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Most people on an international flight to Austria fly to Vienna, but there are also flights to Innsbruck, Graz, Linz & Salzburg. There are no direct flights from South Africa to Austria. To book a cheap flight:
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Johannesburg to Graz (GRZ) flights : 1-stops with Lufthansa/Lufthansa CityLine (via Frankfurt), SAA/Lufthansa CityLine (via Frankfurt) or Swiss.
Johannesburg to Innsbruck (INN) flights : 1-stops with KLM (via Amsterdam), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt) or South African Airways (codeshare via Frankfurt with Lufthansa).
Johannesburg to Linz (LNZ): 1-stops with Lufthansa (via Frankfurt) or SAA/Lufthansa CityLine (via Frankfurt).
Johannesburg to Salzburg (SZG): 1-stops with Etihad/Air Berlin (via Abu Dhabi & Dusseldorf), Lufthansa/Austrian Arrows (via Frankfurt), BA (via London) or SAA/BA (via London)
There are a number of 2-stop routes, although only 1 option is given:
Cape Town to Graz (GRZ) flights : SAA/Lufthansa CityLine (via Johannesburg & Frankfurt)
Cape Town to Innsbruck (INN) : SAA/Lufthansa CityLine (via Johannesburg & Frankfurt)
Cape Town to Linz (LNZ) : SAA/Lufthansa CityLine (via Johannesburg & Frankfurt)
Cape Town to Salzburg (SZG) : SAA/Austrian Arrows (via Johannesburg & Frankfurt)
There are a number of 2-stop routes, although only one example is given:
Durban to Graz (GRZ) : SAA/Lufthansa CityLine (via Johannesburg & Frankfurt)
Durban to Innsbruck (INN) : SAA/Lufthansa CityLine (via Johannesburg & Frankfurt)
Durban to Linz (LNZ) : SAA/Lufthansa CityLine (via Johannesburg & Frankfurt)
Durban to Salzburg (SZG) : Emirates/Air Berlin (via Dubai & Dusseldorf)
My second valuable lesson in travel was learnt in Austria. Every traveller is encouraged to partake in a local custom or two, right? So there I was at the top of the ski lift in Hoftgarten, enjoying my first taste of Gluhwein before tobogganing down the hill behind Doug, a fellow traveller, who was going to be my “driver”. Doug had a couple more Gluhweins to drink than I did, and was very laid back. I, however, after only one Gluhwein, was feeling rather light-headed. And that is where I made my second mistake: I went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face to “sober up”. What on earth possessed me to do that? AAARGH! Not being the most adventurous of people in the natural anyway (Well, I chose not to ski after someone broke their leg on the nursery slope at the ski-lodge), I was horrified to find that tobogganing entailed a very fast slide down an icy road with lots of twists and turns, and Doug of course was just perfectly oiled to manage this…at the last minute! At one of the bends I got so scared I broke the cardinal rule of the passenger on a toboggan, namely “Do not put your feet down unless you want to stop”. Down went my feet, and the next moment we landed in an unceremonious heap in a clump of snow, whilst other toboggans bore down on us. Clearly when there is a copious flow of Gluhwein available at the top of a ski-lift, it is to make the ride down more bearable, so lesson number 2 has to be: “When in Austria, do as the Austrians do.”
By Carol Clifford, navigate to Bags Must have Wheels to see her first lesson!
Austrian German is the official language of the country.
Austria is part of the Schengen territory, which South Africans need a Schengen visa for short term visits. You would apply for your Schengen visa through the Austrian Embassy if Austria is the Schengen country you're going to be in the longest, during your trip:
Physical address: 454 A Fehrsen Street (entrance on William Street), Brooklyn, Pretoria (note that the embassy is closed on Austrian public holidays)
Physical address: Sandgasse 33, Vienna, 1190
Phone number : +43-1-320-6493
The currency used in Austria is the Euro.
Attractions in Austria include:
Schonbrunn Palace: Comissioned by Emperor Leopold I in the 1600s, Schonbrunn Palace is loved for its architecture and decor.
Hohensalzburg Fortress: built in 12th century, the fortress of Hohensalzburg is located in Salzburg, .
Grossglockner High Alpine Road: the road, named after Austria's highest mountain, connects Salzburg and Carinthia, and offers spectacular views.
Basilica Mariazell: located in south west Vienna, has a wooden image of the Virgin Mary, which is honoured by Roman Catholics.
The best time to visit Austria will vary with your preferences. For example, December to March is the best time for skiing and hiking whereas April to September is ideal for engaging in festivals and cultural activities of Austria.
You may want to join in the festivities on public holidays (or avoid travelling then!):
6 January (ephiphany)
1 May (labour day)
15 August (Mary's assumption into heaven)
26 October (national day)
1 November (All Saints Day)
8 December (feast of immaculate conception)
26 December (St Stephen's Day)