Austria Driving Guide
Austria is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit
Austria is a multifaceted nation. Its position of slap bang in the middle of Central Europe is one of its most endearing features. Its colorful mix of old-world architecture and religious, historical, and military sites juxtaposed alongside unparalleled natural wonders – alpine valleys, snow-capped mountains, sapphire lakes – and modern, vibrant city life.
Nothing is more satisfying than enjoying a trip comfortably. One of the requirements when driving a rented vehicle or your own car in Austria is an International Driver’s Permit or IDP. For further information about going to Austria, continue reading about it below. There are also tips for driving in Austria.
How can this guide help you?
Being on a journey to a country that you are not familiar enough with is very hard. But by reading this guide, you will learn important information about Austria. This guide will tackle and discuss facts about Austria, the important road safety rules and situations of the country, and so much more. Aside from that, this guide will also introduce you to famous tourist attractions in the country.
Austria is a country that has approximately 8.7 million residents in Central Europe. The Austrian border is surrounded by Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Italy. It is a country known for its renowned architecture, such as its castles, palaces, cathedrals, and other ancient architectures.
Austria is a country that has approximately 8.7 million residents in Central Europe. This country is bordering Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Italy. It is a country known for its renowned architecture, such as its castles, palaces, cathedrals, and other ancient architectures.
The majority of the Austrian population speaks German, which is also Austria's official language. The German language is spoken by 98% of Austria’s population. Croatian, Hungarian, and Slovene are also spoken in the country. Aside from that, the English language is widely taught and spoken in Austria. Thus, you won’t have any trouble with the language barrier as Austrians do speak and understand English.
Austria is a small, predominantly mountainous country located in south-central Europe. Austria's territory covers 83,878 square kilometers (32,385 sq mi), which is twice as high as Switzerland. Austria is highly mountainous due to the country's Alps.
The history of Austria dates to 15 BC, where a Celtic kingdom was overpowered by the Romans and later became a Roman province. Austria has become one of the great powers of Europe under the native Habsburg dynasty. In 1867, the Austrian Empire became Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire subsided in 1918 along the end of World War I. In 1919, the First Austrian Republic was established. In 1938, Austria was conquered by Nazi Germany. The Nazis reign in Austria until the end of World War II in 1945. Austrian was then re-established as a sovereign state by the Austrian State Treaty in 1955. In the same year, Austria joined the European Union and the euro monetary system in 1999.
Austria is a federal republic. With this, Austria comprises nine independent federal states (also referred to as provinces): Salzburg, Styria, Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, and Vienna. Every state has its police force, health, and education system.
Holidaymakers from around the world love visiting Austria. With several regions that are full of cultural attractions and outdoor activities, Austria attracted 153 million overnight stays and 46 million visitors last 2019. Austria is a more popular tourist destination than ever.
The capital city of Austria alone is a reason enough for you to set foot in the country. Admittingly, Austria is a significant winter destination, but the alpine country's summer attractions are drawing the crowds too. By nature, it seems that Austria is made for travelers. Its mountains, rivers, cultural landscape all insinuate the perfect playground for outdoor activities.
International Driver’s Permit FAQs
An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) or commonly known as International Driver’s License, is needed for tourists driving in Austria. It is a translation of your local driver’s license. It is very important to have an IDP to avoid road troubles when authorities do checkpoints. It is also one of the driving requirements in Austria needed for you to enjoy the country without any troubles. You can also read other information about IDP in Austria below.
What countries accept IDP?
An IDP issued by us at the International Driver’s Association is valid for over 150 countries, including Austria. Thus, when you drive outside of Austria, it is still valid and acknowledged by authorities as long as it has not surpassed its time span of validity. You can enjoy driving in other countries and getting the most out of your money spent in obtaining your IDP.
Do I need an IDP to drive in Austria?
An International Driving Licence in Austria is required for an American driving in Austria or citizens from non-EU countries when driving in the country. Most rental car agencies will require your local driver's license and IDP when you are to rent a car from them. It is also necessary to bring your IDP when driving in Austria because Austrian law enforcement authorities may ask for it during road checkpoints. As an IDP is valid in over 150 countries, you can use it not just in Austria but also in other countries you are planning to visit as long as it is not expired.
Is a local driver’s license valid in Austria?
When you are a tourist driving in Austria, your local driver’s license will not be enough to drive legally in the country. In compliance with the local road rules in Austria, one of the driving requirements in the country is a translation of your local driver’s license, which is the IDP. If you are driving in Austria with a foreign license issued from European Union or EU countries listed below, you won’t have a problem regarding that because driver’s licenses from EU countries are accepted.
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Cyprus
Does an IDP replace a native driver’s license?
The answer is no. Though it is needed in accordance with Austria's road rules, it does not replace a native driver’s license. It is just a translation to 12 of the United nation or UN-recognized languages of your local driver’s license. An IDP will serve as a supplementary to your local driver’s license if you are a tourist driving in Austria. Also, note that the possession of a valid driving licence is also needed to make your IDP valid.
Who can apply for an IDP?
Everyone! Tourists driving in Austria can apply for an IDP as long as they take note of the following important considerations: they have a valid local driver’s license and they are 18 years old and above. It will contain the details of your local driver’s license, such as your name, photo, and driver information. It is highly advisable to get one as a supplementary document to your full valid licence.
Bringing your IDP at all times is a must when driving in Austria. There is always a possibility for Austrian authorities to conduct checkpoints at any given time. They may ask for your legal documents required to drive in Austria, and one of those is your IDP.
Renting a Car in Austria
Self-driving in Austria at your convenience will let you see the true beauty of the country. Driving your own car in Austria would be advisable so as to provide you with a comfortable trip. But if you don’t have a car, you don’t have to worry. There are many car rental companies that can provide you with your own vehicle. But always take into consideration the driving laws in Austria to avoid traffic accidents. For more details about renting a car in Austria, there is some key information found below.
Car Rental Companies
There are two ways to rent a car to use in driving in Austria. One is you can book online before your trip. It is a convenient way of renting a car that also helps you find suitable price offers that would satisfy your budget for the trip. Listed below are some of the rental companies you can find to book online.
- Auto Europe
Another way of renting a car in Austria is by finding rental companies when you arrive in the country. A lot of major car rental companies can be found at the airport and other prominent travel destinations. Though it is not advisable to go in this way as price offers are mostly expensive. You can rent a car to use in Austria whether you are in the country already or not.
Your local driver’s license, your IDP (for non-EU citizens), and a government-issued document such as your passport are the important documents for you to be able to rent a car in Austria. For EU citizens, though it is not necessary to obtain an IDP, it is still highly advisable to get one as it can come in handy as a supplementary to your local driver’s license when an Austrian road authority would ask for it.
Most car rental companies offer different kinds of vehicles that you can rent. From small to big sized cars and manual to automatic transmissions, you can choose from a wide variety of vehicles to rent, including an extended fleet of luxury car rentals. Depending on your car preferences, you can rent a smaller car to drive in the city and a bigger one to drive in the country.
You can use a compact vehicle or an SUV while self-driving in Austria. You should choose the car that you are convenient and comfortable with. Also, you should consider the place you are visiting around Austria while choosing the car you are about to rent.
Car Rental Cost
Rental fees vary for every car rental company. There will be a scenario when the most expensive car rental fee in one country can be the cheapest for the other country. A lot of factors can affect the rental fee you are going to pay for renting a car. Listed below are some basis of a car rental fee.
- Type of car
- Time of year
- Additional insurance and protection products included in the reservation
- Add-ons (Wi-Fi access, GPS, child seats, and ski racks)
- Whether the car you rented is picked up and dropped off at the same location
- Number of additional drivers
Emergency roadside assistance can also be added to the basis of the car rental fee. Apart from the car rental fee, you should also consider other necessities like car fuel, parking fee, and toll in budgeting for your trip to Austria.
Aside from an IDP, local driver’s license, and passport, rental companies also have an age requirement for you to rent a car from them. In Austria, you can only rent a car if you are aged 21 years and above. You also have to have a driving experience of no less than two years. Violating such restrictions can cause trouble with your trip and a fine from the authorities.
Car Insurance Cost
Insurance is very important when renting a vehicle. When renting a vehicle in Austria, your rental rate will automatically include all necessary insurances. Road accidents cannot be avoided. That is why it is very important that a car you are renting has insurance.
As for the cost, on average, it can go from 60 to 150 euros per month.
Car Insurance Policy
Aside from the driving laws, you should also know what the car insurance in Austria covers. Listed below are the possible car insurance that you can avail of and its policy.
- Theft Protection Insurance - A car is less likely to be stolen, but replacing a whole car would definitely cost you a lot. If the car is stolen or it is damaged when it is attempted to be stolen, you will have to pay for the excess. This excess can range between €400 and €3,500, and the rest of the cost will be covered by the rental company.
- Third-Party Liability Insurance - The Third-Party Liability Insurance would cover the cost of repairs if you damaged someone else’s property. This car insurance is usually included in the rental fee.
- Collision Damage Waiver - A Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) car insurance covers the repairs of the car you rented if ever you are involved in a road accident, and your car is damaged.
Getting an affordable and budget-friendly rental car deal is beneficial to your part. If you decide to rent a car and use it when driving in Austria, you can find tips about renting a car below.
How can I get a budget-friendly rental car deal?
The first thing you should consider is setting the budget you are willing to spend on renting a car in Austria. Compare prices from different car rental agencies. By doing this, you will have an idea of what offer you will choose that would satisfy your desired budget. Also, consider the extra fees you are going to spend while driving in Austria.
It is advisable not to rent cars at airports as they have extra charges compared to when you rent in an online car rental company. It may be convenient for you to rent cars at the airport, but that would definitely be expensive and not a budget-friendly car deal.
The Road Rules in Austria
When driving your car, especially on foreign roads, you have to always be careful and mindful of the road rules and regulations. Knowing enough information about it would greatly help you when driving in Austria. Putting to act what you know and understand about the Austrian road and regulations can prevent you from any accidents.
You have to be mindful of what to know about driving in Austria. Road rules do not just apply to locals but also to tourists that are driving in Austria. In order to drive a vehicle in Austria, you must be at least 18 years old. Do not forget to bring the required documents, such as your IDP. Other important rules and reminders can be found below on what to know about driving in Austria.
Like in most countries, drinking and driving in Austria is strictly prohibited. The maximum blood alcohol level 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%. So if you are over the said limits, you could face fines and could lose your license.
The exact fine and license suspension period will depend on your actual blood alcohol level on testing, as follows:
- 0.05% – 0.08%: from €300 and driving disqualification
- 0.08% – 0.12%: from €800 and license suspension for at least one month
- 0.12% – 0.16%: from €1,200 and license suspension for at least four months
- Over 0.16%: from €1,600 and license suspension for at least six months
Turning Signals at an Intersection
You have to turn on your signal lights 100 feet before reaching an intersection if you plan on turning. This is to inform other drivers of what you are about to do and for them to adjust. Remember that you have to be at the closest lane to the direction that you are turning. Also, make sure that there is no oncoming traffic before proceeding on turning at an intersection.
Parking fees are mostly implemented in towns and cities in Austria. They have a payment system, “m-parking,” which allows drivers to pay the parking fee through their mobile phone. You are prohibited from parking your car in a place where it can cause an obstruction. Aside from that, sidelights should be switched on when a vehicle is parked. Only park your car at the designated parking areas to avoid it being clamped by the authorities.
Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving
Make sure to bring the necessary legal documents that Austrian authorities might look for at checkpoints. You have to be mentally and physically ready to drive. The car should be fully-functioning before hitting the road. Check the car’s tires, mirrors, breaks, engine, and steering wheel. Lastly, wear your seatbelt and don’t forget to lock the car’s door before driving.
When driving in Austria, always follow all traffic rules and road signs. Always be courteous to other drivers on the road. Put away things that can distract your attention from the road, especially your phone. Use the car’s turn signal to prevent crashing into other cars.
General Standards of Driving
Driving in Austria can be the best way to roam around and see the parts of the country that are accessible by public transport. You should have no trouble driving in Austria, but you have to observe the general standards of driving in Austria so as to enjoy a trouble-free journey on the Austrian Roads.
Austria has a general speed limit and a federal controlled-access highway system called Autobahn. It is widely known for having no mandated limit for some classes of vehicles. Austria currently has 18 autobahns. Driving in Austria requires you to obey the indicated limits in road signs.
- Highways –130 km/h
- Country roads – 100 km/h
- Towns and cities – 50 km/h
Violation can get you fined or, worse, a possible driving license denial. Here are further details about the fines when you are caught overspeeding.
In Urban Areas (50 km/h)
- Exceeding up to 20 km/h: from €30.
- Exceeding up to 30 km/h: from €50.
- Exceeding up to 40 km/h: from €70.
- Exceeding more than 40 km/h: from €150 and possibly a driving license denial.
In Country Roads (100 km/h)
- Exceeding up to 20 km/h: from €30.
- Exceeding up to 30 km/h: from €50.
- Exceeding to 50 km/h: from €70.
- Exceeding more than 50 km/h: from €150 and possibly a driving license denial.
In Motorways (130 km/h)
- Exceeding up to 20 km/h: from €30.
- Exceeding up to 30 km/h: from €50.
- Exceeding to 50 km/h: from €70.
- Exceeding more than 50 km/h: from €150 and possibly a driving license denial.
For truck driving in Austria, the limit for trucks over 7.5 tonnes is 60 to 70 km/h. The duration of the imposed limit will be extended by one hour – from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. instead of currently 5 a.m. Do not forget these speed limits when you are driving a truck in Austria.
Austria is very strict about seatbelts. All passengers in the car must wear seat belts at all times. Passengers in the backseat are also required to wear their seatbelts. You could get fined starting from €35 if you are caught not wearing a seatbelt.
Children under the age of 14 and does have a height less than 1.50 meters cannot travel as a front seat passenger unless using a suitable restraint system for their height/weight. It is also important to check that the seat is fully consistent with the child's weight and height. Please be reminded that it is the child’s parent/guardian or vehicle renter’s responsibility to fit the child’s seat.
You can often find roundabouts in Austria. That is why it is important to know some of the roundabout rules. Before proceeding on entering the roundabout, make sure that there is no traffic on your left. Remember that you should yield to the ongoing traffic in a roundabout.
Traffic Road Signs
If you have been driving for quite a while in your home country, then you won’t have any problem recognizing road signs while driving in Austria as there is no great difference from what you are used to. Here are some of the traffic road signs that you will see on Austrian roads.
- For warning signs - uneven road, junction, traffic signals, two-way traffic, pedestrian crossing, slippery road.
- For prohibitory signs - no entry, stop-toll, zone limitation, speed limit, no parking, no overtaking, no u-turns.
- For mandatory signs - pedestrian underpass, u-turn prescribed, turn left or right, turn only, right turn only.
- For priority signs - give way, stop, priority road, end of priority road.
- For informational signs - hospital, first aid, end of two-way traffic, telephone, gas station, church services, cyclist crossing.
Right of Way
The ongoing traffic on a roundabout has the right of way. When you are about to enter a roundabout, remember that you must always yield to the ongoing traffic. At intersections, the vehicle that arrives first has the right of way. In cases where two vehicles arrive simultaneously, the vehicle on the right has the right of way.
Legal Driving Age
In order to drive a vehicle in Austria, you must be at least 18 years old. You are required to bring your local driving license in Austria and your IDP. If you are caught without it, you risk being fined.
Laws on Overtaking
Passing or overtaking on Austrian roads is allowed, but there are some rules you need to abide by. The most important thing is to not overtake on the right side. It can cause accidents as drivers are supposed to overtake on the left side.
Drivers are only allowed to overtake stationary trams provided that they do not prevent the passengers that are entering and exiting the vehicle and leave at least 1.5 m wide space. Drivers may not drive past a stationary school bus with flashing hazard lights in the same direction. Overtaking is prohibited from 80 m before a railway crossing and immediately afterward.
You are obliged to drive on the designated side of the road in every country. In Austria, you are supposed to drive on the right of the road. Complying with this restriction will prevent possible road accidents that will bother you on your trip. Furthermore, when you are caught violating this restriction can, you will be fined by the Austrian authorities starting from €40.
Other important tips that will be beneficial when you are driving in Austria are listed below. Make sure that you understand the listed tips, as there will be certain situations when these tips will benefit you.
Are there any things that my car must be equipped with?
On Austrian roads, there are things that are needed to be in your car at all times. You should always bring a reflective jacket in your trunk. In case of a car breakdown, you will only be allowed to get out of your car if you put on your reflective jacket.
Aside from the reflective jacket, you must also bring the following:
- First aid kit
- Warning triangle
- Fire extinguisher
- Snow tires (from 1st of November to the 15th of April)
- Studded tires (from the 1st of October to the 31st of May)
What are the required documents I should be bringing while driving in Austria?
Always bring important legal documents when you are driving in Austria. Driving in Austria with your foreign license, your IDP, your passport, and the legal papers of the car you are using is what Austrian road authorities would look for during checkpoints. Bringing these documents would prevent you from paying a hefty fine.
Am I allowed to use my phone while driving?
Using your phone while driving in Austria is very dangerous as you would be distracted instead of focusing on the road. That’s why it is strictly prohibited. In compliance with Austria's traffic regulations, it is only possible to use the gadget if your phone is equipped with a hands-free device and also if you use it for navigation purposes. Not following this restriction would get you fined starting from €50.
Driving Etiquette in Austria
Car problems may occur while you are currently driving on your trip. From minor to major problems, the possibility of it happening cannot be denied. You have to be physically and mentally prepared for any circumstances that might happen along your trip. Here are some reminders and tips on the traffic regulations and etiquette in Austria.
Despite the technological advancement that we have up to this day, car problems can’t really be avoided. Here are some tips on how to handle your car breaking down while you are driving in Austria:
- Turn on your Hazard/Emergency lights.
- Steer clear your vehicle first as far as out of the travel lane as possible.
- Before going out of your car, turn your wheels away from the road and enable the emergency brake.
- If you’re on a highway or a busy road, stay in your vehicle. Otherwise, get out of your vehicle and be visible.
- Set up flares or triangles.
- Lastly, call for help and rescue.
When you notice the police emergency lights behind you, slowly pull your vehicle to the right immediately, even if you might not know the reason. Be calm and remain inside of your vehicle while the officer approaches. Do not attempt to get out of your car or approach the officer. Talk and ask the officer politely what was the reason that you were pulled over.
Keep your hands easily observable, preferably on the steering wheel. Give your local driver’s license, IDP, and proof of insurance to the officer if asked to do so. If you are asked to go with them, ask for the reason and for your violation. Do not evade the police officer. Evading them would likely get you more in trouble.
Austrians are generally conservative people. They are prudent and moderate in their behavior. They are also calm, well-mannered, well-educated, and polite. One Austrian trait that would attract foreigners is that they are extremely friendly and warm when receiving you as a guest.
Knowing these Austrian traits, you also have to be polite in talking with them. Do not raise your voice or lose your cool in your conversation. They will treat you the way you treat them. With this, you have to treat them nicely for them to reciprocate the way you treated them.
When encountering a checkpoint while driving in Austria, lower your speed while approaching the scene. Lower your car window and talk with the police officer. Calmly and kindly have a conversation with the officer. Present the asked documents, and when the inspection is done, thank the officer and continue exploring Austria.
There is a possibility that you can experience other situations aside from the ones mentioned above. And with that, knowing how to handle certain situations is very important. A list of possible situations and how to handle them is listed below.
What if I Get Involved in an Accident?
It is not proper to leave a road accident scene. You are required to call the police and report the accident. Aside from this, you also need to call your insurance company and car rental company. Even if you are not involved, you still have to be there because authorities may look for witnesses. Here are the important numbers to call in case of an accident.
- Dial 133 for Police
- Dial 122 for Fire Department
- Dial 144 for an Ambulance
- Dial 140 for European Emergency
Driving Situations and Conditions
Austrian citizens are known to be well-mannered and well-disciplined when it comes to driving. They put great respect and value to the road rules and regulations in their country. As the locals do that, you also have to do your part by being respectful to the road rules to avoid any possible road accidents.
There were 409 traffic fatalities recorded in Austria in 2018. This represents a 1.2% decline in 2017. In 2017, 414 road deaths were reported, itself a 4.2% decline in 2016. The number of road-related deaths has been steadily decreasing, thanks to increased efforts on a local, national, and EU level. Drinking and driving in Austria is one of the main causes of road accidents in the country.
In the same time period, the non-fatally injured data had decreased to 45,024 in 2011, before increasing again in the following years. There had been an estimated 46,525 people were injured while on the road in 2018. The highest number of injured persons in Austria was recorded in 2007, at over 53.2 thousand.
Europe is the world’s third-largest car market behind China and the United States. Austria, being part of Europe, has rich and high standards when it comes to choosing their desired car in traveling. In 2019, the number of car registrations was 11,705, lower than 2018's record of 341,068. Still, it is significantly above the twenty-year average of 316,332.
Sport Utility Vehicles or SUVs are widely used in Austria. They are bigger than normal cars by having a higher roof and seating position that gives the driver a wide view of the road ahead. It is considered as a vehicle for people who worked out of their vehicles or alternative transportation for larger families. Austria’s best-selling cars ranking in 2019 saw the end of the Volkswagen Golf’s domain, as the Skoda Octavia conquered the market throne.
It is important for you to know what a vignette is for driving in Austria. A Vignette is a motorway toll sticker that indicates that you have already paid the road tax that will allow you to drive on the motorways. When you are driving in Austria, tolls are present on motorways. Austrian motorways are toll roads without tollgates, so you really need to buy a vignette.
A vignette can be bought at gas stations next to the motorway, also close to the border in neighboring countries. They are available for periods of 10 days (for € 9,20), two months (for € 26,80), or one year (for € 89,20). If you are caught driving in Austria without that sticker, you would be fined €120. The fine is more expensive than the vignette valid for one year. That is why a vignette for driving in Austria is a must.
The urban motorways in Vienna are the busiest roads in Austria. More than 200,000 vehicles are being driven on the road in the greater Vienna area each day. Even a minor incident such as a broken-down car can have a big impact in this busy traffic area.
It is important to educate drivers with information about obstructions on the road as quickly as possible. Car breakdown assistance is also one of the responsibilities of the Traffic Managers. Aside from the streets of the City of Vienna, almost all streets in Austria are not that congested and are peaceful to travel in.
Driving in Austria is generally uncomplicated. Most Austrians are disciplined enough when it comes to driving. They strictly follow road restrictions. Foreign drivers will surely be satisfied with the driving culture of Austria. Local drivers are well-educated on the traffic rules, and they try not to break them. However, you should also bear in mind that local Austrian drivers do not like too slow drivers.
There are other tips that you should know aside from those mentioned above if you are planning on driving in Austria. A few of those tips are listed below. Read further and be sure to learn and understand every tip.
What is the unit to measure speed in Austria?
Driving on different Austrian roads also means driving in different speed limits. These speed restrictions are mandated in Austria to prevent possible accidents and ensure that it is safe while driving in Austria. There are two units of measurement in measuring speed, namely MPH (miles per hour) and KPH (kilometers per hour), that are used by different countries all over the world.
In Austria, they are using KPH as their unit to measure speed. Currently, only about 9% of the world uses miles per hour as a unit of measure, with the best-known among them being the USA and its dependencies. Refrain from exceeding the speed limit indicated in road signs because if you do, you are likely to be pulled off the road by the Austrian authorities.
Is it safe to drive in Austria at night?
Yes, driving in Austria at night is safe. The behavior of the drivers is an important classification of a country’s road safety performance. Use the same caution you would at home and keep your valuables close. There is no need to be concerned. But still, don’t be complacent. Observe road regulations as accidents are likely to happen at night since some roads in Austria are dark.
You will have no trouble driving in Austria if you drive carefully. Many thousands of tourists do this every year without any road problems. Most of the roads in Austria are well-maintained, with good international style markings. If you plan on traveling in the countryside, a car is more convenient that will also allow you to travel when and where you want and not be dependent on train /bus schedules.
Is driving in Austria hard?
You may encounter tests on the roads when driving in Austria that differ significantly from other countries. Thanks to high-quality roads, Austria has become a popular destination with fans of auto tourism. Many sections of the mountain roads are quite narrow, and there is space for only one car. Be alert and cautious when you drive through autobahns and construction zones.
When driving in Austria during winter, most roads in the alpine areas can be dangerous due to snow and avalanches. There are some mountain roads that are closed for extended periods. Winter tires are obligatory across Austria throughout the winter.
On the other aspect, Austrian drivers have this great respect for road rules that is why it really can’t be that hard driving in Austria. Please always remember that you need a “vignette” toll sticker for driving in Austria’s motorways and expressways. Vignettes are available at the border, at petrol stations, or online.
Things to Do in Austria
One of Europe’s hidden gems, Austria, is still showing the richness of its past glories up to this day. Vienna has always shined as an epitome of classical music, architecture, arts, and pastries. The city of Salzburg was the birthplace of Mozart and had a whole lot of beautiful buildings. Even if it is a huge part of what makes Austria authentically great, this country is much more than history and pretty architecture.
Drive as a Tourist
The answer is a big YES! You can definitely drive as a tourist in Austria. But your local driver’s license would not be enough for you to drive legally in Austria. That is why you need to secure an IDP. An IDP is a legal document translation of your local driver’s license. Always bring with you your local driver’s license, your IDP, your passport, and other required documents when driving in Austria to avoid any troubles on the road.
Work as a Driver
You can also work as a driver if you decide on staying in Austria longer than you planned. There are a lot of driving job opportunities in Austria that await you. A truck driver usually earns an average of €1220 (approximately $1480) per month. Before applying for a driving job in Austria, it is highly advised that you should obtain an Austrian driving license.
Work as a Travel Guide
Working as a travel guide in Austria is also a good idea. As Austria is a European country, there are a lot of tourists that love to visit the country itself. And with that, a travel guide will be a job that is in high demand. There is no minimum wage in Austria, and wages are generally negotiated through social partnerships. You should also take note that you could earn extra money from the tips given by tourists if you decide to work as a travel guide.
Apply for Residency
You can also apply for a residence permit in Austria if you want to stay longer in the country. If you are a European Union (EU) citizen, you are not required to have a permit if you stay in the country for no longer than three months. Otherwise, you must get a certificate of registration.
For non-EU citizens, you have to apply for a Red-White-Red Card in Austria. The mentioned card is issued for a period of one year and designates you as the holder to a fixed-term settlement and employment by the employer indicated in your application.
Other Things to Do
Aside from working and applying for residency in Austria, there are also things that you can do in the country. Read further below to know other possible things that are available for you in Austria.
Can a tourist buy a car in Austria?
Yes, a tourist can buy a car in Austria. Just present any valid Identification card or your passport to car agencies that you wanted to buy from. It can become costly because you would have to pay for the vehicle tax and the mandatory insurance. For immediate export, a vehicle can also receive temporary plates. Also, here, vehicle tax and insurance (short time) would have to be provided
Can a foreigner obtain an Austrian license?
A foreign/local driving license can be exchanged for an Austrian license at all driving license authorities throughout Austria. Depending on which country your license is from, in addition to a medical test, a driving test in Austria may be required for the exchange. There is a need for a medical certificate for holders of driving licenses from other non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries. They are also required to take a practical driving test for which a fee is charged—the driving license exchange costs €60.50 (excluding the test fee).
Can I stay and drive in Austria for more than 12 months?
If you are not a citizen or a resident of Austria, your non-EEA driving license is only valid for 12 months from the day on which you landed in the country if you are 18 or over. If you become a citizen or a resident of Austria, your non-EEA driving license is valid for six months from the day on which you become a resident if yo
Is an Indian driving license valid in Austria?
An Indian Driving License is valid in Austria only if you have an IDP. If your license is in English, then it would probably be ok. However, an IDP would be an essential document. Still, it is best to get an IDP before driving in Austria so that you won’t encounter any problems.
Is a US driving license valid in Austria?
Driving in Austria as an American is okay. Keep in mind that using a U.S. driving license is valid in Austria, but it is not sufficient enough. You should also obtain an International Driving Permit that will support your US driving license. You should not be used instead of your valid country’s driving permit since this is only Austria driver’s license translation.
Is a Canadian driving license valid in Austria?
A Valid Canadian driver's license is not recognized in Austria without an IDP. You can obtain an IDP by browsing through our website’s homepage. Fortunately, it is valid in countries like Italy, Albania, and Malta, provided other requirements are also met, when applicable.
Is a United Arab Emirates (UAE) driving license valid in Austria?
In 2018, it was announced that a UAE driving license is valid in Austria. You can legally drive with your UAE driver’s license in Austria without an IDP. But it is still highly advisable to secure one for some authorities who might look for it. Securing an IDP is very easy and hassle-free if you secure from us at the International Driver’s Association.
The Top Road Trip Destinations in Austria
Austria is one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations. The country attracts tourists year-round with places to visit in both summer and winter. It is one of Europe's finest skiing sites. When driving in Austria, winter is almost as busy as summer in the country's mountain regions. Tourists are mostly drawn as much for the scenic beauty of this Alpine republic's provinces.
The city of Vienna, which is the capital city of Austria, has a lot to offer for tourists. From cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cozy wine to music, art, and food, Vienna is a place you should not miss out on visiting when you are in Austria. As the most populous city in the country, Vienna mixes nature and city living.
- From Vienna International Airport, head southeast on Abflugstraße.
- Use the left 2 lanes to turn slightly left.
- Turn left onto Towerstraße.
- Then turn left onto Ausfahrtsstraße.
- Keep left, then use the right lane to merge onto A4 via the ramp to Wien.
- Merge onto A4.
- Keep left to stay on A4.
Things to Do
As Austria is filled with stunning architectural sights, you can visit those top sights while enjoying your time in the city. There are also parks where you can have fun or just simply relax. Read further below for the list of sights and activities you can do in Austria.
1. Experience Being in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Baroque Schönbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has 1,441-room and 40 rooms open for public viewing. It also has 500 acres of parks and gardens that are in the 18th-century Baroque style. While visiting Schönbrunn, you should explore many attractions spread throughout these grounds, such as formal gardens, a labyrinth, the Palm House, an Alpine garden with a farmhouse, Europe's oldest zoo, and the Classical Gloriette.
2. Witness the Classical Style of Horse Riding
Still in the city of Vienna, the Spanish Riding School was built in the time of Emperor Maximilian II who was also the man responsible for introducing the ever famous Lipizzaner horses in the country in 1562. At the present time, the Spanish Riding School is one of the only places where the classical style of riding preferred by aristocracy is still practiced. Viewing the famous equestrian displays in the Baroque Winter Riding School - held here since the time of Charles VI - is a must when in Vienna.
3. Explore the Hofburg Palace
This palace was for centuries the seat of Austria’s monarchy. In the present time, the President conducts state business in the same rooms that once belonged to Emperor Joseph II. The entirety of the Hofburg complex occupies 59 acres encompassing 19 courtyards and 2,600 rooms together with its many impressive squares and gardens
4. Ride Amusement Rides at Prater Amusement Park
The park was once a hunting place and was developed into a place for the public small amusements, stalls, and a few foods stands. It has now become a big and impressive amusement park that is free to enter and only pay for individual rides. A huge Ferris wheel, bumper cars, carousels, rollercoasters, and several restaurants and cafes are found in the park.
5. Visit the Tallest Church Tower of Austria
The St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a monolithic structure and is the most important and prominent church since its construction in the whole of Austria. The beauty of the building is stunning, and its tower reigns on the Vienna skyline. You can find a total of 18 altars, small chapels, and even some tombs inside the church.
With just over 100,000 residents, the city of Innsbruck is the 5th biggest city in Austria. The city’s entire Alps that has ski resorts attract tourists to visit the Innsbruck. Not just that, Innsbruck is also known for its stunning architecture, museums, and galleries.
- From Innsbruck Airport, head west on Fürstenweg.
- At the roundabout, take the 5th exit.
- Turn right onto Fürstenweg.
- Make a left turn onto Bachlechnerstraße/B174.
- Turn right onto Höttinger Au/B171.
- Slight left onto Höttinger Au.
- Continue onto Mariahilfstraße.
- Turn right onto Innbrücke.
- Take a left onto Herzog-Otto-Straße/B171.
- Turn right onto Karl-Kapferer-Straße.
- Make a right onto Kaiserjägerstraße.
- Turn left onto Kapuzinergasse.
- Then turn right onto Kohlstattgasse.
- Turn right onto Jahnstraße.
Things to Do
Innsbruck is world-renowned for its ski resort, so you should not miss trying ski activities in the city. Aside from that, you can also wander and see impressive architecture in the city. Read through the list below for the other things to do and sights to visit in Innsbruck.
1. Go Skiing at Patscherkofel Ski Resort
The ski resort at Patscherkofel is perfect for a beginner or a novice in skiing. It has long, skiable vertical trails that will let you see the stunning view over Innsbruck. It is also a great experience for morning leg warmers
2. Witness Skiers from a Cable Car
If you decide to just see someone skiing, then you should visit Nordkette. A cable car called Innsbrucker Nordkette will take you to the top of Nordkette, which is also a part of Austria’s largest natural park. The cable car journey takes up to 20 minutes and provides you a jaw-dropping view of the mountain and watching Skiers stoop down the slopes.
3. Visit the Hofkirche
The Hofkirche is a Gothic-designed building and is one of Innsbruck’s impressive religious buildings. It was built by Emperor Ferdinand I in the 15th century. The architecture is stunning, but the interior design will take your breath away. It is full of lovely red marble columns. A Cenotaph is the center of attraction of the church, which is surrounded by 28 statues showing numerous ancestors and heroes.
4. Explore Aldstadt
Aldstadt, also known as the Old Town of Innsbruck, is the center of the city. Here you can find buildings that are standing for more than 500 years with a great deal of history. You can dine-in at the beautiful restaurants and cafes and sip your coffee while admiring the stunning architecture of the buildings.
5. Experience a Paragliding Adventure
One of the recreational activities that you should do in Innsbruck is paragliding. It may be scary, but the whole experience will let you see the beauty of Innsbruck. You do not have to worry as there are instructors that will provide equipment and train you before taking off.
The city of Salzburg is one of not just Austria’s but also Europe’s well-renowned cities. The city is full of well-preserved architectural buildings. Not just that, Salzburg is also famous for being the birthplace of the ever-famous classical composer, Mozart.
- From Salzburg Airport, head northeast toward Christian-Doppler-Platz.
- Exit the roundabout onto Loiger Str.
- Continue onto Kasernenstraße and go through one roundabout.
- Use the right lane to take the A1/E55/E60 ramp to Wien/Linz.
- Merge onto A1.
- Take exit 288-Salzburg-Nord Zentrum to merge onto Salzburger Str./B150.
Things to Do
By touring around Salzburg, you can see many stunning architectural buildings. Recreational activities such as hiking can also be experienced in the city. Browse further below for more about the things that you can do in Salzburg.
1. Walk Through the Salzburg’s Old Town
Salzburg’s Old Town is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While roaming around the town, you will see numerous historical buildings and nice-looking squares. Aside from that, you can also just relax, dine-in, and sip your coffee at cafes and restaurants.
2. Visit St. Peter’s Abbey
St. Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg is a benedictine monastery and was originally built in Saint Rupert in 696 over old Christian remains. Aside from that, it also holds the oldest library in the whole of Austria. Along with the beautiful cemetery, it is instantly recognizable as a filming site for The Sound of Music.
3. Explore Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Listed as one of Austria’s cultural heritage monuments, the Mirabell palace is an outstanding palace that was built in 1606. Aside from the palace itself, there are also well-maintained gardens that you can explore.
4. Wander at Mozartplatz Square
When roaming around Salzburg’s Old Town, one of the places that you will see is Mozartplatz Square. The peaceful square was dedicated to Mozart and was unveiled in the 1800s. It is a good place to relax and feel the vibe of Salzburg.
5. Hike at Gaisberg Mountain
Gaisberg Mountain lies in the eastern part of Salzburg. It is the perfect place for outdoor adrenaline-filled activities. Outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding can be explored and experienced in the mountain.
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