Why winter tyres could be more expensive in Austria this year

Motorists need to change to winter tyres if they will be on the roads during Austria's cold season, but the switch could be more expensive this year due to the rising cost of raw materials.

Car on snowy winter road
Don't forget to change to winter tyres if you will be driving in Austria this winter. Photo: Lisa/Pexels

The winter tyre season starts on November 1st in Austria, after which winter tyres are a legal requirement for all cars and trucks during wintry conditions (snow and ice) until April 15th. 

The tyre requirement is tied to the weather conditions rather than the date range, so even after November, you can use normal tyres in mild conditions.

Mechanics and auto industry leaders are reporting an increase in the cost of tyres this year.

Mario Alfreider, from Alfreider Auto Repair in Oberndorf, Tyrol, told The Local: “Prices this year are around three percent higher than last year because there is high demand and less supply globally.”

He added that despite this, there were plenty of tyres available in the region, so there was no need for any fears of a shortage.

READ MORE: Key points: Austria announces new rules for winter tourism

Michael Peschek-Tomasi, Branch Spokesman for the Car Tyre Trade in Salzburg, told ORF that winter tyres are 10 to 12 percent more expensive this year due to the rising cost of raw materials.

Peschek-Tomasi also said there are “delivery bottlenecks” for tyres that contain more steel, known as C tyres, because the global cost of steel has increased, leading to less tyres being produced.

C tyres are used on light trucks and vans, which have been popular with buyers in Austria in the past year due to the upcoming NoVA (standard consumption tax) increase.

Commercial vehicles will be more expensive to buy in Austria from May 1st 2022 when NoVA will increase. The tax rise was initially planned to be introduced on July 1st 2021 but was postponed due to supply chain delays for new commercial vehicles.

What’s behind the price rise?

Many of the world’s largest tyre plants are based in Asia and production has been impacted by new disinfection processes at facilities and Covid-19 restrictions. 

Throw in a shortage of steel due to higher prices and it has resulted in less tyres being produced globally.

Peschek-Tomasi, from the Car Tyre Trade in Salzburg, says delivery times for direct orders made to factories in Asia are currently around six weeks.

Reuters recently reported how a tyre shortage in the US is impacting farmers in Illinois during the harvest.

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EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Camping in Austria can be a lot of fun, but what are the rules? Here’s everything you need to know about setting up camp in the Alpine republic.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Waking up beside a lake or surrounded by mountains is a dream Austrian holiday for many, but it’s important to know the rules about camping before heading off with a tent or campervan.

As the summer season approaches, here’s everything you need to know about camping in Austria.

Is wild camping legal in Austria?

Wild camping – setting up camp outside of a designated campsite – is generally illegal in Austria. This applies to both camping in a tent or sleeping in a van on the side of the road.

Exceptions to this rule do exist but usually only if the municipal authority grants a temporary exception, for example for a school trip or a youth club activity.

A bivouac (temporary camp without cover) is allowed in the event of bad weather or injury, but planned wild camping in the mountains is illegal. 

FOR MEMBERS: What are the rules for wild camping in Austria?

There are some regional differences though.

In the states of Salzburg, Vorarlberg and Styria there are no laws strictly forbidding camping outside of campsites, but local authorities can prohibit it and take action if necessary.

The strictest rules apply in national parks, nature reserves and special protection areas across Austria, so check before you plan your camping trip that your spot is not located in one of these areas.  

In most cases, if someone is caught camping illegally in Austria it is considered as an administrative offence and a fine can be issued, ranging from €5 to €500, depending on the location.

Camping in the forest

Camping in the forest is prohibited everywhere in Austria by law (specifically Section 33 of the Forest Act). The only exception is when you have the consent of the landowner.

Camping above the tree line

In Upper Austria and Styria you are allowed to camp in the mountains above the tree line, as long as you are outside of pasture areas.

In Vorarlberg this is also permitted, although the mayor of a municipality can prohibit the setting up of tents outside approved campsites if the interests of safety, health, agriculture or the protection of the natural balance as well as the landscape and townscape are “grossly violated”.

In Salzburg, camping above the tree line is in theory permitted, but the Alpine Association recommends groups wishing to camp should contact the nature conservation department of the responsible district administration before setting up. 

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

Camping in a tent

Camping in a tent is the most common way of camping in the summer and most people pitch up on a dedicated campsite.

Many campgrounds have water and electricity facilities, as well as showers, cooking areas, recreation spaces and even kids clubs. Others have luxury elements like year-round heated pools, saunas, beach volleyball and restaurants.

Campsites are also often located near a lake or at the base of mountains, which means you can wake up to beautiful scenery every morning .

Some of Austria’s top camping associations include Camping Wien, Camping Steiermark and Top Camping Austria.

Camping in a van

Camping in a motorhome is only allowed at campsites in Austria and if someone is caught sleeping in a van in a prohibited area they can be fined.

The only exception is if a driver has to stop and recuperate before continuing driving.

Top camping tips

Austria is packed with stunning natural landscapes, so camping during the summer months is a popular activity – both for Austrian residents and tourists.

For this reason, it’s recommended to book ahead during the peak summer holiday months of July and August, whether planning to camp in a motorhome or tent.

Camping in motorhomes is also becoming more popular at some winter campsites during the ski season, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance.

Additionally, it’s advised to take bug spray when camping in Austria in the summer as insects like mosquitoes and ticks are common in countryside areas.

In fact, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) – a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected ticks – is endemic in Austria and it’s recommended to get vaccinated before going on a hiking or camping trip in the country.

The main affected areas for TBE are Tyrol and Upper Austria.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘tick vaccine’ and should you take it

Useful vocabulary

Campsite – Campingplätze

Tent – Zelt

Campervan – Reisemobil

Electricity – Strom