With its mountains and stretches of nature in between towns, Austria is a great place to go if you want to holiday safely, away from any crowds. 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.
In the province of Vorarlberg, restaurants and cultural institutions have opened again but the rest of the country is still under strict lockdown.
You can find the latest information on this official page as well as below.
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.
Entry into Austria
Bear in mind that non-essential travel is still not permitted. You are allowed entry without a negative COVID test and without the need to quarantine if and only if you travel from one of the below countries providing you are a resident of Austria or resident of one of the following countries:
Australia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the Vatican.
If you are traveling from any other country than the ones listed above, you'll have to show a medical certificate proving a negative PCR or antigen test and go in self-quarantine. If you cannot show a negative test, you are required to get tested within 24 hours after your arrival.
! Important: all travelers to Austria now also need to obtain a pre-travel clearance.
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.
Note that flights from South Africa and Brazil are not allowed into Austria until January 24.
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 an FFP2 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.
Note that you also require a negative COVID-test when visiting service providers such as hairdressers.
You must wear an FFP2 face mask in a restaurant when not at the table. Dining in is not possible during the lockdown, takeaway is.
People who do not live together must keep at least two meters apart from each other in public.
Which tourism-related businesses and attractions are open?
Restaurants, cafes, nightlife, and ski resorts
Restaurants and bars remain closed to sit in and can only offer takeaway and delivery services. Ski resorts and cable cars have opened again but only for locals.
Museums and other tourist sites
Essential shops, museums, libraries, and zoos are open. Non-essential shops, theatres, cinemas, amusement parks, and other culture and leisure facilities are closed until further notice.
Hotels, private rentals, and guesthouses
Leisure accommodation stays closed until at least the end of February. Only business travelers can book new stays in Austria. Leisure travelers already in Austria can remain in their accommodation until their scheduled departure date.
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
All cultural events remain canceled.
Gyms and swimming pools
Gyms, swimming pools, and saunas remain closed.
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
Don't make these mistakes when planning your next trip
Sign up for the newsletter and learn which mistakes you need to prevent when booking your trip - especially given the current circumstances.