- Travel Topics
We spent 15 days in Austria. Here is a collection of our impressions, travel tips, and the cost break down.
We felt like we got a good idea of what Austria is like from the places that we visited. We went to a few major cities (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck) but also got to see some smaller places as well (Hallstatt, Bregenz) so overall we had a good trip. More time would have allowed us to visit some of the other regions of Austria but we’ll have to save that for another time.
As soon as we crossed over the border in Austria from Switzerland it seemed as if we were in a land of similar gorgeous scenery yet significantly lower prices. This came as a pleasant surprise after our overpriced days in Switzerland. Right off the bat I was impressed by the scenery in Austria – I wasn’t expecting to be seeing the same type of lake and mountain scenery we had seen in Switzerland but it’s all there in Austria too.
Everything about our time in Austria was great. We met some great people, had delicious meals, saw some beautiful cities and scenery and overall enjoyed ourselves. The level of English was decent in the cities, and the prices were relatively manageable (train prices are still expensive, don’t get me wrong). The weather while we were there was very nice – not too hot, but comfortable, which made sightseeing even more enjoyable.
Two weeks was a good amount of time to spend in Austria, we felt like we didn’t need to rush through the cities and could linger in Vienna for an extra few days to take things easy. Austria has some great activities – like the ice caves outside Salzburg and the salt mines in Hallstatt which I found to be incredibly interesting and to break up the usual city type sightseeing activities.
Vienna has some amazing goulash and sausages. The goulash we had in Innsbruck was delicious and the sausages we had at the sausage stand in Albertinaplatz in Vienna were also amazing.
Our best experience was couchsurfing in Innsbruck and Salzburg. We had such hospitable and friendly hosts who we shared many laughs with over home cooked meals and nights out in bars. It was great to connect with some locals and really learn more about the Austrian culture. Similarly we had a friend in Vienna who we had met on a trek in Burma who we stayed with for a few nights and that also allowed us to learn more about the culture and go to some of the more local spots in the city.
Biggest Rip Off:
Probably the trains – those really get to be very expensive.
We took some trams and the metro in Vienna and just bought tickets as we went, though they have specials if you want to buy multi day passes so take a look.
The trains are very efficient and comfortable (though they are also very expensive). We generally bought tickets at the station after looking up the train times and schedules on the Austrian rail website.
We used a ride share to get into Austria and then once again when we went from Innsbruck to Bregenz. The website http://www.carpooling.co.uk/ is very easy to navigate and worth looking on to see if anyone is heading in your direction. Much much cheaper than the trains.
We did not take any cabs in Austria.
We did not take any long distance buses in Austria.
We were able to get a few student discounts at museums so make sure to carry the student id with you!
Often toilets in Austria were not free so it’s good to carry a bit of change with you.
Austria felt very safe.
We mostly ate at simple restaurants or taverns. We ate at a few sausage stands, enjoyed many bowls of goulash at simple pubs and generally didn’t go to any fancy establishments. A few times couchsurfers cooked for us and when we were in the apartment I cooked most of our meals. Overall the food in Austria is good but meat heavy so vegetarians beware!
Credit Cards And Money
We were able to use our credit cards sometimes, though we have cards without the chip so this gave us trouble sometimes.
Internet is widely available.
We didn’t have too much difficulty finding couchsurfers.
We kept track of every cost we had down to the purchase level and categorized it into 5 groupings:
So where did we end up?
$74 per person, per day.
Would we go back to Austria? YES
But not anytime soon. We got a good feel for the country while we were there and though we did not explore all the regions and enjoyed our time there we won’t be rushing back anytime soon.