What to bring

Bring whatever you need for the activities you want to do. Click here for a suggested packing list. Medicines, even painkillers, are not on sale in Austrian supermarkets, though they are available from chemists. Don't forget your camera, and plenty of film or electronic storage space.

Car hire

Car hire is available from the airports. Remember to check with the company if you are intending to drive outside Austria, and to ensure that the car has a winter pack (October to April). Remember your passport and driving licence!

Driving in Austria

Driving in Austria is on the right hand side of the road. Children under 12 years old are not allowed in the passenger seat. Dipped headlights should be on at all times. You need to carry a reflective vest in the front of the car. Remember to take your driving licence and a copy of the insurance papers.

For driving on Austrian motorways you need a "vignette" or pass, which is cheap and available for periods of ten days minimum. You can buy it at most service stations, and in countries near the Austrian border. Speed cameras are enforced, particularly around Salzburg.

Petrol prices are generally 25-30 cents cheaper per litre than in Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, etc.

If driving in winter, remember that under Austrian law snow chains must be carried and winter tyres fitted. For those flying in to Munich, German law does not require this, which may give a problem when arriving in Austria. Explain to the hire company that you need a winter pack (winter reifen) as you are driving to Austria. The winter pack includes winter tyres.

The Salzkammergut card gives a discount of up to 30% on very many attractions. It costs around €5 and is valid May to October for 21 days at a time. You can buy the card from Tourist Information. There is also a winter card giving the same discounts.

Drinking the water

In a number of countries, water can be unsafe if drunk from taps. Not so in Austria, and all tap water is good, so there is no need to buy mineral water. Standards in Austria are so high that most of the lakes are of drinking water standard, and mountain streams are generally safe too (but remember to drink from the fast flowing parts of streams, not stagnant pools).

Austrian food and drink

Austrian food has moved on a lot since the days of dumplings. As well as the classic Wiener Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel, we recommend you try some or all of the following:

- Cream of garlic soup, gulaschsuppe, and various kinds of noodle soup
- The local fish fresh from the lake, forelle, reinanke or saibling. This is particularly delicious filleted, or as Feine Bande Nudeln
- Various types of pfandl, generally pork, lamb or turkey cooked in a delicious sauce and served in its own frying pan
- Fitness salad - generally a generous helping of salad with strips of turkey
- Tafelspitz, or boiled rump of beef, served with fresh horseradish (kren)
- Kaiserschmarr'n, a chopped pancake served with Apfelmuss or Zwetschkenroster
- Marillepalatschinken, apricot pancakes with a chocolate sauce
- Germknodel, a sponge pudding with poppy seed jam inside
- Sachertote, Linzertorte or Guglhopf, various types of delicious local cakes

As for drinks, try the following:

- A red wine such as a Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch or Carnuntum
- A crisp white wine such as a Welschriesling or Gruner Veltliner
- The local wheat beer called Weizen, or Weissbier, or the local Hallstatt beer. If dark beer is more to your liking, try the Dunkelweizen, or the King Ludwig Dunkel
- The local lemonade called Almdudler or a "spetzi" or "mezzomix" (coke and fanta), skiwasser (raspberry cordial with water or lemonade)
- Many of the local pubs serve various kinds of homemade juices ("Saft"), including himbeer (raspberry), heidelbeer (blackcurrant), brombeer (blackberry), hollanderblut, apfel (apple), marillen (apricot), pfirsch (peach), birne (pear), erdbeer (strawberry) or a combination of these
- The local cider ("Most") (may be made from apples or pears)
- The local schnapps, such as an obstler (fruit schnapps), or Zerben (made from certain pine berries growing above 2000m), very good for the digestion!

Weather

Austria has a continental climate, which means that winters are cold (and the snow therefore stays lower than in maritime climates such as France) and summers are hot (often up to 35ºC). Spring is a wonderful time in Austria, with the snows melting and the summer flowers starting to appear. Autumn is also wonderful, with gorgeous leaf scenes and a generally stable weather pattern, the best time for walking. So the message is come to Obertraun at any time of year and you'll have a good time!

Having said that, weather in the mountains can change very quickly, so it is best to be prepared. Check the weather on 06131 531 1838 or at:

- www.bergfex.at/krippenstein/wetter
- www.wetter.at/wetter/oesterreich/oberoesterreich/obertraun

If you have no high mountain experience, book a guide with Outdoor Leadership www.outdoor-leadership.com. Temperatures up at the top of the cable car can be 12ºC cooler than in the valley, but then again it is a mile higher! Take wet weather gear, a warm top, sun cream and headgear. Take plenty of water as there are few streams to fill up from, though there are many mountain huts. Leave details of your route with someone and remember to tell them when you come down.

Emergency

In emergency call 144 for ambulance, police, fire and mountain rescue.

Hospital

There are two hospitals in the area. The one at Bad Ischl is slightly more advanced. For serious injuries, call for the air ambulance which will take you to the main hospital at Vocklabruck:
- Bad Ischl 06132 202-0
- Bad Aussee 03622 52 555-0

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