Ten ways to save money on your trip to Austria this summer
Austria is not a cheap country to visit, but there are ways to make those precious euros go further. Here's our guide to saving money in Austria this summer.
Most people think about travelling to Austria in the winter to go skiing in the Alps, but the summer is (arguably) an even better time with visit with warm weather, lots of sunshine and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.
The only problem is exploring Austria can put a dent in your bank balance with the cost of accommodation, food and petrol all increasing in recent months.
There are ways to save money though and still have fun.
1. Book ahead to get the best deals
The summer season in Austria is growing in popularity, especially for hiking and biking.
For this reason, it's always a good idea to book accommodation and car rental in advance - if you can.
This way you can avoid disappointment or having to pay last-minute expensive prices because the only room left available is in a five-star hotel.
2. Consider alternative accommodation options
Hotels aren't the only accommodation option in Austria.
Instead, try saving money by camping in a tent or travelling in a campervan. Just be sure to secure a camp ground spot in advance as they can fill up quickly in popular areas.
Alternatively, you can book accommodation via Airbnb or scour platforms like Booking.com to find last minute deals.
A word of warning though: key cities like Salzburg book up fast during the summer months - especially at weekends and on public holidays. So always book in advance.
3. Travel by bike
Biking is booming right now and Austria is the perfect country to jump on the cycling bandwagon with its beautiful scenery and networks of cycle paths.
E-bike rental centres are also popping up across the country, making it even more accessible for those without a bike or with fitness levels that could do with a boost.
Travelling by bike is a great way to explore the country and reduce travel costs, leaving more cash to spend on a nice hotel or a fancy dinner.
4. Use public transport
Austria has an excellent public transport system with frequent services and affordable prices.
If visiting Vienna, consider purchasing the Vienna City Card for 24, 48 or 72-hour access to subway, tram and bus connections across the city, as well as discounts on some tourist activities and restaurants.
Cards are available from €17 (including public transport) up to €61 (for public transport, access to Hop-on, Hop-off tours and airport transfers).
Nationally, the train operator is ÖBB. Cheap tickets (known as Sparschiene) are available on selected routes and usually when booked in advance.
There are also seasonal bus services available in tourist areas, such as in the Alps at the start and end points of popular hiking routes.
However, public transport can be harder to access in more rural places so always do some research before planning to travel by bus or train in Austria.
FOR MEMBERS: UPDATED: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria
5. Use the ÖAMTC app to find cheap petrol
The Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club (ÖAMTC) is a traffic club and non-profit association with the aim to support and represent drivers and cyclists in Austria.
The ÖAMTC also has a useful app to help motorists find the cheapest fuel prices in their area, or wherever they are travelling in Austria.
In the app, users can search by petrol or diesel (depending on their vehicle) to view details of current prices at petrol stations in the selected area.
In these high inflation times, this is a money-saving opportunity not to be missed.
6. Know the local laws and regulations
The best way to avoid unexpected fines eating into your travel budget this summer is to be aware of the local laws and regulations.
For example, the default speed limit for driving in towns and cities is 50 kmh, unless stated otherwise. Outside of towns and cities, it's usually 100 kmh or 130 kmh on motorways.
If caught speeding in Austria you could be fined between €30 and €150, depending on how fast you were going.
In Austria, cyclists also have to follow traffic regulations – just like any other road user. This means stopping at red lights and giving way at junctions.
Find out more about traffic rules and regulations for cyclists in The Local's guide to cycling in Austria.
And for anyone planning to camp - whether in a tent or campervan - be aware that wild camping in Austria is illegal and can result in a fine.
7. Avoid August if you can
Like most European countries, August is the peak summer month for tourism in Austria, so it's best to avoid it if you can.
During August, lakes and beauty spots are packed with families enjoying the school holidays, restaurants are busy and hotels are either booked out or very expensive.
If you have to travel at this time, there's not a lot you can do apart from pay the high prices and jostle for space at the lake.
However, summer weather usually stretches into September in Austria, and sometimes even to early October. So don't be afraid to be flexible with your Austrian travel plans, if possible.
8. Enjoy free lakes and beauty spots
In the peak summer months, there is often an entry fee at popular lakes, beauty spots and outdoor pools - but there are alternative options to save money.
There are plenty of free mountain lakes to enjoy, as long as you don't mind hiking or cycling up to find them.
Then there are plenty of river banks in towns and cities across the country that are free to sit beside and enjoy a picnic.
9. Venture off-the-beaten-track
Visiting the main cities and tourist spots in Austria during the summer will always be the most expensive option, so instead venture off the beaten track for a cheaper alternative.
Smaller towns - or those not as famous as places like Hallstatt, Salzburg and Kitzbühel - often have more affordable accommodation and dining options. As well as cheaper parking, shops and petrol stations.
To get started, try visiting St. Johann in Tirol, Eisenstadt in Burgenland or the Nockberge region in Carinthia for some off-the-beaten-track gems.
10. Take a water bottle
Austria is home to some of the highest quality drinking water in the world.
To save money - and the planet - carry a reusable drinking bottle with you and simply fill it up at drinking water taps instead of buying bottled water.