Austria

Austria is a small, predominantly mountainous country located in south-central Europe. The two best-known natural features of the Austrian landscape are the Alps and the Danube River.

The Alps cover 62% of the country’s total area, running west to east through Austria. The alpine regions are home to numerous species, including chamois, roe deer, hare, fox, badger, marten and marmot. A small bear population can mainly be found in the heavily wooded southern and central mountainous regions. The Danube flows through Austria, supporting unique wetland and floodplain habitats.

The Danube, as well as some of Austria’s other rivers and lakes, is threatened by pollution and unsustainable development along its shores. Other environmental problems facing Austria include forest degradation, air pollution and melting glaciers as a result of global warming.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Michèle DÉPRAZ
Peat bog in Fir trees forest. Alpine wetland in Wiegenalp, Hohe Tauern National Park, in the Austrian Alps.
© WWF-Canon / Michèle DÉPRAZ

Country Eco-tips

Recycling
  • Austria recycles more of its waste than any other country in Europe
  • Colour-coded bins for paper, plastic and glass can be found on many street corners and at train stations.
  • Some glass containers, particularly beer bottles, have a “pfand”, a refunded deposit of up to 25 euro cents depending on the bottle’s size. Look for the flaschen rücknahme (bottle return) machines at many supermarkets.
  • Supermarkets offer disposal of packaging before you leave the premises and batteries can be returned to the stores for safe disposal.
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Transport
  • The public transport system in Austria is excellent.
  • The ÖBB, the Austrian Federal Railway network, connects all major national and international cities - http://www.oebb.at/en
  • The public bus transportation network in Austria includes more than 2,800 scheduled routes. Almost all notable tourist sites can be reached by bus.
  • One of the best ways to get around Vienna is by the U-Bahn subway system. Vienna also has buses and trams.
  • Citybike is Vienna’s public bike rental system. You can hire the bikes at 58 bike stations across the city. Bookings can be made directly at a Citybike terminal or by Internet - http://www.citybikewien.at
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Food
  • At 15%, Austria has the highest proportion of organic land in Europe.
  • Several Austrian organic labels, like “AMA organic label” or “BioAustria”, help consumers identify food from organic farming.
  • You can find a number of vegetarian restaurants and organic stores in Vienna, as well as Salzburg and Innsbruck - http://www.happycow.net/europe/austria/index.html
  • Look for the Austrian Eco-Label at most stores and supermarkets to ensure that the products you are buying are produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
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Souvenirs
  • Chocolate, hazelnut wafers and marzipan are popular culinary souvenirs. Organic wines from Austria are available.
 
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Green Spots
  • Lake Neusiedl-Seewinkel National Park: Located some 45 miles southeast of Vienna, the transborder national park between Austria and Hungary is known as a sanctuary for thousands of migrating birds in spring and autumn. The park’s Lake Neusiedl is one of the largest steppe lakes in central Europe.
  • Donau-Auen National Park: Starting in Vienna and stretching to the border with Slovakia, this national park preserves the last remaining major wetlands in central Europe. The Danube River flows through the park.
  • Hohe Tauern National Park: Austria’s first national park and Central Europe’s largest area of protected landscape that extends over three Austrian provinces: Tirol, Carinthia and Salzburg. It is a region of ancient forests, lush green alpine pastures, rugged mountainsides and spectacular waterfalls.
  • Türkenschanzpark: This park on the outskirts of Vienna is known both for its rare  botanical species and for its topography. Hills are interspersed with meadows, and meandering paths invite the visitor to take a stroll.
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Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.
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