Austria Travel Tips

Austria has a personality all its own different from other alpine neighbors, Germany and Switzerland.  Like those countries, Austria is an efficient and tidy nation where public transport runs on time!  The three major tourist centers, Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck have their distinct personalities.  Below you can find some random tips or observations about Austrian listed in no particular order.  Please let us know if you have any to add by going to our Forum!

  • Austria Tips for Families

    The Vienna Spanish ridding school has been in existence for over 400 years. Its good to learn of few terms regarding dressage, the training of the horses so you appreciate what you are watching.  You’ll find a list of terms in the events section.  You can still see morning practice even if you don’t pay for a full performance.

    Shopping times are more limited in Austria than many other countries. Shops often close by 6:00pm. They may have long lunch breaks. Shopping is available on Sundays and holidays at the large railway stations, at the airport and in the museum shops. If you need something and the store is open, buy it!

    The best opportunity to dance the waltz is offered by the Viennese Ball Season, which traditionally runs from New Year’s Eve to Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I didn’t know that!  This is husband and wife only!

    If you want tickets to the famous New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, the tickets are given to randomly drawn registrations submitted on their website. Registration occurs between January 02-23 only.

    Austria is a very safe place. There are less than 100 murders a year in the whole country.

    Austrian children go to kindergarten beginning at 5 years old. Real school begins at 6 years old and continues for 9 years. At that point students decide between vocational training and university based education programs. 80% take vocational (VET) training. Austrian graduates are the oldest in Europe (over 27 for their first degree).

    Be prepared for lots of smokers. Book a non-smoking hotel if it bothers you.

    People are very direct especially in Vienna. They like conformity so as an ignorant tourist, you may get some “feedback” if you aren’t doing things “right.”

    Kids need to be prepped so they are on their best behavior, especially in restaurants.  Discuss this with your family before you go so the kids know what is expected of them.

    At the Battle of Vienna in 1683, Ottoman invaders retreated from the Polish-Hapsburg allies.   They left behind sacks of beans at the city gates. A military office who had been jailed in Turkey recognized the value of the beans, coffee beans,  and roasted and began serving them. That was the beginning of the deep-rooted coffee café culture in Vienna.
    Take boat rides on the many lakes as a relaxing way to admire the beautiful scenery.

    Be sure to have a slice of Sacher Torte at the Café Sacher Vienna. It’s definitely the most famous cake of Austria. This cafe is located in the Sacher Hotel which was founded in 1876.

    Mozart was born in a four story house (Geburtshaus – birth house ) centrally located on Getreidegasse in the Old City, of Salzburg. The exterior  is jammed with tourists taking pictures. . He lived as an adult across the river (Wohnhaus – residence ) in 1773 for larger quarters.   Mozart spent at least 7 years here creating symphonies, early operas, sacred music, and concertos. World War II bombing partially destroyed the house in 1944 but it’s been rebuilt to the original design. It’s more interesting than the more famous birth house.