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Van Life Austria

Van Life Austria
03.07.2022
Stephen Hockley
6 minutes of reading
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Thinking of Austria for your next holiday? The central European country offers beautiful, unspoiled nature, breathtaking panoramas of the Alps with high mountain peaks, and Großglockner, the highest mountain, with its gorgeous valleys and clear lakes.

Over 30 million tourists go to Austria every year, so the country is well accustomed to campervans. If you’d like to get to know Austria by camper, we’ve got some good news… you can drive all over the country with ease due to the small area. That, coupled with the freedom offered by the method of transport means you’ll have a lot of great experiences. In fact, this country is one of the most popular destinations for campervan travel in Europe!

If you’re going to Austria by camper for the first time, we‘ve got a number of useful recommendations and tips for you; info on which costs and fees need to be taken into account for your trip, where you can wild camp (wild camping simply means camping outside a campsite). And of course, we’ll also tell you where the best campsites are. In this area of Europe they’re called “Stellplatz”, and these are the spots where you can connect to electricity, replenish your water supplies, and empty your black and grey water tanks.

Before travelling to Austria, make sure you’re aware of the current conditions of entry from your specific country. As things are always changing, it’s absolutely worth making sure you’re aware of any recent changes to the rules.

What documents do I need for Austria?

It won’t come as a surprise to know that ID and a passport are a must to travel to Austria.  The other basic document to remember is your driver's licence. To drive a motorhome up to 3.5 tonnes in weight (like the ones we offer at Campiri), you only need a B level driver's licence or equivalent (usually this is the standard one you’d need for a car). We’ll provide you with a technical certificate for the rented camper when it’s handed over too.

Austria

How to get to Austria

Austria is located in the middle of Europe. It’s a landlocked country only a few hours from Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France, depending on where you leave from. Due to its fantastic location, it’s often part of larger cross-Europe road trips. And with good reason… travelling by camper in Austria is generally stress-free. In fact, this country is as well equipped for camping as it gets! You’ll find many campsites and parking spaces in beautiful places all over the country. It’s often so beautiful and peaceful that the road can be a destination in itself. If you decide to, you can stop for the night on the way to your campsite and still have a good night.

IMPORTANT: the weight of your vehicle will likely be checked in Austria!

Before leaving (and on the way), ensure you know the total weight of your vehicle (and caravan if you have one). Don’t forget that passengers, their belongings, water, fuel and waste tanks are all included in the weight. Weight checks on most vehicles are routinely carried out on Austrian motorways. Fines are often around 1 euro per kilo, which can add up quickly. In addition to the fine, the excess load must be unloaded or drained right then and there, so we recommend that you avoid getting caught out!

Are there many tolls in Austria?

On your campervan holiday in Austria you can expect to pay tolls, especially if you’re driving between different countries to get there. Individual countries from west Europe all the way to Greece commonly have specific fees for both caravans and motorhomes. An up-to-date overview of motorway toll prices in Austria can be found on the Tolls.eu website, which also includes diesel and petrol prices. Handy!

Durnstein
Durnstein

How much will I pay for tolls in Austria?

The tolls in place for travel along the motorways are, unsurprisingly, mandatory for nearly all vehicles. There are two options: a sticker you can put on your vehicle, or an electronic stamp. Both work for either 10 days or 2 months. You can buy them online, at border crossings, petrol stations or even newsagents, which is very useful.  For a car or motorhome up to 3.5 tonnes, expect a fee of €9.50 for a 10-day pass and  €27.80 for a two-month pass (accurate as of 2022).  You can buy the motorway stamp for Austrian motorways online, see here for more info. At regular points of sale, the motorway vignette is sold in the form of a classic sticker. Here is also a map with highlighted toll sections. Some sections of the journey across the Alps have tolls through tunnels and passes, which are paid at toll gates in cash, by card or via the internet.

Can I go wild camping in Austria?

Austria is enchanting with its nature, mountain ranges and meadows, and is ideal for exploring and travelling by campervan. It’s got a lot to offer both in summer and winter - mountains, lakes, beaches, meadows and hidden spaces by the forest. If you don’t want to set up shop at a campsite, you can also enjoy some wild camping...

…Wild camping isn’t possible everywhere, though

Wild camping outside a campsite is more complicated, but it’s certainly possible in some areas.  You can wild camp in the following federal states:

  • Upper Austria
  • Styria
  • Vorarlberg
  • Salzburg (some parts)

The exception to this is if you get permission from the owner of the forest or land; if you have that, you’re always fine. Just be kind to nature as the land is strictly protected.

Alps in Summer
Alps in summer

Where can I camp in Austria?

This land of majestic mountains and clear turquoise lakes is the choice for many campervan enthusiasts from Europe during summer and winter. Austria offers a wide network of well-equipped, comfortable campsites for camping if you’re looking for good facilities. As a general rule, it’s always legal in the Stellplatz - the German name for the caravan parks, which are numerous in Austria and are often located in places with nice views and panoramas. Apps such as Park4night, Stellplatz-Radar or Campercontact will help you find them, so you’re not expected to track them down yourself!

  • The best campsites include, for example, the Grubhof campsite in Salzburg, which is also one of the highest-rated in the whole of Europe, thanks to its stellar services and children's activities.

If you’re looking for some peace and privacy, generally choose the smaller campsites. However, if you want to enjoy luxury and an array of different services, the larger and better-equipped campsites will have what you want. You can find tips for campsites at pitchup.com, but there are many other helpful applications that will also help.

The most beautiful places in Austria

High alpine peaks, glacial areas, picturesque mediaeval villages with wooden houses set on rising mountain peaks, royal towns, extensive forests and lakeside beaches - Austria is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Here you’ll find a wealth of active outdoor activities, culture, and awesome food. If you’re going to travel Austria in a campervan, we have a few tips on what you can’t miss. You can find some inspiration on the official Austrian website too. And of course, you can’t go wrong with Tripadvisor.

Alps

The Alps

More than half of Austria's territory is based in the mountain landscape of the Alps. They’ll give you endless possibilities for mountain hiking and trips, breathtaking views of the peaks and lakes, great cycling, and hundreds of kilometres of slopes for skiing. There are plenty of scenic routes to choose from, with beautiful views such as Villach or Hallstatt.

Lakes

Austria is a country with many beautiful and clear mountain lakes. Now, you can swim in them… but they’re cold! The most famous include:

  • Worthersee
  • Achensee
  • Klopeiner See (this is one of the warmer ones)
  • Attersee
  • Wolfgangsee
  • Weissensee
  • Eben see
  • Mondsee

They are usually very clean and surrounded by mountain panoramas. In summer you can swim or dive here without getting too chilly. There are often camps nearby too, which is great.

Cities and monuments

Austria boasts a number of historical architectural gems from its long history, and many of them can be found in the historic centre of Vienna. Here are some things for you to Google and research in your own time:

  • Prater and Schönbrunn
  • Mozart's birthplace of Salzburg
  • The paradise for nature lovers, Salzkammergut
  • Old town of Graz
  • Innsbruck
  • Zell am See
  • Hallstatt
  • Linz
  • Klagenfurt

Danube and surroundings

Austria also offers excellent cycling trips along the Danube River, around vineyards, monasteries and castles. The Danube, which flows through ten countries, is a diverse, idyllic and mystical part of Austria.

National parks

Austria has six national parks to help you discover the beauty of the untouched, unspoiled nature.

  • Hohe Tauren in Tyrol, with the largest glacier and a waterfall cascading 385 metres.
  • Kalkalpen, in Upper Austria
  • Donau - Auen, in Lower Austria
  • Neusiedler See - Seewinkel
  • Gesäuse, in Styria
  • Thayatal, in Lower Austria

So, ready to go to Austria?

If you’d like to get started right now, you should check out the Campiri websitefor your next steps.

See you on the road!