Ever had a beer in the shower? It’s one of life’s great pleasures. Well, in Austria, they’ve stepped it up a gear. You can bathe in beer. At Starkenberger Castle brewery in the Tyrol, you can take a dip in the world’s first and only beer swimming pool filled with at least 42,000 pints or 300 litres of warm beer in 12,000 litres of water. Want to know more about this brewski-loving country? Read on.
Great news for Aussies! You won’t need a visa to visit Austria as along with many other European countries, Austria is party to the Schengen Convention. This means you can stay in the country for up to 90 days within an 180-day period. If you’re staying in private accommodation for longer than 3 days, you’ll need to let the local authorities know. Also, make sure you have 6 months’ validity on your passport. Please note, visa and entry and exit conditions change, so stay up to date by contacting the Embassy or Consulate of Austria before you travel.
The currency used in Austria is the Euro, which is also used in most European Union countries. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Euro fluctuates constantly, so it's a good idea to monitor the rate before purchasing cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider bringing a credit card or prepaid travel money card with you.
Austrian cuisine is mostly influenced by Germany and Italy, but it certainly has its own style. The capital, Vienna, even has its very own style of cuisine – Viennese. In Vienna, the food is very gourmet with dishes presented so beautifully they’re like little artworks. Of course, you’ll find traditional and hearty favourites all over the country that you can really sink your teeth into including sausages in all shapes and forms, Wiener (Vienna) schnitzel, Girardi-rostbraten (roast sirloin steak with bacon – Giradi-style) and erdäpfelsalat (potato salad). Sweet tooths will love Kaiserschmarrn (a dessert omelette), powidltascherl (plum jam turnovers) and apfelstrudel (apple strudel) served with delicious creamy vanilla ice-cream. Not to forget the famous Viennese pastries and cakes like Linzertorte and Sachertorte – best enjoyed in a famous Viennese coffee house, of course!
The party scene across Austria is pretty varied. If you’re fan of electronic beats, shoot for Vienna – the dance music scene is major here. Check out some of the best clubs in the world like Danube Canal and Flex. Some other clubs worth a peek are B72, Chelsea and Rhiz – these clubs have been around for an eternity. Coffee houses and cafes are super popular in Vienna and stay open until midnight. Beer gardens are popular here too – particularly in the summer. But given you’re in the city of classical music, you should probably take in an open-air classical concert. In Salzburg, there’s less bass, more classic. But you will find loads of places to dance – it is a student city with 3 unis after all. Locals here generally start their night out with dinner with a few cheeky bevvies after they eat. If you’re hitting the slopes, you’ll find plenty of après-ski action in Ischgl. There’s countless bars, nightclubs, pubs and discos where you can dance ‘til it’s time to strap your ski boots back on.