Austria is a landlocked country at the heart of Europe, bordered by Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany and the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy. It has an area of 32,378 square miles and is divided into nine federal regions (Bundesländer): Vienna, Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tirol, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg.
German is spoken by 98% of the Austrian population. English is the leading second language, and is understood widely and spoken fluently by most people working within the tourism industry. Austria joined the European Union in 1995 and is a member of the Eurozone.
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Austria. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
You should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) free of charge which entitles you to emergency medical treatment. This card is NOT a substitute for travel insurance. See www.ehic.ie for further details. The EHIC replaces the Form E111, which is no longer valid.
Safety and Security
Emergency services in Austria may be contacted on the number 112.
Specific emergency numbers are as follows: Police – 133; Fire-brigade – 122; Ambulance – 144.
Travellers intending to ski should be aware that during and around the winter season, there is continued danger of avalanches in some areas in Austria. Travellers should take advice on weather and avalanche conditions before and during their stay. If planning to participate in adventure sports or mountain activities, travellers should ensure that they are covered by their insurance policy. Mountain rescue is expensive and may not be covered by standard travel insurance.
Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.
If Irish visitors or any of their dependants are suddenly taken ill or have an accident during their visit to Austria, a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles the bearer to free or reduced-cost necessary health care. Full travel insurance remains advisable for all travellers.
Austria has a low incidence of serious crime. Bag snatching and pick-pocketing are increasing, however, particularly on public transport and in tourist areas. Travellers are frequently targeted at Vienna´s two largest train stations (Westbahnhof, Meidling and Südbahnhof). There have been several recent reports of passports being stolen on the train from Prague and Vienna. Travellers are therefore advised to be vigilant when travelling by train.
If your passport is lost or stolen, please contact the Embassy as soon as possible (contact details above). You should also report the loss or theft to the nearest Police Station or Magistrat. A copy of your statement to the Police / Magistrat will be required for your application for a new passport. This may in certain cases be accepted by airlines in lieu of a passport, but you should check with the airline before going to the airport. If your airline will not accept the police statement, the Embassy may issue you with an Emergency Travel Certificate valid for one journey from Austria to Ireland, or a Temporary Passport, valid for a restricted period of time.
Local Laws and Customs
Under Austrian law, travellers are required to carry identification (e.g. passport) at all times, or be able to produce identification within a short timeframe.
Travellers staying in private accommodation in Austria for more than three days must register their place of residence with the local authorities.
There are complex driving laws in Austria, especially for caravan and motor home owners. Headlights are recommended, but not mandatory while driving, except in times of poor visibility. All drivers are required to carry a high visibility vest and a hazard warning triangle in the car. Only “hands free” mobile phones can be used whilst driving. Road conditions are generally good although roads in alpine areas can become hazardous during winter and some mountain roads may be closed for extended periods.
If intending to use motorways and “S” roads in Austria, drivers must display a Motorway Vignette on their vehicle when entering the country. Failure to display one will mean a heavy, on-the-spot fine. Motorway Vignettes can be obtained at all major border crossings into Austria and at larger petrol stations.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Heavy rain has led to flooding in parts of Austria, affecting services on both road and rail networks. Travellers are advised to check with their travel companies as well as with local authorities for the latest information. The most affected regions are Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg.
As Austria is at a latitude of 47 degrees North, the climate is moderate and generally pleasant, with warm summers and cold winters. Temperatures largely depend on altitudes.
For those seeking sunshine and low rainfall, the best time to visit Austria is from June to September. The period from November to March is generally ideal for winter sports. Please see the ‘Safety and Security’ section regarding the risk of avalanches in alpine areas.
Additional Country Info
A valid passport is required to visit Austria. Irish citizens do not require a visa to enter the country.
EMBASSY OF IRELAND IN AUSTRIA
Contact details for the Embassy of Ireland in Austria are at the following link:Top