Austria Travel Information General

Austria is a small country, easy to get to know, delightful to see. There is a spectacular scenery around every corner: Vineyards, ancient castles  and venerable abbeys overlooking the Danube, wooded hills rising out of the lush farmland, lakes dotted with sailboats and ringed by soaring mountains, Alpine peaks and their icy world of glaciers reaching for the sky.

The towns are as varied as the countryside around them: historic cities where architectural masterpieces from three or four centuries face one another across narrow Ianes or sweeping squares, market towns that have barely changed since the Middle Ages, mountain villages with neat little houses and flowers overflowing from wooden balconies.

Austria has more castles and palaces open to visitors than any comparable area in Europe. Great museums  and tiny country churches harbor the most significant art treasures from many periods and styles. Guides will point out to you the places where the Romans, Charlemagne, Emperor Maximillian, the Turks, the Swedes in the Thirty Year's War, Empress Maria Theresa, Napoleon, Emperor Franz Joseph or General Patton did this or that.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Cultural activity in Austria never ceases. The regular events are spectacular enough: opera, concerts and theater, the performances of the Spanish Riding School, Sunday mass sung  by the Vienna Boys' Choir in Vienna, opera and concert seasons in other Austrian cities, palace concerts and the Marionette Theatre in Salzburg. The special events are renowned world-wide:

Year round- Salzburg- Mozart Serenades at the fortress
Easter-Salzburg-Easter Festival
May/June-Vienna-Vienna Festival
May-October-Eisenstadt- Haydn matinees
Early September-Linz- Ars Electronica
Mid June-Feldkirch-Schubertiade
Mid June-Mid July-Graz-Styriarte
Mid June-Mid September-Vienna-Vienna Music Summer
Late June-early August-Innsbruck-Concerets at Ambras Palace
Early July-late August-Bad Ischl-Bad Ischl Operetta Weeks
Late July-late August-Salzburg-Salzburg Festival
July/August-Ossiach/Villach- Carinthian Summer
Mid-September-Eisenstadt-International Haydn Days
Mid-September-Linz-International Bruckner Festival
September/October-Millstatt-Musical autumn

Austria has it-swimming, sailing, water skiing; skiing and snowboarding year-round; horseback riding, tennis, golf; mountain climbing, white water canoeing, glider flying, cycling; hunting and fishing, skeet shooting and archery. Hundreds of miles of hiking paths, fitness trails all over. And saunas and massage to loosen up after a vigorous day.

Culinary Delights

At pastry shops, in coffee houses, in beer gardens, in wine taverns. Savor the superb Austrian food which makes every meal a pleasure in itself. And relax with the friendly Austrians who genuinely like foreign visitors. Shop for outstanding handcrafted items or native dresses, jackets and hats. Contact us again for help in planning your trip and specific information!

POPULATION

Area: 32,376 square miles (almost exactly the size of Maine)
Population: 8,000,000
Capital: Vienna (pop. 1,600,000)
Major cities: Graz ( 240,000), Linz (190,100), Salzburg (144, 700), Innsbruck (110,400)

LANGUAGES
German is spoken as a first language by 99% of the Austrian population. English is by far the leading second language in the educational system and is, consequently, understood widely and spoken by most people working in tourism-related jobs. 

CLIMATE

At a latitude of 47' North, the climate is moderate and generally agreeable. Summer days  can be hot, with temperature occasionally reaching 32'C / 89'F and more, summer evenings are usually cool. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed over the entire year, but May, September and the first half of October tend to be the driest, April and November the wettest periods. From June through August, rain usually comes in the form of thunder-storms ( a word of caution for hikers and mountain climbers: above 6500 feet, storms may entail heavy snowfalls even in summer). The winter snow cover lasts from late December through March in the valleys, from November through May at above 6000 feet, and becomes permanent above about 8500 feet.

MONEY
The EURO is the official currency in Austria. Bills have face values of 5, 10, 20, 50 ,100 and 500, coins come in 1,2,5,10,20 and 50 Cents and in 1and 2 EURO.

BANKING HOURS
In the cities banks are open generally from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, on Thursday from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Banks are closed Saturday and Sunday. Exchange offices at airports and major city rail terminals are open seven days a week from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, in Vienna to 10:00 pm, in resort areas a few hours each day seven days a week. 

SHOPPING HOURS
Stores are generally open at 8:00 or 9:00 am and close at 6:00 pm, many with a two-hour lunch break, Monday through Friday. In big cities some stores are open until 7:00 pm or later. On Saturdays most stores stay open until 5:00 pm.

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