Things To Know About Austria

austria cheap car rental

The history of Austria is a complex as any in Europe. The area that is now called Austria has been a part of numerous empires and wanna-be empires for more than a thousand years. Almost exactly a century ago, however, it emerged from the shadow of the Hapsburgs to proclaim itself an independent nation and today it is one of the jewels of Europe. Crisscrossed by the Eastern Alps and boasting an idyllic landscape that only seems to get more astonishing as you drive your car rental in Austria from valley to valley, it’s a land rich in tradition that’s home to some of the friendliest, most industrious people you’ll ever meet. There are 8.7 million of those Austrians and their efforts have combined to make their relatively small country the 12th richest country in the world. If you’re traveling to Europe this year pick up a rental car in Austria and make a time of it.

Top places to visit in Austria by car

Innsbruck cheap car rental

Innsbruck

Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol region in western Austria and is one of the premier winter sports cities in Europe. And that’s saying something. It’s located in a valley between a series of high mountain peaks and has played host to the Winter Olympics in both 1964 and 1976. You need to secure a car rental in Innsbruck and spend time touring the breathtaking countryside that surrounds the beautifully preserved city center to really get a feel for what Austria is all about.

salzburg cheap car rental

Salzburg

Salzburg was the birthplace of the legendary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and has one of the best preserved city centers of any large European city. The Altstadt (Old Town) is home to several stone towers in the Baroque style, along with elaborate churches and the imposing Hohensalzburg castle looming from a nearby hilltop. It’s one of the most inspiring cityscapes you’ll encounter anywhere. But Salzburg is more than that. It’s a leading edge 21st century city as well that’s home to numerous high-tech companies and attracts ambitions young people from all over Europe. Whether you’re driving your own car or a budget car rental in Austria you must make the journey to experience Salzburg.

cheap car rental austria

Vienna

Vienna has one of the richest, if not the richest, classical music legacies on earth. Everyone from Mozart to Mahler lived and/or worked in the city at some point and their presence can still be felt in the cultural fabric. Vienna has an equally astonishing architectural legacy with dozens of palaces and government buildings – many of them classified as World Heritage Sites – dating from the time of the Hapsburgs all the way back to the Holy Roman Empire. In addition, Vienna is widely regarded today as having the highest overall quality of life of any city on earth. So pick up your car rental in Vienna and take a tour of the town and the surrounding countryside.

Driving in Austria - rules on the road

Speed limits

The speed limits in Austria are determined as much by the class and size of your vehicle as they are by the road and conditions. For automobiles and motorcycles the speed limit on motorways is a zippy 130 km/h. On secondary roads that speed limit is 100 km/h, and within cities and towns it’s reduced to 50 km/h.

Alcohol levels

The penalties for drinking and driving in Austria are intended to dissuade people from getting behind the wheel after they have been partying. The permissible blood alcohol level is 0.05% or about the equivalent of 2 beers (maybe 1 if you’ve seen those Austrian beer steins). If you’re caught exceeding that limit there are stiff financial penalties, points applied to your insurance and you could lose the right to drive after your first arrest. Don’t do it.

Speed fines

If you speed in your rental car in Austria you’ll get a pretty stiff fine. However, if you make the mistake of speeding when air pollution-related speed controls are in place (which happens when air pollution in a given region exceeds mandated levels) you could be fined up to €3,000!

Speed radars

Speed radars in Austria are not officers standing at the roadside with radar guns, they’re radar and camera combinations set up in various locations to determine speed and photograph the license plate of an offending vehicle so a speeding ticket can be sent via mail. There are many such speed traps so drive your rental car in Austria with care.

Road quality

Austria has some of the best maintained roadways in the world so even driving a budget car rental in Austria will feel like you’re driving a Bentley.

Minimum driving age

To obtain a driver’s license in Austria you must be at least 18 years of age.

Fuel price

Gas prices for your car rental in Austria vary from region to region but average €1.17 as of this writing. Diesel prices meanwhile are slightly lower at €1.11 per liter.

Side of the road

All roadways in Austria require drivers to drive on the right hand side and pass on the left.

Seat belt fines

Seat belt use is mandatory for your rental car in Austria and if you get caught not wearing one you’ll be fined up to €100 and expected to pay that fine on the spot.

General information about Austria

Weather

Since nearly 3/4 of Austria is crisscrossed by the Alps the climate is cold during the winter time and relatively comfortable in the summer, rarely rising above the mid-20s Celsius. The higher elevations are blanketed by snow from October to April and as such our top renting a car in Austria tips would be to make sure your car is fitted with winter tires during the cold months and use extreme care when navigating mountain passes.

Population

The population of Austria is 8.7 million of which 81% come from families with no migration background, considered to be native. Life expectancy for Austrians is over 81 years, one of the highest on earth. Most people with who have migrated from other countries have come from other EU countries such as Poland, Serbia and Bulgaria.

Speaking language

Austrian German, a distinct dialect of German, is spoken by nearly 90% of the population with a smattering of other languages making up the remaining 10%+.

Cost of living
As you might expect from a country that has one of the highest standards of living on earth, it’s not cheap to live in Austria. While costs for car hire in Austria are fairly reasonable, a small apartment will typically cost about €1,000 per month or even more. Utilities and food are also expensive here with one person’s average food expenditures typically exceeding €400 per month. Thankfully a car rental in Austria is about the same as it is in neighboring countries like Germany.

Tourism
Nearly 21 million tourists visit Austria each year and the tourism sector now accounts for a massive 10% of GDP. There is 1 guest bed for every 6 resident beds in Austria and nearly 350,000 Austrians are employed in the tourism sector. While numbers retreated a bit during the refugee crisis of a couple of years back, they have rebounded in the past year as that situation has stabilized to a significant degree and the tourism authority is expecting record numbers this winter.

Have a great road trip!

Your four-wheel travel buddy, Carrentalia  🚗