Austrian Facts

Earlier pieces of art from the Iron Age and Roman finds from Brigantium are
exhibited in the Vorarlberg Landesmuseum. From the churches, built in the
Romanesque period, nothing is left but some foundation
walls. In the churches in Nüziders and St. Peter´s in Rankweil, you find remains
of Romanesque frescoes. At that time the mighty Schattenburg castle was built
above Feldkirch. Like anywhere in the Alpine region, many secular buildings were
set up in the Gothic period.
Well worth seeing are the gothic frescoes (Bartholomäberg, St. Martin in
Mittelberg, Damülser Bergkirche, Martinskapelle in the Martin´s tower in Bregenz) and wonderful winged altars (Bartholomäberg and Frommengärsch). St. Nikolaus´ cathedral in Feldkirch is a rare example of the interim period of Late Gothic to Renaissance. During the Renaissance mainly town houses and mansions were built.
An extraordinary example of Italian Renaissance is Castle Hohenems.
The carved high altar (around 1580) in the church of Hohenems is a notable
piece of art. The masters of the Vorarlberg Bauschule (Vorarlberg School of
Architecture) have made tremendous contributions to the development of Baroque
architecture in the Alpine region.
A uniform Rococo style shows parish church of St. Gallenkirch. In the time from Late Baroque to Classicism, Angelika Kauffmann, a famous painter, made notable contributions to the art of Vorarlberg (church of Schwarzenberg, paintings and portraits in the Vorarlberger Landesmuseum).
Church building in the 19th century was dominated by Historicism (Bludenz family of artists Jehly and Montafon dynasty of artists Bertle).


At the north edge of the Alps, an especially humid climate is typical.
The westerly and north-westerly winds which are typical for Central Europe
bring humid Atlantic air masses to the Alps, where they gather, rise,
cool off and lead to precipitation (1428 mm per year in Bregenz).
Lake Constance serves as a heat reservoir and saves the surrounding area
from large temperature fluctuations.. In spring and autumn, the mild climate
in the Rhine valley is supported by the Foehn wind. The often gusty and
hurricane-like Foehn appears when southern and northern winds cross the
main Alpine crest. On the side of the mountain, where the air masses gather
and rise, it rains. On the other side the weather is usually bright and the
air clear, as long as the Foehn blows. The warm Foehn wind has a positive
effect on the vegetation; it accelerates the maturation and in spring the
melting of the snow. In summer, the air in the mountains is clear and spicy
and due to refreshing winds it is never unbearably hard. The average yearly
temperature is 6.2°C in the Rhine valley, in the upper Ill valley only 4.4°C.
In one year, there are 78 days of frost, in Gaschurn and in the Montafon region
147. In autumn and winter, when the Rhine valley is often for days covered by a
thick blanket of fog , high Alpine valleys and mountain peaks have sunshine
and clear air and thus are preferred winter holiday destinations.


Vorarlberg, the most westerly province of Austria, has an area of 2601 km2 and
a population of 331,500. It is devided into four political districts, Bludenz,
Bregenz, Dornbirn and Feldkirch and has 96 municipalities. From the other
Austrian provinces the "land in front of the Arlberg" is only accessible via
passes and the Arlberg tunnel. To the east it borders on Tirol, to the west
and the south on Switzerland and Liechtenstein and to the north on Germany.
The Kleinwalsertal valley, situated to the northeast outside the mountain
range, is only accessible via Germany, the currency used there is the
German Mark. Vorarlberg is a land of mountains, two thirds of the area lie
above 1000m. In the northwest of the province Lake Constance and the wide
Alpine Rhine valley determine the landscape and the climate. Bregenz, the
capaital, situated at the edge of the Bregenzerwald, a region of mountains,
hills and deep-cut valleys, marks the entrance. In the sunny, wide Rhein
valley, a transit route to the heart of Vorarlberg, grow fruits and wine.
In Lustenau and Dornbirn, the largest town in Vorarlberg, the combination
of industry, trade and agriculture was carried out in an unparalleled way.
The medieval town od Feldkirch lies at the entrance of the Ill valley. The
Ill is the main river of south Vorarlberg. From the littlle town of Bludenz
five valleys lead into four mountain ranges: the Kloster valley (Lechtal Alps,
Arlberg massif), Montafon (Silvretta and Verwall group), Brandner valley
(Rätikon), Grosses Walsertal and Walgau.


On a north-south route of 70 km you get a cross-section of all Alpine landscapes.The Bregenzerwald to the north, here we find the Pfänder - is part of the Alpine foothills (molasse belt). To the south, in the low region of the Bregenzerwald, we find the Helvetikum (Hoher Freschen, Kanisfluh, Mittagsfluh, Hohen Ifen) and the Fysch zone (Grosses Walsertal). Molasse, Helvetikum and Fysch zone consist of easily eroding, soft rocks. Thus the landscape is rounded and up to high altitudes covered by vegetation. The limestone Alps in contrast are precipituous rocks (Lechtaler Alpen and Rätikon). South of the Klostertal valley rise the Central Alps with the Verwall and the Silvretta group.
Here we find the highest peak of Vorarlberg, the Piz Buin (3312 m). In the Rhine valley the glaciers of the Ice Age carved into a depth of several hundred metres.
Through valleys of the Rätikon (Gamperdonatal, Saminatal), firn fields and
moraines and terracettes are impressive remains of the Ice Age. At that time
Lake Constance ranged deep into the Rhine valley to the south and to the west
up to Sargans. In the course of 10,000 years the original Lake Constance dried out.
In the past 100 years, after the bendy river was controlled, sediments and river
gravel have gone directly into the lake and gather. In this way the Rhine delta
grew up to 200 metres into the lake.


As finds from various part of the country show, Vorarlberg was already
settled in the Stone Age. Later the Rhaetians came into the country and
practised mining and - up to the lower alpine regions - farming.
In 13 BC a Roman army moved upwards the Rhine and defeated the Rhaetians.
They occupied the land and built roads. As a result of that co-existence
an own language emerged: Rhaeto-Romanic.
After the Romans had left, the Alemannians, a Germanic tribe, came to Lake Constance and into the Rhine valley. In the sixth century the area of Vorarlberg was under the reign of the Franks. In the following centuries, Carolingians, Ottonians and Hohenstaufer reigned the former Vorarlberg, which was torn apart by many feuds.
From the 14th century onwards, the Habsburgs gradually came into control of the area between Lake Constance and the Arlberg. During the Appenzell wars, which
extended from Switzerland to Lake Constance and into the Allgäu region,
large parts were devastated. During the Thirty Years« War even Bregenz
and the surrounding area were affected. At the beginning of the 18th century,
during the Spanish War of Succession, the inhabitants of Vorarlberg defended
their home land against France. During the Napoleonic War, the people of
Vorarlberg defeated the French army at Feldkirch (1799). After the Peace Treaty
of 1805, Vorarlberg was integrated into Bavaria. In 1813 it became part of
Austria again. The 19th century was marked by an economic upturn; in 1884 the
Arlberg mountain railway was completed. After WW I, in 1918, the region seceded
from the Tirol and Bregenz became the capital. After the Nazis integrated
Vorarlberg into the Reichsgau of Tirol, the country suffered severe economic
damage in WW II. After the end of the war Vorarlberg became a federal country of
the Republic of Austria.


Main settling areas are the valleys along the Ill, the Alfenz, the Bregenz Ache and the Rhine. Many towns and markets developed in the wide Rhine valley and in the Walgau, a region favoured by the climate.
The original Rhaeto Romanic population almost disappeared completely
after the Alemanni settled, only in some valleys, like the Montafon valley,
it remained for quite some time. The Vorarlberg population is the only one
in Austria that is not of Bavarian, but of Alemanic origin. The dialect of
Vorarlberg is so different from that of the other provinces, as is the way
of thinking. But even within the province you find various dialects.
In former times every dialect had its own folk costume. Today we still have
the costumes of the Montafon, the Bregenzerwald and the Walser valley.
The Walser dialect, in particular, has very special features. It is
high Alemanic and it is spoken in the Grosses Walsertal, in Lech,
Hochtannberg and Damüls.


Visitor Information

Accommodation in Austria is devided into five official categories:

*****luxury hotels
****first class accommodation
***high class hotels, B&Bs, inns
**middle class hotels, B&Bs, inns
plain hotels, B&Bs, inns


As an Austrian citizen you need a certificate issued by the police, stating
that the holder has no criminal record, an examination from an aviation doctor
and a trainee pilot card (from the Federal Office of civil aviation, Vienna)
Minimum age: for gliding 16 years, for hang-gliding and para-gliding 16 years,
for motor planes 17 years, ballooning 17 years and parachuting 17 years.
Valid pilot´s licenses from German and Swiss guests are accepted, from guests
from other countries for sports and touristical aims are accepted only for a
limited time.


Generally the shops in the Tyrolian towns are open from Monday to Friday
9am-6pm, Saturday 9am-12noon. Some shops are closed at lunch time (12noon-2pm).
Grocer´s shops often open before 8am and close at 6.30pm. Every first Saturday
of the month the shops stay open till 5pm.
In the big centers of tourism the shops are open at the weekend, too.

Mostly the banks are open from Monday to Friday, 8am-12.30noon and 1.30pm-3pm
(Thursday till 5pm).


We warmly welcome you and wish you a pleasant stay!


Customs and immigration regulations
Austria is an EEC member state, forming a single economic market with the other
member states.
Movement of goods for private purpose is free, an upper limit is set e.g. for
persons over 17: 800 zigarrettes, 10 l of spirits and 90 l of wine.
Duty free allowances for travellers coming from non-member states: 200
zigarrettes or 50 zigars or 250 g of tobacco and 2 l of wine or other alcoholic
beverages up to 22 vol% and 1 l of spirits.
The same limits apply to goods bought in duty free shops.

Citizens of Non-Eu-countries can enlist the tax-refund. When buying products
to the value of more than ATS 1000 please ask for the Tax-Refund-Cheque or
the form U34.


For the entry and for a stay of not more than 3 months a passport or a valid identity card
are sufficent. Children up to 16 years just need a entry in the passport of the parents.


Available in Austria: lead free normal (91 octane), Euro-Super (lead free 95
octane) Super Plus (98 octane, lead free with lead substitute for older vehicles),
Diesel and liquid gas.


When entering Austria, dogs and cats need a veterinarian health certificate with current
rabies vaccination certificate. At the entry the vaccination certificate has to have
at least 30 days and not more than 1 year.


Medical care is guaranteed at the doctor´s practices and hospitals.
Who has no internationally valid medical insurance record card ( is
accepted by the National health general practitioner ), has to pay
the treatment.

Chemist´s shop
Opening hours: Mon to Fri: 8am - 12noon and 2pm - 6pm, Sat: 8am - 12noon.
Night, weekend and holiday duty: at every closed chemist´s shop you find
a piece of advice about the next open chemist´s shop.


The general traffic regulations don´t differ from the regulations in other European countries.
Maximum speed:
Country roads 100 km/h, motorways 130 km/h
Especially the secondary streets in the Alps are partly one-way streets and are rich of bends.
Often it´s necessary to have exceptional driving skills. Many mountain passes are closed in
winter. Alpine passes that are open all year through are the Brennerpass, Fernpass,
Reschenpass and the Arlbergpass.


1st January: New Year´s Day
6th January: Feast of the Three Kings
March/April: Easter Monday
1st May: National Holiday
May/June: Ascension of Christ, Whit monday, Feast of the Corpus Christi
15th August: Assumption of the Virgin Mary
26th October: National Holiday
1th November: All Saints´ Day
8th December: Immaculate Conception
25th December: Christ Day
26th December: Stephen´s Day
School holidays: Christmas (2 weeks), February (1 week vacation), 19th March
(Josefitag-regional holiday), Eastern (1 week), July/August/beginning of September
(8 weeks summer holidays), 2nd November (All Souls´ Day)


fire brigade122
breakdown service


Opening hours of the post offices: 8am-12noon and 2pm-6pm
Main post offices in bigger towns: 24 hours service
Postage for foreign countries: letters ATS 7, postcards ATS 6

Telephone calls within Austria are graded according to zones and
cost less from 6pm to 8am as well as on weekends.
Public pay phones: for local calls you need coins of ATS 1, for
long-distance calls coins of ATS 10.
Telephone cards are available at the post offices to the price of
ATS 95 and ATS 50.

Dialling from Austria to
Great Britain0044

Dialling to Austria from Germany, Italy, Switzerland 0043
After the respective national dialling code the local dialling code must
be dialled without "0".

Information about telephone numbers
Europe (without Germany)1613
Non-European countries1614