Car hire in Austria
Hiring a car in Austria
Austria is nestled at the eastern end of the Alps, offering spectacular views of majestic mountain ranges and the opportunity to do your best impression of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.
The Von Trapps aren’t Austria’s only famous export, as it has also produced action-film phenomenon and California's ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger. The country has a rich musical history, as it is the birthplace of some of the world’s most renowned composers, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert and Heinz Karl Gruber.
Austria offers tourists the perfect balance of urban life and the charm of the countryside. Bustling towns and cities are just minutes away from luscious green forests, meadows of wildflowers and crystal-clear lakes.
To truly take in all that the country has to offer, you need to hit the open road and experience Austria first hand. Just make sure you have change ready, as toll charges apply on all motorways.
What you need to know
As the country is popular among tourists from across the globe, the facilities on offer are quite comprehensive, allowing you to find great deals on essentials like rental cars from top-quality suppliers, including Europcar, Thrifty, Alamo and Budget.
Using our search engine before you travel will mean you can ensure you get the right vehicle at the right price. In addition, you can decide where to collect the car, whether that be from the airport or a train station - the choice is yours. Our service doesn’t end when you pick up the keys either, as we offer 24/7 support should you need us.
Hiring a car in Austria is the key to discovering the hidden gems spotted across the country, such as the stunning architecture in the Wachau Valley and the Horizon Field landscape installation.
Where to pick up your car
You can collect your car from any of Austria’s airports, including Vienna (VIE), Linz (LNZ), Salzburg (SZG) and Innsbruck (INN). You are also able to collect your car from several train stations if you’ve chosen to travel by rail rather than plane.
Once you’ve landed and claimed your baggage, you’ll see a number of car hire supplier desks. If you’ve booked in advance, collecting your vehicle couldn’t be easier. You just sign the paperwork, collect your keys, and then you’re free to drive off and start your Austrian adventure.
You can also arrange your hire car once you land, but this is likely to much more expensive and involve more hassle. By using Holiday Autos to arrange your car in advance, you’ll save time, money and experience an award-winning service.
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“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Behind the wheel of your car, Austria is your oyster. Each town and city has something unique to offer visitors, it’s just a case of deciding where you want to go. In Vienna, you will find a seemingly-endless list of things to do, including visiting museums, galleries, lively cafes, bars and bustling street markets. If you head to Carinthia you can take a canoe across crystal-clear lake or explore the hidden magic of the caves dotted around the state.
You can hit the open road and take a tour of the natural wonders Austria has to offer, such as the perfect skiing terrain in Tryol or the majestic mountains in Zell am See. If you’re intending to use your break to relax and wind down, the luxury spas located in Salzkammergut may be just what you’re looking for.
Driving in Austria
Just like with most of Europe, you must drive on the right-hand side of the road. Try to keep this in mind when you are setting off after making a stop, as it can be very easy to slip into old habits! The standard speed limits are 50 km/h in built-up areas, 100 km/h outside of built-up areas and up to 130 km/h on the motorway. Speed limits and other traffic regulations are implemented rigorously and drivers are subject to an on-the-spot fine of €90 for any violations.
You must be aged 18 or over to drive a car in Austria and you must carry your pink photocard licence with you at all times when you’re behind the wheel. In addition, you need to have proof of insurance and your passport. There are also a couple of pieces of equipment that you are legally obligated to carry in the car, including a first-aid kit, warning triangle and reflective jacket.
If you’re planning on using motorways whilst in Austria, you will need to purchase a toll sticker (vignette). These can be picked up at petrol stations, post offices, tobacconists or in ÖAMTC offices and are valid for ten days, two months or one calendar year.
Austria is a driver’s dream, allowing you to pass through spectacular mountain passes, beautiful old towns steeped in history and travel along roads flanking stunning lakes.
If you get onto the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, you will zigzag through the stunning Hohe Tauern National Park. This will take you from Bruck to Heiligenblut, and give you the opportunity to drive across the Hochtor mountain, which is the highest point on this particular pass. Along the way, you will find exhibitions and nature trails to explore, should you want to stop.
The Carinthian Lake Tour, which starts near the world-famous Wörthersee Lake and finishes in the tourist resort of Pörtschach, offers unparalleled views of Austria’s natural beauty. Once on the road, you’ll travel north to Moosburg, past Feldkirchen before arriving at the breathtaking Lake Ossiach. Eventually, you’ll loop back to Wörthersee, where you relax in the local bars and restaurants.
Another spectacular drive can be found on the Danube, which starts in the charming town of Passau. This road will take you through the ancient Roman town of Enns and the historic city of Steyr. You’ll also cut through the Wachau valley, which is home to beautiful vineyards, tiny villages, timeworn ruins and quaint apricot trees.
Top destinations to visit in Austria
Austria is made up of thriving urban cities and charming towns and villages, each offering tourists a different experience. One trip is unlikely to let you uncover all of the country’s hidden treasures, but here are some of the top destinations to get a real taste of authentic Austria.
It would be a shame to visit Austria and not take a drive through the streets of its capital city. Vienna is a place of elegance and grandeur, filled with stunning architecture and buzzing with culture. Music runs through the city’s veins, pulsating in it's cafes and bars, as well it’s history. There are museums and galleries aplenty, as well as busy markets where you can buy jewellery, pottery and other curiosities.
Austria’s fourth-largest city provided much of the backdrop to the 1965 musical ‘The Sound of Music’. Here you can see the 17th-century Baroque Mirabell Palace and Gardens, as well as the house used as the Von Trapp home. Visitors can also take a tour of the reconstructed home of Mozart, while taking in the breathtaking Alpine scenery.
This town is famous for its winter sports, hosting the Winter Olympics in both 1964 and 1976, making it the perfect place to try a bit of snowboarding or skiing. There are also a host of cathedrals, landmarks and museums to explore, if you’re not a fan of the slopes.