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The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, lived and worked in Vienna during much of his career.
Austria is on Central European Time (CET) during most of the year, and Central European Summer Time (CEST) during daylight savings time/the summer.
If you are a US, Canadian, or Australian citizen, you may stay in Austria up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa. Ensure that you have sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay.
If you are a EU citizen, you do not need a visa since Austria is a member of the Schengen Agreement (which permits visitors to travel to all 26 countries without a visa). You also don’t need sufficient funds or a return airline ticket. To see if your country needs a Schengen Visa, click here. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see the Schengen fact sheet.
In Vienna, taxis are metered, reliable, and relatively cheap. Most accept common credit and debit cards — check first, though — and a 10% tip is expected. Taxis can be found at train stations and taxi stands all over the city. Vienna also has an efficient public transportation network. Flat-fare tickets are valid for trains, trams, buses, the underground (U-Bahn) and the S-Bahn regional trains.
Although Austria boasts a low crime rate and its capital is deemed one of the safest cities in Europe, it’s important to exercise street smarts and take the necessary safety precautions as you would in any urban area. Keep an eye on your belongings and beware of pickpockets in the following areas:
- Christmas markets
- Public transportation
Enjoy hiking in the Austrian Alps in the summer (June to August), with July and August being the hottest months — it’ll still be relatively chilly in the mountains though. During Austria’s snowy winter (November to March), enjoy the slopes at one of the country’s many ski resorts and partake of some serious merrymaking at the Christmas markets.
Autumn (September to October) is prime time for experiencing the Vienna’s wine culture and a plethora of cultural events. Both autumn and spring (April to May) are peak seasons for a hiking holiday and sightseeing, as the weather is cooler and crowds are sparse.
Austrian German is the official language of Austria. Alemannic and Austro-Bavarian are also widely spoken. The main foreign languages are English, French, and Italian. Here are some key phrases to greet a new friend or thank the barista after ordering a Franziskaner (small expresso with warm milk and whipped cream) at Demel, a famous pastry shop and chocolaterie in Vienna. As a side note, all nouns are capitalized in German.
Hello = Hallo
Goodbye = Auf Wiedersehen
Yes = Ja
No = Nein
Please = Bitte
Thank you = Vielen Dank
Good day = Guten Tag
Good evening = Guten Abend
My name is… = Ich heiße…
Excuse me = Entschuldigung
You’re welcome = Gern geschehen
Do you speak English? = Sprechen sie Englisch?
Austrians are a modern and cultured people and love the outdoors. Etiquette in Austria depends on a person’s social background; some will care more about manners than others. Austrians are typically reserved and formal — let that be a general guide for your attire and social interactions. Here are a few important tips:
- Do stick to the titles. Unless your Austrian host invites you to do otherwise, stick to Herr and Frau. Married or not, all women over 18 are Frau. Herr/Frau comes first, professional title (if they have one), then surname. For example, Herr Doktor Müller (Dr. Müller).
- Do be on time; punctuality is king. So much so that train delays of five minutes are announced at the platforms with an apology. If you’re going to be late for a dinner, make sure you call your host to let them know. If you run later than 15 minutes, this might upset your host. Plan accordingly to avoid this!
- Don’t fight over the bill if a person offers to pay. Austrians will not appreciate such a struggle. In turn, just reciprocate with your own invitation to lunch/dinner before you leave the country.
- Do make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Whether it’s a social or business meeting, make sure you look them in the eye and shake hands with everyone: men, women, and children. Shake hands with the women first, then proceed to the men. If you’re a woman, offer your hand first.
- Don’t be loud and keep the raucous laughter to a minimum. This especially applies in Vienna, where the people tend to be more reserved and find this sort of behavior to be offensive.
Austria uses the euro (€) as its currency. International credit and debit cards are widely accepted at major retailers, and ATMS are accessible to withdraw euros from foreign debit cards. Make sure your banknotes are in good shape as merchants may refuse to accept or exchange them. Use one of these ATM-locator tools:
Tipping is customary in Austria. When you encounter good service, go for 5% or round up. There’s often a service charge of around 12% already added to the bill. Even so, it’s customary to round up the bill in addition to this.
In Austria, the power plugs and sockets are type C and F (two-prong). Both types also work with plug E. You cannot use your electronics in Austria without a voltage converter, because the standard voltage is 230 V — higher than the US standard of 120 V. Your converter should look like this:
Tap water in Austria is safe to drink. In fact, the country has some of the highest quality tap you’ll ever drink from. Flowing from two pipelines direct from the Alps, the water is low in nitrogen and pesticide residue, and tastes just as good as mineral water. Undrinkable water (e.g. at some large fountains) is promptly labelled as Kein Trinkwasser! — “Not for drinking!” or “Do not drink!”
Uber is available in Vienna. Taxis are metered, reliable, and relatively cheap. Most accept common credit and debit cards — check first, though — and a 10% tip is expected. Taxis can be found at train stations and taxi stands all over the city.
Austria is a very LGBTQ-friendly country that celebrates the community through Vienna Pride, an annual festival in Vienna and Rainbow Ball, an elegant evening of waltzing and formal attire that also takes place in the capital. The proceeds from the event finance LGBTQ projects throughout the city.
Outside of these grand events, you can also enjoy a sophisticated night at Felixx, where you’ll be waited on by a charming staff and have your pick of the café bar’s extensive wine list. Or perhaps try Village Bar, one of Vienna’s trendiest gay bars that hosts multiple after-parties for large LGBTQ events.
Austria is recognized as a world leader in sustainable tourism, and seems to specialize in eco-friendly, self-sustaining accommodations — with stunning scenery to boot!
Prinzenhof is a traditional organic farm in Waldvietel, and is a great option for travelers who are planning a farm stay holiday. They offer fresh produce, homemade jam, herbal tea, whole grains, and much more for breakfast, a sunny inner courtyard to enjoy during the day, and a campfire in the evening.
St. Martin Chalets is a holiday village in the region of Lungau, where you can discover the authentic Alpine way of life. You can choose from ten different chalets, each one built out of the wood from the region’s forests. Visitors can also enjoy a daily delivery of freshly baked bread, a ski resort, and guided mountain tours.