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Travel: Who is allowed to enter Austria right now?

Thinking of visiting Austria as a tourist or returning home during the ongoing pandemic? Here's what you need to know.

Travel: Who is allowed to enter Austria right now?
An empty Austrian Airlines check-in counter. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP

New rules for entering Austria were put in place on May 19th. Please click here for more information. 

Whether crossing the border or crossing the Atlantic, the rules for entering Austria put in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic can be confusing. 

To make matters worse, they are subject to frequent change – often at short notice. 

Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the rules is that the quarantine requirements differ from the rules on entry. 

This means that while some people will be able to enter they will have to quarantine, while others will be prevented from entering entirely. 

In addition, almost everyone entering Austria – whether for tourist travel or even for transit or commuting – will need to fill out a form before doing so. 

More information on the form – along with a copy of it in English and German – is available at the following link. 

Quarantine: Here is the form you need to enter Austria

You will also need to present evidence of a negative test. However, this is a requirement of entry and it will not allow you to skip quarantine

This must either be a negative PCR test (not older than 72 hours) or an antigen test (not older than 48 hours).

Here’s what you need to know. 

What are the rules for entering Austria? 

Austria has put in place a comprehensive entry protocol since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the protocol, people who have been in certain countries over the past ten days may be restricted from entering Austria – or may need to quarantine. 

People will however be allowed to arrive in Austria under certain circumstances. 

Tighter rules came into effect from December 19th, when Austria puts in place a mandatory quarantine for almost all arrivals.

This will apply regardless of whether you test negative to the virus.

Click the following link for more information. 

UPDATE: What you need to know about Austria’s quarantine rules

Who is not restricted from entering Austria?

Austrian citizens and residents will not be restricted from entry regardless of which countries they have been in for the past ten days, although in most cases they will need to quarantine. 

People transiting through Austria without stopping will also not be restricted from entering. 

What impact has Austria’s shutdown had on entry?

Austria’s shutdown rules only allow for ‘essential travel’, meaning tourist travel has been restricted. 

This is the case both for Austrians seeking to travel domestically as well as people from abroad. 

UPDATED: Everything you need to know about Austria’s coronavirus shutdown 

While this has not changed the country’s entry requirements, hotels are not open for tourists. 

Hotels can remain open however to host business travellers as well as people who are travelling for compassionate reasons, i.e. to take care of a sick relative. 

Who is allowed to enter Austria right now? 

Despite the restriction on tourist travel, people from most European (i.e. Schengen plus EFTA) countries – as well as a short list of non-European countries – are allowed to enter Austria. 

In effect though, while they will be allowed to enter, the mandatory quarantine requirement and the closure of hotels means that there will be few cases when they can actually enter, unless they can stay with friends or family. 

Which European countries are considered high risk?

Almost all European and non-European countries are on the high-risk list. 

Arrivals from any high risk country will have to quarantine, regardless of a negative test result.

As at April 21st, 2021, all Schengen/EFTA countries are on the high-risk list, except for Iceland and the Vatican. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea are the only non-European countries not on the high-risk list. 

More information on this requirement is available at the following link. 

UPDATED: Which countries are now on Austria’s quarantine list?

Arrivals from EU countries face the fewest restrictions – but will still need to quarantine. Photo: ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP

What about the UK?

As the United Kingdom is now no longer a member of the EU, it is treated as a ‘third country’ and all entry from the UK is therefore banned, other than for Austrian citizens or residents.

Business travellers from the UK and students studying in Austria will also be allowed to enter. 

Up to date information is collated by the European Union and is available here

What about non-European countries? 

As a default, countries outside Europe are considered to be high-risk – meaning that entry is not allowed. 

There are however some countries where exceptions apply. These are Australia, Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand.

People from these countries – who have only been in these countries or in Austria for the past ten days – will be allowed to enter Austria and will not have to quarantine or provide a negative test.

More information is available here. 

Arrivals from all other countries will be restricted, unless the person has Austrian citizenship or residency.

The complete list of countries and risk areas updated by the Austrian government is available here 

Editor’s note: Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.

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DISCOVER AUSTRIA

Heatwave: Nine of the coolest places in Austria

As summer temperatures reach Austria, bringing temperatures well above the 30C, there are a few places you can go to help you cool down.

Heatwave: Nine of the coolest places in Austria

Europe’s heatwaves are no laughing matter, and temperatures even in alpine Austria can get close to 40C on many occasions during the summer. If you want to find places to cool down and avoid the heat, there are many beautiful locations to visit all over Austria.

From aquariums to caves and stunning lakes, here are some of the spots that will not be too sweltering even in the hot summer months.

Vienna aquarium haus des meeres

Vienna’s aquarium, the Haus des Meeres, is a great place to visit. (Photo: Daniel Zupanc/Presse)

In Vienna, visit the Haus des Meeres

Vienna has many places you can visit literally to cool off, as the city has a comprehensive plan to face heat waves. There are fog showers around the city, which spray a fine mist into the air to cool down passers-by; water features in its parks and drinking water fountains all over the city.

However, if you want more of an attraction for your summer months, a good call would be the Viennese aquarium, also known as Haus des Meeres.

READ ALSO: Five of the best things to do in Vienna this summer

Unless you spend some time in the “tropical” section, most of the building is climatized, and you get to see cool animals and beautiful aquariums. The Haus also has a rooftop bar with lovely views of Vienna.

Vienna woods

The beautiful Vienna Woods. ((c) Niederösterreich Werbung/Andreas Hofer)

In Lower Austria, venture into the Wienerwald

The Vienna Woods, which encompass the west and southwest of the city’s capital, are the forest where many great minds used to go for walks to get inspired – Mozart, Beethoven and Kafka are all closely linked to the Wienerwald.

READ ALSO: ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ in Austria: Five peaceful forest walks near Vienna

The region is beautiful throughout the year, and the greenery helps the area stay cooler than the cities over summer.

It’s a perfect setting for walks, picnics, and mountain biking, and several summer events take place over the hot months.

In Upper Austria, go to the Nationalpark Kalkalpen

Austria’s second-largest national park is within the Northern Limestone Alps mountain range, and it’s most famous for having the largest forested area in Central Europe. You can escape the summer heat under the cover of the trees, reach high panorama-view towers, climb peaks and enjoy horseback riding trails.

READ ALSO: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

The forest is a truly special thing. It’s the first World Natural Heritage forest in Austria and is home to some of the oldest trees in Europe.

The Kalkalpen is also where several rare animals can be found in Austria, including bears, the lynx and the golden eagle.

Styria has beautiful bike tours with fantastic views (© Steiermark Tourismus | Tom Lamm)

In Styria, visit the wine roads south of the state

Styria is home to what is known as Austria’s Tuscany region. The Weinstrassen are a beautiful and idyllic setting of roads full of twists and turns around vineyards.

Though the best time of the year to visit is arguably around September, to enjoy the fruits of the grape harvest, it is also a lovely (and a few degrees cooler than in city centres!) place to visit over the summer months.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about cycling in Austria

The wine roads are also a great region to cycle through, with lovely towns perfect for overnight stays, such as Ehrenhausen or Berghausen.

A woman enjoys basking in the sun on the swimming pier in the Buchau, in Achensee, Tyrol (© Achensee Tourismus)

In Tyrol, go swimming at the Achensee

Achensee is the largest lake in the Western state of Tyrol – also known as the “Tyrolean Sea” or even “Fjord of the Alps”.

READ ALSO: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

The lake has crystal clear waters – and the quality is near drinking water, with sight up to ten meters below the surface. It’s a perfect place to cool off, especially since, being an alpine lake, water temperatures tend to be refreshing and rarely over 20C.

Achensee’s shores have sandy beaches, and visitors enjoy plenty of summer activities, including windsurfing and sailing. It is said that even Austria’s emperors liked to go there to escape the city’s heat and cool off during the hottest months.

In Salzburg, explore the Dachstein Caves

There is no more effective way to cool off than literally entering an ice cave.

Salzkammergut, the lake region in Salzburg, has many beautiful places to visit over summer and lovely swimming spots to enjoy (Attersee is a must if you are in the area).

READ ALSO: Salt of the Alps: ancient Austrian mine holds Bronze Age secrets

However, those looking to really escape blistering temperatures and the blazing sun will be entirely at home at the Dachstein Caves, a world of ice and underground halls.

There are two main caves: Dachstein Eishöhle, the icy and illuminated one, and Mammuthölle, one of the deepest and longest caves in the world.

Bregenz austria lake constance

The beautiful Lake Constance in Austria ((c) Christiane Setz)

In Vorarlberg, go skinny dipping at Bodensee

If the heat is just too much, it might be time to strip down to your birthday suit and go for a swim in the lake.

Austria is very nonchalant about nudity, but be sure to keep your bathing suit on unless you are in the designated FKK (Freikörperkultur) areas. Nudity sections or not, the vast Bodensee lake (also known as Lake Constance) has beautiful shores with turquoise waters for you to cool off and enjoy the view.

READ ALSO: The 10 biggest culture shocks experienced by foreigners in Austria

What view, you may ask? The lake borders Germany and Switzerland, the Rhine river flows to it, and Alpine mountains surround it. Heat or no heat, it’s a fantastic place to be.

The Neusiedler See (Neusiedler Lake) in Burgenland. Von Flame99, CC BY-SA 3.0, Creative Commons, Wikicommons

In Burgenland, go for a swim at Austria’s ocean, the Neusiedler See

We know we risk being repetitive, but Austria is not known for its mountains and lakes for nothing, and Neusiedler See is undoubtedly one of the most famous ones.

The lake is one of the largest in Europe, and it straddles the Austrian-Hungarian border, covering 315 square kilometres.

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: Five beautiful hikes and destinations south of Vienna

It is not even two meters deep at maximum depth, so it does warm up considerably during summer. The constant and strong winds help cool off, though, and the region is well known for its water sports and surfing possibilities.

There are lovely little towns surrounding the lake, and a visit to Rust, where you can see many stork nests on top of the houses, is a must.

In Carinthia, enjoy a resort vibe in Faaker See and Ossiacher See

If all that is missing for you is to feel like you are in a beach resort, then Carinthia has the perfect solution.

Two lakes, Faaker See and Ossiacher See, offer beautiful views, nice swimming spots, and plenty of activities close to Villach, one of the state’s largest cities. 

Do you know any great spots to cool off during Austrian heat? Let us know in the comment section below or send us an email at [email protected]

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