Joys of Caravanning

AUSTRIA.  This country is, in my eyes, the most spectacular in Western Europe.


THE LANGUAGE spoken in Austria is mainly German with a few words that differ and are typical to Austria.  On saying that English is widely spoken so there is not a problem.  Of course, like all locals the Austrians appreciate if you try to speak their language.   The Austrians are very friendly and helpful, where else, when you are shopping in the aisle of a Supermarket will one of the staff, stacking shelves nearby say "Gruss Gott" in English a form of "God Bless You".  This is used all over Austria and in Southern Germany too, mainly Bavaria.   

I think that this country is the prettiest in Europe.  The Lakes and Mountains are breathtaking.  The capital city Vienna is a must to visit as is Salzburg and Innsbruck.  Three spectacular areas to visit is the Oberoesterreich, in the north, Innsbruck and the Tyrol in the west and Karnten in the extreme south.


You will need to purchase your VIGNETTE at the Austrian border to use the roads. For 2015 charges are. 

10 days is €8.70.

2 months is €25. 30.

One Year €84.40

You will see  vans of ASFINAG which is organization which is in charge of Tolls and Vignettes in Austria, patrol the roads looking for valid stickers on the windscreens of vehicles.  The proceeds from these tolls for road and tunnels goes entirely to the building and maintenance of these excellent motorways throughout the country.

It is a pity we do not adopt the same system in the UK so that all users of the roads and tunnels British or Foreign contribute to them and at the same time reduce the Road Fund Licence, considerably,  for the British vehicle owners. Then, maybe, our roads would be in better condition than they are at the moment.  There is a hefty, on the spot, fine for not displaying Vignette if caught.


List of Tunnel Tolls.  Prices for 2017(correct as 04.01.2017.

Tauern Tunnel incl. Katchberg Tunnel. both approx 4 miles long between Salzburg and Villach on A 10 Autobahn.                            11.00 Euro's.                              

Arlberg Tunnel appprox. 10 miles long                                                                        between Bludenz and Landeck on S 16 Autobahn             9.00 Euro's.

Brenner Motorway    A 13.                                                                                             between Innsbruck and Italy.                                                8.50 Euro's

Karawanken Tunnel.                                                                                              between Austria (Villach) and Slovenia.   A 11                   7.00 Euro's            

Pyhm, Gleinalm           A9                                                        8.00 Euro's            

Pyhm,   Bosruck           A9                                                        5.00 Euro's



List of mountain passes you can go over or visit by car in Karnten (Carinthia).

Nockalmstrass.     €17.00   per car up to 8 persons.  Usually opens early May 1 to end of October.. see  Here

Villacherpass.         €16. 00. Open all year. see here

Maltapass.              €13. 50.      Usually opens early May to end of October weather permitting.  see here

Grossglockner High Alpine Road.      €34.50  for 1 Day.  Weather permitting.  Open beginning of May to beginning of November opening times vary see  here 




For those of you who set off early Spring, bear in mind, that this country has strict rules for Winter Wheel/Tyres see   Here 




Here  is the link




Autobahn Services are so different in Austria to anywhere else.  They are like 5 star restaurants with wonderful, typical Tyrolean decor and features.  The shops, where you usually pay for your food, are full of traditional gifts making them an Aladdins Cave to explore. 

If on the S16-E60  approximately 35 miles to the West of Innsbruck direction Bludenz there is an excellent, unusual, Service Area is Trofana Tyrol, is worth investigating even if you only want a cup of coffee/tea.  

On other Autobahns in Austria.  Landzeit Service Areas are all very good too.  Far better than any service areas in other European Countries.



There is a distinct pattern for fuel prices.  Austria is one of the lowest in Europe but you need to buy your Fuel before noon on any day as it can go up as much as 10 cents a litre after noon and is usually cheaper at the beginning of the week like Germany.  


In Austria there is a Tourist Tax that Camp Site owners have to charge on top of ACSI as well as normal prices.  This varies from area to area and is more on Lakes and near to Spa's.

ELECTRIC METRES.  Not so many sites have these for ACSI in Austria but they do in Germany.

WI FI.  We have found, that most camp sites offer wifi on the pitches.  Prices vary from Free to a €1 per hour, if buying a few hours it does not expire for 3 or 4 months.  Other systems charge a sum per day finishing at midnight of that day purchased or for 24 hours.

BREAD.  Most camp sites offer fresh bread every morning which has mostly to be ordered the day before.

SHOPPING.  Most shops including Food Shops are closed on Sundays with the exception of Hofer {Aldi), Lidl, Bill and Spar around the Ossiachersee which are open all day on Sundays and Bank Holidays from 1st May to 8th September.




Vienna's buildings are beautiful standing in lots of green lawns, like the rest of Austria everywhere is spotlessly clean and tidy which is very refreshing.  The shopping streets are lined with wonderful shops some showing expensive products others very reasonably priced.  Lots of lovely cafe's and Konditori's with wonderful cakes and pastries.  Of course the Apfel Struedel served with icecream, whipped cream or Creme Anglais is available everywhere as is Sachertorte, a very rich chocolate cake, sandwiched together with jam and covered with chocolate also served with whipped cream.  Hotel Sacher, here in Vienna, is the birthplace of the Sacher Torte and a wonderful place to sample the delicacy with a wonderful cup of coffee or Hot Chocolate. (No calories).  You will notice when served with coffee in Austria it will usually be in a cup with a saucer on an oval tray,  accompanied with a small jug of cream and a glass of water.  Generally a cup of coffee here is cheaper than in the UK but perhaps not in the big cities. 

A good way to see the city is on the open top tour bus, then you can go back and visit some of the spots that have taken your eye.  These buses can be caught outside the Opera House in the city centre.  Here you can also buy tickets for concerts of the beautiful music of Strauss and Mozart from the many locals dressed in Period Vienese costumes.  John bought tickets for us to go to an evening concert in the wonderful Schonbrunn Palace held in the Orangery.  It is not a huge room but beautifully decorated and the music changes from time to time but is always Strauss and Mozart.  A very good orchestra with singers and dancers performing.  At the interval you can buy wine, drinks and souveneirs.

A visit to the Schonbrunn during the day is very interesting you can wander around the gardens, tour the Palace and catch the mini train for a tour of the Estate and visit the large Summer House where they servce food in wonderful surroundings with a view over the park and Palace.  Also on the estate is a Zoo and a wonderful greenhouse which looks like the Crystal Palace.  When we were there, included with the tour of the Palace was a free demonstration in the Kitchens of Studel making and samples to eat too.  Next door to this is a very nice Restaurant that is also open in the evenings for a meal or drink pre the concert.  Tours range from 9.50 Euro Adults, 6.50 Euro Children.  Info can be seen at

St Stephan's Cathedral dates back from 1137 is worth a visit, with the beautiful multi-coloured tiled roof. Website  Here  Nearby there is the excellent food shop and cafe of Julius Meinl.  I have never seen such a selection of food from all over the world as there is in there  it is an aladins cave.

You can visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace in which there is some wonderful china, silverware and antiques of the past Royal Family  on show.  Tickets from €12.50 Euro Adults,€ 7.50 Euro Children 6-18.  Website  Here

Very near to here is the Spanish Riding School where you can see the wonderful display of the Lipizzan horses. I personally, have not visited this one, but have the one in Jerez in Spain which was an excellent show I am sure the one in Vienna would be equally good.  The price for ticket is quite high at 29. Euro's

Obviously we have not visited everywhere in this fairy tale city but hope to visit again some time in the future.

The caravan site I would recommend for visiting Vienna is Camping Tulln-Donaupark,  Accepts ACSI Camping Card, Situated on the edge of the city near the pretty town of Tulln and right on the side of the Danube.  Trips can be taken from Tulln on the River which one is described in one of our trips to Vienna.   Easy access to the City Centre by train and metro which can be caught at Tulln Station.  Free Park and Ride Carpark there.     

Another site is Camping Wien West, no camping card accepted now,  The access to the City Centre is excellent with bus outside site to station and train to the City 25 minutes.  3 stops to the Schonbrunn Palace.     This is a typical city site but pleasant, facilities were very good and the Vienna Woods were very close and well worth a visit.  We visited Cicstercian Abbey of Stif Heiligenkruez which was an amazing building.  The Church there was very old                        

Link to 100 Best Things to do in Austria.





UPDATE for ASFINAG.  Re. Emergency Lane.   

To look at this new Motoring Law go to the link for   if it does not come up in English please download Google Toolbar and click on Translate.




              St. Stephen's Cathedral.                    Vienna.                     Shopping.

Summer House at Schonnbrun Palace.                       Julius Meinle Shop + Cafe.l 

    View over the Danube.                                                Camping Tulln. 


The Tyrol situated in the North West corner of Austria it is surrounded by Gerrmany to the North where you can visit the ski area of Garmish-Partenkirchen travelling up part of the pretty Fern Pass.  If in Garmish a nice trip is up the Zugspitz by rack railway which can be caught in the town and coming down by cable car and rack railway. 

Going East is the pretty town of Hall in Tyrol and further on Wattens where you can visit the interesting factory of Swarowski Crystal with the imposing fountain at the entrance.  Really worth a visit and further on to this is the walled, quaint, small town of Rattenburg where you can buy all the crystal you want and perhaps have a coffee, hot chocolate or lunch in the Conditoriei Hacker there.

Innsbruck itself is a lovely city especially the old town where the Goldenes Dachl  (Gold Roof) created for the Emperor is on a building in the Square.  Parking is plenty and reasonable in price in the main city and an easy walk into the old town. 

20 minutes from Innsbruck centre is the Nordkettenbahnen for info see 

On the opposite side of the Inn to the city, up in the mountains, is the lake of Achensee with a nice little town to visit nearby.

A good Caravan site to stop at is Camping Nattersee,*****  Website  Here  now taking ACSI Camping Card.  A very well run site with beautiful views over the lake or over the mountains.  Some pitches have all services and WiFi is available at a small fee.  A very good Restaurant overlooking the lake.  The original Toilets and Facilities were excellent in 2008 when we first visited but the new facilities were not completed so cannot comment on those, but expect they are excellent as everything else is.  The Owner and Staff are all most helpful and friendly and cannot do enough for you.  The site is situated quite a way out from the city but is very close to the start of the Brenner Motorway to Italy.

Two other excellent Caravan Sites in the Tyrol, both taking ACSI Camping Card out of season are both just off the A 12 E45-60 and the continuation West A14-S16 E60.

Just East of Innsbruck at village of Kramsach,  East of Innsbruck. Camping Seehof  More about this site on Trip 7 Page of this website.

West of Innsbruck near to Bludenz in village of Nuziders is Camping Sonnenberg  More about this site on Trip 7 Page of this website.



                                               Two Views of Rattenberg.

 Front of Restaurant and Office      Camping Seehof, Kramsach-Entrance and Toilet Block.



                The Achensee.                    In the Village.                The Train from the Valley.

            Inside the Trofana Tyrol Services on the S16-E60 West of Innsbruck. 


                          Haymaking in Tyrol, Austria in first week of June.

               St. Johann in the Tyrol                                     View over the Zillertal 

 An ACSI Site we visited but not stopped at Walch's Camping +Landhaus, Braz on the way to the   Arlbergpass.  We were shown around by the Owner and will stop there next when in this part of the Tyrol; 

                  View on the Arlbergpass.                                  St Anton Town.     

                                              More views on the Arlbergpass. 

Entrance to Camping-Sonnenberg. Nuziders.                     View from the Caravan. 

A Trip worth doing in the Tyrol is to the Krimml Falls the scenery is spectacular.

The Krimml Falls has a total height of380 meters (1,247 ft) being the largest waterfall in Austria.  The water plunges down in 3 stages the upper stage has a drop of 140 metres, the middle 100 meters and the lowest 140 metres.  For more info go to the website    


This is a beautiful city, home to the Sound of Music, of which a tour is a must.  Shopping is excellent in this City. 

 I expect there are sites nearer to the city than where we have stopped but we like either to stop in Austria at Austria Camp on Mondsee.  Website  Here  This is  a Camping Card site and  well worth visiting.  Situated right on the shores of the Mondsee with beautiful views and excellent facilities it is within easy reach of St. Gilgen where you can catch a boat on the Wolfgansee, to visit Wolfgang a lovely lakeside town, famous home of The White Horse Inn. 

Mondsee town itself is a lovely town where the historic church was used for the Wedding Cathedral in the Sound of Music, which is often included in the Tour.

or we stay just over the border in Germany at an ACSI Camping Card Site just outside Bertchesgaden, Campingplatz Winkl-Landthal.**** Bishopswiessen Website  Here   This is very handy to visit all the above places plus the surroundings of this historic town, the beautiful village of Ramsau with the sceneic church and mountains or in the other direction to Oberndorf, home of the beautiful memorial chapel where the Christmas Carole,  Silent Night Holy Night was written.  



              On Site overlooking Mondsee.                          View from Caravan over See 

                              Two Views of the Famous White Horse Inn, Wolfgang. 


  Church in Mondsee used for Sound of Music Wedding.                      Hallstatt.

                Ramsau Church just in Germany.                      Holy Night Chapel, Oberndorf. 

                Gmunden on Traunsee.                                   St. Gilgen on Wolfgangsee.  

KARNTEN. (Carinthia).

This is an area of extreme beauty with numerous lakes (See's) in German surround by lovely snow capped mountains in the Spring early Summer. 

There are lots and lots of different passes, through the mountains, that you can take a ride in the car for either half or a full day.  We take a picnic but stop for coffee and strudel at a mountain Hutte or Cafe.  Most of these passes, Nochalm and Malta, two recommended ones, are only partly open end of April early May but fully open, snow permitting mid May.   Price for car and Passengers 14 euro's

Klagenfurt situated at the end of the famous Worthersee  is the capital city of this region.  If you want to visit the city, park your car free and take the free park and ride bus into the centre from Minimundus, the minature village, situated at the end of the lake.  This city like most in Germany and Austria has an Alte Stadt (Old Town), with cobbled stone, narrow streets leading to pretty squares.  Many shops line the streets and squares.  Like all places in Austria they have a very good brass band named the Klagenfurt Postband, attached to the Post office of Klagenfurt. If like us you enjoy this music, enquire if it has any concerts on while you are in the area, they are really excellent.

All the towns on the shore of the Worthersee have landing stages where you can catch a boat and do a lake tour.  Take a Runderfahrt ticket (round trip) which you can stop and visit 3 places around the large lake.  We start at Portschach going to Velden for coffee,   Maria Worth for lunch and then onto Klagenfurt to catch a bus to the city centre or a barge up the canal, (in summer season) to the Centre.  Catching the boat back late afternoon to where we started and pick up the car left in, free car park, at the railway station in Portschach.   When you have parked the car walk down the short road to the main road and across the road stands the Information Office where you can enquire about the area, get free time table of the boats and puchase tickets before walking down to the lake. Further along the main road on the right is a wonderful Conditorei that serves good Coffee and Kuchen plus Warmer Apfel Strudel mit ice und sahne, try it.  Portchach has a wonderful esplanade with well kept flower beds and a Bandstand, which is used very often for Band Concerts. The Parkhotel is right down by the water.  The See is fed by hot springs so water is always warm to the touch.

On the first weekend in May when they start to run the boat trips after the winter they do Free Trips.  Last year 2009, they had live traditional music, brass bands and choirs in Hotel, Halls and Church's all around the lakeside towns and villages.  It was a wonderful and cheap day out.

Ossiachersee is a large lake not so commercial and as big as the Worthersee, it also has its own boat, The Ossiach, that does trips too from early May and in high season two boats.

There are many Carvan and Camping Sites around this lake we always visit the same one Jodl Camping,  in Alte Ossiach.  This site is run by the Thaler Family and was started by the present owners parents just after the war, then the only site on this beautiful, peaceful lake.  Now it is an excellent, friendly, well run site to stop and have a very relaxing holiday.  In the Spring/early Summer, the weather is usually perfect, warm up to 34 degrees centigrade and sunny, with a few thunderstorms, now and then.    With the reception and cafe standing on the main road, the site is all grassed and tiered down to the lake, with beautiful views from all pitches.  Toilet, Shower and Laundry facilities are excellent.  Many shops in the villages around the lake with the nice little town of Feldkirchen pastthe east end of the lake.  To the west is the city of Villach where there is an Alt Stadt and a very good modern indoor shopping centre with underground free parking all day.  North West end oftreffen the lake is Lidle's and the Hofer (Aldi) in Austria, next door to one another at Treffen, with a Billa nearby too.  At Annaheim there is a Cable Car and Chairlift you can catch to the summit of the Gerlitzen mountain which opens around mid May.   Beautiful views from up there and a couple of nice restaurants for lunch or tea.

The Weissensee, highest swimming lake in Austria 950 mts above sea level and because of strictness of environmental regulationsit iscertifiedas drinking water, is another lake worth visiting and on your way to the Malta Pass you can drive along the shores of the Millstatersee to the end and along the river to Gmund the small, walled, old town where you can visit the Porche Museum and further up the road on the way up the Malta Pass, on the left, is a large shed which was the original factory where the first Porche cars were made.   Further along this pretty valley there is a family run craft shop on the left selling typical Austrian Crafts and Gifts, worth a few minutes to stop and view.  At the end of the road on the left is a nice Restaurant and Gasthof where you can leave your car and walk up the waterfalls before taking the car, for a small fee up the steepish, but not dangerous, single track road, controlled by traffic lights, to the summit of the Mountain.  Here you can view the dam and take the car a short way up to the Hotel carpark and door for snack, drink or lunch in the nice restaurant that overlooks  the lake,mountains and dam.  This road and Hotel usually opens sometime mid May.    

If you take a left turn off the road to the Millstatersee you can visit the pass to the Goldeck, worth a visit and view over the Millstatersee in one direction or the Italian mountains in the opposite direction.


To visit the Nockalmstrasse you turn off the road, north, in Feldkirchen towards Turracher Hohe, a ski resort in the Gurktaler Alp, then make a left turn up a hill, past the Winkle-Hutte (a very well run delightful wooden chalet which is a Cafe) good coffee and kuchen here, to the gate and pay desk at the entrance to the Strasse that runs through the Nockberg National Park.   Price for car + passengers 14 Euro's.   This is the highest National Park in Europe.  There are many Hutte's, Restaurants, Hotels. Museums and Lay bys, to stop at, take refreshments, picnic, walk and take in the wonderful views of the mountains. Sometimes you can be lucky and see the Marmots that live up here and the national flower of Edelweis.  You can buy Edelweis plants at craft shops on the Strasse.

In Feldkirchen itself there are many nice shops, for clothes try Nimo's which also has a wonderful Hobby shop next door or for shoes ask directions to the Ara Factory Shop to buy, expensive shoes at a vastly reduced price, from the manufacturer.   

For food there is the usual Hofer (Aldi in the UK) Billa and Lidl's plus a large Eurospar and another store similiar to Waitrose named Mecure.

Alt Ossiach is a lovely little village by the lake. At the top of the road, leading down to the lake is the an Information Centre, and opposite the Bank with an ATM to get your euro's.  Next door there is a large, free, carpark.  The Stifft and Church is worth a visit.  At the bottom of the road you can catch the boat for lake cruises, there is also a Fish restaurant and a gift shop, run by a local lady which includes gifts made by her.  The name is Mitbringsel and it is a real Aladins Cave.   Cafe's, Restaurants and Shops line the road.  On the main road is the Hotel Post which has an excellent, medium priced restaurant opposite this is a Spar shop that sells everything inc. food, wine, postcards, water lilos and plastic sandals and mules etc . 

If you fancy a trip to another country for the day Slovenia is just down the road on the other side of the Karawanken mountain range. You pay a toll to go through the Karawanken Tunnel and Lake Bled is within an hours ride of this. Another approach is from Klagenfurt and over the Loiblpass which is high in the mountains, the tunnel which is 1,570 mts long was built in WW 11 by civil workmen and 1652 prisoners from the local concentration camp.  A memorial now stands alongside the road which can be visited.  Don't forget to purchase your vignette at the border if you use either of these routes. 15.00  euro's 7 days for vehicles up to 3.5 tonne. If you go over the border on a road that is a by road, and there are some mountain roads you can use for  free, but do not stray on to a Main Road.

Reisseck Bergbahnen.    This is a pleasant day out the railway opens 13th May - 17th October 2010. Cost for adult is 17.50 euro's for round trip. You catch the Finicular changing carriages 3 times up to 2,200 metres and then catch Europe's highest, narrow gauge train up to the Restaurant and Reisseck Hotel.  It is quite an experience, but beware, it is standing room only on first train with just a few seats on the second. 


         View over the Ossiachersee.                        Road in the distance on Nochalmstrasse   

            A Square in Klagenfurt.                                         Main Street St Veit en der Glan.  

 View from Van to the Ossiachersee.      Camping Jodl.         View of Van + Site from See.        

                      Waterfall on the Maltatal Road + The Dam at top of Maltatal.  


                                       First Porche Factory on Maltatal Road.                  

             See Front Velden.                The Worthersee.     See Front Portschach.                    

                      Changing Trains Half Way.Reisseck Bahn and Looking back. 

                    The Summit Train.                       Reisseck Barn. and  2,225 metres down.. 



Like most of Europe the currency used is the Euro.  Unlike the UK you do not find many Supermarkets like Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Tesco the shops you see most of are Super Spar's, Spar's or Euro Spa's.  A similiar store to Waitrose is Mecure and of course there are lots and lots of Hofer (Aldi in the UK) Lidl, Billa, Norma and Penny Markt there may be more I have not come across yet.  Like the UK there are new indoor shoppping centres but in the country towns and villages more individually owned shops selling clothes, crafts etc.,  Clothing chains to watch out for are C & A, Cecil and Adlers.  Of course there is Tchibo, now all closed down in the UK, in every town and shopping centre.  We swear by this shop for quality and variety changed weekly, with a guarantee of 3 years on everything.  You will find a Tchibo shop in virtually every town and shopping centre in the country, even very small rural towns in Coffee shops and Conditorei's.  Like Germany there is a Conditorei or two in every town serving Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate and delightful Cakes and Pastries inc.  Warmer Apfel Struedel mit eis and sahnne (Warm Apple Strudel with ice cream and cream) and Sacher Torte, the wonderful rich chocolate cake sandwiched together with jam in the middle and chocolate icing on top and sides, rich but not sickly, served again with a large blob of fresh cream.  



Swimming and Bathing.


On most of the Sites situated on See's (Lakes in English) you are able and it is very safe to swim.  They are crystal clear and some are fed by warm springs so are continually warm.  If you look at the site of you can see pictures and read all about it.  No Dogs are allowed in the See here.  But people swim here from April onwards as the climate in this part of Austria is as the Mediterranean.

Flying to Karnten (Carinthia) Southern Austria.

If visiting the area of Villach, Ossiachersee and Worthersee and you need to fly home for any reason or have friends and relatives visit you at your caravan.  There is an excellent Airport at Klagenfurt.  There are Flights in and out 3 times a week from Stansted by Ryanair at very reasonable prices.  Flights come in on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays arriving in the afternoon and departing about and hour later for Stansted.    The Airport is quite different to the ones in the UK.  Small and Friendly, only 2 or 3 arriavals and departures in an hour.  Parking Free for 1 hour and then 1 euro an hour from then on.  You can sit in the Lounge Restaurant with a Balcony overlooking the Airport and watch the planes while you eat or drink with waiter/waitress service.  You are expected to go down to Arrivals 20 to 30 minutes before departure.  Visiting the airport to see off or meet passengers you can either sit in the restaurant or go onto the roof to watch the planes arrive and watch your friends/relations walk across the tarmac to or from the plane.  Very relaxed indeed.  My husband had to make the journey back to the UK for his sisters funeral on a Tuesday coming back on the Thursday flight bringing our daughter back to spend a week with us.  If you cannot accommodate your visitors in the van with you Jodl has very nice Apartments at a very reasonable price, which you can see on their website as mentioned above. 

Medical Notes.

If in need of Medical help while staying at Jodl,  there is a Doctors surgery you can visit just around the Eastern end of the See at Bodensdorf which we can recommend, the owners of the campsite the Thaler Family will help you.  For Hospital there is a wonderful Hospital in Villach and having your E111 is free if having to be an in-patient everything is free except food, which they will send you a bill to your address in UK and then you just send them the money.  When my husband was in for 3 days and had a small operation he was in a 4 bed room with own toilet and shower, treatment and care was excellent and he was charged around  €23.  Patients and visitors can visit the Hospital Restaurant for drinks and food in 5 star surroundings with cream cakes, pastries etc.,  Parking very cheap too.  

I hope this Post will give you an idea of what one of the countries of Europe has to offer with tips and customs.  One custom is when a baby is born at a house they put these signs up to mark the event.