EU, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and US citizens can stay for a period of up to ninety days with a valid passport without a visa, but if you intend staying for a period which extends this you will need to obtain a visa.
Citizens of South Africa are among the nationalities that do need a visa to enter Austria and this should be obtained from the Austrian Embassy in advance of travelling.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you may need a visa to enter the country or wish to work while you are in Austria, you should also contact the Austrian Embassy in your home country.
The currency used in Austria is the Euro which is made up of 100 Cent. Notes come in denominations of €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 and the coins in use are €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c.
The official language is German and there are many regional dialects. English is also commonly spoken throughout Salzburg.
Salzburg has an Alpine climate, which means warm, sunny summers and cold winters. Come prepared for sudden showers of 'string rain', a phenomenon particular to this city. Highest temperatures generally happen in July and August, with temperatures in January and December often dropping below zero.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement. Before you travel you should collect an E111 form from your local social security office. This form may also be obtained in post offices also.
Salzburg is in the Central European Time zone and is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
In general shops are open from 8.00am to 6.00pm from Monday to Friday and from 8.00am until midday on Saturday with the exception of the first Saturday of every month when they open until 5.00pm. Larger department stores and shopping centres remain open until 7.30pm and until 5.00pm every Saturday but most stores remain closed all day Sunday.
Banks vary from branch to branch but as a general rule, they open between 8.00am and 12.00pm and again from 1.00pm until 4.00pm from Monday to Thursday and from 8.00am until 1.00pm on Friday.
Salzburg's tourist offices are the best place to get information on the city and its tours. The city's main office is at Mozartplatz 5. There is also one located in the Hauptbahnhof.
In Austria value added tax (VAT) is calculated at a rate of between 20% and 34%. This is usually included on a quoted price but you should confirm this prior to purchasing anything to avoid any confusion when it comes to payment. For non-EU residents, however, the good news is that you can get the tax back on any item for which you pay over $1,000. In order to avail of this incentive, you need to complete a U-34 form when you are making your purchase. When you're leaving the country, you present both the item and the cheque at customs. The officials will stamp it for you and you can then cash your cheque at any of the booths with the Tax-Free logo and Cash Refund sign. This is only applicable where you are leaving the country within three months.
While traveller's cheques are widely accepted, there are some places which will refuse to do so, particularly in more remote parts of the country. Therefore, it is advised that you change them into euro as soon as you arrive.
Electricity in Austria is 220 volts AC, 50Hz.
The country code for Austria is +43 and the area code for Salzburg is (0)662. Austrian phone booths are plentiful and easy to use. Most have instructions in four languages (including English). It is also worth noting that Austria's telephone system is one of the most expensive in the world so be prepared, even when making a local call. A lot of telephones take phone cards (Telefonkarte), which are available from all post offices, tobacconists and some other shops.
Post offices are located all over the city and change currency as well as performing normal day to day post office duties.
Because the service charge is normally included on most bills, tipping is not compulsory. If the service you receive is particularly good, however, it is customary to leave a small additional amount. If the service charge is not included a tip of between 10% and 15% is sufficient. With regard to taxi drivers, it is usual to tell them to keep any small change.
It is worth noting what Austria's public holidays are before travelling, as the majority of businesses, banks and shops shut for the day.
In Austria they take place on New Year's Day (January 1st), Epiphany (January 6th) and Easter, Labour Day (May 1st), Ascension Day (May 29th), Whit Monday (first Monday in June), Corpus Christi (June 19th) , Assumption (August 15th), Austria's Notional Day (October 26th), All Saints Day (November 1st), Immaculate Conception (December 8th) and Christmas.