Now that you know what you want to see and when, here is some practical information to put it all together. From opening hours to tips on tipping, what to wear to the opera and whether to take the train or bus, here is the scoop:
Best Time to Travel
Depending on your client's particular interests and likes, certain times may be more advantageous for traveling: Most visitors arrive between May and September, and arriving outside of those months can result in outstanding values, particularly with accommodation and airfare.
Ski resorts are busiest during the Christmas season. For resorts with snow guarantee, the pre-season from end of November until December 24 can be a very good bargain and mostly empty slopes.
How to Get There
Austrian Airlines is Austria's national carrier and offers an internationa network of over 130 destinations. Austrian Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group and the Star Alliance network.
From North America, Austrian flies directly to Vienna from these gateways: Newark, JFK, Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago and Toronto. Austria has five additional international airports, which connect you to any number of international cities in Europe and beyond: Klagenfurt, Graz, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Linz. Many of our visitors arrive via Zurich or Munich an then connect to one of the above airports or drive to the final destination in Austria.
Traveling by Train
Austria's trains are clean, comfortable and fast. The top mobility provider is the OEBB or Austrian Federal Railway. Most intercity trains feature business and second class cars, as well as a restaurant car and free wifi.
Travel times from Vienna to Graz and Salzburg are roughly between 2:30 and 3 hours,and from Salzburg to Innsbruck 2 hours. Connections to smaller towns and villages are excellent and make car rentals unnecessary provided you don't travel with too much luggage.
Tickets can be bought directly at each train station, via the OEBB website or with Rail Europe, which offers several passes you might want to take advantage of, depending on the amount of train travel you are planning to do.
Taveling by Car
Of course, traveling by car lets you be very independent. Car rentals are available at all airports and major cities, and Austria's roads and highways are safe and well maintained. You do need an international driver's license, and there are a few other things to consider when driving in Austria. Here is more information on safety and driving regulations.
Staying in Austria
Most hotels housing international guests pay commission to travel agents for bookings. With small B&Bs and for private rooms, it's best to settle the matter directly before bookings are made.
Accommodations are ranked according to the five-star system. Besides Hotels, Inns and Pensions (Guesthouses) are a great way to stay in places that connect visitors to the destination. They usually do not have 24-hour service, a concierge or sometimes even a restaurant, but they are often historic or family owned places that offer typically Austrian hospitality.
US and Canadian citizens do not need a visa when traveling to Austria. All other nationalities should consult the Austrian Consulate.
For purchases of at least EUR 75 from a single store in Austria, non-EU visitors may usually receive a tax refund. At the final point of departure from the EU, travelers must present the unused article(s), the receipt and the appropriate form to the refund officer. More information at www.globalrefund.com.
General Travel Tips
Electricity: 220 Volts AC
Time Zone: CET