Austria, our small and beautiful country located in the heart of Europe

combines its rich cultural heritage with a drive for innovation with

unparalleled ease and elegance.


Austria is a federal republic state with a parliamentary democracy.


With an area of 83.858 sq km Austria consists of 9 independent federal states

(Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria,

Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna) with their own provincial governments.

The federal legislation is exercised by the national council

(Nationalrat) together with the Upper House of Parliament (Bundesrat) –

the two chambers of Parliament.

Austria is a member of the European Union, the United Nations as well as most UN organizations.

Of the approximately 8 million inhabitants of Austria, 98%

speak German. The six ethnic groups officially recognized in Austria

(Burgenlandic Croatians, Roma, Slovaks, Slovenians, Czechs and

Hungarians) are concentrated in the east and south of the country.

Approximately 74 % of Austrians are Roman Catholic, 5 % are Protestant, the rest belongs to other faiths.



is located in a temperate climatic zone with a Central European climate

influenced by the Atlantic climate. The four seasons (Spring, Summer,

Autumn and Winter) each have typical temperature and climatic




to the topographical diversity and the relatively large West-East

expanse, there are three differentiating climatic regions:

East: Pannonian climate with a continental influence – low precipitation, hot summers but only moderately cold winters.

Alpine Regions: Alpine climate - high precipitation ( except

inner alpine valley regions such as the upper Inntal), short summers,

long winters.

Remainder of the country: transient climate influenced by the Atlantic (in the West) and a continental influence in the South-east.

Fauna and Flora


topographic diversity accounts for a great variety of flora and fauna,

including endemic species that are under preservation.


In Austria there is a predominantly Central European fauna: deer, stag, rabbit, pheasant, fox, badger, marten, partridge.

Native to the alpine regions are the chamois, groundhog, eagle and

mountain jackdaw. Characteristic of the Pannonian fauna is the vast

bird population in the reed beds of Lake Neusiedl (heron, spoonbill,

scooper, wild goose, and many more).

In recent years, Austria is home again to a small bear population,

which can mainly be found in the heavily wooded southern and central

mountainous regions.


The diversity of topographical and climatic conditions accounts for the country's species-rich flora.

Austria is one of Europe's most heavily wooded countries.

Characteristic are the deciduous forest (oak, beech) and the mixed

forest (beech, fir) and in the higher altitude regions fir, larch and


Especially diverse and colorful is the alpine flora: edelweiss, gentian, alpine carnation, arnica, alpine rose, heather and much more.

The northern edge of the Alps is especially dominated by grassland;

typical in the Pannonian region are the scrub forest, mixed deciduous

forest and the steppe moors. East of Lake Neusiedl one finds a specific

salt steppe flora.

Austria's nature parks, that stretch across 3 percent of the

country, document the diversity of the landscape with its in part

unique natural landscapes, such as the rain and virgin forests.

Shopping in Austria

Where? When? How? Here you get to know everything on the shopping malls within the town.


Shopping hours:

Legally permitted opening hours for stores: Monday to Friday 5:00 a.m to 21:00 p.m, Saturday to 18:00 p.m.

The actual opening hours for stores may vary, usually from 09.00 a.m –

18.00 p.m (Grocery stores from 08.00 a.m), Saturdays to 13.00 or 17.00


Exceptional regulations with longer opening hours exist in tourist

areas; shops at railway stations and at airports are open during the

travel timeschedules (in part until 23:00 p.m).

Tobacco merchandise

is available at tobacconists' shops (Tabaktrafiken) at original prices,

and at hotels, restaurants, coffee houses and inns with a surcharge.


Craftmanship is a popular souvenir – i.e. ceramic, woodcarving,

artistic iron welding – traditional dress, Augarten-Porcellan, enamel

jewelry and glass creations.

Refund of Value-Added Tax (VAT):

Foreign tourists with residence outside the EU may obtain a refund on

the VAT they pay on single purchases totalling over € 75.-, by

completing certain customs formalities when taking the goods out of the

country. The relevant form is issued directly at the store, and the

goods must be taken out of the country within 3 months and must receive

a stamp from the EU border customs office as confirmation.

The VAT refund voucher, with which you receive a tax refund upon

leaving the EU internal market is available at all stores displaying

the signs “Global Refund TAX FREE SHOPPING” and “Premier TAX FREE”.

Attention: For tourists with residence within the European Union obtaining refunds on VAT is unfortunately no longer possible!

Youth Hostels


100 youth hostels in all of Austria are open to everybody. Groups and

those travelling alone are advised to book in advance.

Each guest must present a valid International Youth Hostel membership card which can be purchased at any national Youth Hostel Association office.

Lists of youth hostels and detailed information can be found:

- at the Austrian Youth Hostel Association

- at the Österreichisches Jugendherbergswerk

Persons without an International Youth Hostel membership card

need a guest card with a ”Welcome Stamp” at € 3,50 per night. Once the

card has been stamped with 6 Welcome-Stamps, it automatically counts as

a Youth Hostel membership card.