Austria Destinations Travel Guide


Language: German

Currency: Euro (€)  (EUR)

Calling code: 43

Austrian Visa Requirements

History of Austria


Description of Austria

Austria (in German, Österreich), officially the Republic of Austria (in German, Republik Österreich), is a Central European State, Member State of the European Union, with capital in Vienna, which has a population of 8.5 million inhabitants. Austria borders the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Austria has no outlet to the sea. However, it is traversed in a significant part by the Danube river, navigable river for a large part of its channel and which allows ships of various sizes to navigate through the various riverine countries to its mouth. The territory of Austria covers 83,871 km² of surface and has a predominantly alpine climate. Only 32% of the country is below 500 meters of altitude, and the highest point is the Gross Glockner peak with 3798 meters of altitude above sea level.The majority of the population speaks German which is also the official language, but other languages ​​that are official are also spoken in some specific areas such as Croatian, Slovenian and Hungarian.

The origins of modern Austria go back to the Habsburg dynasty that made the country a fundamental part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1867 the Austrian Empire became the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Habsburg Empire ended in 1918 at the end of the First World War. The First Republic of Austria was established in 1919. In 1938, through the process known as the Anschluss, the country was occupied by Nazi Germany. This occupation would last until the end of the Second World War, when Austria would regain its independence and the Second Republic of Austria would be created in 1955.

At present, Austria has a parliamentary government with a representative democracy composed of the nine states of Austria, the largest city in Austria is its capital, Vienna, with a population of 1.79 million inhabitants. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a per capita income of € 38,500 in 2014. The country also has one of the highest rates of Human Development Index and an unemployment rate of 9,1 in 2015. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and of the European Union since 1995. It is also a founding member of the OECD. The currency in course is the euro, adopted in 1999.


The name of the country comes from the ancient German Ostarreіch - "Eastern State". The name "Austria" was first mentioned in a document dated November 1, 996.

The Austrian flag is one of the oldest state symbols in the world. According to legend, in 1191, during one of the battles of the Third Crusade, the snow-white shirt of Leopold V was completely splattered with blood. When the duke took off his wide belt, a white stripe formed on his shirt. The combination of these colors became his banner, and in the future the flag of the Republic of Austria.

In honor of Austria, the asteroid (136) Austria is named, discovered March 18, 1874 by the Austrian astronomer Johann Paliz at the Austro-Hungarian Maritime Observatory in Pula.


Travel Destinations in Austria


Vienna (Austria)

Vienna (German: Wien, Austro-Bavarian: Wean) is an Austrian state. It is the capital of the Republic of Austria and by far the largest city in Austria with its population of more than 1.7 million. As you'd expect it's Austria's cultural, economic, and political centre. As the former home of the Habsburg court and its various empires, the city still has the trappings of the imperial capital it once was, and the historic city centre is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.



Schonbrunn Palace



Burgenland (Austria)

Burgenland is a state of Austria. It's the most eastern part of the country, bordering on Hungary and Slovakia. The state is divided into 3 regions (Nordburgenland, Mittelburgenland and Südburgenland and seven boroughs. It covers 3,965 square kilometers and has about 300,000 inhabitants. The youngest federal state of Austria was part of the Kingdom of Hungary until 1921 and only came to Austria as a result of the Trianon Peace Treaty. The capital is Eisenstadt, after the originally planned capital of the area - Ödenburg (Sopron) - remained with Hungary in 1921 after a referendum.



Neusiedl am See






Burg Lockenhaus

Burg Schlaining

Bernstein Castle

Forchtenstein Castle

Burgruine Landsee


Carinthia (Austria)

Carinthia (German: Kärnten) is a state of Austria. It is especially known for its skiing areas, and its fantastic lakes.
Bad Kleinkirchheim
Heiligenblut am Großglockner
Hermagor-Pressegger See
Spittal an der Drau
Velden am Wörther See

Aichelberg Castle

Castle/Monastery Arnoldstein

Dietrichstein Castle

Burg Griffen

Falkenstein Castle

Feldsberg Castle

Federaun Castle

Finkenstein Castle

Flaschberg Castle

Freiberg Castle

Geyersberg Castle

Glanegg Castle

Gmünd Castle

Goldenstein Castle

Gomarn Castle

Gradenegg Castle

Burg Groppenstein

Burg Greifenfels

Gurnitz Castle

Haimburg Castle

Hartneidstein Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hohenburg auf Rosenberg Castle

Hohenwart Castle

Hollenburg Castle


Lower Austria (Austria)

St. Pölten
Baden bei Wien
Waidhofen an der Ybbs
Wiener Neustadt
Tulln an der Donau

Aggstein Castle

Carnuntum Archaeological Park

Danube-Auen National Park

Hardeggs Castle

Hinterhaus Castle

Kreuzenstein Castle

Kuenringerburg Castle

Melk Abbey

Thayatal National Park


Salzburg (Austria)

Salzburg, (German: Salzburg or Salzburgerland, lit. Salt castle) is one of the smaller provinces of Austria. Composing of an area of about 7,100 km², there are only 500,000 people. Most of the area is covered by the Alps, only the northern part is flat. There you can find the largest city and capital of the state Salzburg. The most important forms of income are tourism and agriculture. The Arts are an important part of the Salzburger tradition: home to Mozart, the annual Salzburg Festival, and the mystery play Jedermann (Everyman). Salzburg province also shares much of its rural regional and provincial culture with neighboring Bavaria and Tyrol. This makes it a wonderful place to experience both the high culture of the Mozart era and the true alpine Austrian culture at its purest.
Altenmarkt im Pongau
Bad Gastein
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave

Hellbrunn Castle

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohe Tauern National Park


Lake Toplitz

St. Johann im Pongau
Oberndorf bei Salzburg
Zell am See


Styria (Austria)


Bad Aussee

Bad Blumau

Bad Waltersdorf

Bruck an der Mur

Deutschlandsberg Castle

Gesäuse National Park

Lurgrotte Caves

Castle Riegersburg

Schloss Eggenberg



Tyrol (Austria)

Tyrol (German: Tirol) is a multi-national historical region located in the heart of the Alps in Austria and Italy. It consists of North, East, and South Tyrol. North and East Tyrol lie in Austria and together make up the Austrian federal-state of Tyrol with its capital in Innsbruck. North and East Tyrol are a bit of an oddity as they do not share a common frontier. This is a direct result of history, South Tyrol, despite its German speaking majority, has been part of Italy since the end of World War I. It makes up the northern portion of the alpine Italian autonomous province Trentino-Alto Adige with its capital in Bolzano (Italian) or Bozen (German). Together the two provinces make up historic Tyrol.

North Tyrol
Sankt Johann

Lower Inn Valley
Hall in Tirol
Achen Valley
Steinberg am Rofan

Tuxer Valley

Ziller Valley
Zell am Ziller
Ried im Oberinntal

Paznaun Valley

Stanzer Valley
Saint Anton am Arlberg

Ambras Palace

Bruck Castle

Freundsberg Castle

Heinfels Castle

Itter Castle

Kienburg Castle

Kropfsberg Castle

Laudegg Castle

Lichtenwerth Castle

Naudersberg Castle

Tratzberg Castle

Zammer Lochputz


Upper Austria (Austria)

Bad Goisern am Hallstättersee

Braunau am Inn

Abbey of St. Florian


Bad Ischl

Clam Castle

Eschelberg Castle

Kalkalpen National Park

Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Vichtenstein Castle


Vorarlberg (Austria)

Vorarlberg is the westermost federal state of Austria, sharing borders with the countries of Germany (Bavaria), Liechtenstein, and Switzerland and the Austrian federal-state of Tyrol. Vorarlberg also enjoys a small window on Lake Constance via the city of Bregenz. It is the richest and most well to do province of Austria outside Vienna. For its size it offers a lot of diverse landscape including everything Tyrol has to offer with the exception of a large city.

Neu-Ems Castle

Neu-Montfort Castle



Contrary to popular perceptions, Austria is not all about mountains. While the Alps do cover 3/4 of the country dominating the provinces of Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Styria, Upper Austria and Carinthia, the eastern provinces of Lower Austria, the Burgenland and the federal capital of Vienna are more similar to the geography of the neighbouring Czech Republic and Hungary. This diverse mix of landscapes is packed into a relatively small area of size. Glaciers, meadows, alpine valleys, wooded foothills, gently rolling farmland, vineyards, river gorges, plains and even semi-arid steppes can be found in Austria.

One quarter of Austria's population lives in Greater Vienna, a European metropolis, located where the Danube meets the easternmost fringe of the Alps, not far from the border with Slovakia and its capital Bratislava.

Virtually all government, financial and cultural institutions, as well as national media and large corporations are based in Vienna, due largely to history and geography. Thus, the capital dominates Austria's cultural and political life and is clearly a world unto its own. It has little to do with the rest of mainly rural Austria and outside of Graz and Linz there really are no other large scale cities in the country. There is a playful joke told in Vorarlberg province regarding the dominance of Vienna regarding national affairs that reads, "the people of western Austria make the money and Vienna spends it."



The name of the country comes from the ancient German Ostarreich - "Eastern State". The name "Austria" is first mentioned in a document dated November 1, 996.

The Austrian flag is one of the oldest state symbols in the world. According to legend, in 1191, during one of the battles of the Third Crusade, the snow-white shirt of Leopold V was completely spattered with blood. When the duke took off his wide belt, a white stripe appeared on his shirt. The combination of these colors became his banner, and in the future the flag of the Republic of Austria.

The asteroid (136) Austria, discovered on March 18, 1874 by the Austrian astronomer Johann Palisa at the Austro-Hungarian Naval Observatory in Pula, is named after Austria.



State in Central Europe. The area of the country is 83,871 km². Austria is 70% mountainous country, the average altitude is about 900 m. Most of it is occupied by the Eastern Alps, which in turn are subdivided into the North Tyrol Alps and the Salzburg Alps in the north, the Zillertal and Carnic Alps in the south. The highest point is Mount Grossglockner (3797 m), it also contains one of the largest Pasterze glaciers in Europe. The lowest point is Lake Neusiedler See (115 m above sea level).



Austria has a temperate continental climate. Summers last from early June to mid-September and can be hot in some years and rainy in others. Day-time temperatures in July and August are around 25°C (77°F), but can often reach 35°C (95°F). Winters are cold in the lowlands and very harsh in the Alpine region with temperatures often dropping below -10°C (14°F). Winters last from December to March (longer at higher altitudes). In the Alpine region large temperature fluctuations occur all year round and nights are chilly even in high summer. The northern Alps are generally a lot wetter than the rest of the country. The South East (Styria and Carinthia) is dry and sunny. The area around Vienna often experiences strong easterly winds.



Electricity is supplied at 220 to 230V, 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travellers should pack an adapter and a converter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Austria.


Language in Austria

The official language of Austria is German. Although it is in accent, pronunciation and rhythm.  Rural alpine areas also speak German, but even native Germans- speaking citizen have difficulty understanding each other.



Population 8,894,380 (2019). According to The World Factbook, the ethnic composition of the population of Austria by country of birth as of 2018: Austria - 80.8%, Germany - 2.6%, Bosnia and Herzegovina - 1.9%, Turkey - 1.8%, Serbia - 1.6%, Romania - 1.3%, other countries 10%. According to The World Factbook, the linguistic composition of the population of Austria as of 2001: German (official state language) - 88.6%, Turkish - 2.3%, Serbian - 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) - 1, 6%, others (including Slovene, official in southern Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) - 5.3%. According to the 2006 census, the largest ethnic group, German-speaking Austrians, makes up 88.6% of the country's population. The main official language is German. The spoken and official language of the Austrians differs significantly from the official German language of Germany (See German in Austria, Austrian German). Spoken Austrian dialects are close to the Bavarian dialect of Germany and the German language of Switzerland (Vorarlberg).

In addition, there are 6 recognized national minorities: Croats, Slovenes, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Gypsies (a total of about 300 thousand people). Slovenes, Croats and Hungarians live in separate areas of Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland, and Czechs and Jews are added to them in Vienna. Many Austrian citizens consider themselves not only Austrians, but, by origin from this or that land, also Styrians, Tyroleans, etc.

In 2015, 1,813,000 people were 1st and 2nd generation immigrants. Basically, these are people from the former Yugoslavia - over 0.5 million people (1/2 - Serbs), up to 300 thousand - Turks and Kurds. Among the rest: Romanians - 80 thousand, Poles - 70 thousand, Italians, Russians, Albanians, Bulgarians and others. As of 2019, 1.8 million immigrants lived in Austria, making up 19.9% ​​of the country's population.


Religion in Austria

According to The World Factbook, the composition of the population of Austria by religion as of 2018: Catholics - 57%, Orthodox - 8.7%, Muslims - 7.9% (2016 estimate), Evangelical Christians - 3.3%, other / Others/Atheists 23.1% (2012-2018 estimates). According to the 2001 census, 73.6% of Austrians are Catholics, 4.7% are Lutherans, 6.5% of the population belongs to other religious denominations (Islam - 4.2%, Orthodox Church - 2.2%, Judaism - 0, 1%, a total of 12 confessions are registered, including 3 thousand Sikhs (2009)), 12% of the population do not identify themselves with any of the confessions (in 1991 there were only 8.6% of them). Christianity is included in the general education curriculum and is a compulsory subject.

Religious organizations
The largest religious organization in Austria is the Roman Catholic Church. The state supports the Church, there is a 1% church tax in the country, which all citizens of the country are required to pay (a citizen is exempted from paying tax upon a written statement of renunciation of Catholicism). The Roman Catholic Church in 2000 had 5,651,479 adherents (72.1% of the population). Catholicism is represented by the dioceses united in the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Austria:
Ecclesiastical province of Vienna, consisting of
Archdiocese of Vienna;
Diocese of Eisenstadt;
Diocese of Linz;
Diocese of St. Pölten.

Ecclesiastical province of Salzburg, consisting of
Archdiocese of Salzburg;
Diocese of Feldkirch;
Diocese of Graz-Seckau;
Diocese of Gurk;
Diocese of Innsbruck.
Military Ordinariate of Austria;
Ordinariate for Greek Catholics in Austria (5 thousand Greek Catholics (2000))

There is also the Old Catholic Church of Austria, 4 communities of which are active in Vienna, 1 in Krems, 1 in Graz, 1 in Linz, 1 in Ried, 1 in Klagenfurt, 1 in Salzburg, 1 in Innsbruck.

Protestantism is represented by:
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg and Helvetian Confession of Austria - unites Lutherans and Calvinists;
Mennonite Free Church of Austria - unites the majority of Mennonites (8 communities of Mennonites with 360 believers);
Union of Baptist Congregations of Austria - unites the majority of Baptists (19 Baptist congregations with 1130 active adherents (2000; the total number of Baptists is 1.5-2 times more));
Austrian Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (47 communities of Seventh-day Adventists with 3596 believers);
The free Christian community, the Pentecostal Community of Austria, unites the majority of Pentecostals. About half of Pentecostals in Austria (17,000) are not citizens of this country and visit emigrant communities (primarily Romanian, but also Filipino, Brazilian, Nigerian, Korean, etc.).

Orthodoxy is represented by:
Austrian Metropolis of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople;
Vienna and Austrian diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church;
Austrian-Swiss Eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
According to the own data of the relevant organizations in Austria, there are 299 communities of Jehovah's Witnesses with 33,099 who attended their meetings of Witnesses in 1999 (of which 20,577 were baptized according to the rite of Jehovah's Witnesses), 3889 Mormons (2000).


Economics and finance

General condition, main indicators
Austria is a highly developed post-industrial state. The country is one of the most developed countries in Europe. GDP per capita in 2002 amounted to 24.7 thousand euros (in 1995 prices). This figure is constantly growing (in 1990 it was 20.1 thousand euros, in 1995 - 21.4 thousand euros), and at current prices and at purchasing power parity in 2001 - 28.2 thousand dollars (with an average of EU 25.5 thousand). Thus, Austria was ahead of Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, France, Germany, and was second only to Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg. As of 2017, the average wage in Austria is 2,688 euros (gross) and 1,848 euros (net) per month.

The monetary unit is the euro (a change coin - euro cent), until 2002 - the Austrian shilling (a change coin - an Austrian grosz), the National Bank of Austria is issuing. There are 9 land-based energy companies in Austria - Wien Energie, Energieversorgung Niederösterreich, Energie AG Oberösterreich, Burgenländische Elektrizitätswirtschafts Aktiengesellschaft, Kärntner Elektrizitäts-Aktiengesellschaft, Energie Steiermark, Salzburg AG für Energie, Verkehrar und Telekomberg Wasserkral and Tierroler Vserkral. The largest oil company is OMV. State-owned stakes in industry are managed by ÖIAG. The railway operator is the Austrian Federal Railway (the length of railways is over 6,000 km), the intercity bus operator is Bundesbus, the air transport operator is Austrian Airlines, there are airports in Vienna, Graz, Linz, Innsbruck and Salzburg. The tram exists in Vienna, Gmunden, Graz, Innsbruck, Linz. The tram system that existed in Salzburg is closed. The postal service provider is Österreichische Post, the largest telephone and Internet provider is Telekom Austria.

wide production base;
strong industry (chemical and petrochemical, electrical engineering, textile industry, woodworking);
skilled workforce;
tourism is an important source of attracting funds from abroad.

Weak sides:
dependence on imported raw materials, primarily oil and gas;
delay in the transition to increased competition.
The volume of GDP at current prices in 2010 amounted to 284 billion euros. GDP per capita was 33,850 euros in 2010. GDP production per 1 employed in 2010 (labor productivity) - 77.6 thousand euros.

The Austrian economy is distinguished by a relatively low level of inflation (in 2002 - 1.8%) and unemployment (in 2000 - 3.7% of the working-age population, in 2002 - 4.3%). The consumer price index in 2002 compared to 1996 was 108.8, while in the EU as a whole it was 110.8.

Approximately 2.2% of GDP is produced in agriculture and forestry, 32.3% in industry, energy and construction, 65.5% in services, trade, transport and communications, banking and insurance systems. One third of the volume of industrial production falls on the public sector of the economy.

However, there are a number of problems in the Austrian economy related to European integration. The agro-industrial sector is of particular concern in connection with the new conditions of competition dictated by the countries of united Europe. The EU price and quota policy is contributing to a painful transformation of agriculture, which is causing increasingly fierce opposition from Austrian farmers. As a result of Austria's course, 69% of all agricultural land turned out to be unprofitable within the framework of the common agricultural policy of the EU.

The total amount of accumulated foreign direct investment in Austria at the end of 2001 was estimated at 23-24 billion euros. Of these, about 45% are in Germany, 28% in other EU countries, 12% in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, 7% in the USA and Canada, and 8% in other countries.

Attracting foreign investment and cooperating with foreign partners, Austrian companies form the most important technological industries that were practically absent in the country's economy (telecommunications equipment).



The country uses Euro as its official currency.


Political system of Austria

State structure
Austria is a federal state, uniting nine independent states. The current constitution was adopted in 1920 and reintroduced in 1945.

The head of state is the federal president, who is elected for a six-year term.

The executive body is the federal government, consisting of the federal chancellor and federal ministers, appointed by the federal president and responsible to the federal assembly.

The Austrian Parliament is a bicameral federal assembly, which consists of a federal council and a national council. Geographically located in Vienna. Parliament can be dissolved either by presidential decree or by a vote of no confidence in the lower house of parliament.

Federal Council, consisting of 62 deputies elected by the Landtags - the parliaments of the states. The lands are represented by a different number of deputies (from 3 to 12) depending on the population. The term of office of a deputy of the Bundesrat: 4 or 6 years, depending on the term of office of the Landtag that elected them.

The National Council, consisting of 183 deputies, is elected according to the proportional-list system. Term of office: 5 years.

Political parties
The Austrian Freedom Party is nationalist.
Alliance for the Future of Austria - a breakaway from the APS.
Reform Conservative Party of Austria.

The Austrian People's Party is conservative.

Stronach's team is Eurosceptic.

The Social Democratic Party of Austria is socialist.

Greens - The green alternative is environmentalist.
The Communist Party of Austria is communist.

Major public organizations
The largest trade union center Association of Austrian trade unions.

Legal system
The Constitutional Court of Austria is the world's first separate constitutional court (1920). It is formed by the president on the proposal of the government and both chambers. It also has the authority to resolve a dispute between the lands (or the lands and the federal center), as well as to impeach senior officials.

The highest court: the Supreme Court of Justice, the courts of appeal - the supreme land courts, the courts of first instance: the land courts, the lower level of the judicial system: district courts, the court of administrative justice: the administrative court of justice.

Since 2008, there has also been a refugee court, and in 2014, the federal administrative court, the state administrative courts and the federal financial court started operating.

Prosecution authorities: General Prosecutor's Office at the level of the Supreme Court, High Prosecutors at the level of the Higher Regional Courts, and Prosecutors, Anti-Corruption Authorities: the Federal Office for the Prevention of Corruption and the Fight against Corruption within the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Office of the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor's Office.



All major cities of the country have their own theaters. The Vienna State Opera was opened on May 25, 1869. It was led by G. Mahler, R. Strauss, K. Böhm, G. von Karajan. Throughout the year, various cities in Austria (primarily Vienna and Salzburg) host music festivals. Other famous theaters in Vienna are the Burgtheater and the Volksoper.

The most famous museums of the country: cultural and historical (Vienna), art and history, natural history, historical museum of Vienna, Albertina Museum. Numerous house-museums associated with the life and work of great people: W. Mozart, L. Beethoven, J. Haydn, F. Schubert, J. Strauss, J. Kalman.

The main national holiday is October 26 - the day of the adoption of the law on permanent neutrality (1955).

The legislative basis for primary and secondary education in Austria was established in 1962. The Federal Ministry of Education is responsible for funding and supervising primary, secondary and, since 2000, higher education. The management of primary and secondary education is carried out at the level of the respective Länder authorities.

Kindergartens in most states are free. Parents can enroll their children at will in this institution at the age of 3 to 6 years. The maximum size of the group is about 30 people, each group is usually under the care of one qualified teacher and one assistant.

Primary education lasts for 4 years, starting at the age of six. Typically, the class is led by one teacher during this time in order to develop a stable teacher-student bond that is considered important for children's well-being. Lessons start at 8 am and last until noon with hourly 5- or 10-minute breaks. At school, children receive homework every day.

Public schooling in Austria is free and compulsory. Basic school: 2 levels, up to grade 9. Then higher secondary schools offer students various vocational education programs and university preparatory courses - an additional 4 years of study.

Universities have a high degree of freedom and offer a wide range of educational programs. Tuition at universities was free until 2001, when accreditation of private universities began that year. The largest universities: Vienna (the oldest university in Austria, founded in 1367), Vienna University of Economics, Graz, Innsbruck, Salzburg universities. Since 2009, education at state universities for non-EU citizens is paid. In accordance with the Law on Higher Education of September 24, 2008, the following fees apply for studies at public universities:

Tuition fees per semester: € 363.36, for third-country nationals € 726.72 (as of 2021);
Contribution to the student organization ÖH: € 20.20 (for 2021).
Students with a long-term visa and students of the University of Vienna who are citizens of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan are exempt from payment.


The science

Austria gave the world a large number of famous scientists, including famous minds of the XIX century Ludwig Boltzmann, Ernst Mach, Victor Franz Hess and Christian Doppler. In the 1920s and 1930s, the contributions of Lise Meitner, Erwin Schrödinger, and Wolfgang Pauli were key to the development of atomic physics and quantum mechanics. The modern physicist Anton Zeilinger was the first to realize the effect of quantum teleportation.

In addition to physicists, two of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper, were born in the country. Biologists Gregor Mendel and Konrad Lorenz, mathematician Kurt Gödel, designers Ferdinand Porsche and Siegfried Markus were also Austrians.

Starting with the famous medieval scientist Paracelsus, the main areas of research of Austrian scientists were medicine and, from the 19th century, also psychology. Eminent physicians such as Theodor Billroth, Clemens Pirque and Anton Eiselsberg were representatives of the Vienna Medical School in the 19th century. Also widely known are Austrian psychologists Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Paul Watzlawick, Hans Asperger and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl.

Economists such as Joseph Schumpeter, Eigen von Böhm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek contributed to the development of the Austrian School of Economics, which is one of the competing areas of modern economic theory.

Currently, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, founded in 1847, is engaged in fundamental research. It includes the K. Lorentz Institute for Comparative Behavior Research, the International Institute for Applied System Analysis, and others. Altogether, there are about 2,200 scientific institutions in Austria, employing approximately 25,000 people. The state actively participates in international scientific cooperation; it has more than 1000 research projects of the EU framework program on its account.



The overwhelming majority of works that are usually attributed to Austrian literature are written in German, although, of course, authors who wrote in other languages ​​lived in the territory of the Holy Roman and Austro-Hungarian empires. Frau Ava in the early Middle Ages was the first poet to write in German. The Minnesang and the heroic epic are usually classified as medieval German literature, although many well-known authors, such as Walther von der Vogelweide, were directly related to Austria. In the 15th century, as in all of Europe, the literature of humanism becomes decisive in Austria, the most prominent representative of which is Nicholas of Cusa, Bishop of Brixen. Baroque literature in the 17th century and enlightenment in the 18th century did not produce world-famous names. The representative of romanticism, which was also influenced by Biedermeier and classicism, in Austrian literature in the first half of the 19th century was Franz Grillparzer. The most important figure in Austrian Biedermeier literature was Adalbert Stifter. Realism and naturalism in the literature of Austria is represented by the names of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Ferdinand von Saar, Ludwig Anzengruber and Peter Rosegger. However, Austrian literature really reached the world level at the beginning of the 20th century. Among the most famous writers of this period are Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth. Despite a rich and glorious history, Austrian literature can boast of only one Nobel laureate. Elfriede Jelinek became the winner in 2004. According to the Nobel Committee, she received the award "For the musical play of voices and echoes in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of social clichés and their enslaving power."



Austrian art until the 18th century rarely separated from German art, especially since the highly developed Bohemia was part of the Austrian Empire. In the 18th century, Austria is dominated by the baroque, whose famous representatives were Johann Michael Rottmayr, Martin van Meytens and Franz Anton Maulberch. In the first half of the 19th century, portraits and landscapes by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, a representative of the Biedermeier style, gained wide popularity in Europe. Later landscapes by Adalbert Stifter and historical canvases by Hans Makart stand out.

Nevertheless, Austrian art gained worldwide fame at the turn of the 20th century, when Vienna, partly due to the activities of the Vienna Secession, became one of the main centers of Art Nouveau. Three of the greatest Austrian artists of this period: Gustav Klimt (modern, Jugendstil), Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka (expressionism), each of whom opened a new direction in the visual arts.

After the Anschluss in 1938, their work, along with other artists of the early 20th century, was declared degenerate and was persecuted. Other Austrian artists of the first half of the 20th century are widely known, for example, Koloman Moser and Albin Egger-Linz, sculptor Fritz Votruba.

In the second half of the 20th century, the Viennese school of fantastic realism (close to surrealism) appeared. Its founder was Albert Paris Gütersloh, and one of the most prominent representatives was Edgar Jene. Among contemporary artists, Gottfried Helnwein and Arnulf Reiner stand out. The work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser with his abstract decorative works is widely known. Hundertwasser also made a significant contribution to architecture, decorating many of the most mundane buildings in bright colors.



Austria is the home of many famous composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn, Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss Sr., Johann Strauss Jr. and Gustav Mahler. Also known are members of the second Viennese school, such as Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg. Most of Mozart's career was spent in Vienna. Composer Ludwig van Beethoven spent most of his life in this city.

The current Austrian national anthem was written by Mozart and chosen after World War II, replacing the previous anthem written by Joseph Haydn.

The country is also home to a notable jazz musician, keyboardist Josef Zawinul.

The pop and rock musician Falco, who was world famous in the 1980s, was also an Austrian. He was glorified by the song Rock Me Amadeus, dedicated to Mozart.

In 2014, Austrian-born Tom Neuwirth, under the female alter ego Conchita Wurst, won the Eurovision Song Contest.



Ballet art in Austria originated in the 16th century, when court performances with dances were arranged. The first dance masters at the Viennese court were the Italians Mimiha Lyalyakovichi and C. Negri, as well as C. Beccaria, S. and D. Ventura. Equestrian ballets, masquerades were staged, dances were included in drama and opera performances. At the same time, itinerant troupes developed the traditions of folk dance. From the middle of the 17th century, composer J. Schmelzer wrote music for many dance performances. In the 1670s, professional dancers appeared in the Viennese court troupe, headed by the composer A. Draghi.

At the beginning of the 20th century, rhythmic-plastic dance spread, which acquired its national forms here, in particular in the art of the Wiesenthal sisters, who performed waltzes. G. Bodenwieser, R. Hladek are also named among the representatives of this direction. In the 1920s and 1930s, choreographers G. Kröller and M. Wahlmann worked at the Vienna State Opera, who staged the popular ballet The Austrian Peasant Wedding. V. Frenzl, who revived the traditional Viennese ballets. The most famous artists of that era were G. Pichler, H. Pfundmayr, M. Buchinger, R. Rab, A. Krausenecker, representatives of the Frenzl and Birkmeier families.

In 1942-1958 E. Hanka was the choreographer of the Vienna State Opera. Under her leadership, the troupe survived the hardships of the war years. She formed the repertoire of the first post-war decade, which included mainly her productions: over 60 ballets, many with music by Austrian and German composers Joan of Tsarissa by Egk, Blacher's Moor of Venice, Helmesberger's Sacher Hotel in the processing of Schönherr and Medusa » von Einem.

In the 1940s-1950s, the dancers Y. Drapal, L. Templer, E. Brexner, L. Breuer, M. Bauer, and the dancer R. Novotny were the leaders. The troupe of the Vienna State Opera was headed by D. Parlich (1958-1961), A. Millosh (1963-1966 and 1971-1974) and V. Orlikovsky (1966-71). In Vienna, ballets are also staged at the Volksoper (1955–1972 chief choreographer D. Luka) and the Theater an der Wien (1967–1974 choreographer A. Mitterhuber). Ballet troupes also work in the cities of Graz, Linz, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and others. The main ballet school has been operating at the Vienna State Opera (since the 1760s). Luka also had her own school. In Laxenburg, under the direction of R. Hladek, there is a branch of the dance school of E. Jacques-Dalcroze.

Among the researchers of ballet are F. Derra de Moroda, the author of books and textbooks on dance (in 1952-1967 she had her own school), among the critics are G. Brunner, L. G. Schüller, A. Oberhauser.



From the 11th-12th centuries, mysteries and liturgical dramas were staged in Austrian monasteries and abbeys[23]. The Austrian theater began to take shape in the 16th century from the time of the formation of the multinational Austrian state[24]. In the 16th century, countless itinerant theater troupes move around Austria, performing comic skits, acrobatic and dance numbers. The scenes for the artists' numbers were written by W. Schmelzl. At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, theaters arose under the Jesuit colleges, which promoted obedience to the church and the emperor. The productions often used Italian theater techniques.
In the 17th century, the art of Italy had a great influence on the Austrian theater. Scenarios by Italian masters helped to improve the creations of actors of traveling theaters. Avancinus' play "The Victorious Piety" was performed in Vienna in 1659. The performance was distinguished by the abundance of external effects and the colorfulness of the spectacle. In 1712, the first stationary theater was created in Vienna. The experience of the German folk theater and Italian comedy was used for staging performances, fixing the principle of improvisation on the stage.
At the end of the 18th century, new theaters opened on the outskirts of Vienna: the Leopoldstadt Theater in 1781, the Josefstadt Theater in 1788, and the Widener Theater in 1787. Operas by W. A. ​​Mozart and I. Haydn, knightly dramas, and children's ballets were staged in these theaters. In 1741, a royal court theater was opened in Vienna, called the Burgtheater.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the development of theaters began in small towns in Austria. A huge contribution to this was made by F. Raimund and I. Nestroy. They created their own genre of national comedy and further promoted the development of democratic theater traditions.
In the 1920s, there was an upsurge in the creative activity of the Burgtheater. The theater is directed by the actor and director A. Heine. During the Nazi occupation, former figures of Austrian culture were persecuted. Most theaters were closed and destroyed. After the liberation of Austria by Soviet troops, the struggle for cultural independence began. Most theaters stage works of foreign classics, including Russian ones. The Burgtheater staged Woe from Wit, Calypso, Yegor Bulychov and Others, Nathan the Wise.



In 2009, the festival of Russian cinema "Days of Russian cinema in Austria and Slovakia" was held in Vienna. The President of the Golden Knight Foundation, Nikolai Burlyaev, led the Russian delegation. The films "Ivan's Childhood", "Andrey Rublev", "Lermontov" were presented in Vienna, as well as creative thematic meetings were held.



Of the buildings in the Romanesque style in Austria, only temples have survived (for example, the Ruprechtskirche church in Vienna). Gothic forms are embodied in the buildings of the Cistercian order, the fountain pavilion in the Heiligenkreuz monastery. Among the Gothic masterpieces is St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. The Renaissance in Austria is associated with the activities of Emperor Maximilian I, the patron of artists, among them Albrecht Dürer, who created sketches of bronze figures at the tomb of Maximilian in Innsbruck. Secular Renaissance buildings: houses in Klagenfurt, Portia castle in Spittal, Hochosterwitz fortress in Carinthia. Many palaces and temples in Vienna, Salzburg, and Graz were built in the classical baroque style. The most famous representatives of the Baroque: Josef Mungenast (monastic church in Dürnstein), Jakob Prandtauer (monastery in Melk), Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (National Library in Vienna) and Lucas von Hildebrandt (Mirabel castles in Salzburg and Belvedere in Vienna).

The whole town of Baden near Vienna has retained the individuality of the style of the classicist master Josef Kornhuizel. Historicist style was an attempt after the upheavals of 1848 to draw on the past and demonstrate the strength of the empire with the help of monumental buildings, for example, on the Ringstrasse ring road in Vienna. Half a century later, adherents of the secession under the motto “Time is its art. Art - its freedom ”advocated a disengagement from conservative academic circles. In this Austrian manifestation of the Art Nouveau style, representatives of various fields of art collaborated closely with each other. The leaders of the movement were the painter Gustav Klimt and the architects Otto Wagner and Joseph-Maria Olbrich. A special color is created by the buildings of the postmodern style, which are rich in the central part of Vienna. Among the buildings of modern architecture - the building of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna International Center in Vienna.



Austrian cuisine has followed the tradition of noble cuisine for centuries, which is famous for its well-balanced dishes of beef and pork with various vegetables. There is also a Mehlspeisen bakery that bakes cream cakes and all kinds of pastries.

Traditional dishes are donuts filled with apricot marmalade or cream, as well as apple strudel.

The development of Austrian cuisine was especially influenced by their neighbors: Hungary, the Czech Republic, Italy and the Balkans.

Austrians' favorite drink is beer.


Mass media

The largest news agency is the Austrian Press Agency (Austria Presse Agentur eG, APA).

The most important periodicals are: the Wiener Zeitung, the official organ of the government, the Bundesgesetzblatt für die Republik Österreich, the legal bulletin, the Oberösterreichisches Volksblatt - the body of the Upper Austrian Land Organization of the Austrian People's Party, the "Arbeiterzeitung" ("Arbeiter-Zeitung") - the body of the Social Democratic Party of Austria, "Volksstimme" ("Volksstimme") - the body of the Communist Party of Austria.

Radio broadcasting has been conducted since 1924, television broadcasts since 1956. Until 2011, television broadcasts were conducted by the state television center "Austrian Radio and Television" (ERF) under two programs (ORF 2 and ORF Eins), in large cities the commercial television studio ATV broadcast under the third program, and in Vienna also under the fourth program - a commercial television studio pulse TV. Since 2011, television programs have been on the first (includes the first, second programs and the ATV program) and the second (includes the cultural and educational, sports programs "Austrian Radio", 3sat, the Puls 4 program and the program of the Servus TV television studio, as well as the international program 3sat) to bunches of programs, in large cities German programs are relayed for 3 more bunches of programs. The state service "Austrian Radio and Television" broadcasts on 9 land and 2 national programs (Ö1 and Hitradio Ö3), in large cities the ERF broadcasts the fourth program (FM4), several more programs are broadcast by private radio stations - national KroneHit and Life Radio and land - Antenne Steiermark, Antenne Kärnten, Antenne Salzburg, Antenne Vorarlberg, Antenne Tirol, Radio 88.6.



The most popular sport in Austria is skiing. Austrians are the most successful skiers in the history of the Olympic Games (105 awards) and World Championships. Austrians have won more medals in alpine skiing at the Olympics than in all summer sports combined. The Austrians are also successful in ski jumping. In the entire history of the Summer Olympics, the Austrians have only won more than 2 gold medals once (in 1936 in Berlin). In 2012, at the Games in London, Austria failed to win a single medal for the first time since 1964.

Innsbruck hosted the Winter Olympics twice in 1964 and 1976.

The Austrian football championship has been held since 1912. The Austrian Cup has been held since 1913. The main football association in Austria is the Austrian Football Union, which consists of 8 state football unions. In 2008, Austria, together with Switzerland, hosted the European Football Championship, the final of which was held in Vienna.

Wilhelm Steinitz, a citizen of the Austrian Empire, was the first world chess champion.

In the mid-1990s, tennis player Thomas Muster was the first racket of the world for 6 weeks. Tennis player Dominic Thiem has to his credit a victory in singles at the US Open.


Foreign policy

Since October 26, 1955, foreign policy has been built taking into account the international legal status of permanent neutrality. Neutrality made it possible to expand the country's foreign policy opportunities and room for maneuver. During the Cold War, neutral Austria played the role of a bridge between West and East. Although neutrality was conceived along the lines of the Swiss, in practice it has developed its own development. During the reign of Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, he was the basis of Vienna's almost pacifist foreign policy. Since the late 1980s, neutrality began to adapt to the new international conditions, in 1995 Austria became a member of the European Union. Its foreign policy began to lose independence and increasingly "dissolve" in the general course of the EU.

In the late 1990s, many Austrian politicians raised the question of the abolition of neutrality and the expediency of the country's membership in NATO, but the country's population and opposition parties were skeptical of these ideas. Currently, official Vienna proceeds from the fact that neutrality should not be a frozen institution, but must be adapted to changing conditions, nevertheless, as before, the federal constitutional law on neutrality of October 26, 1955 is a valid law. According to its norms, the country cannot take part in any wars, will not allow the presence of any foreign troops on its territory, and will not enter into any military treaty.

Austria is one of the leaders among EU countries in terms of quality of life. Its share in the industrial production of the European Union is 2.5%. The transformation of the EU into a system of supranational institutions led to the fact that the Austrian parliament and social partnership institutions lost some of their functions, as they were transferred to Brussels. Foreign policy is carried out within the framework of the European consensus. In 2009-2010, Austria served as a non-permanent representative on the UN Security Council.


Austrian intelligence agencies

The Austrian intelligence system includes:
Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism.
Military intelligence.
Military counterintelligence.



The total number of armed forces is about 49 thousand people (2004), they consist of ground forces and the air force. The armed forces are headed by the Inspector General, who reports to the Minister of National Defense (civilian, representative of the ruling party). In wartime, the president is the supreme commander. The country has 9 military districts, geographically coinciding with the administrative division. The recruitment of the armed forces is carried out on the basis of the law on universal military service and by hire. Conscription age: 18 years old, for hire. The duration of military service since 2007 is 6 months, after which those liable for military service under the age of 50 are involved in military exercises according to the plan of the Ministry of Defense (no more than 60 days). The total number of persons liable for military service, fit for military service: 1.9 million people (2004).

Defense spending is about (2005) 1.5 billion USD (0.9% of GDP).


Safety while you travel in Austria

In recent years the number of crimes have increased. These usually include petty crimes such as pick pocketing, stealing of handbags and other personal property. So avoid large groups of people since this offers the best opportunity for thieves.



Emergency Service 120

Fire Service 122

Police 133

Ambulance 144


Office hours

Opening hours vary from museum to museum. The day off for museum is usually a Monday. Most of small stores usually have lunch hour from 12 to 1pm then they are closed. Large stores however stay open without lunch breaks. Businesses usually close from 6pm to 8pm. Banks are open on weekdays.



Austria is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks (travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country).

Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are.

To stay longer than 90 days, a non-EU foreigner will need either a long-stay visa (valid for up to 6 months) or an Aufenthaltstitel (residence permit). Visa-exempt visitors may be able to acquire a residence permit inside Austria after entry, but consulates do not recommend this route due to processing times for the permits and that the permit must be obtained within the initial 90-day period of stay.

One of the ways to stay in the country for longer than 90 days is to study on a study visa, for example by studying on a TEFL course run by the English Teacher Training College at one of several campuses around Austria or a larger university like Vienna or Salzburg.

By plane
There are 6 airports in Austria with scheduled flights. The most important international airport is Vienna which has connection to all major airports of the world. Other international airports include Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, and Salzburg which provide domestic flights as well as connections to some European countries. Those airports are particularly popular with cheap airlines such as Ryanair. For travelling to the western states it is recommended to use the very close Munich airport.

The most common airports to visit Vorarlberg are Altenrhein (Austrian), Friedrichshafen (Ryanair, Intersky) and Zurich (Swiss).

If visiting Austria for winter sports, choose airport considering cost and duration for the whole trip (plane+transfer), not always Vienna and even likely not in Austria.

Unlike many countries, getting in to Austria for skiing shouldn't imply flying to the capital city first. Vienna itself is a 4 hour drive away from the nearest medium-sized resort, and longer by public transport. See more in GetIn section of Winter sports in Austria.

With children
Austrian Airlines: Baby strollers weighting over 10kg should be checked in as a luggage; strollers below 10kg are allowed up until the aircraft board, and taken by personnel right at the entrance to the aircraft. See also a dedicated page on flying by Austrian with children: .

By bus
Bus is not always the cheapest way to travel though deep discounts for advanced bookings are being introduced for long-distance travel (as far as from Warsaw to Austria for €4). The bus may also be the cheapest option if you want to travel at short notice or if you have large amounts of luggage. Bus travel is especially interesting for those coming from the East as there are many buses into Vienna and they are often faster than trains. Information about their assorted services and pricing is can be found in that section.

Eurolines Austria is the largest operator and organizer of bus travel in Austria though many services are not included in their schedules.

Due to the large Balkan diaspora after the Yugoslav wars in the 90's, there are numerous bus companies serving the main Austrian cities (such as Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, Graz, Innsbruck, etc.) to many destinations in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with prices as low as 45 or 50 EUR for a return ticket from Belgrade to Vienna.


By car
Austria and all its neighbouring countries are Schengen members so in theory there are no border controls. However, because of the current migrant crisis, Austria and some other countries in the EU temporarily reintroduced controls on some border crossing points, so you should count in some possible delay especially when crossing borders in northern or western direction (e.g. travelling from Hungary to Austria or Austria to Germany). For using the Autobahnen or Schnellstrassen, a vignette, or tax sticker, must be purchased. Costs for cars are approx €90 for one year, €25 for 8 weeks, or about €8.50 for 10 days. For motorcycles, the prices are about 50% cheaper. Vehicles above 3.5 tonnes maximum permitted laden weight must carry a so called "GO-BOX" instead of the vignette - a small eletronic device, which uses the high frequency range to communicate with toll points and calculate the distance based fees.

On some Saturdays in July and August expect traffic jams on the motorways between Germany, Austria and Italy when millions of German tourists head south at the beginning of school vacations. A delay of about 2 hours is not unusual. The motorway A10 between Salzburg and Villach is especially notorious. It's best to avoid those Saturdays.

From Germany
Motorway A8 from Munich to Salzburg.
Motorway A93 from Rosenheim via Kufstein to Innsbruck, Tyrol.
E43 (A96) from Leutkirch via Wangen to Bregenz, Vorarlberg.
E56 from Regensburg via Passau to Linz, Upper Austria.
From Italy
Motorway A23 (E55) via Tarvisio to Villach, Carinthia.
Motorway A22 (E45) via Brenner to Innsbruck, Tyrol.
From Slovenia
E652 to Villach,Carinthia.
E57 via Spielfeld to Graz, Styria.

By train
Austria has plenty of connections with all its neighbours daily. Every neighbouring countries (even Liechtenstein) have trains at least hourly. Many (Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland) even more frequently. The ÖBB (Austrian Railways) operate high-speed ICE and RailJet trains from cities like Zurich, Munich,Frankfurt, Passau, and Budapest. Eurocity trains are the next fastest trains available as well as the trains connecting the bigger Austrian cities called Intercity. Regional trains called EURegio and simply Regionalzug are also available from all 8 of Austria's neighbours.

Vienna is the largest railway hub by day and also night trains from most Central European countries, which travel to many stops across Austria. Day trains are normally much quicker than night trains. Tickets can be purchased from certain locations to Austria via the ÖBB website. Always compare fares from the departure or even transit countries' railways as there may be price difference even for the same train. ÖBB offers discount 'SparSchiene' tickets to and from destinations like Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, and Switzerland for a flat-rate (i.e. €29 for a one-way seater, €39 for a couchette, or €59 for a sleeper). There are a limited number of tickets at this price. At peak times you need to book in advance. Additional offers are available to all countries in Central Europe, although many cannot be booked online.

Information for train spotters
In Austria most railways run electrically. Most electric trains get their power from a single-phase AC network. This network uses its own power lines run with 15 kV. In contrast to normal power lines, these employ a number of conductors that is not divisible by 3 - most power lines for the single phase AC grid of the traction power grid have four conductors. There are many interesting mountain railways of all types and trains from around central Europe.

By Foot or bicycle
Many trails, pedestrian and bicycle bridges and ferries exist around Austria's borders. Details can be found in local sections.


Get around

By train and bus
Trains are the best and most common form of public transport in Austria. Comfortable and moderately priced trains connect major cities and many towns; buses serve less significant towns and lakes. The two forms of transport are integrated and designed to complement each other, and intercity coaches exist but don't provide anywhere near the level of intercity rail service.

Austrian trains are operated mostly by state-owned company ÖBB. The Raaberbahn (GySEV) provides some trains over Austrian-Hungarian border and there are some short private railways with tourist trains, these railways supplement rather than compete with the ÖBB.

The only competitor to the ÖBB is WestBahn on the Salzburg-Linz-Vienna line (the company shares the name of the strech it runs on). Rail passes, ÖBB tickets and VORTEILScard are not valid on WestBahn, buy tickets on-line or onboard. If you are traveling between Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, and points between, WestBahn will likely be cheaper than taking ÖBB (they generally peg their maximum prices to the 50% discounted fares of the ÖBB available to those (generally residents) who have an ÖBB VORTEILScard/loyalty card). WestBahn operates directly to more Viennese destinations than the ÖBB intercity services - half their services go to Wien Westbahnhof (West Station), the other half use the S-Bahn tunnel and stop at Wien Meidling, Hauptbahnhof (Main Station), Quartier Belvedere, Rennweg (S-Bahn to the airport), Mitte (City Airport Train to the airport), and Praterstern.

Free wifi on Railjets, newer regional trains, on WestBahn trains, and in the main train stations.

The ÖBB also operate buses on the Graz–Klagenfurt–Venice line because the road between these cities is much shorter that railway.

Train types
S (S-Bahn/Schnellbahn) – commuter trains offered in several regions and suburban areas
RSB (Regio S-Bahn) – an express version of the S-Bahn making limited stops
R (Regionalzug) – slow local trains, stops everywhere
REX (Regionalexpress) – fast regional trains, stop at more significant stations
D (Schnellzug) - "rapid" train, normally with poorer service quality than IC/EC.
IC (InterCity) – long-distance trains connecting major towns and cities.
EC (EuroCity) – international long-distance trains
EN (EuroNacht) - overnight intercity (domestic or international) train with sleeping accomidations.
WB (WestBahn) - private competitor's InterCity service, through ticketing to/from other trains possible within regional transporation districts.
ICE (InterCityExpress) – German high-speed trains
RJ (Railjet) – Austria's home-grown high-speed trains
On suburban and regional trains there is normally only second class. On ICE, IC and EC trains is second class, which has sufficiently roomy plush seats, and first class which is more private and with roomier leather seats. The RailJet offers three classes Economy which is akin to second class (second class tickets are valid), First Class featuring leather seats and services like a welcome drink, while an upgrade from first to Premium Class gives you even more space and at your seat services.

The ÖBB sell domestic tickets using a price based only upon distance travelled, regardless of when you buy the ticket and which train you take. Base fare is rather expensive, but Austrian Railways offer some interesting discounts. If you buy a normal (not "Sparschiene"/discounted) ticket from Salzburg to Vienna, that ticket is valid for any train that takes you to Vienna, even for a foreign train stopping inside Austria. (Exception being any train operated by WestBahn, you'll recognize these trains by thier white livery with bright green and blue stripes.)

Tickets can be ordered (and paid for) on the web, including itineraries coving connecting trains and involving narrow-gauge, privately-operated, railways (like in the Zillertal valley). You can also reserve seats for a small fee: that is definitely recommended if you plan to travel with luggage. Tickets ordered online should be printed and presented to the conductor on board upon request. They should be printed since they will barcode-scanned and stamped.


When purchasing tickets online you're offered two options: to print the tickets, or to pick it up from OBB machine at station. If you print the ticket, the cancellation will not be possible (and the web site warns you about it) - and the customer service department will not forgive your mistake. You do not have to decide right away, however - you can decide later. Also after successful purchase you have a three minute "grace period" where you can undo your purchase, and get full refund - use it to recheck your ticket information. If you printed the ticket, you must show it to the conductor, along with the photo ID matching the name on the ticket and the card used for purchase.

There are ticket machines at all sizable train stations and on board some regional trains. When boarding regional trains you are required to have purchased a ticket before boarding, if it is possible to buy a ticket via railway office or vending machine at the station you are departing from. (This includes most stations. These stations are marked with SB in all ÖBB timetables). Ticket machines do not display or print itineraries, and many train stations only display basic timetables. It is best to find an itinerary on the Austrian Railways website trip planner. Stations also provide pamphlets with detailed timetables, but they assume that you know which line to board to get to your destination and can only be obtained during office hours.

The behind the scenes of ticketing is a bit more complicated: tickets from local public transportation authorities (like OÖVV, VVNB, SVV and VOR) are valid in both ÖBB and WestBahn trains and buses, as well as many other railways, in the zones they cover. This fare system is parallel to the railways' own systems and has the advantage of sometimes being cheaper and/or including connecting local public transport, but railway discounts don't apply. Machines and agents will automatically select these tariffs for you if they are cheaper than the railway tariff. This means that for instance you might be asked if you have a valid public transportation pass for Vienna, because your railway ticket can then start at the city limits instead of at the station you depart at saving you a couple euros.

SparSchiene are cheap tickets offered between major cities both domestically and internationally. These tickets aren't based on distance, rather they're cheapest when booking well in advance online and are tied to a specific train run and time. Though this offer can be very tempting, especially for those without the VORTEILScard, do consider that they provide less flexibility than regular tickets and are not refundable or changeable and are often sold-out at popular times. For instance SparSchiene tickets from Salzburg to Klagenfurt can be had for €9 in second class, compared to €35 regular price, or €18 with VORTEILScard.
VORTEILScard gets you 45-55% reduction on any domestic rail ticket (depending on the train and whether you buy it online, at a ticket machine or at a counter) and 25% off on cross-border trains in Europe (RailPlus discount). The VC is also valid on private railways except the rack and WestBahn railways. Cards are valid for one year and are first issued as a temporary paper ticket (printed on the spot and valid for the first two months). A plastic ID card is then sent out by mail, normally within two weeks. The VC is available at all ÖBB station ticket offices and counters. You will need both your passport to fill out the form and purchase your VORTEILScard. For one year:
VORTEILScard (regular) costs €99.90 if you aren't eligible for the following.
VORTEILScard costs €19.90 for those under 26 years.
VORTEILScard Senior costs €26.90 for men and women over 60 years. (All seniors by this criteria are waived seat reservation fees, regardless of VorteilsCard.)
Persons with limited physical mobility or the handicapped (the visually impaired, for example) are eligible for certain other versions of the VORTEILScard at extremely nominal prices, although getting these with foreign documents can be a challenge. Regardless, though, you are eligible to have the seat reservation fee waived.)
Einfach-Raus-Ticket can be used by groups of up to 5 people for unlimited train travel during one day on all Austrian regional trains (categories S, RSB, R and REX) and trains run by the operator Raaberbahn. It's valid from 09:00 on weekdays (from midnight on weekends) until 03:00 the following day and costs €32 online, at vending machines, at stations or wherever ÖBB tickets are sold.



The lands of modern Austria were conquered by the Romans from the Celts in 15 BC. In the VI – VIII centuries, the territory of the future Tyrol is occupied by the Germanic Bavarian people, the territories of the future Austria, Styria and Carinthia are occupied by the Slavs. In 788, conquered by the Franks. In 803, the Avar brand was created, in 976 it was renamed the Eastern brand. Since its inception, Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Tyrol have been absolute monarchies. In 1156, during the reign of the Babenberg dynasty, Austria was separated from Bavaria into an independent duchy, which in 1276 passed to the Habsburgs.

Since 1438, the dukes of Austria were elected mainly emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1453 (by this time they were already in personal union), the duke of Austria received the title of Archduke. In 1526, the Czech Republic and Croatia were annexed to Austria. As a result of the Silesian Wars, the country lost Silesia. At the end of the 18th century, as a result of the partition of Poland, Galicia, Lesser Poland and Southern Mazovia (as Western Galicia) were annexed to Austria. In 1687, Hungary joined the union with Austria. As a result of the wars with France, in 1806, the Archduke of Austria lost the title of Holy Roman Emperor, but received the title Emperor of Austria, and since 1815, after the creation of the German Union, the emperors of Austria were its presidents, the country lost Southern Mazovia, but received Lombardy and Veneto. In 1859, as a result of the defeat in the Austro-Italian-French war, it lost Lombardy and Veneto, in 1866, as a result of the defeat of Austria in the Austro-Prussian war, the German Union self-dissolved.

In 1867, the Austrian emperor issued a constitution proclaiming Austria as a constitutional dualist censored monarchy, the imperial council consisting of the House of Lords, consisting of the titled nobility, and the House of Representatives, elected by electors on the basis of the property qualification according to the majority system in 2 rounds, became the legislative body. the state is the hereditary emperor, and the executive body is the ministry appointed by the emperor and held accountable to him. The most influential party was the Christian Social Party. At the beginning of the 20th century, universal suffrage was introduced in the elections to the House of Representatives, the Christian Social Party retained its influence, but the Social Democratic Party of Austria was on a par with it.

On November 11, 1918, the Kaiser of Austria and King of Hungary Charles I declared his self-removal from reigning over Austria; on November 12, 1918, the Reichsrat abolished the monarchy and the House of Lords, proclaimed the empire a republic of German Austria and part of the German empire, which automatically entailed the breakdown of the Austro-Hungarian union and the liquidation Austria-Hungary. On the same day, the Reichsrat adopted the "Law on the State Form and Form of Government of German Austria", according to which elections for the constitutional national assembly were called for the adoption of the constitution, before it was convened, the provisional legislative body became the interim national assembly, which included all members of the 1911 Reichsrat selected from the German part of Austria. The State Council headed by the State Chancellor - Social Democrat Karl Renner became the interim executive body. On November 13, 1918, Charles I declared his self-removal from the reign of Hungary; on November 16, 1918, the state assembly abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the Kingdom of Hungary as the Hungarian People's Republic - the breakdown of the Austro-Hungarian union was recognized by Hungary. On November 14, members of the Reichsrat from the districts inhabited by Czechs of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia formed the Czechoslovak Revolutionary National Assembly, which proclaimed the Czechoslovak Republic.


On February 16, 1919, elections were held for the constitutional national assembly, the first place in which was won by the Social Democratic Labor Party of Austria, and the second place by a small margin was the Christian Social Party. On March 14, it adopted laws on national representation and state government, according to which the constitutional national assembly became the legislative body, and the state government became the executive body. On September 10, 1919, the Saint-Germain Peace Treaty was signed, Austria was forbidden to reunite with Germany, she recognized the independence of Czechoslovakia, Hungary. The regions of Lower Styria, Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia were transferred to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Transylvania and Bukovina - Romania. On October 21, 1919, it was ratified by the constitutional national assembly, changing the name of the state to the Republic of Austria. On October 10, 1920, it adopted a federal constitutional law proclaiming Austria as a federal democratic parliamentary republic, establishing the federal assembly as a legislative body consisting of the federal council and the national council, the federal government and the posts of the federal president, federal chancellor, and federal ministers.

On March 4, 1933, Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dolphus dissolved the federal assembly and a year later issued the so-called “May Constitution”, which abolished it. It replaced the people's representation with a corporate one, the federal legislature became the legislative body, 20 members of which were appointed by the state council, which, in turn, was formed by the federal president, 10 - by the federal economic council formed by trade unions and trade and industrial unions, 10 - by the federal cultural council created creative unions, 9 - by the council of lands, which ex officio included zemstvo captains; The federal government remained the executive body, and the federal president remained the head of state.

In 1938, the Anschluss occurred, the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, the federal lands were transformed into the Reichsgau Vienna, Upper Danube, Lower Danube, Carinthia, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol-Vorarlberg, governed by the deputies appointed by the Reich Chancellor of Germany.

In April 1945, the troops of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition expelled the Wehrmacht from Austria, the fascist governors were removed, power was transferred to the provisional land governments (in some lands they were called provisional land committees), consisting of opponents of fascism. On April 27, 1945, a provisional state government was created at the national level from the Social Democrats, the Communists (they entered before 1947) and the Christian Socialists, led by the State Chancellor, Social Democrat Karl Renner. The process of denazification began, to control which the country was occupied by the troops of four member states of the anti-Hitler coalition and divided into four zones of occupation: Soviet, British, American and French. On July 4, 1945, an inter-allied control commission for Austria, consisting of representatives of the occupying parties, was created to directly control denazification. In September 1945, political parties were allowed, the largest of which were the Socialist Party of Austria, the Austrian People's Party, the Communist Party of Austria and the Democratic Party. On November 25, 1945, elections to the national council were held. In the fall of 1945, the federal constitutional law of 1919 was restored. Negotiations on the conclusion of a peace treaty began in 1947, but it was concluded only on May 15, 1955, because “when, after many years of allied occupation, it became clear that the competition between the West and the USSR for Austria would not bring anyone a clear victory, in Austria political circles once again awakened interest in neutrality. Vienna’s military-political equidistance could become an acceptable formula for resolving the issue of the withdrawal of Western and Soviet occupation forces. ” In October of the same year, the Austrian Law of Permanent Neutrality was adopted, which it still observes. On October 25, all Allied forces from Austria were withdrawn.


The times of the Cold War brought diplomatic fame to Austria, its capital Vienna. Representations of the largest international organizations, including the UN, have settled here. Successfully developed the post-war economy of the country.

On January 1, 1995, Austria joined the European Union.