The Republic of Austria is located in Central Europe and has a population of roughly 8.5 million. The country’s official language is German, although some of the locals use different dialects depending on the region in which they live.
Austria has a low, temperate climate as the country’s terrain is highly mountainous. This makes it an ideal location for skiing; the Alps are a particular attraction.
On 1 January 1999, the euro was introduced in Austria and used alongside the schilling (created in 1924). In 2002, the euro fully replaced the schilling.
For a breakdown of denominations, have a look at the table on the right. These euro notes and coins are valid in all countries of the eurozone. There are several commemorative and gold euro coins which can only be used in Austria.
Austria has no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding €10,000 must be declared if travelling from or to a country outside the European Union.
In the cities, banks are usually open from 8am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 3pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Thursday times are 8am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 5:30pm. Banks in Austria are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Taking euros with you is advisable, to avoid poor exchange rates once you get to Austria.
Compared to other countries in Europe, Austria is not a particularly cheap tourist destination. But visitors still find it a great place to experience local culture and can find reasonably-priced restaurants. There are plenty of pubs serving good local and foreign dishes, where main meals cost around €5-9. Non-alcoholic drinks can cost between €1-3 and beer tends to be priced at €3-5. Of course, you will also find high-end restaurants that charge around €20-€40 for a main meal. A good bottle of wine is likely to cost upwards of €10.
As most restaurants apply a service charge, tipping in Austria is welcomed but not obligatory. Restaurants can add a service charge of around 5%-10%.