilometres (km) and speeds in kilometres per hour (km/h). In the Alps, inclines of 6 to 15% and more are common. Most mountain roads have crash barriers on the valley side. The Austrian breakdown service ÖAMTC is available on tel. 120, ARBÖ on tel. 123. Take note: a light flashing on emergency phones on motorways indicates an incident or an accident.

Traffic regulations

Traffic from the right has priority. If you are driving on a priority road and stop, you forfeit your priority. Traffic which can most easily move over must give priority on narrow mountain roads. You are not allowed to overtake on level crossings.

Maximum permitted alcohol level is 0.5‰. Phones must be used hands-free. It is not compulsory to use dipped headlights during the day. Children up to 12 years must wear a helmet when cycling. It is mandatory to make room on the centre lane for emergency services and the police when there is a tailback on the motorway. They no longer use the hard shoulder for this. More information on www.rettungsgasse.com.

From 1 November until 15 April you are obliged to drive with winter tyres if conditions require them.

Navigation

Notification of fixed speed cameras by navigation systems or mobile phones is permitted.

Caravans, motorhomes

An 'Autobahnvignet' (sticker) is compulsory for motorhomes. No extra toll vignet is required for caravans. All vehicles over 3.5 tonnes pay a kilometre toll using the so-called GO boxes. This box is available at the border. You will find more information about these stickers in Austria under 'Autobahnvignet'. Overnight stays in caravans and motorhomes away from campsites are permitted for one night if travelling en route, except in Vienna, Tyrol and national parks.

Maximum allowed measurements of combined length

Height 4 metres, width 2.55 metres and length 18.75 metres (of which the trailer maximum 12 metres).

Fuel

All types of petrol are easily available in Austria, but LPG is hardly available.

Filling stations

Filling stations on motorways are open 24 hours, other service stations are open between 08:00 and 20:00.

Tolls

The main toll roads are: Arlbergstrassentunnel, Grossglockner-Hochalpenstrasse, Felbertauern-strasse, Brenner-, Tauern and Pyhrnautobahn.

Autobahnvignet

To use motorways you need an 'Autobahnvignet'. Tourists can buy a special vignet for 10 days, 2 months or for one year. Vignets can be purchased at filling stations and post offices near the border. It is advisable to order the 'Autobahnvignet' online, for example on www.tolltickets.com.

Korridorvignette

With the completion of the Pfänder tunnel the 'Korridorvignette' has been discontinued. On the 23 kilometre route on the A14 Rheintal/Walgau between the German border and the Hohenems interchange in Vorarlberg, you now need an Autobahnvignet or GO-box.

Emergency numbers
  • 112: national emergency number for fire, police and ambulance
  • 133: police
  • 122: fire
  • 144: ambulance
  • 140: mountain rescue service

Camping

Austrian campsites are among the best in Europe. Carinthia springs to mind for its excellent location, stable climate and beautiful lakes, Many campsites in the Tyrol specialise in wellness and sportive camping. Campsites in Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg are very busy in winter.

Practical
  • Additional charges for things such as tourist taxes and environmental charges are sometimes quite high.
  • Make sure you always have a world adaptor for electrical appliances.
  • Tap water is safe to drink.