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Top Destinations in the Country
With a milestone of 46 million visitors recorded in 2019, Austria has always been famous for skiing options for all levels on snow-sure pistes, unrivaled après-ski, hospitality, and off-the-slope activities. But not just this, tourists are also drawn to this country because of their castles, palaces, and buildings, among other architectural works. These are just some of the reasons why people are drawn to visit Austria.
Austria offers a wide diversity of sights and activities and is a brilliant destination for outdoor life enthusiasts. It’s no wonder Austria is the 12th most visited country in the world. As Austria’s capital city, Vienna's beautiful city center and historical buildings are some of the city's prime sights with magnificent architecture that leaves visitors in awe.
Since the 1600s and holding a major role of cultural importance in Austria, the Schonbrunn Palace is a colossal 1441 room structure and complex that is the main tourist attraction in Vienna. The palace itself is an immense building and designed in a Baroque style with a symmetrical main building with hundreds of windows and statues on the rooftop.
Inside the palace are an assortment of rooms all fully furnished and decorated in the original style – You can enjoy a tour through the rooms and admire the sumptuous furnishings and see how Austrian royalty lived.
Tourists are mostly at peak in July and August. Also, avoid visiting it during the Christmas Holidays. The best season to visit the Schonbrunn Palace is January and February since it sees the lowest number of visitors.
- It will take you about 30 minutes from Vienna International Airport to reach Schönbrunn Palace via the A4 route.
- Get on A4.
- Continue on A4 to Wien. Take exit Gürtel/Landstraße from A23.
- Take B221 and Linke Wienzeile to Schönbrunner Schloßstraße/B1.
- Use any lane to turn left onto Schönbrunner Schloßstraße/B1.
If you are a non-European Union citizen, Austria does require you to obtain an International Driver’s License to drive. On the International Driver’s Association’s website, you can get your International Driver’s Permit in Austria at an affordable price.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
One of Vienna, Austria’s most culturally significant landmarks is the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. It is the only main Roman Catholic church in the city. It is also one of Austria’s most popular attractions. Its 137-meter-high spire and the richly decorated roof is the city's most important Gothic edifice and represents eight centuries of architectural history.
The cathedral was near-complete destruction during WWII. It’s reconstruction from 1948 until 1962 proved to be a tremendous communal effort involving the whole of Austria, demonstrating the nation's eagerness to restore this former symbol of the country's illustrious past. It’s also an important heritage site and is respected across Austria and indeed throughout the world.
It is best to visit this cathedral from April to May and September to October as tourists in this season are most likely not at its peak.
- From the Schönbrunn Palace, it will take a 22-minute drive via the B1 route.
- Follow B1 to Kärntner Str.
- Take Opernring, Burgring, Universitätsring and Schottenring to Franz-Josefs-Kai.
- Continue onto Franz-Josefs-Kai.
- Continue on Salztorgasse. Take Tuchlauben to Brandstätte.
You do need an international driver’s license to drive in Austria. It is one of the requirements needed for you to be legally driving in the country. Students can get an International Driver’s Permit in Austria as long as they are 18 years old and above.
Spanish Riding School
The amazing Spanish Riding School was established after Emperor Maximilian II had the famous Lipizzaner horses introduced to his courtesans in 1562. At present, it is now one of the leading riding schools in the world. It thrills the audience with its fabulous displays of equestrian skills.
Tickets to these popular performances sell out quickly. So make sure to book a ticket in advance before going there. It is advised to purchase a package bundle that includes a behind-the-scenes tour and the chance to visit the stables, along with a morning training session. They take a break in summer and do a minimal show. The best season to visit is also from April to May and September to October.
- From St. Stephen’s Cathedral, an 8-minute drive via route Wipplingerstraße would be enough to take you to the riding school.
- Head northeast on Rotenturmstraße toward Wollzeile.
- Turn left onto Lichtensteig.
- Continue onto Hoher Markt.
- Continue onto Börsepl.
- Turn left onto Helferstorferstraße.
- Turn left onto Löwelstraße.
- Turn left onto Ballhaus Pl.
- Ballhaus Pl. turns right and becomes Schaufler Gasse.
- Schauflergasse turns slightly left and becomes Michaelerplatz.
You need your local driver’s license as one of the requirements for an International Driver’s Permit in Austria. Your local driver’s license must not be expired for it to be valid.
The Upper Belvedere palace is home to most of the permanent Belvedere art collections and exhibitions. It has two splendid Baroque buildings: the Lower (Unteres) Belvedere and the Upper (Oberes) Belvedere. Highlights of the Upper Palace include the Ground Floor Hall with its statues and the Ceremonial Staircase with its rich stucco relief and frescoes.
The palace attracts many tourists from Friday to Saturday, so it is best to visit on a weekday. The tourists usually flock around 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, so it is advised to visit the palace at 10:00 AM. The crowd doesn’t relent during public holidays, summer holidays, school holidays, Christmas, and Easter.
Austria does require you to bring your International Driver’s License when you are driving your car in Austria. Anyone driving, even students, are required to obtain their International Driver’s Permit in Austria.
- From the Spanish Riding School, take the Operngasse route.
- Take Augustinerstraße to Operngasse.
- Take Gußhausstraße to Schwarzenbergpl.
- Drive to Prinz Eugen-Straße.
- Turn right onto Schwarzenbergpl.
- Continue onto Prinz Eugen-Straße.
It is a must to visit Hofburg when you explore Austria. It was originally a fortified castle that dates back to the 13th century. Inside, the Imperial Silver Collection, Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Apartments told a wealth of rich culture and history waiting to be explored.
It is best to visit the Hofburg Palace from April to May and September to October. Tourists are likely to be lesser in the said months compared to the other months.
- From Balverde Palace, it takes about 8 minutes to reach Hofburg Palace via Prinz Eugen-Straße.
- Take Prinz Eugen-Straße, Schwarzenbergpl., Opernring and Burgring to Josef-Meinrad-Platz.
- Take Löwelstraße to Volksgarten.
- Löwelstraße turns right and becomes Volksgarten.
If you are a non-European Union citizen, you do need an international driver’s license in Austria. For EU citizens, you can drive in Austria without an International Driver’s Permit, provided that your local driver’s license has not expired yet.
If you love heights, then you should not miss out on Vienna’s skyline landmark. The Wiener Reisenrad is one of the earliest Ferris wheels ever built. The nearly 65 m (212 ft) tall Ferris wheel opened in 1897 in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I. Enjoy the breathtaking and stunning views over Vienna’s UNESCO-listed historic center.
Though the wheel is open all year round, except for a few days in January, it’s best enjoyed during pleasant weather outside of the peak tourist season, which is summer. Apart from riding the Wheel, visitors can explore the nearby wax museum, art installations, delightful street food stalls, and soak in the calmness of Prater Park.
- An 11-minute drive would be enough to reach Wiener Riesenrad from Hofburg Palace via the Franz-Josefs-Kai route.
- Take Universitätsring and Schottenring to Franz-Josefs-Kai.
- Continue on Franz-Josefs-Kai. Take B8 to Ausstellungsstraße.
- Turn right onto Ausstellungsstraße.
Skiing in Kitzbühel
Visiting Austria without skiing is a big no-no. Austria is widely recognized as one of the world’s best snow-sure skiing destinations. The famed resort town of Kitzbühel spoils snow lovers with its 170 kilometers of skiable pistes and slopes dotted with little mountain huts. This ski-place is one of the most sought out skiing resorts in Australia.
- From Tyrol, Australia via the A12 and E641 route.
- Get on A12/E45/E60 from Vögelsberg and Vogelsbergweg.
- Follow A12/E45/E60 and E641 to Pass-Thurn-Straße/B161 in Sankt Johann in Tirol. Take the B161 exit from E641.
- Continue onto Pass-Thurn-Straße/B161.
Most Important Driving Rules
If you are planning to visit and explore Austria, you need to obtain an International Driving Permit. You will not be able to legally drive in Austria if you don’t have one. Unless you are from a European Union country, you don’t need an International Driving license in Austria.
Aside from obtaining an International driver’s license in Austria, you also need to follow road rules and regulations to avoid possible troubles along your trip. There may be some road signs that might be unfamiliar to you, that’s why you have to be careful driving in Austria.
Always Bring Your International Driving Permit in Austria
An International Driving Permit/License (IDP) is required when driving in Austria. Checkpoints in Austrian roads are unpredictable. Thus, it is best to always bring your International Driver’s License for Austria.
If you are a European Union (EU) citizen, then there is no need for you to obtain an international driving license in Austria. Austrian authorities do acknowledge driving licenses from EU citizens. You can apply for an International Driving Permit/License in Austria online. Just visit internationaldriversassociation.com for more information about obtaining your IDP.
Do I Need an International Driver’s License in Austria?
Yes. You do need an International Driver’s License in Austria. Whenever you hit the road with your car, always bringYou can get your International Driver’s Permit/License in Austria through the International Driver’s Association’s website. it. It can become useful once you encounter checkpoints along the road.
Don’t Forget to Carry Required Documents
Besides your International Drivers License in Austria, remember to bring your local driver’s license, passport, and other important documents when drivin g in Austria. You might be questioned by Austrian authorities and they might look for the mentioned documents.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs Is Strictly Prohibited
Drinking and driving is prohibited in Austria, like most countries in the world. It is one of the causes of severe accidents happening in Austrian roads. The maximum blood alcohol level to drive in Austria is 0.05%. In addition, new drivers who have had a license for less than two years are subject to a lower limit of 0.01%. Exceeding these limits can get you fined and a possible license denial.
Obey Road’s Speed Limit
Every road has its speed limit. In Austria, authorities are very strict when it comes to overspeeding. It is because this is also one of the reasons where severe accidents occur in the road. Violating the indicated speed limit in Austrian roads can get you fined starting from €30 and a possible license denial.
Observe Roads Sign While Driving in Austria
Road signs have a purpose why they are there. It is to help and guide you in your trip while driving in Austria. You have to strictly obey them. Austrians are well-disciplined when they are driving. Thus, you also have to do your part and obey road signs to prevent accidents from happening.
Do Not Use Your Phone While Driving
Using your phone while driving can get your attention away from the road, and that is very dangerous. You can use your phone for navigation purposes if it is equipped with a hands-free system. If you really need to attend to your phone, slowly pull in the sidelines and turn on your hazard lights before using your phone.
Do Not Run a Red Light
It is never okay to run a red light. No matter how impatient you are or how you really want to cross the road, do not run a red light. It can lead to severe accidents, not just to you but also to other drivers on the road. Violating this would get you fined starting from €70.
Always Wear Your Seatbelt
As Austria is very strict when it comes to wearing seatbelts, you would pay a hefty fine or even lose your license if you are caught not wearing one. If the car is moving, the driver and all passengers in the vehicle must wear seat belts. Passengers in the backseat are also required to wear their seatbelts.
Do Not Drive With an Expired License
Though it is required to have an International Driving Permit/License in Austria, having an expired one can get you in trouble with Austrian authorities. Your local driver’s license and your International Driver’s License for Austria are what the authorities will look for on checkpoints; thus, it should not be expired.
You might be wondering if you can get an International Driving Permit in Austria, and the answer is YES! Just visit the International driver’s Association’s (IDA) website, internationaldriversassociation.com. Prices start at $49 for an IDP. The digital copy of your IDP will be sent through your email in 2 hours, and the physical copy will be shipped immediately. Tracking your International Driver’s Permit in Austria can be done on the given details by the IDA team.
The requirements for renewal of an International Driver’s Permit/License can also be found on the website. You can renew your International Driver’s Permit/License online. If you lost your International Driver’s Permit, the International Driver’s Association offers free replacement of an IDP issued by them.
Thinking and planning for your trip to Austria may be one of the first challenges you have to face to explore this country’s hidden beauty. Discovering Austria driving at your own comfort has to be your priority. Furthermore, be together with the International Driver’s Association, you will have a memorable trip to Austria.
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Driving in Austria: Tips for Road-tripping Travelers
Road rules of Austria
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