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What you need to know about parking in Austria

A view of Innsbruck
Sometimes you get to park in a street with a view in Austria. Photo: Patrick Robert Doyle/Unsplash
Parking in Austria can be challenging and, especially if you live in Vienna, expensive or time-consuming. So what key words do you need to know if navigating Austria and trying to find somewhere to park? 

The first thing you need to know about parking in Austria is the different German terms for stopping, loading and parking. 

Confusingly there are two words for ‘stopping’: halten and anhalten.

Halten is a temporary stop of up to ten minutes or while loading the car, while anhalten is a forced stop due to traffic conditions or other important circumstances. While halten can be forbidden in some areas, anhalten cannot be forbidden. 

Useful vocabulary 

Halten/anhalten – stopping
Parken – parking
Ladetätigkeit – loading
Halteverbote – stopping forbidden
Parkverbote – parking forbidden
Parkpickerl Zonen – residents’ parking zones.

General parking 

If parking outside a car park, the car should be parked as close as possible to the edge of the road so that passing vehicles are not obstructed. Diagonal parking is only permitted if there are diagonal parking regulations, which is shown by road markings or traffic signs. 

Stopping and parking in bus stops, and in the area of ​​15 metres in front of and after bus stops is also forbidden during public transport operating hours. Stopping and parking is prohibited in narrow areas of the roadway, on blind bends, as well as on bridges, in underpasses and in road tunnels.

Useful vocabulary

Fahrbahnrand – roadside
Schrägparken – angled/diagonal parking
Haltestellen – bus stops
Haltestellenbereich – bus stop area

Electric cars

Purely electric cars (E-Autos) benefit from free parking in many cities and towns in Austria. However, it’s not a rule that is universally applied, so it’s always worth checking before you park up. 

Disabled parking spaces

Only people displaying a parking permit to show they are disabled on their windshield can park in disabled parking spaces. Otherwise you risk fines or being towed. 

Useful vocabulary

Behindertenparkplatz – disabled parking space
Behinderte – disabled 
Parkausweis für Behinderte – disabled parking permit

Parking in driveways

Parking in front of house and property entrances is prohibited, unless you are the only person authorised to use the entrance. According to Administrative Court case law, this right cannot be transferred to third parties, such as friends or family. However, if the entrance to your house is situated in a short term parking zone, you should still pay any short term parking fee, even if you are parking in front of your own house. You are allowed to stop in front of entrances, as long as you stay in your vehicle and can move if the entrance needs to be kept clear. 

Useful vocabulary

Einfahrten – driveways
Kurzparkzone – short term parking
Kurzparkgebühr – short term parking fee 

Shopping centres and private car parks

If you are parking at a shopping centres or a private car park, the regulations of the company managing the car park must always be complied with. You should park your car within the specified floor markings, buy a ticket and ensure you are allowed to park there, or face penalties. According to the motorists’ association ÖAMTC, only minimum signage is required by the courts to designate a parking lot as “private”.

However, the towing of cars by private companies is rarely permitted. The ÖAMTC offers legal advice for motorists who believe they have been tricked into paying large fines for parking illegally — you can call them at 01 711 9921530.

Useful vocabulary
Abschleppung/Abschleppen – towing (of cars).
Private Parkplätze – private parking.

Parking in Vienna can be challenging Photo by Arno Senoner/Unsplash

Parking in Vienna

Many car parks in Vienna’s city centre are expensive. Free on-street parking can be hard to find, especially large zones are given over just to residents’ parking (Anwohnerparken), which cannot be used by visitors even at weekends. However, there are short-term parking zones (Kurzparkzonen) throughout the city.. 

If you live in Vienna and have a car, it’s worth getting a parking permit (Pickerl) which will allow you to park for as long as you want in your district in the comprehensive short-term parking zone.

If you do not have a residents’ permit you have to buy a parking ticket to stop in any short-term parking zones in the city, even if you are just stopping to unload your suitcase. Many hotels offer 15-minute parking vouchers for this purpose.

Parking tickets for use in short-term parking zones are available from

  • Tobacco shops
  • Cigarette machines
  • Gas stations
  • Wiener Linien advance booking offices
  • Wiener Linien ticket machines
  • By mobile phone

The cheapest way to park in Vienna if you don’t have a resident’s parking permit is to park at Vienna’s Park and Ride garages which are listed here. It costs around €3.60 per day, and the garages are all close to underground line (U-Bahn) connections.

Useful vocabulary 

Anwohnerparken – Residents’ parking
Kurzparkzonen – short-term parking zones
Parkpickerl  – residents’ parking permit

Shopping streets

Even people with residents’ parking permits are not allowed to park for long periods in Vienna’s shopping streets (Geschäftsstraßen). With a residents’ parking permit, you can park in shopping streets for a maximum 1.5 hours free of charge if you display a parking disc, with the black dial set to the nearest quarter of the hour from when you park.

You can only get one parking permit for your primary residence in Vienna. An exception is made for people with their secondary residence in an allotment garden in Vienna, who can apply for a seasonal second residents’ parking permit. However, this only applies to people with their main residence in Vienna.


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