The language spoken in Austria is German. Most people do speak (or at least understand) some English. Ask 'Sprechen Sie Englisch? ' (Do you speak English?) before seeking information.
The currency is Euro, designated EUR or €. The Euro is divided into 100 Cents.
The electric voltage is 220 volts (50 cycles). A standard voltage converter and plug adapter should be sufficient for conversions. Normally, the electrical outlets in Austia require a two-prong plug with round prongs. Computer modems require a European plug adapter and phone jack adapter that can be easily purchased at an appliance store.
Business office hours are generally Monday-Thursday 9 am to 5 pm. Friday schedules vary, but a typical one is 9 am to 1 pm. Laws relating to store hours have been somewhat liberalized and stores may now be kept open a few more hours per week. As a general rule, larger stores and shops in very busy shopping areas (Landstrasse) operate Monday-Friday 9:30 am-7 pm, Saturday 9:30-5 pm. In neighborhood shopping areas, the stores (particularly small ones) close at 6 pm during the week, close an hour or more at lunchtime and close Saturday at noon or 1 pm. Chain grocery stores operate weekdays 8 am-7 pm, Saturdays 8 am-5 pm. Shops at railway stations (groceries, florists, tobacconists, bookstalls) are normally open until approx. 10:30 pm.
A sales tax of 20% is included in the price of almost all purchases. It's possible for a permanent resident of a non-EU country to have the value-added tax (VAT) reimbursed if at least ATS 1,000 were paid in one store on one day. The salesperson needs to fill out a special form, so carry your passport with you when shopping. If you've bought different items from different departments, the Customer Service Department will put all of them on a single customs form for you. To get the refund, you must show the purchased items to customs officials as you depart the country (or leave from a different EU country). Customs officials will stamp your customs form. (They may ask to see the merchandise, so do this before you check your bag.) At the Vienna Airport and at many border crossing points, it's possible to get your refund immediately in cash. Or you can mail the stamped form back to Austria, with the refund being transferred to a credit card or bank account.
Austria's country code is 43. If you want to call the police dial 133; fire, 122; ambulance/first aid, 144; emergency medical service, 141; dentists and general medical advice around the clock at 531-060. Saturday and Sunday newspapers provide a list of doctors and dentists who may be called on weekends.
Austria follows Central European Time, which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Austria observes Daylight Saving Time between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October.
Weather and Climate
The climate in Linz is characterised by warm, sometimes hot summers and mild to cold winters. In fall, the Pöstlingberg frequently disappears in fog, sometimes only exposing the church on the top of the hill apparently floating in the sky. It is always advisable to have a raincoat and if you're traveling into the countryside, especially, you'll want to have a warm sweater with you as evenings may become cool even in mid summer. The current weather situation in Linz can be viewed here.
A 15% service charge is included in restaurant bills, but it's common to round up restaurant bills and taxi fares. (The more people, the larger the tip.)
Austria is one of the safest countries in the world, and most visitors shouldn't encounter problems. The city centers are considered safe even at night because - especially on walking streets - there are always people visiting the bars and restaurants.