Updated: November 11, 2022
Austria is beautiful, from its breathtaking mountain ranges to picturesque seaside villages, and we have the answers to frequently asked questions on how to plan a trip to the country.
From the Habsburg palaces to The Sound of Music, confectionery and celebrated ski slopes, Austria pulls you in like a concerto. The country epitomizes harmony, whether you are in an urban or country setting, as you find yourself exploring fine art one moment, nature the next.
This FAQ shares all you need to know about the magnificent destination and will help you plan your Austrian experience according to your preferences and needs.
Austria is a landlocked country in south-central Europe. It is bordered by Germany, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Its location makes it easy to include in many European Tours & Vacations, with effortless access by rail or short flights to neighboring countries. It also serves as a stopover for several international airlines, connecting other European destinations to cities in North America.
Austria is not part of Germany, it merely shares a border with the country. This runs from east to west and is the longest for both countries. The Bavarian Alps do extend from Germany into Austria and history states that at one time, Austria considered pushing for Bavaria to be part of it.
That said, Bavaria is in Germany, the countries standing strong and separate in a beautiful and influential part of Europe. Our Germany Tours & Vacations offer inspiration for travelers wishing to consider trips including neighboring countries.
Austria is mostly known as the birthplace of several outstanding composers, most notably Mozart, Hayden, and Strauss. Several monuments and other forms of recognition for these maestros are present from Vienna to Salzburg.
The majestic Alps cover over 60% of the country and boast some of the best ski slopes and resorts in the world, not to mention a handful of breathtaking glaciers. Thousands of tourists flock to the region in winter, embracing pristine skiing conditions and savoring Austrian charm.
Those with a sweet tooth will recognize Austria’s Milka chocolate brand and may be a little surprised to know that the apple strudel has origins in Austria, where it’s known as the Viennese strudel. Schnapps may be an import from Germany, but it is enjoyed throughout Austria, with many foreigners associating the drink with the destination.
The gorgeous landscape and fascinating heritage inspire visitors from around the world who are eager to hear the music, view the scenery, and participate in the culture. Our list of the 7 Best Castles to Visit in Austria offers another perspective on some of the most famous experiences you can have when visiting the country.
The best time to visit Austria is from April to May and September to October.
The spring and fall promise good weather for outdoor activities away from the larger summer crowds. You will have more chances to explore the vibrant Austro-Hungarian landscape, from the Danube’s banks to the western Alps, whether by hiking, whitewater rafting, or skiing.
December and January can also be great times to visit Austria if winter sports are your thing. Crowds of Europeans venture to the Alps for pristine skiing and snowboarding conditions, as well as the country’s spellbinding Christmas decorations. While the crowds may be larger in December, Austria’s festive ambiance is an experience that is hard to beat.
Learn more: Best Time to Visit Austria
From capital cities brimming with classic architecture and music to mountain ranges that take your breath away, and a river that could carry you right through the country, the best places to visit are endless. Here are a few highlights:
The 7 Best Places to Visit in Austria each provide a unique perspective of the country by demonstrating the different landscapes, cultural experiences, and local charms specific to the regions. While you may not see them all, visiting the right combination can make your trip unforgettable as you explore cityscapes, villages, and riverbanks.
One week to 10 days is a good amount of time to spend in Austria. During this time, you can explore a few cities, towns, or villages, and spend some downtime in the tranquil Austrian Alps.
Visit key sites reflecting Austria’s rich music history, among them museums and monuments dedicated to Mozart, and step inside the shimmering Schonbrunn Palace. Travel along breathtaking mountain trails and sample wines and beers at vineyards and breweries.
Hide away in coastal havens such as Hallstatt, visit castles and caves, and savor Austrian cuisine.
Working alongside our travel specialists, we have highlighted some of the things you should do on your trip to Austria. Activities vary from city to village and mountain to countryside havens, with visitors experiencing indoor and outdoor adventures accompanied by classic architecture, medieval backdrops and dramatic mountains.
This list demonstrates some of the remarkable things to do in Austria. You can learn more about exciting possibilities and what makes them special in our Top 8 Things to Do in Austria.
Austria is a good place to enjoy wine and beer, with a surprisingly large number of breweries and vineyards to draw you in.
Sauvignon blanc is the most popular grape in Austria, with top vineyards and wine experiences to be had near the Wachau Valley in Lower Austria, a UNESCO site. If you head towards the Bavarian border, beer is most certainly the flavor of the day.
The quality of Austrian beer matches that of Germany and experiences like learning about the Trappist monks and their beer-making skills put Austria high on any beer-lover’s list. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the flavorsome options available at carefully curated wineries.
The number of hiking and cycling destinations in Austria is endless.
Visit Zell Am See and experience hiking options that take you around the lake, through town, and up towards a glacier with incredible viewpoints.
Hike Dachstein Mountain, a majestic site boasting Austria’s highest suspension bridge and commanding exquisite views. Discover the contrast of green and white in Tyrol’s Zillertal mountains.
Cycling enthusiasts can enjoy a ride along Europe’s second-largest river, the Danube. Enjoy the varying terrain of the Wachau Valley or take in surrounding nature as you cycle through intriguing Innsbruck.
Best Hiking and Cycling Trails and Regions in Austria: Echerntalweg, Hallstatt • Kahlenberg, Vienna • Hungerburg to Hafelekarspitze, Innsbruck • Krimml Waterfall, Salzburg State • Salzkammergut Lake District Region • Vorarlberg Trail, Bludenz • Danube Bike Trail
Austria’s best Christmas markets can be found all around the country, with a focus on city centers and village squares, and an emphasis on glitz and snow-covered treasures. Bauble-filled Christmas trees stand tall, dwarfing the many stalls and stores around them as carols fill the air and the blanket of snow on the ground transforms everyday urban gathering points into a true winter wonderland. Here is a list of some of Austria’s best Christmas markets:
Learn more: Top 6 Places to See in Austria During Christmas
For most travelers, the most popular destinations are Vienna or Salzburg. However, the most convenient airport from which to arrive or depart will depend on your itinerary. For most travelers, the most suitable airports include:
For clients who are looking to spend time in the Tyrol region, consider flying into Munich (MUC).
Train travel is one of the best and most popular ways of getting around Austria. The OBB train system works like clockwork, connecting people to various destinations within the country and beyond its borders.
Private car or touring van is an option for visitors wanting to reach those coastal hideaways or mountain escapes. There are many car-hire options to choose from in Austria and the roads are clearly marked and great to travel on.
Flight options are usually for visitors who are looking to visit the Tyrol region or Salzburg. and flying into these popular parts of Austria would most likely be from Munich and Zurich, noting that most visitors don’t travel through Austria by air.
There is a wide variety of food to try when visiting Austria, from obvious favorites to those that may surprise you. Here is a list of cuisine you should taste:
Austria is an excellent destination for families. It offers indoor wonders such as archaeological museums and a chance to understand the world of music through history tours about famous Austrian maestros, as well as a plethora of outdoor adventures.
Discover dramatic structures in the Obir stalactite caves and join a journey through the Hallstatt salt mine caves. Take a trip to Styrassic Park to see over 80 life-size dinosaurs and spend time in the Stubing open-air museum near Graz.
Hiking, biking, walks through gardens and around lakes, and myriad winter sports in the picturesque Alps make for a memorable family experience. For inspiration on how to explore Austria as a family, view our Active Austria Family Tour.
Learn more: Top 8 Things to Do in Austria with Family
Austria is a great destination for seniors, its natural beauty and rich history offering breathtaking escapes and cultural enrichment.
Whether on a private day excursion from one of the key cities or overlanding on a small coach, seniors get the chance to take in the sights and sounds of Austria at a leisurely pace on our Austria Tours for Seniors.
Indulge in open-air concerts and theater, or take a stroll along river banks or around Mondsee lake. Cruising the Danube is a wonderful way to capture key sights of towns and cities from the comfort of your boat.
Austria is one of the ultimate destinations for romance, with couples having the opportunity to spend time in classic cities such as Vienna and Salzburg, or wander through quaint seaside villages like Hallstatt.
Take a drive through the countryside passing captivating mountain ranges, monasteries, and breathtaking vineyards, with a chance to spend a night or two in inns and hotels along the way. Discover Salzkammergut, known as the Austrian Lake District, and enjoy a romantic dinner on the Danube.
Learn more: 7 Most Romantic Places in Austria for Couples
Ranked the third-safest country in the world, Austria is an incredibly safe destination. It embodies sophisticated culture and dramatic natural beauty. General safety precautions should be adhered to when walking in cities and through palaces and museums, as one would in any country.
In Austria, the official currency is the euro (€).
Cash is still widely used for transactions across the country. Major credit cards are accepted throughout, including in restaurants and shops. ATMs are readily available wherever you travel, especially in larger cities like Vienna.
The official language of Austria is Austrian German. There are various dialects that one can pick up when traveling to more remote parts of the country, while in big cities such as Vienna and Salzburg, English is spoken.
The only requirement to enter Austria at this time is that visitors are up to date with Covid-19 vaccinations. Clarification can be found in the CDC Austria Vaccination Information. You can contact your Zicasso travel specialist if you have any questions or concerns.
Our Austria Tours & Vacations offers a selection of travel ideas to assist in planning your Austrian itinerary.
You can select a sample trip that aligns with your ideal vacation, be it a family trip, honeymoon, adventure tour, or something else. These are often a stepping stone from which our travelers create unique itineraries.
When you are ready, you can complete a Trip Request to begin planning your vacation. We ask for more information on where you would like to go, how long you would like to spend in Austria, the size of your party, and traveler ages to help streamline your planning.
You can also provide additional ideas and set a travel budget, after which our Travel Care team will contact you to match you with a top Austria travel specialist. Our Austria travel specialists will use their expertise and understanding of your preferences to curate your dream vacation.
From opulent palaces to the beautiful Alps, Austria offers charm, glamor, and adventure at every turn. Ski slopes and breathtaking valleys meet quaint villages and Gothic city buildings, while music, food, and wine are treats.
There is so much to see and do in Austria, and knowing when and how to travel, and what to experience, is important. Be inspired by taking a look at our Austria Tours & Vacations or Austria Travel Guide for more ideas.