Austria: Car Rental
Local Travel Info in Austria
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Austria
The major airports in Austria, all of which are flown to from British airports, are as follows:
Linz Blue Danube Airport
Set 13km from the city of Linz; popular sightseeing Austrian holiday destination. If you are flying to Linz there are a number of taxi stands at the airport, a regular cheap bus service to the city centre (2,50 Euros), and hourly trains.
Graz Thalerhof Airport
Located on the outskirts of Graz, this is the right airport choice if you are flying to ski in the Styrian mountains. If you are arriving in Graz, the taxi row is in front of the passenger terminal, hire car facilities can be found in the arrivals car park and the bus will take you from Graz airport train station to Graz central train station where trains are very frequent in and out of Graz.
Vienna international Airport
Vienna International is located in Schwechat, about 19 km (12 miles) southeast of the city. Tour operators offer some great deals for city breaks flying into this airport. If you’re flying to Vienna, there is a great selection of local buses that go to Wien Mitte, Sudbahnhof and Westbahnhof railway stations and to Wien Schwedenplatz and the Vienna International Centre. Rail links are also excellent.
Another good choice for ski holidays; this airport is situated in the heart of Carinthia, in the southest of Austria. Klagenfurt has its own Ryanair Airport Express bus service which runs between the main railway station and city centre; this departs from Klagenfurt, in-sync with Ryanair flight times, at 3:05pm every day. Public buses running to Heiligengeistplatz bus terminal in the centre of Klagenfurt go every 30 minutes from 6:00am until 11:00pm.
Salzburg W. A Mozart Airport
Located 4 km west of the city centre, your transfer time to your Salzburg hotel should be swift. From Salzburg Airport, bus No 2 leaves every 15 minutes during the week and runs between the main railway station and the airport. On Sundays or public holidays it leaves every 30 minutes. If you’re going to a tourist spot outside Salzburg, take Bus number 2 to the main Salzburg railway station, about 20 minutes away.
There are daily internal flights that contact all five of these airports, however, Austria is by no means a vast country, and with its excellent transport links, you are probably better hiring a car or taking the train.
Renting cars in Austria
Car rental in Austria is a great way to get around the country, and most of the major airports have car-hiring stations. From 200 Euros for a week’s hire (4 door), you can take your car around the mountain roads and explore some of traditional Austria. Generally in the snowy months your car will come equipped with winter tyres – always reassuring! Booking in advance is highly advisable and cheaper, but it is possible to hire on arrival, just make sure you have your complete UK driver’s license with you and keep this with you when driving.
Drivers License Requirements in Austria
You must be over 21 and you must hold a valid driver’s licence to hire a car in Austria. Make sure you take your full licence with you, including the paper copy, when you go. Austrians drive on the right, so if you are used to driving on the left, remember to be extra alert at junctions. Drink driving laws are strict – 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per ml of blood; this is stricter than the UK. Austrians are extremely hot on speed limits so take good care not to exceed them; with mountain roads and icy conditions, it is imperative you take heed of road signs and speed changes. If you speed you risk an on-the-spot fine. Motorway speed limits are around 130km/h, with this plummeting to 50km/h in the towns. You must display a motorway tax sticker – check your hired car comes complete with this as the fines are expensive. Take care to wear a visibility vest if you break down, and remember to use the red warning triangle.
Austria by Bus
Train is the preferred method of transport in Austria, however, there are some excellent federal bus networks set up throughout the country with over 2,800 scheduled routes. If you are in Vienna, you can get a single journey on buses, trains or trams for less than 2 Euros, however, it is a good idea to get an all day card which will cost you around 4.60 Euros and will allow you unlimited travel on the inner city public transport. The bus system is well priced and frequent all over Austria. Airport transfers to local cities, such as Linz, can cost as little as 1.50 Euros. As might be expected, the bus routes do tend to go ‘round the houses’ and you should expect to find the buses significantly slower than the trains.
Austria by Taxi
With taxi ranks outside all the international airports, you can be guaranteed a stress-free transfer to your accommodation upon arrival. To get from Vienna airport to the centre of town – a 20 minute taxi transfer – you can expect to pay around 40 Euros. If you book your return journey to the airport at the time of inbound transfer, you can expect a good discount with that company. Taxi is certainly not the cheapest option, but the roads in Austria are generally clear and well maintained, so you can expect a smooth non-stop transfer. If you are looking to hail cabs around town, you’ll find that the taxis in the towns are controlled by a meter, for Vienna the basic standing fee is around 2 Euros for the daytime and 2.1 Euros at night; this is standard across most Austrian cities. No extra fee is charged for luggage.
Cycling in Austria
The perfect way to discover some of the hidden beauties of this country is to take a cycling holiday in Austria. The best time of year to go is between spring and october when the snow won’t interrupt your journey. You can choose the stress-free option of an organised bike tour, or you can explore the countryside on your own. Organised biking holidays in Austria are of a high standard; they cater for all abilities and can take away some of the stress of arranging your tour. Your bike rental will be included and you don’t have to worry about missing anything, as your guide will take you on the best route for your ability. Some popular biking trails include the ‘Danube Bicycle Path’, the ‘Salzburg Lakes Bike Tour’ and the ‘Tauern Bike Path’. A week’s tour, tailored to your sightseeing interests will cost you around 550 Euros, and this includes accommodation, luggage transfers and the bike rental. If you decide to take matters into your own hands, you will find Austria is built to accommodate cyclists, with trains carrying them in the baggage car and many hotels and B&Bs along the way providing you with lockable bike racks. Austrian law dictates that both brakes are operating, you have a headlight, red taillight, a yellow reflector on the spokes and pedals and a bell. You can expect to pay around 20 Euros a day to rent a decent mountain bike; this can be upgraded to a tandem bicycle for a little extra if you’re feeling sociable!
Being a land of lakes, you may want to take advantage of the ferry services that run from May to October across a number of Austria’s lakes. Lake Wolfgang, in St. Wolfgang, is highly recommended for its breathtaking mountain scenery. A cruise down the Danube is equally beautiful with some stunning Austrian castles and countryside. Some operators offer week-long cruises that will take you from all the way from east to west on the Danube, and will include some exciting day excursions. You’ll cross a couple of international borders, including Hungary, Slovakia and Germany, so passports should be kept on you at all times.
Not recommended; it is illegal on all Austrian motorways and the general consensus is that Austrians, especially in the Tyrol region, are not too fond of picking you up!