Austria

The geographical heart of Europe is a melting pot of cultures and a land of geographically stunning landscapes. Bordered by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, half of Austria is covered by Alps and the land is awash with lakes and pastoral fields. A drawcard for snow-lovers and a playground for those after a journey of trekking, hiking or biking, Austria is an outdoor adventurists playground but also a sophisticated land of cultural indulgence where music, arts history and cuisine reign supreme.

When to Visit

High season is from July to August, with the best time to visit the Lakes area June through to September. From late March to May and mid-September to October the Lakes area is a bit cool but great for hiking. Many sights are closed during winter when the ski resorts do big business.

Highlights

VIENNA Medieval alleyways, imperial squares, ornate palaces and majestic architecture along the Ring Boulevard – and all on the Danube river. Home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss, music is in Vienna’s veins.

SALZBURG Explore Salzburg’s breathtaking old town with its graceful domes and spires, and stroll along the Salzach River. Beyond the famous composer and The Sound of Music, historic Salzburg has a burgeoning arts scene.

INNSBRUCK The ski hub of Innsbruck in the heart of the Alps is more than a powder lovers’ paradise. Be enchanted by the city's medieval old town under the peaks of the Nordkette mountain range.

HALLSTATT An ancient salt mine village with a prosperous history reflected in the town’s baroque architecture. Be sure to visit Hörnerwerk cavern’s subterranean salt lake and see a prehistoric man preserved in salt.

THE LAKES Austria's stunning lakes are surrounded by snow-capped peaks, green meadows and unspoilt forest trails. Make time for St Wolfgang’s antique cog railway up to the summit of Schafberg, and Mozart’s museum in St Gilgen.

AUSTRIAN ALPS With thousands of kilometres of snow-covered mountains, ski holidays here are some of the finest. Walk or hike through heavy forests, hills and glaciers. Hohe Tauern National Park offers some demanding trekking.

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Useful Information

Tipping

Tipping in Austria is common, mainly in restaurants and for taxi drivers. However, you tip less than in North America, and less than in some of Europe. This is because there is usually a service charge already included in the bill (in a restaurant or in a hotel), and waiters earn a decent salary.

Getting around

The Austrians are known to be a car-loving nation. As a result, Austria boasts an excellent road network. However, almost all of the bigger cities suffer from severe parking availability problems.The public transport system in Austria is excellent. Austria's rail network is comfortable, reliable and fast.  All of Austria's major cities including Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz and Klagenfurt and Vienna have their own international airports. Most large cities and towns feature some form of public transport, including underground systems, buses, tramlines and suburban railways which means getting around without a car is generally not a problem.

Language

German

Customs

Most Austrians greet one another formally, by shaking hands and saying, "Gruss Gott" (greet God) or "Gruss dich" (greet you). Upon leaving, they shake again and say "Auf Wiedersehen" (good-bye). Older Viennese men may kiss the hand of a lady on introduction, or say "Kuss die Han" (I kiss your hand) and click their heels together. Women enjoy having doors opened for them. When dining, everyone at the table joins in a toast, saying "Prost," and "Guten Appetit" is exchanged before beginning to eat. The formal titles Frau (for a woman) and Herr (for a man) are universally used.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Depending on a travellers itinerary and activities, vaccination against Hepatitis B may be considered when travelling to Austria. All travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations. These include vaccinations for Tetanus and Diphtheria (with a booster within the last 10 years), Whooping Cough (which is often combined with the Tetanus and Diphtheria vaccination), Polio (with a booster in adult life), Measles, Mumps and Rubella (two combination vaccinations through life), Chicken Pox and a recent annual Influenza vaccination. Tick-borne encephalitis is present throughout many areas in Europe (predominately in forested regions). Whilst no vaccine is available in Australia, travellers visiting risk areas and planning outdoor activities between May and September might consider vaccination once in Europe. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to France should also ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay.

Electricity

Electrical Plug type: Europe Voltage: 220-240 volts Modem: Other Source: Korjo Travel Products. To purchase electrical/modem adapters, or for further information on this matter, please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.

Communications

Country Code for Austria: +43 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz  Emergency Services: General: 112 Fire: 122 Ambulance: 144 Police: 133 The emergency services may not always have English speaking staff. In this case, you should have a local call on your behalf or contact the New Zealand Embassy.

Shopping

Legal opening times for retail outlets are: Monday to Friday 5am - 9pm, Saturday until 6pm. The actual shop opening hours vary, but most are open from 9am to 6pm (grocery stores from 8am) and on Saturdays until 1pm or 5pm. Tourist locations are subject to special regulations, allowing longer opening hours. Shops in stations and airports are open during travelling times (often until 11pm). Austrian artwork and handicraft is highly sought after. Choose from: Traditional clothing and accessories (Trachten)Loden textiles from Salzburg and TyrolCrochet from VorarlbergCeramic and porcelain (Augarten handicraft in Vienna, Gmundner ceramics, pottery from Stoob/Burgenland)Glass and crystal (e.g. Swarovski/Tyrol)Wood carvings and much more. Or take home a culinary souvenir - pumpkin seed oil and schilcher wine from Styria, genuine Salzburg Mozart Balls, world-famous Viennese Sachertorte (chocolate cake), Zauner stollen from Bad Ischl, fine wines from Burgenland and Lower Austria, or schnapps and brandy.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

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