Wilder Kaiser region, Austria
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Wilder Kaiser region, Austria

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Austria Travel Guide

Key Facts

83,871 sq km (32,382 sq miles).


8,741,072 (UN estimated statistic 2017)

Population density

106 per sq km.


Vienna (Wien).


Federal Republic.

Head of state

President Alexander van der Bellen since January 2017. 

Head of government

Chancellor Karl Nehammer since December 2021.


230 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are standard.

Despite its small size, Austria has a long-established international reputation, which is why most visitors arrive with heads full of Habsburg, Mozart and Alpine visions. Some expectations are delightfully met – the mountain scenery is breathtakingly real, there are the omnipresent fingerprints of the old empire in Vienna, and home-grown musical icons Mozart, Schubert and Strauss are championed everywhere – but Austria also has a few surprises up its sleeve in the form of contemporary art, cutting-edge architecture and innovative cuisine.

Austria is frequently cited as one of the best places to live in Europe, and it is not difficult to see why. Remarkably safe and clean, it offers plenty of affordable culture, natural beauty and elegant Baroque and neoclassical architecture, as well as an efficient public transport system.

It’s also surprisingly varied. You can hurtle down a black run in the skiing paradises of Kitzbühel and St Anton, or cosy up with a hot drink in one of Vienna’s famous coffee houses. You can skate across icy lakes in winter or seek out wildflower meadows on summertime hikes. You can wonder at the intricate church interiors and the ostentatious opulence of the old Habsburg palaces, or indulge in a more low-key aspect of Mitteleuropa culture over a steaming goulash in a rustic country inn. Or you can ride a horse through pretty wooded tracts, get an eyeful of Rubens, Raphael and Rembrandt, and marvel at Hundertwasser House in Vienna – a fantastical housing complex characterised by its vivid patterns and mismatched colours.

Don’t try to squeeze it all in though. More than anything, Austria is a place to recline, relax and relish. Its natural beauty is the result of many millennia of natural activity and its grand art, architecture and culture was painstakingly created by many hands over many centuries. These aren’t sights to be hurriedly ticked off a list; allow yourself plenty of time to luxuriate.

Travel Advice

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Austria set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Austrian Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Austria.

Passport validity requirements

Austria follows Schengen area rules. Your passport must:

  • have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive – if you renewed your passport before 1 October 2018, it may have a date of issue that is more than 10 years ago
  • have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave the Schengen area

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You can travel without a visa to the Schengen area, which includes Austria, for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This applies if you travel: 

  • as a tourist
  • to visit family or friends
  • to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events
  • for short-term studies or training

The requirements for working in Austria are different.

If you are travelling to other Schengen countries as well, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.

Make sure you get your passport stamped on entry and exit.

If you’re a visitor, border guards will look at your entry and exit stamps to check you have not overstayed the 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area. 

If your passport is missing a stamp, show evidence of when and where you entered or left the Schengen area (for example, boarding passes or tickets) and ask the border guards to add the date and location in your passport. 

At Austrian border control, you may need to:

  • show proof of your accommodation, for example, a hotel booking confirmation or proof of address for a second home
  • show proof of your travel insurance
  • show a return or onward ticket
  • prove that you have enough money for your stay

Staying longer than 90 days in a 180-day period

To stay longer, you must meet the Austrian government’s entry requirements. Check which type of visa or work permit you need with the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Austrian Embassy in the UK.

If you’re in Austria with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

Read about passport stamping if you live in Austria.

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Austria guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of Austria. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Taking food into Austria

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions such as powdered baby milk, baby food and special foods or pet feed required for medical reasons.

Taking money into Austria 

Declare cash or travellers cheques if the value is 10,000 euros or more. You will get a certified declaration to show you brought it in with you. If you do not, your money could be seized when you leave.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Austria

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Austria.

Political demonstrations

Demonstrations may happen with little or no warning in cities. Follow the advice of local authorities.


Crime levels are generally low. However, there are higher levels of petty crime, particularly pickpocketing, in the big city centres and city parks after dark. Thieves use a variety of methods to distract people.

Protecting your belongings

Take care on public transport and in crowded city centres including main stations. Be particularly careful with your belongings on international trains and when you take your baggage from trains and coaches.

Drink spiking

Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Be careful about taking drinks from strangers or leaving your drinks unattended. Criminals have robbed and assaulted people after spiking their drinks.

Laws and cultural differences

Personal ID

By law, you must always have easy access to your passport. If you do not carry your passport, it must be in the same district as you, and you must be able to get it quickly. It can be helpful to carry a copy of the photo page. The Austrian authorities do not accept a UK driving licence as official ID.


Drug laws are similar to the UK. Possessing or trafficking drugs is dealt with severely.

Face-covering ban

It’s generally illegal to wear any clothing or object in public that covers your face. You could get a fine of up to 150 euros. See information on Austria’s face-covering ban, including a list of exemptions.

Public transport

You must validate your ticket in a ticket machine before starting a journey on public transport. If you do not, you could get a 100 to 500 euro on-the-spot fine.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

For outdoor activities and adventure sports, make sure:

  • you use a well-established company
  • your insurance covers your specific activity

For sports activities like skiing, potholing and mountaineering, and for sports classed as particularly dangerous (for example, off-piste skiing, mountain biking, climbing or paragliding), your insurance should include:

  • mountain rescue services
  • helicopter costs
  • repatriation to your country of residence
  • transfer to neighbouring countries for treatment

Check weather forecasts and conditions. Make sure you’re properly equipped for the worst-case scenario with items such as a map, compass, GPS and telecommunications equipment.

Adventure sports and activities are riskier if you’re alone. Consider hiring a guide for expert advice. Always leave details of your itinerary with someone.


See preparing for winter sports abroad.

Take advice on weather and avalanche conditions before you travel. Follow local skiing laws and regulations.

Off-piste skiing is very dangerous and can invalidate your travel insurance. Avalanches are a risk in some areas. Follow safety instructions carefully and go with a qualified guide. See European Avalanche Warning Service and the Austrian Avalanche Warning Service (in German).

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Austria, see information on driving abroad and check the rules of the road in the RAC’s Austria guide. The guide lists driving regulations and other legal requirements you need to be aware of.

Driving laws in Austria can be complex, especially for caravan and motorhomes. For more information, see EU road rules and safety and Austrian vehicle laws.

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Austria if you are aged 18 or over. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience and a higher minimum age. 

You must carry insurance and vehicle ownership documents.

There is also guidance on driving if you’re living in Austria.

Motorway tolls

All vehicles on motorways and expressways in Austria are subject to tolls. If you use Austrian motorways, you must display a vignette (sticker) inside your windscreen. You could get a fine if you do not.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 112 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:  

See what health risks you’ll face in Austria, including tick-borne diseases.

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Austria. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro.


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare in Austria

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Austria where some staff will speak English.

Health insurance cards

To get medically necessary state healthcare in Austria, you need a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

The NHS’s getting healthcare abroad webpage has details about:  

  • how to apply for a GHIC
  • how to get temporary cover if you lose your card or it does not arrive in time
  • who qualifies for a new EHIC instead of a GHIC
  • what treatment counts as medically necessary

A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. You may have costs your GHIC or EHIC does not cover, including:  

  • changes to travel and accommodation bookings
  • additional standard costs for treatment
  • medical repatriation to the UK
  • treatment that is ruled non-urgent
  • private healthcare
  • private clinics

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Austria.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services Austria

Ambulance or rescue: 144

Fire: 122

Police: 133

European emergency number: 112

You can also download the 112 Where Are U app, the European emergency number app.

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Austria and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Vienna.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Austria on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.