Christmas For Members

What are the Christmas deadlines in Austria for posting letters and parcels?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
What are the Christmas deadlines in Austria for posting letters and parcels?
The logo of Austrian post is pictured in Vienna (Photo by SAMUEL KUBANI / AFP)

Austria has one of the best postal services in the world and – recognising the significance of this time of year, has extended some of its hours to help process the number of letters and parcels that need to be sent.


Österreichische Post – or Austrian Post – is extending its opening hours at most post office locations around the country starting on December 18th and lasting until December 22nd. On Saturday, December 23rd – most locations will even be open from 9am to 12pm.

Hours – including extended ones – may differ depending on the postal branch you use, so be sure to check out your nearest one online to confirm when they’re open.

The bad news here though is that these extended hours simply won’t help many foreigners in a lot of cases, because many deadlines for sending letters or packages will come before December 18th – if you’re looking to get them to your friends and family abroad in time for Christmas.

It’s probably fairly obvious too that the further the package has to go, the earlier you’ll have to send it. For those willing to shell out a little extra, priority options might buy you a bit more time – but bad planning can still land you with a late-arriving gift.

Austrian Post also advises people that no matter what the stated deadline is, try sending things as early as you can. A recent survey found that while Austria may have the second-best postal service in the world, the receiving country’s postal service might simply not be at the same level.

READ ALSO: Austria ranked as having ‘second best postal service’ in the world


Deadlines within Austria

As you might expect, those who are only sending letters or parcels within Austria will have the most time to play with when it comes to deadlines.

Those sending a regular letter for €0.81 – perhaps a Christmas card – will need to have it in the post by December 18th. Those willing to fork out a full euro for priority post have until December 20th.

Posting within Austria is easiest to plan, but you still need to give yourself some time for those parcels to arrive by Christmas. Photo by Nolan Krattinger on Unsplash

Packages have different rates based on size. Under normal circumstances, if you send it within Austria, you need to have it in your post office by December 19th. Those willing to use the more expensive Post Express option can wait until Thursday, December 21st – right before Christmas weekend.

READ ALSO: How much does it cost to post items within Austria and abroad?


Sending packages within Europe

Even if your letter or package isn’t leaving the continent, you’re going to need to get your shopping done with plenty of time to spare.

If you’re sending a parcel within Europe and you want it to arrive by Christmas, you’re going to need to have it into the post office by December 15th – a full ten days before Christmas. That is unless you’re willing to pay for priority, in which case you have until December 19th. That still is almost a full week ahead of Christmas.

Letters that are sent by priority post have the same deadline as standard non-priority parcels – December 15th, whereas regular letters need to be in already by December 11th.

Keep in mind too that Austrian Post divides Europe up into several areas administratively. The closer the country you’re sending something too – even within Europe – the cheaper it will be to send your parcel and the faster it will take. If you’re posting something to a close country like Germany or Croatia, you’re probably in the clear.

The UK, however, is on a lower tier of area than EU countries are – which means it will cost you more and take longer to send something to the UK than it would even to Ireland – which is further away.

It may thus, make sense for you to leave even more time than what’s advised.

READ ALSO: How to post packages between Austria and the UK post-Brexit


Sending Christmas cards, letters, and parcel outside Europe

If your gifts or well-wishes are going further afield, you’ll really need to keep an eye on your calendar.

The latest you’ll be able to send anything outside Europe that needs to get to its destination by Christmas in December 14th for Post Express. Everything else has an earlier deadline.

Packages headed out of the EU will need to be into your post office by December 13th at the latest.

Leave a lot of time - weeks even - to get your gifts Down Under. Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

Meanwhile, even priority letters will have to be sent by December 11th – and if you’re not going to shell out the extra money for priority post – your letters will need to be sitting in an Austrian post office already by December 7th – more than two weeks before Christmas.

Again, Austrian Post divides up different parts of the world in different zones, with higher numbers being more expensive to send things to and taking longer. Canada, for example, is in zone 3 – while the US is in zone 4. Australia and New Zealand, by contrast, are in zone 5. If you’re sending something to Canada, the advised deadline may be fine. But if your present has to make its way Down Under, it might be best to plan even further ahead – both to ensure your parcel makes it, and to save on priority costs.

READ ALSO: Cost of living: Austrian Post announces price increases



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