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Holidays in Austria

Understanding Austria

History

Today's Austria is what was once the German speaking core and center of power for the large multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire with its imperial capital in Vienna This empire stretched eastwards from present-day Austria through much of east-central and south-central Europe It included the entire territories of modern day Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and portions of Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland and Italy While Prussia united the German states to the north by force into one "Germany" in the latter part of the 19th Century, Austria remained oriented eastwards towards its diverse empire However, from the start of the 20th century, the political history of Austria has been closely linked to the misfortunes and disasters of modern German history, mainly the First and Second World Wars and their terrible aftermath

The modern republic of Austria came into being in 1918 as a result of its defeat in World War I In its wake, the empire was split into many components They included Austria's current borders, an independent Hungary, lands given to Italy South Tyrol, Trieste and Trentino, lands given to southern Poland which also came about from lands taken from the Russian and German empires, and an independent Czechoslovakia and the northern and western half of Yugoslavia Following an unresistant invasion and annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938, Austria more or less functioned as a part of Nazi Germany during the Second World War Thus a large proportion of the population supported Hitler and Austria's incorporation into Germany Austrian soldiers also fought in the Wehrmacht, cities were bombed heavily by the Allies and concentration camps also existed on Austrian soil eg Mauthausen near Linz It was not until the end of the war that the mood changed and Austria tried to distance itself from Germany In 1945, Austria was divided into zones of occupation like Germany However unlike Germany, Austria was not subject to any further territorial losses A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the Allied and Soviet occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and again forbade future unification with Germany A constitutional law of that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality", which was a condition for Soviet military withdrawal, and thus saved Austria from Germany's fate of a divided nation with a divided capital However, the South Tyrol Question took Austria and Italy to the UN in the post-war era and international brokered mitigation found a suitable solution for both countries by the late 1970's This official neutrality, once ingrained as part of the Austrian cultural identity, has been called into question since the Soviet Union's collapse of 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995 Reexamining its Nazi past is something that has become large scale and accepted as commonplace in the media only relatively recently Before, Austria had sought to portray itself as "Hitler's first victim" A prosperous country, Austria entered the European Monetary Union in 1999, and the Euro currency replaced the Schilling in 2002 Austria is also part of "border-less Europe", resulting in many students from all over the European Union studying in Austrian universities and vice verse Austria is one of the most popular summer and winter holiday destinations in Europe and has the tourist industry to match it!

Culture

Austria is a federation Each of its nine federal states has a unique and distinct culture

Austrians aren't easy to categorize In fact, the main reason Austrians stand out from their European neighbors is that they don't stand out from the rest for anything in particular Austrians are moderate in their outlook and behavior Being at Europe's crossroads, their culture is influenced from several sides The stereotype of the yodeling, thigh slapping, beer-swilling xenophobe may apply to a few individuals but it certainly doesn't apply to the majority of Austrians

The average Austrian on the street is likely to be friendly yet somewhat reserved and formal, softly spoken and well mannered, law abiding, socially conservative, rooted, family oriented, conformist and somewhat nepotistic, a Catholic at heart, not particularly religious but a follower of tradition, well educated if not as cosmopolitan as his/her European cousins, cynical, and equipped with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor

Austrians as a large like to define themselves merely by what they are not Tourists often make the mistake of classifying Austrians as Germans, which despite a common language well at least on paper, they are not Arguably, Southern Germany and Bavaria in particular is a close cultural relative of Austria in many ways Indeed the regions of Austria are all similar to their neighbors, often you will not notice you have crossed a border, whether it be into South Tyrol in Italy, north to Bavaria or east to Hungary Austria and Germany are sister nations and enjoy warm relations but case in point, Mozart was Austrian, or a Salzburger for the record, not German! For most of its history, Austrians have a hard time defining their own nation, they face perhaps currently the most media influence from Germany but have a very different culture, especially from northern Germany, the historic minorities and individual cultures are valued, yet have to struggle to survive Indeed the cultural conflicts and identity are as complicated and hard to understand for many Austrians as they are to visitors The level of personal awareness and views on this vary greatly from person to person but is generally subject to a particularly Austrian avoidance of the subject all together It is best to try and see the diversity and enjoy the variety, rather than jump to conclusions

Hence many Austrians derive their identity from their region or Bundesland state For instance, the typical inhabitant of Carinthia would say he/she is Carinthian first and Austrian second and maybe European third Asking where someone is from is normally the first question Austrian's ask when meeting for the first time

The fact, that Austrians dislike demonstrations of national identity, can however also be explained partly by the historical experiences Austria had during the Third Reich, and especially due to the violent use national symbols in the growing Austro-fascist movement as well as by the far-right Freedom Party But also because the the current state of Austria is a relatively young and loose federal republic of just 8 million people However, University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center rates Austria as the 5th most patriotic country in the world So Austrian's do very much love their country but aren't likely to be flag-wavers

Most Austrians like to enjoy the good life They spend a lot of time eating, drinking and having a good time with friends in a cozy environment, and are therefore very hospitable Members of the older generation can be conservative in the sense that they frown upon extremes of any shape and form and, in general, are adverse to change They enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world and want to keep it that way

Austria doesn't have a well defined class system The rural and regional difference tend to be greater than in neighboring countries Generally the further to the West and the more rural you go, the more socially conservative people become

Politics

Austria is a parliamentarian, federal republic consisting of nine federal states see list above The official head of the state is the federal president Bundespräsident, who is elected directly by the people for a term of six years His/her function is mainly representative, however, and the federal chancellor Bundeskanzler, appointed by the president, runs most of the day-to-day politics

The Austrian parliament consists of two chambers, the Nationalrat National Council with 183 members as the main chamber and the Bundesrat Federal Council Whereas the members of the National Council are elected every four years by popular vote, the 62 members of the Federal Council are elected by each of the legislatures of the states of Austria for 4- to 6-year terms The composition of the Bundesrat changes after every election to a state's Landtag State Parliament The Austrian constitution provides the Bundesrat with the right to veto legislation passed by the National Council; in most cases this is only a suspensive veto, meaning the National Council can override it by passing the law again

There are five major parties in Austria: The social democrats SPÖ, the conservative Austrian people's party ÖVP, the right-wing freedom party FPÖ which recently split into two parties FPÖ and the alliance for the future of Austria BZÖ and the leftist Green Party The current government consists of a coalition of SPÖ and ÖVP

Geography

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 neighboring 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"

Climate

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

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, US and Canadian travelers should pack an adapter and a converter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Austria

Talking in Austria

The national official language of Austria is German which, in its national standard variety, known as Austrian Standard German Österreichisches Hochdeutsch is generally identical to the German used in Germany, with some significant vocabulary differences many of which concern kitchen language or the home and a rather distinct accent Other languages have some official status in different localities eg, Slovenian in Carinthia, Croatian and Hungarian in Burgenland

Some examples for different vocabulary in Austrian German:

Austria Germany English
der Jänner der Januar January
der Topfen der Quark the curd
die Marille die Aprikose the apricot
die Fleischhauerei die Metzgerei the butcher's shop
der Obers die Sahne the cream
die Matura das Abitur the school leaving examination
das Polster das Kissen the pillow

The first language of almost all Austrians, however, is not German, but instead local dialects of Austro-Bavarian Boarisch also spoken as a first language by many in Bavaria, with the exception of in Vorarlberg where it is replaced by Alemannic Alemannisch also the first language of the locals in German-speaking Switzerland and Liechtenstein, plus largely in Baden-Württemberg, especially in the southern parts, and partly in Alsace, France Both these languages belong to the Upper German family, but are only partially mutually intelligeble to each other and German, and especially in the larger cities almost everyone will be able to communicate in German as well, if only when speaking to foreigners, including Northern Germans Most Austrians can understand another region's dialect but have the hardest time in Vorarlberg due to the fact that it's Alemannic-speaking

English is widely spoken, and the only area most tourists have linguistic problems with is in translating menus Even competent German/Austro-Bavarian speakers may find that they are replied to in English, and it is not uncommon to hear Austrians addressing each other in English! In rural places, however, people older than 50 often don't speak English, so it can help to learn a few basic German or Austro-Bavarian phrases if travelling to such places

Italian is widespread in the parts of Austria bordering Italy like the Tyrol, even though the majority language on the Italian side except in Bolzano, the region's capital is still German Austro-Bavarian in practice

In general, when speaking German, Austrians tend to pronounce the vowels longer and use a pronunciation which is regional, yet genuine, elegant and melodic; it is agruably the most beautiful form of German Also, the "ch", "h" and "r" are not as harshly pronounced as in Germany, making the accent much more mild in nature

What to see in Austria

There is much to see in Australia that you can't see easily in its natural setting anywhere else:

Wildlife

Australian flora and fauna is unique to the island continent, the result of having been isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years Amongst Australian animals are a large group of marsupials mammals with a pouch and monotremes mammals that lay eggs Just some of the animal icons of Australia are the kangaroo national symbol and the koala A visit to Australia would not be complete without taking the chance to see some of these animals in their natural environment

Wildlife parks and zoos

  • Wildlife parks and zoos are in every capital city, but also check out the animal parks if you are passing through smaller towns, like Mildura or Mogo, or staying on Hamilton Island See the Warrawong Fauna Sanctuary if you are in South Australia, or visit the koalas with best view in the world, at Taronga Zoo in Sydney

In the wild

  • Kangaroos and wallabies reside in national parks all around the country You won't see any kangaroos hopping down the street in Central Sydney, but they are abundant not too far from the centre of the nation's capital
  • Wombats and Echidna are also common, but harder to find due to their camouflage and tunnelling See lots of Echnida on Kangaroo Island
  • Koalas are present is forests around Australia, but are very notoriously hard to spot, and walking around looking upwards into the boughs of trees will usually send you sprawling over a tree root Best seen during the day, there is a thriving and friendly population on Raymond Island near Paynesville in Victoria You have a good chance on Otway Coast, on the Great Ocean Road, or even in the National Park walk near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast
  • Emu are more common in central Australia You will certainly see some if you venture to the outback national park at Currawinya
  • Platypus are found in reedy flowing creeks with soft river banks in Victoria and Southern New South Wales - seen at dusk and dawn - you have to have a bit of luck to see one Try the platypus reserves in Bombala or Delegate in New South Wales, or in Emu Creek at Skipton just out of Ballarat

Landmarks

Australia has many landmarks, famous the world over From Uluru in the red centre, to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney

The unusual

See some of the Big things in Australia

Sports

Sport is an integral part of the Australian culture from the capital cities to country towns The majority of games are played over the weekend period from Friday night to Monday night

  • In the winter in Victoria Aussie Rules Australian Football is more than just a sport, it is a way of life Catch a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground The national competition has teams from Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth as well
  • In summer, international cricket is played between Australia and at least two touring sides The games rotate around all the capital cities To experience the traditional game catch the New Year's test match at the Sydney cricket ground played for 5 days starting from the 2nd of January, or the Boxing Day Test match in Melbourne Or for a more lively entertaining form, that only takes a few hours, try a twenty-twenty match The final form is "One Day" Cricket, international matches generally start at 1PM and finish at 10 or 11PM a "Day-Nighter", with most domestic and occasional international matches played from 11AM to 6PM The Australia Day One Day International is held in Adelaide every January 26th
  • The Australian Open, one of the tennis Grand Slams, is played annually in Melbourne Or the Medibank International in Sydney Olympic Park in January
  • Catch a rugby union Super-14 game, with teams playing from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Perth during late Summer/Autumn The Australian national team, the Wallabies, also host international teams during winter, including New Zealand and South Africa for the Tri-Nations tournament
  • Rugby League is a winter game played mainly in New South Wales and Queensland, with the National Rugby League competition Teams include Melbourne in Victoria, Brisbane, North Queensland and the Gold Coast in Queensland, a team from New Zealand, with the rest of the teams coming from suburban areas in Sydney, and some in regional areas of New South Wales such as Newcastle and Canberra
  • Netball is Australia's largest female sport, and there are weekly games in an international competition between Australia and New Zealand teams
  • Football Soccer is a small event by European standards, but there is a national A-League, which is a fully professional league involving teams from Australia and one from New Zealand, with games played weekly during the summer Most cities have a semi-professional "state league" played during winter, with most clubs being built around a specific ethnic/migrant community

Itineraries

  • Gibb River Road
  • Gunbarrel Highway
  • Oodnadatta Track
  • Stuart Highway: crossing Australia north-south

What to do in Austria

Swim

  • in the surf Australia has seemingly endless sandy beaches Follow the crowds to the world famous Bondi Beach in Sydney, or Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast Or find a stretch all for yourself but beware of dangerous rips on beaches, it is generally better to find a patrolled beach The surf is smaller and warmer in the Tropical North, where the reef breaks the swell, and larger and colder in the south with waves rolling in from the Southern Ocean And yes, in the middle it is just right
  • in calm tropical oceans Cable Beach in Broome is swept pristine daily by the tide, has perfect sand, and warm water - go in winter
  • in thermal pools South of Darwin there are many natural thermal pools, surrounded by palms and tropical foliage The most expensive resort in the world couldn't dream of making a pool this good
  • in freshwater lakes Inland Australia tends to be dry, but there are freshwater lakes where you would least expect them Explore inland of Cairns at the Atherton Tablelands, or head outback to the Currawinya National Park
  • in rivers If its hot, and there is water, there will be a place to swim Wherever you are, just ask around for the favourite swimming spot, with a waterhole and rope to swing on
  • in man-made pools The local swimming pool is often the hub of community life on a summer Sunday in the country towns of New South Wales and Victoria Many of the beachside suburbs of Sydney have man made rock pools for swimming by the ocean beaches
  • on the beach! Find your spot by the water, and get out the towel Tropical north in the winter, down south in the summer As always when in Australia, protect yourself from the sun

Diving

  • Snorkelling take a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef on the Queensland coast, or the Ningaloo Reef off the coast of Western Australia Or take a trip out to Julian rocks off Byron Bay, or just dive in off the beach to see the tropical fish in Bundaberg
  • Scuba Diving

Sports

  • Golf
  • Rock Climbing
  • Mountain Biking Try the trails in the Snowy Mountains or black mountain in Canberra, or cycle for days along the Munda Biddi Mountain Bike trail in Western Australia

Ski

  • Skiing New South Wales and Victoria have well developed ski facilities Tasmania can also have skiing for a few months of the year, given the right weather

See Winter sports in Australia

Thrill Activities

  • Sky Diving, all around Australia
  • Hot Air Ballooning, in Canberra or in the Red Centre

Gamble

It has been said that if there are two flies crawling up a wall, then you just need to look around to find the Aussie who will be running a book

  • Casinos Crown Casino in Melbourne is Australia's largest, nicely located at Southbank, but there are others scattered in every capital city as well as Cairns, Launceston, the Gold Coast and Townsville
  • Day at the races All capital cities have horse racing every weekend, with on-track and off-track betting available, they are usually family occasions, and fashion and being seen are part of the event Just about every pub in New South Wales will have a TAB, where you can place a bet without leaving your chair at the bar Greyhound racing and trotting happens in the evenings, usually with smaller crowds, more beer, and less fashion Smaller country towns have race meetings every few months or even annually These are real events for the local communities, and see the smaller towns come to life Head outback to the Birdsville races, or if you find the streets deserted it is probably ten past three on the first Tuesday in November the running of the Melbourne cup
  • The unusual The lizard races, cane toad races, camel races, crab races Betting on these races is totally illegal, and at you will find the TIB Totally Illegal Betting around the back of the shed at the annual guinea pig races at Grenfell
  • Two up If you are around for Anzac Day 25th April, then betting on coins thrown into the air will be happening at your local RSL club, wherever you are
  • Australia has almost a quarter of all the slot machines locally known as "pokies" or "poker machines" in the world, and more than half of these are located in New South Wales, where most pubs and clubs have gaming rooms labelled "VIP lounges" for legal reasons where one can "have a slap" and go for the feature
  • If none of this appeals, and you just have too much money in your pocket, every town and suburb in Australia has a TAB Pick your sport, pick a winner, and hand over your money at the counter

Gambling is illegal for under-18's This can often restrict entry to parts of pubs, clubs, and casinos for children

Buying stuff in Austria

Currency

Austria is a member of the European Union and the Eurozone Consequently, the national currency is the Euro The best rates for changing money are offered by banks

The legacy currency, the Schilling, can still be exchanged for Euro indefinitely, but not all banks may offer this service

Prices

The prices are comparable with Western European countries, and a bit higher than the USA The general sales taxs of 20 % is included in prices but lower sales taxes applies to certain services and mainly food A can of Coke will cost you about 40 cents, a good meal €15 Prices in tourist areas Tyrol, Vienna, Salzburg, Zell am See are a lot higher than the averages B&B accommodation and restaurants in towns and rural areas are quite cheap

Shops

Shops are generally open from 8AM to 7PM on weekdays and Saturday from 8AM to 6PM and closed on Sundays except for gas station shops expensive, shops at railway stations and restaurants Be aware that paying by credit card is not as common as in the rest of Europe or as in the United States but all major credit cards Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club are accepted at almost every gas station and at bigger shops, especially in shopping malls In smaller towns and villages you normally find one or two small shops or bakeries, which carry nearly everything, called "Greißler", although they are under threat from bigger shopping centers

ATMs

ATMs in Austria are called Bankomat They are wide-spread and you will find them even in smaller, rural villages Many shops and some restaurants too offer the service to pay directly with an ATM card The majority of ATMs accept cards from abroad All Bankomats in Austria can easily identified by a sign showing a green stripe above a blue stripe It doesn't matter which Bankomat you use; the transaction fee is always zero excluding any fees charged by your own bank

Bargaining

Bargaining is not common throughout Austria except at flea markets It may be okay to ask for a discount, but accept a No as answer


What gifts to take home

  • eiswein ice wine — see Drink section

For children

  • Haba wooden toys

Food and eating in Austria

Austrian food is distinctive and delicious, and is traditionally of the stodgy, hearty "meat and dumplings" variety Wiener Schnitzel a bread-crumbed and fried veal escalope is something of a national dish, and Knödel are a kind of dumpling which can be made either sweet or savory according to taste In Vienna the Tafelspitz boiled beef with potatoes and horseradish is traditionally served on Sundays, and is normally accompanied by clear broth with dumplings and herbs Apart from these, Austria is renowned for its pastries and desserts, the most well-known of which is probably the Apfelstrudel

Bread is taken seriously in Austria Almost every village has its own bakery, offering a large choice of freshly baked sweet and savoury rolls daily from 6AM Rye bread Vollkornbrot, Bauernbrot is the traditional staple food among peasants If this is too heavy for you, try the common white bread roll Semmel Somewhat surprisingly, it is easier to find good bread outside of Vienna, where the baking industry hasn't yet come to be dominated by industrial scale chain shops

Some Austrians have a habit of eating sweet flour-based dishes Mehlspeise for a main course once a week Varieties include Kaiserschmarren, Marillenknoedel, and Germknoedel

The best advice is to dive into the menu and give it a go - there are no nasty surprises!

Restaurants

If you want to try out traditional Austrian food go for a Gasthaus or Gasthof, which serve traditional food for reasonable prices Usually they offer various options of set lunch including a soup and a main dish and in some cases a dessert too They are typically priced at around €5-7 except for very touristy areas Menus are written in German, though some of the restaurants have English menus as well Keep in mind that tipping is expected throughout all restaurants in Austria Rounding up the price given on the bill is usually enough tip

Paying

In Austrian restaurants you must ask to pay Get the attention of your server and say: "zahlen, bitte" to pay, please They will then bring you the check, or tell you the amount of the bill verbally Then, the proper way to pay in Austria is to give your cash and say the amount you wish to pay, including tip To tip it is appropriate to round up, or to round up +50 cents or 1 euro of the cost for each person should equal about 5-10% for a full meal Servers are not dependent on tips, and it is not appropriate to tip a large amount Saying "danke" thank you when paying means keep the change! Alternatively, you can say the amount of the bill plus your tip and will only get change above that amount for instance, if you pay with a €20 bill, the amount is €1650 and you say "Siebzehn Euro" seventeen euro, the server will give you €3 change and keep the €050 as tip

Local specialties

  • If you have the chance to try Kletzennudeln you should definitely do it They are an exceptional Carinthian specialty you can very rarely get anywhere: sweet noodles filled with dried pears and soft cheese The best Kletzennudeln are hand made with minced dried pears, rather than the lower quality versions which use pear powder
  • Some salads are made with Kernöl green pumpkin seed oil, a Styrian specialty Even though it looks frightening dark green or dark red, depending on lighting conditions it has an interesting nutty taste A bottle of good, pure Styrian Kernöl is very expensive around €10-20, but maybe one of the most Austrian things to take home Beware of cheap Kernöl, sometimes sold as "Salatöl" Be sure to seal the bottle appropriately, the oil expands when slightly heated and leaves non removable stains Just in case, sun light occasionally removes them, though Kernöl or pumpkin seed oil is also available in some online shops


Desserts

  • Strudel
  • Sachertorte is chocolate torte with chocolate icing and filled with apricot jam It should be be served fresh with freshly beaten, lightly sweetened cream, which the Austrians call "Schlagobers" The original is available in Vienna in the Cafe Sacher 9, but similar cakes are very common in many other Viennese Cafes
  • Eszterházy
  • Malakhoff: delicate cake
  • Manner Schnitten are a very Viennese sweet specialty, but just the square form factor and pink packaging are really unique You can buy them everywhere Maybe you've already seen these as a product placement in some Hollywood movies or for example in "Friends" and wondered what they are
  • Milchrahmstrudel: milk and curd cheese struedel, served warm
  • Powidl is a type of savoury prune jam with alcohol, another speciality from Vienna It makes a good present as it tastes exotic and is hard to find anywhere else in the world

Vegetarians

Vegetarianism is slowly improving, especially in bigger cities Most restaurants don't cater for vegetarians specifically, but you're likely to find at least 3 meals on the menu containing no meat Also ask the waiter to get a menu on the card without meat, in most cases they respect you and bring you a meat-free menu As an alternative, there is normally at least one vegetarian restaurant in every bigger city You get vegetarian and vegan products eg tofu, soya, healthy-food or lactose-free products in nearly all supermarkets across the country in rual areas as well and in many health-food shops

In more traditional or rural restaurants, you will be viewed as highly eccentric if you say you are vegetarian, and it's likely that not a single meal on the menu is meat free This is especially true for traditional Austrian cuisine which relies heavily on meat -- even apparent vegetable dishes such as potato salad or vegetable soup often contain meat products Sometimes, also food clearly labeled as "vegetarian" contains fish or pork, as some people consider the word "vegetarian" to only exclude a few types of meat Some traditional meals that are guaranteed to be vegetarian are Kaiserschmarren sweet pieces of fluffy pancake with fruit compote, Germknoedel Dumpling with sour prune jam, and Kasnudel similar to ravioli

Drinking in Austria

Vienna is famous for its café culture, and there are coffee houses all over the city, many of which have outdoor terraces that are popular in the summer Visit them for coffee of course, hot chocolate and pastries Most famous is Sacher-Torte

Austria has also some first class wines, mostly whites, slightly on the acid side Wine can be drunk pure or mixed with mineral water, called "G'spritzter" or "Spritzer" The best place to do so is at the "Heurigen" in the suburban areas of Vienna Originally the "Heurigen" was open only in summer, but more recently you can have your "Spritzer" throughout the year with a little self-served snack

Soft drinks: Austria has also a national soft drink called Almdudler It is lemonade with herbs Other typical Austrian soft drinks are Holler or Hollundersaft It's a soft drink made of elderberry blossoms

Like in most of central Europe, a large number of high quality lager beers are brewed in Austria Every region and bigger city has its own brand of beer Stiegl is easy to find and is usually considered to be excellent, especially on American palates Other popular brands are Gösser and Ottakringer, and there are many regional brews the locals will take pride in

Schnaps is a type of fruit brandy served in many parts of Austria, usually after a meal The most popular flavours are pear, apricot, and raspberry, though dozens of other flavours are available There are three quality tiers of Schnaps: distilled, infused, and flavoured The distilled variety is the highest quality; several brands of Austrian fruit Schnaps rank among the best in the world, but are accordingly expensive: a half-Liter bottle can cost up to €100 "Real" Schnaps is made from real fruit either distilled or infused Beware of the cheap stuff sold in large bottles in supermarkets; this is often of the "flavoured" type - nothing more than pure ethanol mixed with artificial flavouring If you want the real thing, go to a deli or upscale bar if you're in a bigger city or a Buschenschank Farmhouse if you're in the countryside However, be careful with Schnaps especially if you are not used to alcoholic drinks!

Eiswein is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine Eiswein is generally quite expensive due to the labour-intense and risky production process Your best bet is to buy eiswein at Naschmarkt for €1015 for 375 ml or 500 ml; more chances to find it there on weekends Just to give an idea of prices elsewhere, ice wine sells at Wein & Co near Naschmarkt at €24-30 for a 375ml bottle, and Vienna duty free shop sells it for €2350 as well

Accommodation in Austria

Although hotels can usually even be found in smaller cities they are quite expensive even more so in bigger cities cheaper possibilities in big cities are youth hostels and in smaller towns you can often find families renting flats in bed and breakfast style look for Pension or Zimmer Frei signs for €15-25 In the countryside many farmers will rent out rooms for a couple of nights, both officially and unofficially To find a place to stay, simply knock on the door of a farmhouse and ask - if they don't have a room they'll probably know someone nearby who does

You can also find a lot of camping grounds some of them are open the whole year round but while they are exceptionally clean and often provide additional services, they are also a bit more expensive than in other countries in Central Europe

Austrian law requires anyone to register at their resident address, even if it's only for one night and even if it's a campsite Hotels will therefore ask you to hand over your passport or driving license and may refuse to give you accommodation if you don't have any ID on you Don't worry too much about handing over your passport In many countries such a practice would raise concern but in Austria it's a standard procedure Your passport will be returned If you stay in private accommodation for longer than about two weeks, you should obtain a document of registration Meldezettel from the local registration authority Bezirksamt or Meldeamt, usually located in the town hall This document needs to be signed by the owner or tenant of your accommodation Failure to present this document upon departure could cause difficulties if you have stayed in the country for more than two or three months

Working in Austria

Good work is difficult to find for non-fluent German speakers If you speak no German at all the best option is probably looking for jobs advertised outside Austria Another possibility is giving private tuition in foreign languages, though you are unlikely to earn a full time income this way and it takes several months to build up a base of clients

There is plenty of unskilled work available in the tourism industry As long as you have a work permit, finding a job can often be as easy as simply turning up at a hotel and asking Seasonal work in large ski resorts is the most promising option

Cities in Austria

absam  abtenau  altach  althofen  altmunster  amstetten  anif  ansfelden  arnoldstein  asten  axams  bad aussee  baden  bad goisern  bad hall  bad hofgastein  bad ischl  bad sankt leonhard  bad voslau  barnbach  bergheim  berndorf  bischofshofen  bludenz  braunau  bregenz  bruck an der leitha  bruck an der mur  deutschlandsberg  deutsch-wagram  dornbirn  ebbs  ebensee  ebenthal  eberndorf  ebreichsdorf  eisenerz  eisenstadt  engerwitzdorf  enns  feldbach  feldkirchen an der donau  feldkirchen  feldkirch  ferlach  finkenstein  fohnsdorf  frankenburg  freistadt  friesach  frohnleiten  fugen  furstenfeld  gallneukirchen  ganserndorf  garsten  gleisdorf  gloggnitz  gmunden  gmund  gotzis  gratkorn  graz  grieskirchen  grodig  guntramsdorf  haag  hainburg  hallein  hall  hard  heidenreichstein  hermagor  herzogenburg  himberg  hochst  hohenems  hollabrunn  hopfgarten  horbranz  horn  horsching  imst  innsbruck  jenbach  jennersdorf  judenburg  kapfenberg  kindberg  kirchbichl  kitzbuhel  klagenfurt  klosterneuburg  knittelfeld  koflach  korneuburg  kottingbrunn  krems  kremsmunster  krieglach  kuchl  kufstein  laakirchen  laa  landeck  langenlois  langenzersdorf  lauterach  leibnitz  lenzing  leoben  leonding  lienz  liezen  linz  lochau  lustenau  marchtrenk  maria enzersdorf  matrei  mattersburg  melk  micheldorf  mistelbach  mittelberg  mittersill  modling  moosburg  murzzuschlag  nenzing  neudorfl  neulengbach  neunkirchen  neusiedl am see  nuziders  oberndorf  oberwart  pasching  paternion  perchtoldsdorf  perg  pinkafeld  pottendorf  poysdorf  pressbaum  purgstall  purkersdorf  radstadt  rankweil  reichenau  retz  reutte  ried  rottenmann  rum  rust  saalfelden  salzburg  sankt andra  sankt florian  sankt georgen  sankt jakob  sankt johann im pongau  sankt polten  sankt valentin  sankt veit  scharding  scharnstein  schladming  schrems  schruns  schwaz  schwechat  seeboden  seekirchen  seewalchen  sieghartskirchen  sierning  spittal  steyregg  steyr  stockerau  strasshof  tamsweg  telfs  ternitz  thalgau  timelkam  traiskirchen  traismauer  traun  trofaiach  tulln  velden am worthersee  vienna  villach  vocklabruck  vocklamarkt  voitsberg  volkermarkt  vols  vomp  vorchdorf  waidhofen  wattens  weiz  wels  wernberg  wiener neudorf  wiener neustadt  wilhelmsburg  wolfsberg  wolfurt  wolkersdorf  worgl  ybbs  zell am see  zeltweg  zirl  zistersdorf  zwettl  

What do you think about Austria?

How expensive is Austria?
(1 EUR = 1.12 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant7.28 EUR
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)39.2 EUR
McDonalds meal6.18 EUR
Local beer (0.5 draft)3.86 EUR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 3.17 EUR
Cappuccino3.04 EUR
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)2.57 EUR
Water (0.33 bottle)1.59 EUR
Milk (1l)0.95 EUR
Fresh bread (500g)1.64 EUR
White Rice (1kg)1.6 EUR
Eggs (12) 2.56 EUR
Local Cheese (1kg) 9.66 EUR
Chicken Breast (1kg) 8.7 EUR
Apples (1kg) 2.1 EUR
Oranges (1kg) 1.96 EUR
Tomato (1kg) 2.74 EUR
Potato (1kg) 1.26 EUR
Lettuce (1 head) 0.89 EUR
Water (1.5l)0.73 EUR
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 5.51 EUR
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)0.84 EUR
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 1.22 EUR
Cigarettes4.65 EUR
One way local bus ticket2.1 EUR
Monthly pass for bus49.64 EUR
Taxi start3.9 EUR
Taxi 1km1.29 EUR
Taxi 1hour waiting26.13 EUR
Gasoline (1 liter) 1.26 EUR
Utilities for a "normal" apartment173.94 EUR
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 14.96 EUR
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 560.54 EUR
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 542.09 EUR
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 872.96 EUR
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