With its mountains and stretches of nature in between towns, Austria is a great place to go if you want to holiday safely right now. Even in normal times, it's quite easy to find hikes where you're the only person on the path that day.
But things are what they are and you should inform yourself properly before planning your trip. That's why I've put together this post on travel safety measures and restrictions for those wanting to travel to Austria during the pandemic. I'm also working directly with the Austrian Tourism Board to make sure it's up-to-date.
The current situation in Austria
You can check Worldometers for regular updates on the current cases in Austria. It's important to keep in mind that every fourth Austrian is living in Vienna, so it's normal that a higher percentage of cases is reported there.
Austria’s borders are currently in a process of closely monitored re-opening (as of 28th September 2020). The best website to keep an eye on travel-related coronavirus updates is the one of the Austrian tourism board.
Entry into Austria
Is entry into Austria based on nationality, residency, or location?
You are allowed entry without a negative COVID test or quarantine if you travel from one of the below countries providing you are a resident of Austria or resident of one of the following countries:
Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic (except Prague), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (except Île-de-France (Paris), Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (except Lisbon and Norte), San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Canary Islands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican City.
With proof of a negative COVID-19 test
EU/EEA/Swiss citizens coming from one of the below risk areas and third-country nationals traveling within the Schengen area need a medical certificate and negative COVID-19 test (no more than 72 hours old in German or English) to enter Austria. The risk areas are:
Andorra, Albania, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Prague in the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Île-de-France (Paris), and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Maldives, Mexico, Moldavia, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peoples Republic of China – Province Hubei, Peru, Philippines, Lisbon, and Norte in Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands, Turkey, Ukraine, and USA.
Without a negative COVID-19 test
If you come from a high-risk zone and do not have a medical certificate stating you are negative for COVID-19 you will need to quarantine for 10 days at your own cost. You must sign documentation at immigration confirming you will quarantine.
You must take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arriving in the country at your own cost. The self-quarantine can be broken if your test comes back negative.
Transit is currently allowed without a test as long as immediate departure is secured.
Countries that currently cannot travel to Austria
Austria has suspended the entry of third-country nationals, including U.S. citizens, entering Austria from outside the EU and the Schengen area.
Exceptions apply for:
- Family members (e.g. spouses, children, parents) of Austrian/EU/EEA/Swiss citizens living in the same household.
- Holders of a D visa or residence permit issued by Austria.
- Persons with a residence in Austria (i.e. holders of a “Meldezettel”).
- Holders of a diplomatic “legitimation card” issued by Austria.
If the above exceptions apply to you, you can enter with a negative COVID test. The test needs to be from a medical practitioner and written in English or German and no more than 72 hours old.
Traveling into Austria – special conditions
Traveling to Austria by plane
The airport in Vienna is currently open, with a reduced flight schedule. The City Airport train to Vienna city center is currently suspended but normal trains are running. You have a connection to the center every 30 minutes with the S7 as well as the RailJet.
You can get a COVID-19 test when you arrive at Vienna airport, results are available within a few hours.
If you are traveling by air from a non-Schengen EU country or risk area, you will need to fill out this form to present on arrival.
Traveling to Austria by train
Most train services are still running but there are some regional restrictions. You can find up to date information here.
Rules to follow while you are traveling around Austria
It is compulsory to wear a face mask on public transport and in taxis, in supermarkets, banks, bakeries, food shops, service station shops, cable cars, post offices, outdoor markets, pharmacies, and doctors’ offices, and for services where social distancing is not possible, such as hairdressers.
You must wear a face mask in a restaurant when not at the table and tables can have a maximum of 10 people. Private indoor meetings are also limited to 10 people.
People who do not live together must keep at least one meter apart from each other in public.
Which tourism-related businesses and attractions are open?
Most tourism businesses are still operating but with reduced capacity and hygiene and social distancing measures in place.
Restaurants, cafes, and nightlife
In the provinces of Tirol, Vorarlberg, and Salzburg, bars and restaurants currently close at 10 p.m. In the rest of Austria, establishments may remain open until 1 a.m.
Check exact opening hours with the place you intend to visit beforehand. You will also need to provide your contact details to restaurants and it's best to make a reservation ahead of time.
Ski resorts will be open this winter with strict rules in place. Ski school groups will be no more than 10 people, instructors will have regular tests. There will be no apres-ski bars allowed, eating and drinking will have to take place seated both indoors and outdoors.
Museums and other indoor tourist sites
Museums are open but with limited capacity. Book tickets in advance and wear a face mask.
Christmas markets will open this year but with limited capacity, distance between stalls, and strict hygiene regulations.
Hotels, private rentals, and guesthouses
Face masks and social distancing are compulsory, many establishments will have a ‘safe hospitality seal’. This means they are complying with specific hygiene criteria as well as regularly testing their staff for the virus.
Most tourist accommodations in Austria are offering flexible booking policies at the moment.
Theaters, concert halls, and other event venues
Cultural events are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors without seats and 1,500 indoors, 3,000 outdoors with seats.
Gyms and swimming pools
Gyms, swimming pools, and saunas are open; the 1-meter social distance has to be respected. A face mask is essential if this distance cannot be kept.
Contact tracing app
The Austrian Red Cross have developed their own app called Stopp Corona which is in use countrywide. Over 800,000 people have downloaded the app which informs you if you have come into contact with someone who could be a risk. You can download the app directly from the app store on your device. You can get more information here.
What to do when you think you have COVID-19 in Austria?
If you start to suffer from symptoms while in Austria you can call the 1450 hotline (this is in German only). They will give you advice on what to do next.
You should avoid others and going into public places if you show symptoms. You should NOT go to a doctor or hospital without an appointment and should try to self isolate.
There are over 40 testing sites currently in Austria, a test costs €140, the hotline will advise you if you should get tested.
Official websites to check
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