Electricity

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are standard.

Language

The official language in Austria is German.

Money

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR). Currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change available in all towns, but it may be easier to use the ATMs. Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but bureaux de change at airports and major city rail terminals are open seven days a week. Most credit and debit cards are widely accepted though some small hotels and restaurants may only accept cash.

Tipping

A 10-15 percent service charge is normally added to hotel and restaurant bills in Austria, but it is customary to leave another 5 percent if satisfied with the service. Sometimes, one can round off the bill. Bartenders usually expect this rounded up tip. It is common to give the money to the waiter rather than leave it on the table, but leaving small change for other service personnel is fine. Taxi drivers expect a 10 percent tip.

Health

No vaccinations are necessary for business visits or general tourism in Austria. Water and food are safe and medical facilities are excellent. Citizens of EU countries can get free emergency medical treatment at public hospitals in Austria on production of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). After Brexit, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, nor is it an alternative to travel insurance.

Safety

Travel to Austria is generally trouble-free. However, visitors are advised to take sensible safety precautions to avoid petty theft, particularly in larger cities.

Local customs

It is compulsory that vehicles are driven with their lights on throughout the year. Smoking is not allowed in many public places.

Doing business

Business protocol is very important in Austria and business is formal, structured and conservative, more so than in many other Western European countries. All correspondence should be formal. Dress is conservative yet elegant; Austrians take great pride in their appearance and a good quality, well-fitting suit for men and women should be worn to make a good first impression. Austrians are also very title-conscious: always use last names with a preceding title such as Herr (Mr), Frau (Mrs) or Fräulein (Miss), along with their professional or academic title where applicable (e.g. Herr Professor Kaufmann). It is vital to arrive punctually for meetings and to be thoroughly prepared, as meetings are brief and to the point. Be prepared to engage in preliminary small talk, including a knowledge of current affairs, before getting down to business. English is widely spoken in business, but printed literature should be in German if possible. Offices open at 8am and close promptly at 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Duty free

Travellers from non-EU countries over 17 years are allowed to bring in the following items without paying customs duty: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of smoking tobacco, or a proportional mix of these products; 4 litres non-sparkling wine, or 1 litre of spirits with alcohol content more than 22 percent, or 2 litres of alcohol volume less than 22 percent; 60ml perfume and 250ml eau de toilette; and other goods to a total value of €430. Restricted items include pornographic material and fresh foodstuffs such as meat and dairy products. Travellers must have a European Firearms Pass if travelling with firearms.

Communications

The international access code for Austria is +43. Hotels, cafes and restaurants offering free wifi are widely available. As international roaming costs can be high, purchasing a local prepaid SIM card can be a cheaper option.

Passport & Visa

The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. For most nationalities, passports are required to be valid for three months beyond period of travel. We always recommend that passports be valid for six months from the departure date.

Entry requirements

US passport holders require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but a visa is not needed for a stay of up to 90 days.

British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, only need to be valid for period of intended stay in Austria. All other endorsements require at least three months validity beyond the period of intended stay in Austria.

A visa is not required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days in a half-year period for holders of passports with any other endorsement. Holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authories, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom', do not require a visa to visit Austria.

Canadians require a passport valid for three months beyond intended period of stay, but no visa is needed for a stay of up to 90 days.

Australians require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but no visa is needed for a stay of up to 90 days.

South African nationals require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay and a visa.

Irish nationals require a passport but no visa is needed for travel to Austria.

New Zealanders require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, but a visa is not needed for a stay of up to 90 days.

Useful contacts

Austrian National Tourist Office, Vienna: +43 (0)1 588 660 or www.austria.info

133 (police), 140 (mountain rescue), 144 (ambulance)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Austrian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 895 6700.

Austrian Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7344 3250.

Austrian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 1444.

Austrian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6295 1533.

Austrian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 452 9155.

Austrian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 269 4577.

Consulate of Austria, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 384 1402.

Embassies / consulates in Austria

United States Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 313 397 535.

British Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 716 130.

Canadian Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 531 383 000.

Australian Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 506 740.

South African Embassy, Vienna: +43 (0)1 320 6493.

Embassy of Ireland, Vienna: +43 (0)1 715 4246.

New Zealand Consulate-General, Vienna: +43 (0)1 505 3021.