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Austria is an East Alpine country located in Central Europe. It has a population of almost 9 million people and the official language spoken throughout the country is German. Visitors can enjoy rugged mountains, quaint towns, incredible and historic architecture, and rich culture. There are many notable buildings to see in Austria, especially in the capital city of Vienna. Austria is the birthplace of many notable historical figures, including Mozart, Beethoven, Sigmund Freud, and Nikola Tesla. The country adopted the euro as official currency in 1999, which makes currency exchange easier for most travelers. With a very high GDP per capita, Austria is considered one of the top 20 wealthiest countries in the world, also boasting a very high standard of living. Tourists have no shortage of sweeping vistas, exciting towns, and delicious cuisine to experience. If you are from a visa-exempt country outside of the European Union, you will soon need to obtain an ETIAS in order to visit Austria. This article will explain a little more about the ETIAS and Austria Tourism in general.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is a visa waiver policy that will begin implementation in 2022. Currently, there are 62 countries that are not members of the EU but can enjoy visa-free travel to all EU member countries. However, ETIAS will mandate that members of those countries will be required to obtain a travel authorization in order to travel to and within participating countries. The purpose of ETIAS is to increase security within the EU in the wake of illegal immigration and terrorist attacks. The feeling is that keeping careful records of who is entering and exiting the area will give officials a better handle on who should and should not be allowed in. In this way, potential security threats can more effectively be neutralized before they occur. The process of applying for an ETIAS will be extremely simple, available entirely online. The application will take no more than 10 minutes, requiring some basic information and documentation that you likely already have at your disposal. You will need to provide your personal information, valid travel document, and the answers to a few background questions. You will also pay for the application online, a fee of only 7 euros for adults under 70. If approved, you will receive your travel authorization via email, which will be valid for unlimited entries for three years. The ETIAS is not a visa, as it does not have the same restrictions, the process is far faster and easier, and no biometric data is collected. Travelers from eligible countries can still travel to Austria visa-free once the ETIAS is implemented.
If you are flying from an international airport, you will likely be landing in Austria through the capital city of Vienna. It is also the most populated city in Austria, home to nearly two million inhabitants. Vienna is a global hub of music, culture, and history. It was voted by Mercer as the most livable city in the world for the past ten years. Residents and visitors alike can benefit from the incredible array of historic architecture, cultural events, green spaces, and world-class shopping, restaurants, and bars. You can see many of Vienna’s notable buildings by taking a tour of the Ringstrasse. The city has also been updated by many works of post-war architecture to blend the old with the new, including the MuseumsQuartier and Danube City. You will have no shortage of art and culture to take in while visiting the city. From classic favorites like the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the Vienna Philharmonic to shows by the hottest contemporary artists in the world, there is something for every ear. If you’re after a night of dancing, Vienna has some of the best electronic music venues in all of Europe. Shopping fans will delight in the high caliber shopping to be found in the city center. There are plenty of global and local designers to explore in the city. Head over to Kohlmarkt to pick up a special piece of jewelry by a traditional Viennese jeweler. You can also check out the flea market at the Naschmarkt, the Art and Antiques Market Am Hof, and the Time Travel Antiques Maket if you’re in the mood to bargain hunt for some real antique treasures. Whatever your personal interest, Vienna will satisfy every palate.
Ski fanatics will find their version of heaven in the Tyrol state of Austria, home to many ski resorts and covered in mountains. Those who are equally interested in the après-ski as being out on the mountain will love Ischgl, close to the Silvretta Arena ski area. With a young population, the scene in the town is bustling and fun. Soelden is another winter wonderland with world class skiing. It’s also an outdoor enthusiast’s playground in the summer, offering panoramic hiking and mountain biking trails. If you’re looking for a high class getaway, check out Kitzbuhel, just east of the state’s capital of Innsbruck. Here you can find upscale dining and restaurants, as well as fun annual events like the Hahnenkamm downhill race. The medieval center boasts grand churches and a picturesque museum. Cable cars and lifts run all day to take skiers up to the slopes. Tyrol has a resort for every skier.
While in Austria, you’ll have the opportunity to taste many local delights. Austrian cuisine is hearty and flavorful. You must try Wiener Schnitzel, which is thin breaded and fried meat, usually served with fried potatoes, sour cream, and onions. Tafelspitz is another classic meat dish, made of beef boiled in a flavorful broth and served with sliced apples and horseradish. If you’re after a hearty après-ski meal, get a dish of Tiroler Gröst: fried potato, pork, onions, and butter, often with a fried egg on top. Sure to stick to the ribs! And to finish, you can’t overlook the ubiquitous Viennese Apfelstrudel, flaky pastry stuffed with cinnamon spiced apples, sugar, and raisins. Delectable!
Whatever adventures you’re after in your vacation, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Austria. As an ETIAS holder, you can also explore the rest of the Schengen Area, free from border checks. Have a wonderful vacation!
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