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About Austria
Austrian Facts & Figures

Population:
8,000,000 approx
National Capital:
Vienna
Land Area:
83,854 sq.km (32,376 sq.miles).
Major Cities:
Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck.

Learn about the Imperial cities of Austria

Austria is full of music, mountains and memories of its imperial past. One is surrounded by history and can trace events dating back to the Romans, Charlemagne, Emperor Maximilian, the Turks, the Swedes in the Thirty Years' War, Empress Maria Theresa, Napoleon, Emperor Franz Joseph and General Patton. Hardly any other country is associated with the term "culture" as much as Austria is. Although its former imperial power now belongs to the past, Austria is still one of the world's leading cultural nations.

 

 
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Banking & Business Hours
Climate
Electricity
Important Telephone Numbers
Languages in Austria
Postal Service
Public Holidays
Rail Travel in Austria
Shopping Hours
Telephone Service
Timeline
Tipping
Travelling Times on Intercity Trains
Rail Pass
VAT Refund

 
         
 

Languages in Austria

German is spoken as a first language by 99% of the Austrian population. English is by far the leading second language in the education system and is, consequently, understood widely and spoken fluently by most people working in tourism-related jobs.


Austrian Banking & Business Hours

In the cities, banks are open generally from 8am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; 8am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 5.30pm Thursday.
Banks are closed Saturday and Sunday.

Exchange offices at airports and major city rail terminals are open 7 days from 8am to 8pm (in Vienna to 10pm) and in resort areas a few hours each day, 7 days a week.


Austrian Shopping Hours

Shops generally open at 8am or 9am and close at 6pm, many with a two hour lunch break, Monday through Friday. In large cities, some stores open until 7pm or later. Some supermarkets open until 7pm. On Saturdays, most shops open until 5pm.


Rail Travel in Austria

Rail is the main mode of intercity overland transport in Austria. Comfortable trains offer frequent service on 5,940 km of rail track. Most trains (except some local and branch line trains) carry first and second classes. The approx. 50% premium for first class travel buys softer upholstery and more space. There is a fee for first and second class seat reservations.

Seven intercity lines depart every 2 hours in the following directions:

1 Vienna - Salzburg - Innsbruck - Bregenz (via Kufstein) & return.
2 Vienna - Salzburg - Innsbruck. (via Zell am See) & return.
3 Vienna - Graz & return.
4 Vienna - Villach & return.
5 Bruck/Mur - Villach & return.
6 Graz - Linz & return.
7 Graz - Bischofshofen - Innsbruck & return

In addition, frequent Eurocity trains with fewer stops en route offer comfortable and very fast service between Austria and many European countries.


Travelling Times on Intercity Trains

Vienna - Salzburg: 3 hours, 20 mins
Salzburg - Innsbruck: 2 hours
Innsburck - Bregenz: 2 hours, 45 mins
Vienna - Graz: 2 hours, 25 mins
Vienna - Villach: 4 hours, 40 mins
Graz - Linz: 3 hours, 28 mins
Graz - Innsbruck: 6 hours


Austrian Rail Pass

The Austrian Rail Pass is valid for 15 days from date of purchase and can be used on 3-8 days of your choice within that period on all Austrian Federal Railways, state and private rail lines. It is also valid for 50% rate reduction when renting a bicycle from a railway station.


Austria's Climate

At the latitude of 47° North, the climate is moderate and generally agreeable. Summer days can be hot, occasionally reaching above 32°, summer evenings are usaully cool. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed over the entire year, but May, September and the first half of October tend to be the driest, April and November the wettest periods. From June through August, rain usually comes in the form of thunderstoms (a word of caution for the hikers and mountain climbers: above 6,500 feet, storms may entail heavy snowfalls even in summer). The winter snow cover lasts from late December through March in the valleys, from November through May at about 6,000 feet, and becomes permanent above 8,500 feet.


Austrian Public Holidays

New Year's Day
January 1
Epiphany
January 6
Easter Monday
17 Mar
Labour Day
May 1
Ascension Day
May 5
Whit Monday
May 16
Corpus Christi
May 26
Assumption of the Virgin
August 15
National Holiday
October 26
All Saints' Day
November 1
Immaculate Conception
December 8
Christmas Day
December 25
St. Stephen's Day
December 26


Tipping

Restaurant and hotel bills already include a service charge. Leave a small amount in change for the waiter or the maid. At first class places, tip 10% extra for particularly good service. Taxi drivers get 10% of the meter reading or the agreed fare as a tip. Railway station and airport porters get approx. EUR 1.00 per piece of luggage plus a EUR 0.50 tip. Hotel porters expect similar consideration. Hairdressers generally receive 10% of the bill as a tip. Tip hat-check ladies and toilet attendants about EUR 0.50.


Austrian Postal Service

Postage stamps are sold at post offices, tobacco shops and hotel desks. Post offices are generally open from 8am to 12 noon and from 2pm to 6pm, Monday to Friday. General post offices in large cities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Austrian Telephone Service

It may be worth your while to buy a Telefon-Wertkarte for EUR 10, 15 or 35 at a post office and make your calls from a card-operated pay phone, because most hotels apply high surcharges for phone calls from their rooms. Calls are cheapest between 8pm and 6am.


Important Telephone Numbers

Austria Country Code: 43
Australia Country Code: 61
Ambulance: 144
Fire department: 122
Police: 133


Austrian Electricity

Electric current in Austrian is 220 volts AC at 50 cycles/sec. To operate small appliances, you will need an adapter-converter. Electric clocks, record players and tape recorders will not operate properly even using a converter.


VAT Refund

Residents of non-EU countries purchasing goods in excess of EUR 75 in one shop on one day can apply for a refund of the Value Added Tax paid, if they export the goods within 3 months from the end of the month of purchase, Ask the shop staff to complete the required tax-free cheque. Present this cheque together with the goods purchased at the airport or the border crossing to customs officials when leaving the European Union for validation Once the tax-free cheque is validated, the VAT-refund, less a handling fee, can be obtained at many cash refund desks located at airports or major border crossings. Alternatively, you can send in the form for mail refund using the tax-free envelope. Be aware that customes validation can only be obtained when leaving the last EU-country on your trip. Inform yourself about customs validation procedures on trains before departure. We advice you to send purchases with your registered luggage. In such cases you can obtain validation at the point of departure. There is no VAT refund on services.

 

Map of Austria

Austrian Map

Major Cities of Austria

Vienna
Explore the sights of Austria’s beautiful Baroque capital, Vienna, which for centuries was the centre of the splendid Hapsburg Empire. The city remains infused with the grand imperial spirit in the form of magnificent palaces and grand mansions surrounding the Innerestadt. The city’s cultural heritage is mainly musical, the great composers like Strauss, Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn and Mozart all having lived and performed here.

Vienna is a city of music, but it is also synonymous with gourmet fare, cakes, coffee, the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the Lippizaner stallions at the world-famous Spanish Riding School. Vienna is a captivating capital that blends Italian romanticism with a Germanic orderliness.

Salzburg
Until 1816 Salzburg was a city-state, independent of the Hapsburgs and ruled by powerful prince-archbishops. It is situated on the northern border of Austria, 70 miles (113km) southeast of Munich, in a picturesque setting surrounded by mountains. Mozart was born here and the city’s fascination with its most-famous son is best demonstrated during the Salzburg Festival which presents world-class performances of opera, drama and concerts over a period of six weeks each summer. Mozart’s impression has been left all over the town - his image is on every postcard and chocolate box and both his birthplace and family house are now museums offering detailed insight into his life and work.

The city is also the home town of Baroque and the south side of the river is a Baroque masterpiece of charming churches, squares, houses and fountains.

Innsbruck
Innsbruck became the capital of Tyrol in 1429 and in the 15th century the city became a centre of European politics and culture as emperor Maximilian I moved the Imperial court to Innsbruck in the 1490s. Many old buildings from the middle ages and modern times survived in the heart of Innsbrucks old town. Innsbruck has also hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976. There are two universities and several colleges in Innsbruck, with over 25,000 students altogether, (including a significant Italian population) making the city’s nightlife very lively.