One of the grandest forms of music is a symphony. The musical notes that majestically come out of the clarinets, the cellos, the violins, the trumpets and the harps all blend beautifully together to take us on a journey to mystical lands way beyond our comprehension. When the organ plays from behind, a new level of euphoria sets in our minds and the music gets etched in our hearts forever. If you have listened to The Magic Flute by Mozart, you can connect with what we are trying to convey. And in tune with the legend’s revolutionary music is his birthplace that is perhaps as grand as his compositions.
Yes, we are talking about Austria, a country where you feel classical music is perhaps an official language! Picturesque, safe and enchanting, the country’s grandeur stands as an example for some of the finest musicians it has produced. With an architecture that is like a music sheet – arranged, rhythmic and cadent, Austria is a one-way ticket to an era of music, grandeur, aristocratic lifestyle and heritage. Truly, the legacy is evident in the entire nation, where every city is picturesquely located at amazing backdrops, people are amazingly friendly and coffee houses are time machines. One glimpse out of your airport at the city and you know what’s in store for you. With ideal climatic conditions, idyllic rail networks, seamless transitions between urban and the countryside, alternating views of the Alpine meadows and rivers, lyrical landscapes and a lifestyle that is both contemporary and historic, Austria is one country from where returning home becomes a daunting task.
Welcome to Austria – of serendipity, serenades and serenity.
Time Zone: CET UTC + 1
Official Languages: German
Capital’s Calling Code: +43
Austria is one of the most gorgeous looking countries in Europe. Landlocked between picturesque tourist destinations like, Switzerland in the west, Slovenia and Croatia in the south, Hunagery and Slovakia in the east and Germany and Czechia in the north, Austria conveniently places itself in the prime location of the Alps. Thanks to its location, the majority of the country is mountainous. The more significant regions of the Alps like the Northern and the Southern Limestone Alps and the Central Eastern Alps are all located partially in Austria.
Out of the total land area of over 84,000 square kilometers, only 32% of it is low-lying and below 500 meters. While the western regions of Austria are low-lying with the descent of the Alps, the eastern sides of the country are predominantly plains. The topography of Austria can be classified into five regions – The Eastern Alps, which takes up approximately 62% of the entire area; the foothills of the Alps and the Carpathian mountain regions that occupy 12% of the land area; and the regions surrounding the Alps’ foothills in its eastern frontier and the borderlines of the Pannoni low-countries take up 12% of the landmass.
Besides the Alps, Austria is also home to the Austrian Granite Plateau which is much lower in altitude than the Alps. It occupies close to 10% of the total landmass followed by the Vienna Basin, which occupies another 4%. Großglockner is Austria’s biggest mountain, standing at an altitude of over 3,700 meters.
Austria’s history is very significantly connected to the history of Central Europe and the country has been one of the prime regions during the Roman Empire. Before the Romans claimed Austria, the land was occupied by several Celtic tribes. Some of the empires to invade Austria soon after the Roman Empire fell were the Slavs, Bavarians, Avars, Franks, and Charlemagne during 788 AD and introduced concepts of colonization and spread Christianity in the region. One of the first mentionings of the name Austria was found to be during 996 AD, when Austria was written as Ostarrichi and referred to the regions of Babenberg March.
Around 1699, several campaigns and wars under the rule of King Leopold I resulted in merging most parts of Hungary to Austria under a treaty that came to be known as the Treaty of Karlowitz. Austria, in the 19th century, indulged in several wars against Revolutionary France and suffered series of defeats against Napoleon, bringing a complete end to the Old Roman Empire in the year 1806. Eight years later, it joined several other nations and became part of the Allied Forces, took down France and put an end to the battles against Napoleon. In 1815, the nation was recognized as one of the four dominating powers and came into the limelight as a seat of great power.
After the World War II, a crisis like inflation hit the country and Austria was given a loan under the supervision of the League of Nations to fight bankruptcy and help improve the prevailing financial conditions. Schilling was introduced in the year 1952 as an alternative currency to the Krone. Thanks to its demand and stability, the currency was soon called the Alpine Dollar. However, it was very shortlived and crashed after the Black Tuesday episode.
In 1955, Austria concluded the treaty of Austrian State with the occupying forces such as British, French, American and Soviet and became an independent country. Soon after the troops of the forces left, Austria declared by a parliamentarian act a status of permanent neutrality. Austria became one of the members of the European Union in the year 1995.
With a land area of over 84,000 square kilometers, the population of Austria numbers to approximately 8,794,267. Vienna is the country’s largest city and marks for a majority of the population of the country. The population of Austria makes up for approximately 0.12% of the entire population of the world and ranks 98th in the list of the world’s most populous countries in the world. With a population density of 106 per square kilometer, the country is prominent for its standards of living and cultural contributions. Germans, Turks and Serbs are the three predominant ethnicities in Austria.
Christianity is the major religion followed in Austria. Over 74% of the country’s population is Roman Catholic followed by 5% of Protestants. However, this is the data according to the 2001 census. A more recent census survey reveals that there are close to 58.8% of Roman Catholics and 12% shared that they followed no religion. Over 4% of the population follows Islam and there are minority populations of Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and Sikhs as well.
The official language of Austria is Austrian German and this is the language that is predominantly used in schools, colleges, documents, publications, websites and announcements. The language is very similar to German with a few differences in vocabulary. Apart from this, there are several dialects spoken in diverse regions of Austria with the base as German. However, the interesting fact is that people confess to having some difficulty in understanding each other’s dialects.
Statistically, over 88% of the population speaks Austrian German, 2.28% speaks Turkish, 2.21% speaks Serbian, 0.73% speaks English, 1.63% speaks Croatian, and less than 1% of the population speaks other languages like Polish, Hungarian, Bosnian, Albanian, Arabic, Romanian and Czech.
Euro is Austria’s official currency, which is also one of the most commonly traded currencies in the world after the United States Dollar. You can classify one Euro to 100 cents and there are two legal tenders available in Euros – coins and notes. The exchange rate for 1 Euro is approximately 76 Indian Rupees.
Coins are available in the denominations of €1, €2 and cents of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. Currency notes are available in the denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 respectively. Euro is one of the most expensive currencies for conversions from INR and is also European Union’s official currency, which means close to 19 countries in the Union use Euro as their official currency.
German, Hungarian, Slovenian, English
How much does it cost to explore Austria?
Being one of the most exquisite destinations in the world, Austrian tourism is quite expensive. While there are several backpacker hostels available, most of them offer you mixed dorm beds for relatively lower prices. If budget is your concern and you don’t mind having a raw travel experience, you can find backpacker hostels for as low as approximately Rs. 1000 per night. If luxury and the comfort of your family concern you, there are plenty of classic accommodation options you can choose from. The more luxurious your requirements are, the more expensive the hotels become.
For reference purposes, you can consider that you would get an accommodation starting at approximately Rs. 10,000 to more than approximately Rs. 1,50,000 in Austria. Most hotels and restaurants accept credit and debit cards but you need to ensure if your debit card is eligible for international usage. You can find tons of ATMs in Austria for cash withdrawals. It is flocked by tourists all through the year and has good measures in place for people heading for tourism in Austria.
What is the best month to visit Austria?
Austria is one of the most idyllic places in Europe and the world. Every traveler who dreams of a European holiday has Austria in his or her itinerary and this has been immensely due to the prevailing climatic conditions in the country. Thanks to its topography, Austria witnesses diverse climatic conditions, which are very evident for tourists and visitors as well. The differences in the temperatures during summer, winter, spring and autumn make Austria one of the most picture-perfect destinations in the world. So if you are planning to visit Austria, you need to remember that the perfect season to visit Austria depends on what you want to do here. Tourism in Austria is different in each season, where there are different beautiful things to look forward to in each season.
So if you want to experience the cultural and architectural heritage of Austria and soak in the sunshine of the country over a laidback atmosphere, the best time to visit during the summer or the spring. If adventure is your norm and you intend to try your hands on skiing and experience the Christmas festivities the European way, months after fall and winters are the best seasons to visit Austria. To help you understand and decide better, check out an overview of all the prevailing seasons in Austria.
What is the weather like in Austria in the summer?
If you imagined strolling around the avenues and boulevards of Austria, walking past the grand museums, churches and concert halls and the house of the Sound of Music, you’ve pictured Austria in summer. Here, the summer season starts in June and extends till August.
Though summer, the temperatures here tend to be in the range of approximately 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.
Clear skies, sunshine and crisp evenings mark the weather in Austria during the summers. The meadows are lovely and the Alps are beautifully visible thanks to the summer skies.
This is the best season to be in Austria because of the sense of enchantment that fills the air of Austria. The lakes are magnificently beautiful, the chapels look lovely under the blue skies and the entire place appears to come alive due to the multitude of festivals like the Vienna Festival, Salzburg Festival and the Rainbow Parade.
Why you should visit now
If you are looking for more places to cover in Austria and expecting a longer daytime to spend in Europe and especially Austria, summer is the season you should be around. The weather is perfect for hikes and cycling and the views throughout the country is simply spellbinding.
Know before you go
Being sunkissed during the summers, Austria becomes home to flocks of tourists from around the world. This is the peak season here and you have to plan well in advance to book your accommodation and flight tickets as prices not just tend to go up but get booked too soon as well.
Carry light and pack a camera, a hat, sunglasses, shorts, t-shirts and shoes. Carry a suit for events and parties and carry adequate water. A sunscreen would help in the daytime.
Winter season begins in November and goes on till March.
Winters tend to be cold and the average temperatures range between approximately -1 and -5 degrees Celsius.
Winter is very chilly in Austria, thanks to its proximity to the majority of the Alps. This is the time fogs are frequent and intense, snowfall is prevalent and visibility drops are recurring.
This time is particularly good for all you adventure enthusiasts out there as this is the skiing season in Austria. Austrian tourism majorly revolves around skiing and snow-based activities around this time and people from around the world enter Austria to get an experience in skiing. Being the time of Christmas, the festivities here at this time are simply contagious and rewarding for tourists. Illuminated avenues, snow-filled streets, buzzing shopping districts and ever enthusiastic people make winter in Austria all the more special.
Why you should visit now
This is the low season in the country and perhaps the best time to visit Austria. The prices are very, very low and the crowds are too. You can strike amazing deals at hotels, restaurants and ski resorts at this time. You should also visit Austria during winter to experience how Christmas is celebrated in all grandeur.
Know before your visit
Though the prices are low, most villages, towns and attractions can be closed due to snowfall. It is best to check your place of accommodation and the places you intend to visit for openings and hours before leaving.
Carry heavy winter garments and sunglasses. Adequate water is mandatory and carries thermals, pullovers, jackets and mufflers. Snow boots will be an added advantage. Dress in layers to avoid the seeping in of frost.
Spring in Austria begins in April and extends till May.
The average temperature in Austria during spring varies between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius.
The weather is mostly clear with a good amount of sunshine. However, it can become unpredictable and pave the way for rainfall during this time. It is the transition time from winter to summer.
One of the best places to visit in Austria during spring is Hofburg, which speaks of cultural and architectural heritage. Home to some of the monuments from the 15th century, the climate around this time is perfect for a visit to this place.
Why you should visit now
This is perhaps the best time to go on hikes in Austria. Thanks to the transition, the heat is not scorching and is rather cold when you get to higher altitudes. You won’t feel fatigue and it is pleasant all along. The lakes and their surrounding areas are also perfect for picnics and it is the time for wine tours in Austria, where harvesting of grapes is an event there.
Know before your visit
Austria awaits the incoming of tourists from this time. So the place is comparatively less crowded. This means you have a lot of options in accommodation to choose from for discounts and deals. Also, this is also the time of moderate rainfall in Austria. Rains are frequent during day times in the month of April but mostly are not disruptive in nature.
Carry umbrellas or raincoats and light winter garments. Pack jeans, sunglasses, hats, camera, and proper shoes. Party wears are mandatory for occasions, events and parties.
Fall in Austria starts from September and lasts until October.
The average temperature in Austria around fall ranges between 10 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius.
The skies are clear and the weather is pleasant for tourism.
This is the season for all adventure seekers as the perfect weather conditions make it easy for you to go on treks, cycling tours, walks and boating as well. The Vienna Fashion Week happens during this time and the entire place looks gorgeous during fall.
Why you should visit now
Hands down, fall is the best season to visit Austria. All the stunning wallpapers on Austria that you see with varying colors of brown and green in foliage, landscapes and skies are all part of the Austrian autumn. This is the time green sceneries are replaced by hues of gold, red and brown and the entire place becomes another destination altogether. Everything in Austria appears dreamy, magical and too perfect to be real.
Know before your visit
This is the perfect time for a European holiday. After the peak season, where most tourists have left, it is the time to witness the everyday lives of the locals. Just relax and have a great time.
Carry moderate clothing with thermals and light winter jackets. Sunglasses and hats are mandatory. You might want to get in shape if you want to personally explore the avenues and streets of Austria on a cycle. Getting on to a fitness regime would help for treks and hikes.