Country guides Europe
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are standard.
The official language in Austria is German.
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.
A 10 to 15 percent service charge is normally added to hotel and restaurant bills in Austria, but it is customary to leave another five percent if satisfied with the service. Sometimes, patrons can round off the bill. Bartenders usually expect a 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.
All eligible travellers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. 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.
Travel to Austria is generally trouble-free. However, visitors are advised to take sensible safety precautions to avoid petty theft, particularly in larger cities.
The most common and courteous greeting is the handshake, which is normal regardless of age and gender. Many Austrians value their physical and personal privacy when among strangers, so it's best to respect their personal space. A good conversation topic is the country's regional diversity, as Austrians enjoy talking about their home region. It is compulsory that vehicles are driven with their lights on throughout the year; smoking is not allowed in many public places.
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, and it's best to always use last names with a preceding title such as Herr (Mr), Frau (Mrs) or Fraulein (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. Foreigners should 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.
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 one litre of spirits with alcohol content more than 22 percent, or two 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.
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. It's recommend that passports be valid for six months from the departure date.
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 require at least three months validity beyond the period of intended stay in Austria. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
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.
Austrian National Tourist Office, Vienna: +43 (0)1 588 660 or www.austria.info133 (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.