European Campus


 Study in Austria
a ABOUT austria
a STUDYING In austria
a GETTING TO austria
a LIVING IN austria

STUDY IN  Austria - LIVING IN Austria


Social Scene    |    Customs and Culture    |    Transportation

Accommodation    |    Health Care    |    Emergency Contacts


Social Scene


Social Conventions: Austrians tend to be quite formal in both their social and business dealings. They do not use first names when being introduced, but after the initial meeting first names are often used. Handshaking is normal when saying hello and goodbye. It is considered impolite to enter a restaurant or shop without saying Guten Tag or, more usually, Grüss Gott; similarly, to leave without saying Auf Wiedersehen can cause offence. Social pleasantries and some exchange of small-talk is appreciated. If invited out to dinner, flowers should be brought for the hostess. The Church enjoys a high and respected position in Austrian society, which should be kept in mind by the visitor. It is customary to dress up for the opera or the theatre. Tipping: Widespread, but large amounts are not expected. On restaurant bills a service charge of 10 to 15 per cent is included, but it is usual to leave a further 5 per cent. Attendants at theatres, cloakrooms or petrol pumps, expect to be tipped €0.15-0.22. Railway and airports have fixed charges for portering. Taxi drivers expect €0.22-0.29 for a short trip and 10 per cent for a longer one.

Special Events: For a full list of events celebrated in Austria, contact the Austrian National Tourist Office. The following is a selection of special events occurring in Austria in 2004:

Jan International Ballooning Week, Tannheim; FIS World Cup Race (Ladies), Innsbruck; International Hahnenkamm Race (salolm skiing race), Kitzbühel. Jan-Feb Mozart Week, Salzburg. Jan 3 International Four Hills Jump Tournament, Innsbruck. Jan 25 Snow Festival, Seefeld. Feb Carnival Festival, Bad Ischl; Arlberg Open Space – Big Mountain Freeriding, Lech in Vorarlberg. Feb 19 Vienna Opera Ball. Mar 3rd International Nordic Night-Sprint; Easter Bunny Party, Montafon. Mar 15- May 7 Vienna Spring Festival. Apr The Sound of Easter, Vienna; Easter Festival, Salzburg. May Vienna Festival; International Gourmet Festival, Linz; Austrian Grand Prix, Formula One, Speilberg; Whitsunday Festival, Salzburg. May-Jun Daffodil Festival, Bad Aussee. May 16 Vienna City Marathon. Jun Kitz Alp Bike – Mountainbike Marathon, Kizbüehel. Jun-Jul Styriarte, Graz; Innsbruck Dance Summer Festival. Jun 28-Jul 11 Jazz Festival, Vienna. Jul International Milka Chocolate Festival, Bludenz; International Youth & Music Festival, Vienna; Love Parade, Vienna; ‘Generali Open’, Kitzbüehel. Jul-Aug Carinthian Summer, Ossiach/Carinthia; Bregenzer Festival; Salzburg Festival; Innsbruck Festival Weeks of Early Music. Aug Ledehosen Festival, Windischgarsten; Lakefestival, St Gilgen. Sep Montafon Pumpkin Festival, Voralberg; International Hadyn Festival, Eisenstadt. Sep 18 20th Dumpling Festival, Tirol. Sep 20 15th International Tirolean Ballooning Cup, Kirchberg. Oct-Nov Styrian Autumn, Graz. Oct 25-26 Octoberfestival (including cattle procession), Tirol. Nov-Dec ‘Magic of Advent’ Christmas Market, Vienna; Christmas Market Schönbrunn, Vienna. Dec Rave on Snow, Saalbach-Hinterglemm. Dec 31 Imperial Ball, Vienna.

Local Customs & Culture

Food: Traditional Austrian dishes are Wiener Schnitzel, boiled beef (Tafelspitz), calf’s liver with herbs in butter (Geröstete Leber), Goulash, Kaiserschmarrn, Palatschinken and Salzburger Nockerln, as well as various types of smoked and cured pork. Viennese cuisine is strongly influenced by southeast European cuisine, notably that of Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Dalmatia.

Many of the simpler meals are often made with rice, potatoes and dumplings (Knödel) with sauces. The main meal of the day is lunch. Mehlspeisen is the national term for cakes and puddings, all of which are wonderfully appetising. There are more than 57 varieties of Torte, which is often consumed with coffee at around 1500. Open all day, the Austrian coffee shop (Kaffeehaus) is little short of a national institution and often provides the social focus of a town or neighbourhood.

Spirits such as whisky and gin, together with imported beers, tend to be on the expensive side, but local wines (often served in open carafes) are excellent and cheap. Most of the wines are white (Riesling, Veltliner) but there are also some good red wines from Baden and Burgenland, as well as imported wines from other European countries. Generally the strict registration laws mean that the quality of the wine will be fully reflected in its price. Obstler is a drink found in most German-speaking countries, and is made by distilling various fruits. It is usually very strong, and widely drunk as it is cheap and well flavoured. Most bars or coffee houses have waiter service and bills are settled with the arrival of drinks. All restaurants have waiter service.

Shopping: High-quality goods such as handbags, glassware, chinaware and winter sports equipment represent the cream of specialist items found in Austria. A 20 to 32 per cent value-added-tax (called MwSt) is included in the list price of items sold. Shopping hours: Shops and stores are generally open from Mon-Fri 0800-1800 (with a 1- or 2-hour lunch break in the smaller towns). Some shops are open until 1930 on Thursday and on Saturday opening hours are until 1700.

Nightlife: Viennese nightlife offers something for every taste: opera, theatre and cabaret as well as numerous bars and nightclubs. There are cinemas of all types, some of them of architectural interest, showing films in different languages. A good way to spend a summer evening is in one of the beer gardens found all over Austria. The wine-growing area around Vienna features wine gardens (Heurigen) where visitors can sample local wines in an open-air setting.


RAIL: Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB) (Austrian Federal Railways) runs an efficient internal service throughout Austria. There is a frequent intercity service from Vienna to Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz and Klagenfurt, and regular motorrail services through the Tauern Tunnel. Information and booking can be obtained from railway stations or Austrian Federal Railways. Local information can be obtained on (1) 1717. For bookings from the UK, contact Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) (tel: (0870) 243 5363); or Rail Europe (tel: (08705) 848 848).

The most scenic routes are Innsbruck–Brenner, Innsbruck–Buchs, Innsbruck–Bruck an der Mur–Vienna, Innsbruck–Feldkirch–Innsbruck, Innsbruck– Garmisch– Zugspitze, Innsbruck–Salzburg–Innsbruck, Linz–Selzthal–Amstetten–Linz, Salzburg–Zell am See–Innsbruck, Salzburg– Gmunden–Stainach– Salzburg, Salzburg–Vienna, Salzburg–Villach– Salzburg, Vienna–Puchberg am Schneeberg– Hochschneeberg–Vienna, Vienna–Bruck an der Mur–Innsbruck, Vienna–Klagenfurt–Udine–Trieste. Railways have fixed charges for portering. Tickets can be obtained from any station ticket office (Reisebüro am Bahnhof) or from most Austrian travel agents. For further information consult Austrian National Tourist Office.

Discount fares: Throughout Austria, up to two children under 6 years who are accompanied or require no seat travel free and a third child qualifies for a 50 per cent discount. Children aged 6 to 15 pay half fare. Senior citizens (women 60 and over and men 65 and over) may buy train and bus tickets at half price after purchasing an ID card for approximately €25.40. This ID card can be purchased at all Austrian railway stations. Austria offers a number of discount rail passes including the Vorteilscard and the Euro Domino and Euro Domino Junior, both valid for 3 to 8 days within a 30-day period. The Austrian Rail Pass is available to foreigners. Reductions are also available for groups of more than 6 people. For more information, contact the Austrian Railways Head Office.

ROAD: Austria has an excellent network of roads. Traffic drives on the right. Free help is readily given by the Austrian Motoring Association (ÖAMTC) – for emergency breakdowns, dial 120. Tolls must be paid on all Austrian motorways. Tourists can purchase either 10-day, 2-monthly or 1-year discs which are available at all major border crossings and at post offices. The weekly disc is valid for up to 10 days and costs approximately €7.63 for cars up to 3.5 tons. The two-monthly disc, valid for two consecutive calendar months costs €21.80 for cars below 3.5 tons. Heavy vehicles pay higher tariffs and motorcycles pay less. Seat belts must be worn and children under the age of 12 and under 150cm tall may not sit in the front seat unless a special child’s seat has been fitted. Both driver and passenger on a motorcycle must wear helmets, and the vehicle must have lights on at all times. Speed limits are 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas (the speed limit in Graz is 30kph), 100kph (62mph) outside built-up areas and 130kph (81mph) on motorways.

Bus and coach services are run by federal and local authorities, as well as private companies. There are over 1800 services in operation. Some 70 international coach services travel to or through Austria and 22 routes with timetables and prices can be found in the Austrian bus guide which can be consulted via the Austrian National Tourist Office. For further information, contact Central Bus Information (tel: (1) 794440; e-mail:; website: Coach excursions and sightseeing tours run from most major cities.

Car hire: There are car hire firms with offices in most cities, as well as at airports and major railway stations.

Documentation: National driving licences issued by EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are accepted, and enable holders to drive in Austria for up to 1 year. UK licenses without a photo must be accompanied by some form of photo ID such as a passport. The minimum legal age for driving is 18. Car registration papers issued in the UK are also valid in Austria. A Green Card is compulsory.


It is advisable to make enquiries and reservations well in advance (especially for July, August, Christmas and Easter). Room reservations are binding for the hotel-keeper and for the guest or travel agency. Compensation may be claimed if reserved rooms are not occupied. Hotels, pensions and other forms of tourist accommodation are classified by the Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry. See the Grading section below for details. For further information contact the Austrian Hotel Association, Piaristengasse 16/7, A-1080 Vienna (tel: (1) 405 2584; fax: (1) 533 7071; e-mail:; website:

HOTELS: 87 per cent of 5-star hotels and 50 per cent of 4-star hotels in Austria belong to the Austrian Hotel Association.

Grading: Classifications are according to the guidelines established by the International Hotel Association and relate to the facilities provided: 5-star for deluxe, 4-star for first class, 3-star for standard, 2-star for economy and 1-star for budget. The facilities offered are as follows:

5-star hotels: Private bathrooms with shower or bath, hand basin and WC with all bedrooms. Telephone, alarm bell, colour TV in all bedrooms. Room service, day and night reception and foreign languages spoken. Restaurant, bars, lifts and garage space (in the cities) in all hotels.

4-star hotels: Bedrooms with bath or shower, hand basin and WC. There is a telephone and alarm bell in all rooms, and TV in 50 per cent of them. Room service and day and night reception, dining rooms, foreign languages spoken, lifts in all hotels.

3-star hotels: All new bedrooms and at least 70 per cent of older bedrooms with bath or shower, handbasin and WC. Foreign languages spoken at reception. Lifts and dining room.

2-star hotels: 20 per cent of bedrooms should have a bath or shower and WC. 30 per cent should have at least a bath or shower. Toilet facilities may be shared. The dining room may serve as another public room. Some with reception and foreign language capability.

1-star hotels: All rooms have hand basins. Toilet facilities and showers may be shared. The dining room may double as a general public room.

Note: Some hotels may still be under the old grades of A, B, C, etc. Full information and hotel list is available from the Austrian National Tourist Office.

SELF-CATERING: Holiday apartments and chalets are available for rent throughout Austria. For full details contact your local travel agent or the the Austrian National Tourist Board.

FARM HOLIDAYS: There are approximately 29,000 farmhouses with a total of 300,000 beds providing accommodation. Lists of farmhouses taking paying guests for most provinces in Austria are available from the Austrian National Tourist Office. Listings include farms as well as pensions and inns with an attached farming operation.

CAMPING/CARAVANNING: There are approximately 500 camp sites in Austria, all of which can be entered without any major formalities; approximately 160 sites are equipped for winter camping. Reductions for children are available, and for members of FICC, AIT and FIA. It is advisable to take along the camping carnet. Fees are charged on the usual international scale for parking caravans, motorbikes and cars. The parking of caravans without traction vehicle on or beside the public highways (including motorway parking areas) is prohibited. One can park caravans with traction vehicle beside public highways, if the parking regulations are observed. Some mountain roads are closed to caravans.

For detailed information, contact the automobile clubs or Austrian National Tourist Office The address of the Camping & Caravanning Club is Schubertring 1-3, 1010 Vienna (tel: (1) 713 6151; e-mail:; website:

Note: When camping in private grounds, permission from the landowner, police and municipal council is needed.

YOUTH HOSTELS: Youth hostels can be found throughout Austria and are at the disposal of anyone carrying a membership card of the International Youth Hostel Association. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during peak periods.

For more details contact the Österreichische Jugendherbergsverband, Schottenring 28, 1010 Vienna (tel: (1) 533 5353; fax: (1) 535 0861; e-mail:; website:

DISABLED TRAVELLERS: There are hotels with special facilities for disabled persons in towns all over Austria. Hotel guides for disabled travellers (including a special guide for Vienna) are available from the Austrian National Tourist Office.

Health Care

For UK nationals on a temporary visit to Austria, an E111 is not required – production of a British passport is sufficient to obtain medical treatment. For other EEA nationals (including Austrians), resident in the UK, an E111 is required. Visitors who are treated privately may receive a refund for part of the costs, up to the amount that would have been payable for public hospital treatment. Such refunds are available from Regional Health Insurance Offices (Gebietskrankenkassen) which also provide addresses of medical and dental practitioners. Referral to a public hospital will require an admission voucher issued by a doctor. In an emergency, UK nationals should show their passport to the hospital administration which will ascertain from the insurance office whether the costs of treatment will be met.

Emergency Contacts
Police Ambulance Fire
133 144 122
All Rights Reserved, ©  
Disclaimer   |   About Us   |   CONTACT US   |   Advertising Info   |    List YOUR INSTITUTion