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Six things you need to know if you are staying in Austria this summer

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Six things you need to know if you are staying in Austria this summer
A coachman of horse driven carriages (Fiakers) passes by Hofburg palace in Vienna on a hot day. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Summer holidays have arrived, meaning that Austrian cities will be empty or very packed - depending on where you are and what you are looking for. Here's what you need to know to avoid unpleasant surprises.


Austria is not a traditional summer destination, but many of its cities do get packed with tourists, while others may seem like ghost towns. While tourists flock in, locals tend to travel elsewhere for their holidays (Croatia and Italy are some popular destinations for  Austrians heading south), leaving their shops and businesses closed behind.

That's not all: summer is also the time when specific public works are done, disturbing traffic, and, of course, the season for mosquitoes and ticks. 

So, here are a few tips and information you need to know to avoid unpleasant surprises if you are staying in Austria this holiday.

READ ALSO: When are Austria’s school summer holidays in 2023?

People usually take their holidays 

Many people take their holidays during the summer months, especially if they have children of school age. This has strong implications in the day-to-day of those who stay in the cities as the offer of services becomes extremely limited.

Doctors, in particular, can be a "type of service" that people will miss the most in the weeks of July or August. Especially if you have chronic conditions requiring constant visits to the doctor's office, but also if you are pregnant or have small children, it might be scary to call your doctor during an emergency only to realise they are not there.

Before that happens, call them to ask about their holiday dates and their recommendations or replacements during those periods. Some doctors will have another professional cover for them, while others might direct you to a hospital in an emergency. 

Similarly, a lot of the public service slows down during the summer months, with less staff available. If you have a visa appointment coming up or a document about to expire, keep that in mind and try to get most things done before August (or July, even better).

READ ALSO: Who to call and what to say in an emergency in Austria


Shops and stores may also close

In much the same way, shop owners will often go on holidays - sometimes even shop owners in busy touristic cities - and leave their shops, bars, and restaurants closed. Some will operate with reduced hours during summer, and there's not much standard. You'll often be confronted with a closed door and a sign that says something like "sommer Urlaub" or summer vacations. 

The good news is that summer is high season in Austria - even in the Alps - so it's unlikely that you will find ghost towns (a phenomenon that can happen during off-season months like September or October). However, certain establishments could still be closed for a few weeks - with little notice.

Crowds and traffic

One thing that you might face anywhere in Austria is crowds. Especially if you go to tourist-favourite destinations such as Hallstatt or Attersee, you may need to be prepared to share the best selfie spots with countless others. 

Traffic will also be heavy inside Austria and coming in and out. People of the landlocked country (and our neighbours to the north, the Germans) often spend their summer holidays near the ocean, grabbing their cars and motorhomes and heading down to Italy or Croatia. 

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Austria this summer


Mosquitoes and ticks

Summer bugs are not the first thing to come to mind when you think of staying in Austria during the summer - but they are a threat and are becoming more common as the seasons go warmer. Mosquitoes and wasps can be annoying, but ticks can carry dangerous diseases. 

Most Austrians have already been vaccinated against TBE, a tick-borne disease that, in the worst cases, can cause death. But since the virus is more concentrated in central Europe, foreigners living in Austria aren't often aware of the dangers and the vaccine - which is almost 100 percent effective in preventing the disease.

If you haven't taken the shot yet, it's highly recommended you do so, even if you live in urban centres such as Vienna, since ticks can be found in any green area. The vaccine is already effective after the second shot (which you take three weeks after the first).

READ ALSO: Austria rolls out ‘tick vaccine’ – where can you get it?


Summer sales

Even if Austria is not known for fashion stores or big sales, the country does have summer sales as the season begins and ends. You can keep an eye on the stores close to you not to miss any opportunities.

Public transport can be chaotic

Summer can be a bit chaotic as it is the preferred time by authorities to do some construction and maintenance work. You will see streets closed off and public transport shut down for stretches and periods at a time. 

In many cities, including Vienna, public transport will follow a particular timetable, with cars and trains running less often as the school holidays start.



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