Austria is an alpine country, bordering on Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein and Hungary, amongst others. Perhaps best known for its skiing, Austria also boasts landscapes such as valleys, foothills, farmland and vineyards, with hot summers, but in the Alps the winter temperatures can be bitter.
Or view the list of airports in Austria.
If you are interested in visiting cities in Austria, trains are the best way to travel, being moderately priced and connecting major cities and many towns. Buses also are available as connection to other towns and lakes. The bus and rail service are integrated and as such complement each other, so making intercity coaches rather difficult to find in the majority of Austria. People under 26 years old can get a discount on rail travel if they are planning on spending more than 40 Euros on tickets by getting a VorteilsCard. It requires a photo, and costs EUR 19,90, but it provides a 45% discount on all trains in Austria and 25% in the rest of Europe, as well as a further 5% discount within Austria if the tickets are purchased at the ticket machines. Some areas of Austria are best explored by car, as buses can be infrequent, including many popular mountain spots which can only be accessed by car, or on foot/ski. The roads are generally in good condition and not congested, however it is worthwhile being aware of dangerous drivers as Austrians can be somewhat aggressive on the roads. Parking is not free in major cities on work days, but the parking available is marked with blue lines and ticket machines can be found quite easily. A sensible option is to make use of the Park and Ride services which operate from just outside the bigger cities. A toll must be paid in order to be able to drive on the motorway, through which you purchase a Vignette toll pass, that you must then stick to the windscreen in order for it to be valid. This is something which is regularly checked. On top of this, certain roads also have additional tolls. Domestic flights are offered within Austria, however they are expensive and do not normally take much less time than a train or car journey. The national language is German, however English is widely spoken and the only translation difficulties generally occur around the subject of food. In the more rural areas, English will not be as well spoken as in tourist areas, especially with older people, so learning some German beforehand is recommended. Austria is ideal for those interested in outdoor activities, with winter sports such as skiing offered in the Alps, and plenty of hiking areas. The scenery is beautiful and so is bound to tempt people who like the out of doors. Care should be taken when hiking in the Alps, and straying of the trails is strongly discouraged. The national currency is the Euro, and the prices are generally similar to those in most Western European countries. The shops usually open from 9:30am to 6:00pm on weekdays and Saturdays, staying closed on Sundays, excepting petrol station shops, railway stations and restaurants. Paying by credit card is not as common in Austria as elsewhere in the continent, but ATMs are widespread throughout the country and so easy to find.