Here's a little list of tips we've compiled for living on the road in Austria.
Austria’s official national language is Austrian German.
Austria’s official currency is the Euro. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Be prepared to use cash in smaller towns and some petrol stations.
Drinking water is easy to find in towns, particularly in mountainous areas. The water will not usually be marked unless it is unsafe for drinking.
“Trinkwasser” means drinking water. Check out our map of water points here.
You can get post delivered to Österreichische Post post offices in Austria by addressing it as Postlagernd. You have the option of using a password instead of, or in conjunction with, your name on your post, which you will give when collecting your mail from the post office. Your post will be held for 30 days and you will need ID with you when you collect it if you do not choose to use a password. There is a net charge of €1 upon collection.
The address format is as follows:
Kennwort: Password (optional)
Street name, number
Post code, town
Post office addresses and more information about Postalgernd can be found at post.at/en.
Petrol: Benzin / Bleifrei (Euro Super 95 or SuperPlus 98)
There are few supermarket fuel stations in Austria, the majority are companies like Shell and BP. We found Avia to be among the cheapest, although there is often little difference in price and not much variety.
tankbillig.in can be used to check fuel prices in any area of Austria, and also tells you the garage’s opening times, contact details, whether it accepts cash, debit and credit cards as well as any other facilities the garage may have. The website is up to date and largely accurate.
All supermarkets close at 6pm on a Saturday and do not open on a Sunday, but fuel stations are usually open late and some are 24 hour. Supermarkets generally close around 7pm-8pm on weekdays.
Rubbish bins and recycling facilities are not always easy to find but are generally on the streets around houses.
Some towns 18mph (30km/h)
Built-up areas 31 mph (50 km/h)
Outside built-up areas 62 mph (100 km/h)
Motorways 80 mph (130 km/h)
If you’ve got snow chains fitted the maximum speed limit is 31mph (50 km/h).
In a traffic jam, all vehicles must move to the sides of the road to form an emergency lane (Rettungsgasse) to allow emergency services through. If on a road with more than two lanes, the emergency lane must be created in the middle of the two leftmost lanes.
The general condition of the roads in Austria is good although main roads are sometimes narrow.
Signs at the border will tell you you’ll need a vignette to drive on all motorways and highways, but these are easily avoided as the vignette mostly applies to motorways.
If you do choose to buy a vignette sticker you will have access to dozens of rest stops along the Austrian motorways which have facilities such as drinking water taps, toilets and showers for €1.
The vignette sticker must be fixed to your windscreen, and can be purchased from petrol stations, post offices and newsagents which will usually advertise this outside. The prices for vehicles up to 3.5T are as follows:
- 10 day sticker €8.90
- 2 month sticker €25.90
- 12 month sticker €86.40
Yellow diamond signs after junctions indicate that you do not have priority (you will need to look beyond the junction as you drive to check).
A warning triangle with an X in it tells you to beware of hazards on the right.
Compulsory items to carry in your vehicle always:
Winter tyres or snow chains must be used in winter weather conditions and between the dates of 1 Nov - 15 April.
Wild camping in Austria - as in many countries - is a legal grey area. After speaking with the Austrian police directly the only issue seemed to be camping on private or restricted land or roads. Otherwise it appears to be widely tolerated.
As a general rule if you are out of the way, not on private property or in densely populated tourist areas you will be okay to stay in your van overnight. Just look out for signs and restrictions. Police tend to look differently at the situation if you have chairs out and awning up etc., so just keep it discreet and move on regularly and you should be fine.
Austria is a beautiful country, over half of which is covered with breathtaking mountainscapes and traditional houses. The Austrian Alps are incredible, as are the banks of the Danube, and there is a lot of WW2 history to explore, such as the Mauthausen concentration camp.
We recommend spending a while exploring the Austrian Alps from their border with Germany to their end, especially stopping off at lakes such as the incredible Hintersee.
On the other hand, avoid the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße (Grossglockner High Alpine Road)- it may promise to be one of the highest roads in Austria and one of the most beautiful, but there's a toll to use it, and not just a little one, but an eye-watering €35.50. A day.
Austria is not the cheapest of countries to travel in, and the lack of Google Street View can make it difficult to find places to park. We got a knock on the door from the police once, but only to ask what we were doing after a concerned call from a local resident. It was pretty clear we were sleeping, and they were very friendly and explained that there is no issue with wild camping in Austria.
Try the pretzels, especially when they're warm and fresh, they're like no other pretzels you've tried before. If you like rum try some Punschkrapfen, little pink iced sponges, chocolate nougat and apricot jam flavoured, with a hint of rum.