Austrian Alps, Austria - Stein Travel
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Austrian Alps

The vast majority of tourists visiting Austria head straight for one of its cosy alpine villages in the Tirol region. Among the wooded mountains is some of the world's best skiing. Unlike many French and Swiss resorts, most resorts in Austria are real, friendly villages on the valley floor and despite expanding enormously over the last 20 years the development has generally been in good taste, with traditional-looking chalets perched among the ancient, domed churches. Austrian resorts are also more fun and welcoming than many in the Alps; the Austrians know how to enjoy themselves and don't find it demeaning to speak their guest's language. However many Austrian resorts lie fairly low and experience unreliable snowfall. To ensure guaranteed good skiing it is best to head for the western edges of the Tirol, to St Anton, Lech or Zürs, which all have extensive skiing and more reliable snowfall. The ski season runs from December to April but the villages remain bustling in the summer, when the valleys are filled with climbers and walkers who come to enjoy some of the breathtaking scenery.

Information & Facts

Climate

Although cold, the high alpine resorts are usually much sunnier in winter than below in the valleys where fog and cloud persist, but in summer the Alps may become cloudy during the hotter part of the day. In autumn and spring some alpine valleys (particularly those running from south to north) experience the warm and very dry wind known as the foehn, which can quickly melt snow and trigger off avalanches on the mountain slopes.

Language

The official language in Austria is German.

Money

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change available in all towns, but it may be easier to use the ATMs. Banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but exchange offices at airports and major city rail terminals are open seven days a week. Major credit and debit cards are widely accepted though some small hotels and restaurants may only accept cash. Travellers cheques are also accepted.

Time

Local time in Austria is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

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