Exercise normal safety precautions in Austria. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the news and other sources for changes to local conditions.
- Petty crime, including bag snatching and pickpocketing, is increasing. Be alert on public transport and in tourist areas. See
Safety and security.
- Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities in recent years. On 20 January 2017, Austrian police arrested a person suspected of planning a bomb attack in Vienna. Be alert to possible threats and follow the instructions of local authorities. See
Safety and security.
- Since 2015, there have been significant pressures on border controls in Europe due to the movement of asylum seekers. Be sure to carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the
Schengen zone. See Entry and exit.
- The weather in alpine regions is unpredictable and can change suddenly. Avalanches, flash flooding and mudslides have resulted in deaths in recent years. See
Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
Entry and exit
Austria is a party to the
Schengen Convention, along with a number of other European countries. This allows you to enter Austria without a visa in some circumstances.
In other circumstances, you'll need to get a visa.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Austria for the up-to-date information.
Immigration authorities may require a letter of consent (in addition to the child's passport) from the non-travelling parent(s) of children (under 18 years of age) travelling alone or with one parent. Check with an
Embassy or Consulate of Austria for up-to-date information.
Ensure you get a legible entry stamp in your passport when you enter the
Schengen area (including Austria) for the first time.
If you're staying in private accommodation in Austria for more than three days, you must register your place of residence with local authorities.
Immigration controls are temporarily in operation at some road and rail border crossing points with Germany, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia. Always carry your passport when crossing the border into, or from, Austria. Monitor the news and check with your transport provider or the
Austrian Railways (OBB) website for updates.
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.
By law, you must, as soon as possible report a lost or stolen passport:
Declare cash of 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you're travelling between Austria and any non-European Union (EU) country. This includes notes and coins, money orders, cheques and travellers cheques. If you fail to declare your cash or you give incorrect information on entry to, or exit from, Austria, you will be fined. You don't need to declare cash if you're travelling to or from another EU country.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. In recent years, terrorists have staged attacks in a number of European cities. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners. In addition, a number of planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services in recent years.
On 20 January 2017, Austrian police arrested a person suspected of planning a bomb attack in Vienna. Police issued a warning for people to be alert in crowded places and to report any suspicious activity or objects. Further arrests took place on 26 January 2017. Investigations continue.
- Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
- Exercise particular caution around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.
- Report any suspicious behaviour and unattended bags to the police.
- Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
- Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.
Terrorism threat worldwide
Austria has a low incidence of serious crime.
Petty crime, including bag snatching and pickpocketing, is increasing, particularly on public transport and in tourist areas. Travellers are frequently targeted at Vienna's three largest train stations (Westbahnhof, Hauptbahnhof and Meidling), the plaza around St Stephan's Cathedral and the nearby shopping areas. Passengers sleeping on the train from Prague to Vienna have lost wallets and passports to thieves, who typically slash passengers' luggage or pockets. International night trains to and from Austria are also targeted by thieves. Exercise caution around subway stations and city parks after dark.
There are increasing reports of ATM fraud in Vienna, particularly around St Stephan's Cathedral.
- Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly in places frequented by tourists and on public transport.
- Carry only what you need for the day. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location. Keep your passport and other identity documents separate from each other.
- Be alert when using ATMs and credit cards. Keep your card in sight at all times, take care not to expose your PIN, particularly when using ATMs, and monitor your transaction statements.
Civil unrest and political tension
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to turn violent.
- Keep an eye on the news and other sources for information about possible demonstrations.
- Avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations.
- Follow the advice of local authorities.
Since 2015, there have been significant pressures on border controls in Europe due to the movement of asylum seekers. Carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the
Schengen zone. Monitor border conditions by checking local news sources and asking transport providers directly.
Road conditions are generally good, but roads in alpine areas can become hazardous during winter. Some mountain roads may be closed for extended periods. Winter tyres are mandatory from 1 November to 15 April. Also carry snow chains if driving in mountainous areas in winter.
A current highway toll sticker (vignette) is required for vehicles using the autobahn. A vignette can be purchased at border crossings or petrol stations near the border. Random checks are conducted, and fines for not having a vignette must be paid (currently 200 euros, more if not paid on the spot).
When outside a vehicle on the hard shoulder of any road, you must place a warning triangle on the road side behind the vehicle. The driver and passengers must wear high visibility warning vests. Ensure any rental car is fitted with the requisite equipment.
Drivers' licences of travellers from a non-EU or non-European Economic Area state are valid for up to twelve months from the date of entry into Austria. The driver's licence must be in German. A driver's licence issued in a foreign language is only valid in combination with an international driving licence or a translation.
Foreign driver's licences of residents in Austria are valid for six months from the date of the establishment of the resident status.
Taxis are reliable and safe to use. Pre-booking a taxi for Airport transfers might help to reduce the price.
The Austrian Federal Railways (Österreichische Bundesbahnen) offers excellent railroad service to all major towns and to major cities in Europe. There is also an extensive network of Austrian Post bus lines.
Fines for travelling on public transport without a valid ticket are expensive. Follow passenger information notices when using public transport and validate your ticket before starting your journey. Keep your ticket until the end of your journey and show it to inspectors on request.
If you plan to join a Danube river cruise, read the
travelling by boat pages for advice on staying safe and healthy.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Austria.
You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Under Austrian law, you're required to carry identification documents at all times.
It is illegal to preach in Austria unless you belong to a registered religious group and have a permit.
On the spot fines apply if you cover your face in public places or buildings using clothing or objects so that you are unrecognisable. You could be required to attend a police station if you refuse to uncover your face when asked, or if your identity cannot be determined. Further information, including on exemptions, is available from the Austrian Interior Ministry (in German).
Possessing or trafficking drugs will be dealt with severely in Austria. If convicted, a lengthy prison sentence and heavy fines can be expected.
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering
More information: Staying within the law
If you're an Australian/Austrian dual national, you may be required to complete national service obligations if you visit Austria. Contact the
Embassy or Consulate of Austria before you travel for up-to-date information relevant to your personal circumstances.
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.
Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.
- what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
- you're covered for the whole time you will be away.
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.
Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.
Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.
Health facilities in Austria are of a similar standard to those in Australia. Most doctors speak English. Medical costs are usually much higher than in Australia.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
- Firefighting and rescue services: 112
- Medical emergencies: 112
- Criminal issues, contact police: 112
For non-emergency criminal issues, contact the local police. Always get a police report when reporting a crime.
Tourism services and products
For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact:
Australian Embassy, Vienna
Telephone: +43 1 506 740
Facsimile: +43 1 513 1656
Australian Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Avalanches, flash flooding and mudslides can be a danger in alpine areas and have resulted in a number of fatalities in recent years. The weather in alpine regions is unpredictable and can change suddenly. 'Off-piste' skiing is highly dangerous.
Avalanche information is available in English via the
Avalanche Warning Service Tyrol or
European Avalanche Warning Service.
If you travel to alpine areas:
- monitor local weather and safety conditions
- take weather warnings seriously
- follow the advice of local authorities
- equip yourself appropriately
- plan your activities carefully
- inform someone of your plans
- observe written warnings and notices and stick to marked slopes and trails
- ensure your travel insurance covers you for all activities you intend to undertake.