Small group tours for curious mature & senior travellers to Austria. This central European country is home to some of the most exquisite architecture and natural scenery in Europe. Austria offers a magical escape for the traveller seeking new and unique experiences. Whether you wish to gaze upon breathtaking Alpine vistas, wander down the corridors of baroque palaces, or take in the sights and sounds of old Vienna, Austria has it all. Let Odyssey Traveller take you on a journey you will never forget.
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Trains, operated by the Austrian Federal Railways, are a fast and efficient option to travel around the country. Buses can be handy in getting you to remote regions and villages, and bus services operate in most cities. Domestic flights are available, though can be a costly option.
In major cities in Austria, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our long stay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, environment and weather
Austria is a landlocked country, covering 84k square kilometres. The terrain in Austria is highly mountainous with only 32% of the country below 500m. Just over 40% of Austria is covered by forest, while one-fifth of the country is pasture and meadow located at various altitudes.
Austria has a predominantly alpine climate, with cold winters and warm summers. If travelling to Austria in the winter months, be sure to pack some warm clothing.
World Heritage sites
Austria has 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can view the official list of the sites here (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/at). While every site is worth a look, here are a few highlights:
- Wachau cultural landscape, a stretch of the Danube Valley which preserves many architectural and agricultural traces of its historic evolution
- The Semmering Railway, which spans over 41km of high mountains, and stands as a stunning achievement of civil engineering
- Beech Forests of the Carpathians
Festivals and events
With its storied history and famous cultural institutions, Austria has many festivals and events each and every year.
The Viennale international film festival has been running annually since 1960, and attacts filmmakers and film buffs from all over the world. Mörbisch Operetta Festival is a festival dedicated to hosting operattas, and takes place at the visually-stunning locale of Lake Neusiedl.
The International Art Fair is hosted annually in Vienna every autumn, and features a dazzling array of artworks and installations by internationally-renowned artists.
- Walking in Austria, by Kev Reynolds
- The Austrians: A Thousand Year Odyssey, by Gordon Brook-Shepard
- The World of Yesterday, by Stefan Zweig
Eating and Drinking
Wienerschnitzel is the nation’s most famous culinary export, with each region having their own version on this ubiquitous Austrian dish. Numerous other Austrian dishes centre around meat, including Tafelspitz, Vienna Wurst, and Austrian Goulash, the local take on the famous Central European meat stew. Other savoury offerings include Erdäpfelsalat (potato salad) and spargel (spring asparagus). If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, there is no shortage of mouth-watering deserts, including apple strudels, kaiserschmarrn and sachertorte (Viennese chocolate cake with apricot jam).
Austria is credited with introducing coffee to Europe in the form of its coffehouses, and coffee remains an integral part of Austrian social life. Beer is popularly consumed throughout the country, while schnaps are sometimes served at the end of a meal.
Health and Safety
Generally Austria is safe to travel around in, though always exercise common sense while travelling.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adapter. Austria operates on a 230 supply voltage and 50Hz. Austria uses both the Type C and Type F plug, so be sure you have an adapter handy as needed.
Vienna City Centre
Austria has a single time zone, Central European Standard Time (UTC+1). Austria observes daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services. Tipping is fairly common in Austria, with some restaurants and hotels including a service charge with the bill. Tipping of taxi drivers is also common, typically done at 10% of the fare.
Internet access is easily accessible, and most hotels, cafes and bars will offer it.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Austria. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Responsible travel tips for Austria
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of euros in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.