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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: Everything that changes in Austria in November 2021

Covid rules are changing, and there are also new requirements for motorists, Christmas markets, and political developments to be aware of in Austria this November.

Hallstatt Austria autumn mountains
It's not just the leaves and clocks that change when October turns to Novvember. Photo: Tomáš Malík/Unsplash

Covid-19 rule changes

There are a lot of these on the cards, but here’s a summary of the key ones we know about:

  • From November 1st, proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery, or a negative Covid test) will be required to enter workplaces, unless you have no possibility of coming into contact with others. There’s a transition period until November 14th, during which you can instead where an FFP2 mask if you do not have 3G proof, but after that you and your employer could face fines if you don’t follow the new rule.
  • From November 8th, Styria will have tighter Covid restrictions including a 2G entry rule (only proof of vaccination or recovery accepted) for evening dining and bars, and an FFP2 mandate in more areas
  • From November 15th, the 3G rule will also apply on cable cars, unless you are a local resident using them like public transport.

Be aware that these could change further depending how the Covid situation develops. We’ll keep you updated with the latest changes to Austria’s Covid-19 rules on The Local, and you can find more details on the November changes at the link below:

Sebastian Kurz to lose parliamentary immunity

In November we may also see the next stages of corruption investigations into ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

His move to Austria’s National Council means he currently has parliamentary immunity from prosecution, and even though both Kurz and his party (the governing centre-right ÖVP) have said that the immunity should be lifted, this can only come into effect during the next plenary session of the National Council (November 16th to 19th).

Christmas markets

The festive season starts in November in Austria, with the first Christmas markets opening up midway through the month. A 3G requirement will be in place at the markets.

In Vienna, markets will open up in several locations on November 12th, including at the Vienna Rathaus, the Alten AKH university campus, Stephansplatz and Spittelberg, followed by markets at the Türkenschanzpark on November 13th, at Maria-Theresien-Platz on the 17th, at Belvedere Palace on November 19th, and at Schönbrunn Castle on November 20th.

Innsbruck’s old town Christmas market opens on November 15th, and you can visit the Panorama Christmas Market at Hungerburg from November 27th.

Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt at Residenzplatz and the markets at Schloss Hellbrunn and Mirabellplatz kick off on November 18th, with another opening at the Hohensalzburg Fortress from November 26th.

In Graz, the festivities start in the Hauptplatz in front of the Rathaus, on the Glockenspielplatz and around the Franciscan Church from November 19th.

And in Linz, markets open on the main square and at Volksgarten on November 20th.

Winter tires

Attention, car owners: from November 1st, winter tires need to be used in “wintry” conditions – i.e. if there is snow, slush or ice.

When driving on in snow, mud or ice, cars must be fitted with winter tires or, alternatively, have snow chains fitted on at least two wheels.

Buy the 2022 vignette

More news for motorists. You can buy your 2022 vignette – the small toll sticker you need in order to drive on most of Austria’s motorways – starting from November, although it is only valid from December 1st.

Vignettes are available at around 6,000 outlets across the country, so anyone who fails to get one will have few excuses. A list of outlets is available here. This year the sticker is an apricot colour, and it will cost €93.80 for drivers and €37.20 for motorcyclists.

PayPal business fees for UK will rise 

One for businesses to keep in mind: PayPal is introducing new fees for payments between businesses in the UK and those in the rest of Europe following Brexit. From November 10th, payments between the European Economic Area (EEA) and British businesses will be charged a 1.29 percent fee. 

The current rate is around 0.5 percent. That has remained unchanged since before the UK left the EU Customs Union and Single Market. But PayPal said it was now facing extra costs, such as the rise in interchange fees between the UK and EEA.

Payments between EU and associated state countries and countries outside the EU are charged a 1.99 percent fee. Within the EU the fee for businesses is 0.5 percent. 

Public holidays

November 1st is a national public holiday in Austria, and three states have another holiday this month: November 11th in Burgenland; November 15th in Lower Austria and Vienna. The latter three holidays most likely won’t get you the day off work, but it depends on your job. Schools and government authorities are usually closed on these days.

If you’re new in Austria or simply inclined to forget the quirks of life here, consider this your reminder: most shops will be closed on national public holidays, and you can expect queues shortly before closing time the day before, so try to stock up in advance.

Clocks go back

Daylight saving time will end at 3am on October 31st, but make sure to turn your clocks back in time for November. This means more light in the mornings, but an earlier sunset.

The European Parliament voted in 2019 to end the practice of changing the clocks forward in spring and back in autumn from 2021. However, it is up to each member state to decide, and Austria is still following the clock changes.

Member comments

  1. Is monoclonal antibody infusion available in Austria for tourists who test positive and have been advised by their home dr. that they should seek it as treatment?

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For members

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

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

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