Travel to Austria to explore a culture-rich and scenically beautiful country. As the birthplace of classical music composers Mozart, Strauss and Schubert, Austria is full of history, culture and art. And then there are the views. Its spectacular mountain scenery is famous the world over, whether covered with snow inviting visitors to ski in Austria or lush and green as depicted in the legendary movie The Sound of Music.
Holidays in Austria can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Visitors flock here to attend the famous Salzburg Festival in the summer months or spend Christmas in Austria to visit the famous markets. The food is superb, the tourist attractions are abundant, and the towns and villages are charming. Vienna, the capital, is home to the State Opera, Hofburg, Schönbrunn Palace and much more. Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, is a stunning city famous for its magnificent Alpine setting. Then there are the ski resorts like St Anton and Kitzbühel, where you’ll find the Après Ski life is vibrant and fun, and the coffee and pastries a dream.
Why travel to Austria
- It’s Lake District is spectacular and offers stunning summer activities.
- In winter, the mountain peaks in the Alps offer incredible skiing opportunities.
- With 24,000km of trails, it’s no surprise that walking holidays in Austria as so popular.
- Christmas is a winter wonderland in the cities and olde-worlde ski resorts.
- Still a best-kept secret, Austria offers an authentic traditional experience.
- The cakes and pastries are legendary.
This beautiful little European country is ideal for a solo travel experience, a romantic getaway with your partner, an opportunity to tackle the snow with friends or an unmatched family holiday. Let Thompsons Holidays take you on a one-of-a-kind experience to this magical destination with a holiday package curated for you.
What to do in Austria
Austria is a magical destination year-round. In the summer, the hills are full of hikers taking in the many scenic trails. The cities of Salzburg, Innsbruck and Vienna are filled with tourists visiting castles, palaces, museums and other fascinating sights. In the winter months when the Austrian Alps become a playground for skiers of every ability who come to enjoy superb skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and numerous other winter sports.
Austria is also an idyllic holiday destination for couples, especially in the winter. There’s nothing more romantic than riding in a horse-drawn carriage under the stars on your way to a restaurant to dine on hearty goulash and sip Glühwein. Let’s not forget Austria’s legendary pastries such as sachertorte, a dense chocolate cake created in 1832 for Prince Metternich in Vienna. No matter when you visit, you’ll find Austrians are warm and welcoming, and their little towns and villages charming and authentic.
Things to do in Austria
- Visit the imperial Hofburg Palace in Vienna.
- See the earth’s most extensive system of ice caves, the spectacular World of the Ice Giants.
- Explore historic Innsbruck, capital of the Tirol.
- Climb Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain peak.
- Go shopping in Salzburg’s traditional Christmas markets.
- Enjoy windsurfing, sailing and swimming on Lake Attersee.
- Go to a spa, have a sauna and then jump into icy water in the snow.
- Visit the charming little village of Hallstatt, one of Austria’s most picturesque.
- Spend time in one of Vienna’s traditional coffee houses.
- Enjoy skiing in one of Austria’s beautiful Alpine resorts.
Spectacular tourist attractions, excellent skiing for beginners, amateurs and experts, delightful cuisine, charming towns and villages and friendly people make Austria an unforgettable destination for a holiday. Book your Austria holiday package with Thompsons Holidays today.
Know before you go...
- In Europe generally, the high tourist season is June to August.
- The best time to visit Austria for sightseeing is in spring (April and May) or autumn (September and October).
- For skiing, the winter months – late December to March – are ideal. Also, Christmas markets in the Festive Season are a joy to visit.
- There are frequent flights from South Africa to Austria. You may need to catch a connecting flight from another city or country to reach your final destination.
- The flight duration from Johannesburg to Vienna is 13 hours, 15 minutes. To Salzburg: 14 hours, 35 minutes.
- Transport within Austria is by air to different destinations, and also by car, bus or train.
- South African passport holders require a Schengen visa to enter Austria.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after travel.
- Austria is on Central European time, one hour behind South Africa during the winter (November to March) and the same time as South Africa in the summer months (last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).
- The official currency is the Euro (€).
- The US Dollar is widely accepted.
- Major credit cards are widely accepted.
- ATMs are found in tourist areas.
- Tipping is an accepted custom. Tip restaurant staff, luggage porters, drivers and guides around 10%.
- Austria’s official language is German.
- English is widely spoken.
- 74% of the Austrian population is Catholic.
- The government allows for free religion, and many religions are practiced here.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- It is safe to drink tap water in Austria. Bottled water is readily available.
- Many public restrooms charge a small fee for use, so keep change on hand for this.
- Vaccinations are not currently required but check with your travel clinic before you go.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor work places as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, warm layerable clothing for winter, ski gear if going skiing.
- Dress modestly when visiting sacred sites – no shorts or tank tops. Legs and shoulders must be covered. Long, loose pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts are best.
- Comfortable walking shoes, sandals.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
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