AUSTRIA TRAVEL GUIDE
Austria, the home of sausages, the Sound of Music, and seriously creepy puppets, is nestled right there in the middle of Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Clearly, it likes to be the center of attention. But take one look at Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a native Salzburgian (?) and you would’ve already known that. *hair flip*
Austria’s main cities are Vienna (the capital, locally known as Wien), Salzburg (the capital of Sound of Music worship), Innsbruck, and Hallstatt (that sexy, water-adjacent fairy tale village you keep seeing on Pinterest).
AUSTRIA TRAVEL BASICS
CURRENCY | Euros (Check out xe.com for the most up-to-date currency conversion–they have a mobile app too!)
TIME ZONE | GMT+1, The entire country of Austria is six hours ahead of the Eastern time zone.
VISA / PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS | If you’re planning to spend less than 90 days in Austria/the Schengen area, you can get by using just your U.S. passport–no Visa required. (Except for all those sausages you’re planning on buying, ba-dum-tshh!) However, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you leave the Schengen area.
LANGUAGE(S) SPOKEN | German is the primary language spoken in Austria.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR? | As with almost all of Europe, pick-pockets are probably your biggest safety concern though I’ve personally never seen anything in Austria that would warrant mentioning. However, do look out for terrifying marionettes–they’ll sneak up on you so hard.
Obviously, always take standard safety precautions (don’t travel alone, don’t travel at night, don’t flash your wads of cash you baller you). For more information on Austria safety concerns, see this page and always pick up travel insurance before you go.
WHERE TO STAY IN AUSTRIA
Regardless of where in Austria you’ll be visiting, there will be hotels and hostels ready and willing to put you up. I’m more of a hotel-stayer personally but those Alpine hostels are pretty damn charming too.
For booking accommodation in Austria, I recommend reading hotel reviews on Tripadvisor, then booking your room through Booking.com (my favorite booking site).
You can even use this handy widget to search for rooms now ⇣⇣⇣
And don’t forget, there’s always Airbnb and I can help you save $40 on your first Airbnb stay.
Just click here to activate the no-strings discount and shop away!
RECOMMENDED AUSTRIA TOURS
➤ INTREPID TRAVEL | If planning an entire trip sounds overwhelming, popular tour company Intrepid offers these multi-day tours that include Austria as well as many other popular European cities. Intrepid tours include all accommodation, some meals, and your own personal, knowledgable Austria travel guide.
➤ VIATOR TOURS | If you’re just looking for day tours to various attractions in Austria, Viator is my go-to tour company. They’ve got tours for skiing and sightseeing, hiking, food tours, Christmas markets, and every single thing in between. Their tours include pickup and dropoff and offer those from all different parts of Austria depending on where you are.
➤ The Original Sound of Music Tour | This tour is by far the most famous and most popular when it comes to day tours in Austria. With pickup and dropoff in Salzburg, this tour takes you around the city to the most popular filming locations from The Sound of Music. (It has almost 5 stars after more than 2,100 reviews!)
AUSTRIA PACKING ESSENTIALS
➤ AUSTRIA GUIDEBOOK | I’m a big believer in travel guidebooks – they’re great for historical and background information, practical information like phone numbers, addresses, and opening and closing times, as well as restaurant recommendations and pretty pictures ’cause I’m a dainty little girl. Consider them your portable Austria travel guide.
Rick Steves and Fodor’s are my personal go-to brands for Europe but Lonely Planet has their own loyal followers as well. And if you’re interested in a different kind of guidebook, check out Culture Smart! Austria. Culture Smart! guidebooks focus less on hotel recommendations and more on getting you acquainted with the local customs and culture of your destination. I LOVE these guidebooks and find them to be 100% accurate.
Besides guidebooks, here are a few more things you may want to pick up before visiting Austria:
Outlets in Austria follow the typical, two-pronged European style so if you plan on plugging in any of your American electronics while you’re in Austria, you’ll need one (or, let’s be real, several) of these. I always recommend the 6-pack: for your phone, your camera, your curling iron, and your friends’ too because you know they didn’t bring one.
PICK UP A SALZBURG CARD
One thing that helped me save so much time and money during my time in Salzburg was picking up a Salzburg Card.
The Salzburg Card gets you admission into all the top tourist sites at a big savings, discounts on various other cultural experiences and activities, free travel on public transportation, the chance to skip all the lines, and a free gift at the Stiegl Brewery!
Like, why wouldn’t you get one?
The Salzburg Card is available for 24, 48 and 72-hour increments depending on how long you’ll be in town. For all the details on how I used mine, check out my post on my day trip to Salzburg from Munich.