- Currency is the Euro.
- Electrical voltage is the same as Germany, which is 230 volts and 50 Hertz. They also use C and F plug types. Bring an adapter if you are using a different electrical voltage type. This is the one I recommend.
- The most common language spoken is German but many people speak English quite well.
Do You Need a Visa to Visit Austria?
If you hold a US passport you can visit Austria visa-free for 90 days. You should also know that your passport must be valid for up to 3 months after your last day in Austria and you may have to show proof of date of departure upon entry. A plane or train ticket will suffice.
The same visa rules apply (90 days stay) for citizens holding valid passports from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Venezuela, Vatican, and many more.
Is Austria Part Of The Schengen Area?
Yes. For those who don't know, the Schengen Area is comprised of 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders.
Weather In Innsbruck
Being a ski destination it probably doesn't surprise you that winters are cold and snowy here. But I will say that Innsbruck is truly a year-round destination. Summers in Innsbruck are particularly lovely. They are generally warm but the weather can be all over the place. Even in the summer nights can be cool once the sunsets falling below 10°C.
How To Get To Innsbruck
Vienna International Airport (Code: VIE) is located in Austria’s capital and is the main international airport for flying into Austria. Tickets are usually cheapest here. From Vienna, you can take a train into Innsbruck - although it will be a bit long - about 6 hours trip. There are also regional flights run by Austrian Airlines that fly from Vienna Airport to Innsbruck.
Salzburg Airport (Code: SZG) is the second biggest airport in Austria and you can sometimes find cheap flights here. You can also try Innsbruck Airport (Code: INN) but, of course, flights into smaller airports tend to be higher in price.
Here are a couple other options if you want to fly into Europe and then make your way to Innsbruck:
- Fly into Munich followed by a train into Innsbruck. Check out this link: https://global.flixbus.com/bus/innsbruck
- Fly into Zurich Switzerland. This airport is huge and has many low cost options. You can then take a train to Innsbruck and it is actually quicker than a train from Vienna!
- Fly into major international hub like Frankfurt or Amsterdam then take a connecting flight straight into Innsbruck. You can often find cheap flights from either airport for less than €50 on low cost airlines like EasyJet or RyanAir.
Tip: To save money on a flight to Austria consider flying into a nearby city in a border country (like Munich Germany) and then taking a train to your final destination. If you do find a flight into Munich you can book a van that will meet you at the airport and take you directly to your hotel in or around Innsbruck for about the same price as a train ticket.
Due to the numerous mountains and winding roads rail travel is the recommended way to get around the country. The rail system in Austria is incredibly efficient and well maintained. You'll rarely find delays and be able to enjoy the scenery at the same time.
The main train station is Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof directly east of the city center. There are trains regularly from Venice, Zurich, Munich, Graz, Vienna, Salzburg and tons of other destinations.
Although I just recommended train travel in Austria, if you want to drive from city to city you've made a great choice. Despite the challenging terrain car travel is very easy in Austria. Just make sure you have the sticker on your car to drive the roads. Those cost anywhere from 8 Euros for a 10-day pass to 80 Euros for a 12-month pass.
Best Way To Get Around Innsbruck
Innsbruck is a very walkable city and most people explore it on foot.
Should You Get An Innsbruck Card?
The Innsbruck-Card is a great value but it depends on what you plan to do of course. You can buy the cards at Innsbruck Information or tourist offices and they come in different lengths of 24, 48, or 72 hours. They are kind of expensive at 31, 39, and 45 Euros respectively.
The Innsbruck card includes:
- Free entrance to all of Innsbruck's sights
- Free use of public transportation (including the TS line)
- A one-time ascent & descent to Nordkette, Patscherkofel and Axamer Lizum
- Free entrance to Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens.
Best Things To Do In Innsbruck
Beautiful and perfect to walk around. There is a classic walk that takes you from the main train station into the city that only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Walk out of the Hauptbahnhof, cross the street at the train station crosswalk, turn to your right, and go down to the next street to your left. Walk on this street until Maria-Theresien Strasse, then turn right toward the city center. Taking this street all the way leads to the pedestrian zone and the Golden Roof.
In summer, take the Nordkettenbahn up to Seegrube and Hafelekar, where many hiking routes and trip routes start. In winter, the Nordpark is a ski area. Beware the slopes are steep, but they offer a great view of the nearby mountains and the city itself.
It is possible to hike to the summit. This will save you money on the cable cars and although it is definitely a workout it doesn't require special equipment. Alternatively, you can ride the cable car. One ascent & descent is free with the Innsbruck-Card.
Europe's highest zoo (727 m) which specializes in alpine animals. Free entrance with the Innsbruck-Card.
Botanischer Garten (Botanical Garden)
Open daily from 7:30 AM until 7 PM in the summer and 4:30 PM in the winter. Admission is quite cheap. Only €2 for adults and €1 for children, students, and seniors.
Best Restaurants & Food in Innsbruck
Magic Pizza Kebab
Open daily till midnight, Americans will feel right at home in this 70's style diner. It is super cheap and has great portions right in the middle of old town.
Limerick Bill's Irish Pub
A lively pub that is usually full of students and visitors from all around the globe. There are usually lots of English speakers here and the staff is bilingual.
How Much Should You Tip In Austria?
Servers and Bartenders: Restaurants will typically add service charges into their bills. It is customary, however, to round up when paying the total. If you are tipping more than, be sure to hand it to the waiter instead of leaving it on the table.
Taxi Drivers: Most will round up to the nearest euro to pay the fare. It isn't uncommon to tip up to 10 percent of the final fare for exceptional service.
Other workers to tip in Austria:
- Tour Guides should be tipped €1 to €2 for exceptional service
- Airport Shuttle Drivers do not expect to be tipped. But, if they do help with your luggage give €1 per bag
- House Keepers in hotels usually don't except a tip. Everything is typically included in the hotel bill. If you feel the service went above and beyond leave €1 per night on the bed.
- Porters should be tipped €1 per bag.
One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you.
Rick Steves Pocket Guides are some of my absolute favorite because, as the name suggests, they are tiny enough to fit in a pocket or a small bag while still giving you a ton of information. But, here are some other books I recommend as well...
And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).