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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: How to maximise your annual leave in Austria in 2022

It's time to start planning your 2022 holiday year before your colleagues snap up all the most coveted days. Here are our tips for making the most of your annual leave in Austria.

Hammock by cabin
Plan your time off right this year using our tips. Photo: Carla Fuller/Unsplash

Austria can already boast some of the most generous annual leave worldwide, with 25 days’ minimum for full-time employees and an additional 13 public holidays. 

As in many European countries, but unlike the UK for example, most Austrian holidays are tied to specific dates rather than weekdays. If they happen to fall on a weekend, you do not got a day off in lieu.

That means that 2022 actually only offers ten weekday public holidays, while two of the three ‘de facto’ public holidays (which employers are not obliged to give as days off, but many do) also fall on weekends, so most employees will get 11 days off work in addition to their annual leave.

In 2021, just nine of the 13 public holidays fell on weekdays, but by contrast all three of the ‘de facto’ public holidays did, meaning that most people with employment in Austria got 12 days off this year.

Some savvy annual leave planning can help you maximise your days however, for example by taking advantage of five possible four-day weekends throughout the year, which only require one day of annual leave each.

It’s worthwhile thinking about this early in the year, because forward planning is almost a national sport in Austria, so you don’t want your colleagues to snag all of the best days off before you.

January

Saturday, January 1st (New Year’s Day)

The public holiday year of 2022 doesn’t get off to a great start, with the first holiday lost to the weekend. A large number of employers offer December 31st as a day off, though they’re not obliged to, so maybe you’ll enjoy a three-day weekend at least.

Thursday, January 6th (Epiphany)

Your first chance at a long weekend comes in the first week of the year, with a four-day weekend if you take Friday the 7th off work. Schools in Austria have this Friday off in 2022, extending the Christmas break until January 10th to make things easier with Covid-19 testing rules.

April

Monday, April 18th (Easter Monday)

Good Friday (Friday, April 15th in 2022) isn’t a public holiday in Austria, but many employers still give their workers the day off without needing to use annual leave. If that applies to you, you can book time off from April 11th to get ten days off in a row with four requested annual leave days.

May

Sunday, May 1st (Labour Day)

Another holiday is lost to the weekend…

Thursday, May 26th (Ascension Day)

…but later in the month you can take Friday, 27th off to get a four-day weekend.

June

Monday, June 6th (Pentecost)

Great news, it’s a three-day weekend. 

Thursday, June 16th (Corpus Christi Day)

Another Thursday public holiday gives the chance to take a ‘bridge day’ and get a second June long weekend.

If you take off May 27th and May 30th-June 3rd, you can get a 12-day holiday for the price of six annual leave days, or if you take off the time between the two June bank holidays (June 7th-10th and 13th-15th), plus Friday 17th, you can get a string of 16 days off for the price of eight days’ annual leave. For people who don’t have to plan around school holidays, this could be an excellent time to plan your main summer break.

More on working in Austria from The Local:

August

Monday, August 15th (Assumption Day)

Another three-day weekend here.

October

Wednesday, October 26th (National Day)

November

Tuesday, November 1st (All Saints Day)

Another chance for a bridge day on the Monday.

December

Thursday, December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception)

Another bridge day opportunity.

Sunday, December 25th (Christmas)

Monday, December 26th (Boxing Day)

In 2022, December 26th gives you one day off, but the other public holidays (December 25th and January 1st, 2023) as well as December 24th and 31st which are not official public holidays but are given by many employers, all fall on the weekend. This means that if you want time off over the holiday, you need to save some of your annual leave to make up for this.

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For members

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Camping in Austria can be a lot of fun, but what are the rules? Here’s everything you need to know about setting up camp in the Alpine republic.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Waking up beside a lake or surrounded by mountains is a dream Austrian holiday for many, but it’s important to know the rules about camping before heading off with a tent or campervan.

As the summer season approaches, here’s everything you need to know about camping in Austria.

Is wild camping legal in Austria?

Wild camping – setting up camp outside of a designated campsite – is generally illegal in Austria. This applies to both camping in a tent or sleeping in a van on the side of the road.

Exceptions to this rule do exist but usually only if the municipal authority grants a temporary exception, for example for a school trip or a youth club activity.

A bivouac (temporary camp without cover) is allowed in the event of bad weather or injury, but planned wild camping in the mountains is illegal. 

FOR MEMBERS: What are the rules for wild camping in Austria?

There are some regional differences though.

In the states of Salzburg, Vorarlberg and Styria there are no laws strictly forbidding camping outside of campsites, but local authorities can prohibit it and take action if necessary.

The strictest rules apply in national parks, nature reserves and special protection areas across Austria, so check before you plan your camping trip that your spot is not located in one of these areas.  

In most cases, if someone is caught camping illegally in Austria it is considered as an administrative offence and a fine can be issued, ranging from €5 to €500, depending on the location.

Camping in the forest

Camping in the forest is prohibited everywhere in Austria by law (specifically Section 33 of the Forest Act). The only exception is when you have the consent of the landowner.

Camping above the tree line

In Upper Austria and Styria you are allowed to camp in the mountains above the tree line, as long as you are outside of pasture areas.

In Vorarlberg this is also permitted, although the mayor of a municipality can prohibit the setting up of tents outside approved campsites if the interests of safety, health, agriculture or the protection of the natural balance as well as the landscape and townscape are “grossly violated”.

In Salzburg, camping above the tree line is in theory permitted, but the Alpine Association recommends groups wishing to camp should contact the nature conservation department of the responsible district administration before setting up. 

READ ALSO: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

Camping in a tent

Camping in a tent is the most common way of camping in the summer and most people pitch up on a dedicated campsite.

Many campgrounds have water and electricity facilities, as well as showers, cooking areas, recreation spaces and even kids clubs. Others have luxury elements like year-round heated pools, saunas, beach volleyball and restaurants.

Campsites are also often located near a lake or at the base of mountains, which means you can wake up to beautiful scenery every morning .

Some of Austria’s top camping associations include Camping Wien, Camping Steiermark and Top Camping Austria.

Camping in a van

Camping in a motorhome is only allowed at campsites in Austria and if someone is caught sleeping in a van in a prohibited area they can be fined.

The only exception is if a driver has to stop and recuperate before continuing driving.

Top camping tips

Austria is packed with stunning natural landscapes, so camping during the summer months is a popular activity – both for Austrian residents and tourists.

For this reason, it’s recommended to book ahead during the peak summer holiday months of July and August, whether planning to camp in a motorhome or tent.

Camping in motorhomes is also becoming more popular at some winter campsites during the ski season, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance.

Additionally, it’s advised to take bug spray when camping in Austria in the summer as insects like mosquitoes and ticks are common in countryside areas.

In fact, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) – a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected ticks – is endemic in Austria and it’s recommended to get vaccinated before going on a hiking or camping trip in the country.

The main affected areas for TBE are Tyrol and Upper Austria.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘tick vaccine’ and should you take it

Useful vocabulary

Campsite – Campingplätze

Tent – Zelt

Campervan – Reisemobil

Electricity – Strom

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