Salzburg: The Krampus

If you are in Austria during December you may very well encounter the Krampus. These are half goat half demon creatures from Austrian folklore.

Legend has it that they accompanied St Nicholas on 6th December and, whereas St Nicholas rewarded the good children, the Krampus punished children who had misbehaved during the year. They would roam the streets with big bells around their waists and carry birch twigs to whip the naughty children. If a child had been really bad they would drag them down into the underworld, never to be seen again!

These days these creatures are ordinary people dressed in fantastic costumes with amazingly carved heads representing the demons. The main time to see them is the Krampuslauf (the Krampus Run) which is held in towns and villages around the 6th December. In the big cities there can be over a hundred Krampus on the run.

Accompanying the Krampus is St Nicholas and also people dressed as Perchten, angels and old women. So its not all bad!

Perchten are creatures from ancient Austrian folklore that drive out the demons and bad spirits of Winter. They usually appear around the Winter Solstice and early January must can make an appearance with the Krampus on their Krampuslauf.


Salzburg Weather

Salzburg weather is notorious for its unpredictability, ranging from biting cold in winter to really hot in summer. To help you plan your trip we have included the weather forecast for today and the next few days. There is also a month by month guide to what weather to expect and what to wear.

Daily Forecast

 

Salzburg
Fog
06:5119:10 CEST
Feels like: 9°C
Wind: 3km/h SE
Humidity: 94%
Pressure: 1020.32mbar
UV index: 0
8h9h10h11h12h
9°C
11°C
14°C
17°C
20°C
SatSunMonTueWed
24/11°C
24/13°C
24/12°C
25/13°C
23/12°C
Salzburg
Fog
06:5119:10 CEST
Feels like: 9°C
Wind: 3km/h SE
Humidity: 94%
Pressure: 1020.32mbar
UV index: 0
8h9h10h11h12h
9°C
11°C
14°C
17°C
20°C
SatSunMonTueWed
24/11°C
24/13°C
24/12°C
25/13°C
23/12°C

From a weather point of view the best time to visit Salzburg is between June and early September. The average daily high temperature during this period is 24⁰ C but can reach 35⁰C in a good summer. But beware this is the peak time for rain!

For a month by month guide see below. Remember that weather anywhere can be fickle and hard to predict so this is just a guide.

Best Time to Visit

From a weather point of view the best time to visit Salzburg is between June and early September. The average daily high temperature during this period is 24⁰ C but can reach 35⁰C in a good summer. But beware this is the peak time for rain! This paradox is because Salzburg is situated on the edge of the Alps and moist air in the summer gets trapped in the mountains. This results in rain in the Salzburg area. The rain can be so bad the locals have a name for it “Schnürlregen” which means rain in strings. This is not necessarily a bad thing as a downpour in the late afternoon on a hot humid day can be refreshing, just be prepared. The thunderstorms themselves can be very dramatic, lighting up the mountains and thunder rolling around the valleys.

For winter activities the cold season is from late November to early March. Daily average temperature during this time is 7⁰C but can drop to -4⁰C during the day and considerably colder at night. During this time you can expect snow on the mountains and in the higher valleys. Snow in Salzburg is likely during January and February.

The main message for the visitor is be prepared and have a plan B for your activities. If its really raining, the Haus de Natur Museum can be crowded so best choose another rainy day activity. The Norwegians have a saying that there is no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothing.

For a month by month guide see below. Remember that weather anywhere can be fickle and hard to predict so this is just a guide.

Month by Month Guide

Weather and What to Wear

Weather to Expect
The city is in the grip of winter with cold days and even colder nights. Snow on the mountains and in the high valleys. There may be snow at lower levels and in the city. Daytime temperatures range from 2⁰C to -5⁰C. At night expect the temperature to drop to -10⁰C to -20⁰C.
What to Wear
Its going to be cold so bring warm clothing and wear several layers. This will enable you to remove layers when you go inside. Don't forget a hat, scarf and gloves. Warm socks and waterproof shoes are a really good idea.
Average Rainfall Days16Average Hours of Sunshine2
Latest Sunrise Time07:56Earliest Sunset Time16:34
Earliest Sunrise Time07:36Latest Sunset Time17:06
Weather to Expect
February an be extremely cold with snow on the mountains and in the high valleys. There may be snow in the city on about 10 days in the month. Daytime temperatures range from 6⁰C to -2⁰C. At night expect the temperature to drop to -10⁰C to -20⁰C.
What to Wear
Its going to be cold so just like January, warm clothing in several layers and hat, gloves, scarf and warm socks and shoes are essential.
Average Rainfall Days14Average Hours of Sunshine3
Latest Sunrise Time07:35Earliest Sunset Time17:08
Earliest Sunrise Time06:50Latest Sunset Time17:50
Weather to Expect
Spring is on the way with temperatures ranging from 11⁰C to 1⁰C but the weather can be unpredictable. Frosts are still likely at night.

Clocks are put forward 1 hour on March 24th 2018.
What to Wear
As the weather can be a bit unpredictable during March it is advisable to check the weather forecasts so you know what clothes to bring during your stay. Versatile clothing to keep warm and dry is what is needed.
Average Rainfall Days15Average Hours of Sunshine4
Latest Sunrise Time06:48Earliest Sunset Time17:52
Earliest Sunrise Time06:48Latest Sunset Time19:56
Weather to Expect
Getting warmer all the time now with temperatures ranging from 16⁰C to 5⁰C. Weather can be even more unpredictable than March. Snow is a possibility as is unseasonably high temperature. As Forrest Gump said "You never know what you are going to get". As the weather is in transition between winter and summer, forecasting can be hit or miss. Still chance of frosts at night.
What to Wear
You can be a bit more relaxed with the range of clothing in April. Lightweight layers should be OK but have a jumper and rain jacket with you just in case.
Average Rainfall Days16Average Hours of Sunshine6
Latest Sunrise Time06:46Earliest Sunset Time19:37
Earliest Sunrise Time05:52Latest Sunset Time20:18
Weather to Expect
This is a good time to visit Salzburg. The ski season is over but the rush of summer tourists has not yet begun. Everything is in bloom and the weather has usually started to settle down. Bonus is that there is still snow on the mountains so don’t forget your camera. Starting to feel like summer with temperatures ranging from 21⁰C to 9⁰C.
What to Wear
Clothing can be lighter unless you plan to go into the mountains where it still can be cool.
Average Rainfall Days16Average Hours of Sunshine7
Latest Sunrise Time05:50Earliest Sunset Time20:20
Earliest Sunrise Time05:14Latest Sunset Time20:57
Weather to Expect
Summer has arrived with temperatures ranging from 23⁰C to 13⁰C. With the warm weather comes the threat of rain for which Salzburg is famous. If its hot and humid expect thunderstorms towards the end of the day.
What to Wear
Light clothing is OK but maybe pack an emergency rain poncho!
Average Rainfall Days19Average Hours of Sunshine7
Latest Sunrise Time05:13Earliest Sunset Time20:58
Earliest Sunrise Time05:12Latest Sunset Time21:10
Weather to Expect
Its high summer with temperatures ranging from 25⁰C to 14⁰C but can get really hot with temperatures over 30⁰C . This means it can be stiflingly hot in the city with thunderstorms triggered in the evenings.
There is an outside swimming pool at Volksgarten not far from the city centre if you really want to cool down.
What to Wear
Light clothing is OK with perhaps a jumper for the evening. Wise to have a rainproof jacket with you if it rain is forecast.
Average Rainfall Days17Average Hours of Sunshine7
Latest Sunrise Time05:43Earliest Sunset Time20:44
Earliest Sunrise Time05:13Latest Sunset Time21:09
Weather to Expect
Summer is still going strong with temperatures ranging from 25⁰C to 14⁰C but can get hot for a few days. Days are getting a bit shorter.
What to Wear
Summer clothing with a rain jacket is all you need.
Average Rainfall Days17Average Hours of Sunshine7
Latest Sunrise Time06:26Earliest Sunset Time19:50
Earliest Sunrise Time05:44Latest Sunset Time20:43
Weather to Expect
Getting cooler as Autumn approaches and the weather can be a bit unpredictable again. It can be hot and sunny like in summer, but a rain shower will reduce the temperature significantly. Temperatures now 20⁰C to 10⁰C.
What to Wear
Light clothing is still ok but it will be cooler in the evenings. Light layers are a good idea with a jumper to hand if it turns cool. Don't forget a rain jacket.
Average Rainfall Days13Average Hours of Sunshine7
Latest Sunrise Time07:05Earliest Sunset Time18:49
Earliest Sunrise Time06:25Latest Sunset Time19:48
Weather to Expect
Autumn is here with lovely colours in the trees. You can still expect a few very warm and sunny days, but over-all, temperatures are decreasing. Temperatures range from 17⁰ to 12⁰. Statistically this is the month with the lowest chance of rain.
Clocks go back 1 hour on 27th October 2018.
What to Wear
Long sleeves and layers is the order of day but be prepared for hot or chilly rainy days.
Average Rainfall Days12Average Hours of Sunshine4
Latest Sunrise Time07:06Earliest Sunset Time16:51
Earliest Sunrise Time06:50Latest Sunset Time18:47
Weather to Expect
Winter is in the air and the first snowfalls are likely especially in the mountains, also expect fog and rain. Temperatures 11⁰ to 4⁰ with frosts likely at night. On a cheerier note, the Christmas markets open in the city in late November.
What to Wear
Bring warm clothing, have a hat and scarf handy and wear warm socks and proper shoes. Rain jacket will be necessary.
Average Rainfall Days14Average Hours of Sunshine2
Latest Sunrise Time07:34Earliest Sunset Time16:18
Earliest Sunrise Time06:51Latest Sunset Time18:50
Weather to Expect
No surprises, it will be cold with temperatures 4⁰ to 2⁰. Frosts most nights with temperatures down to -3⁰C but it can be a lot colder so be prepared.
The Christmas markets are in full swing where you can enjoy mulled wine (Gluhwein) or a hot chocolate with rum.

What to Wear
Winter is upon us so bring warm clothing that you can wear in layers. Hat and scarf with warm socks and good shoes is a good idea.
Average Rainfall Days16 (Some with snow)Average Hours of Sunshine1
Latest Sunrise Time07:56Earliest Sunset Time16:17
Earliest Sunrise Time07:35Latest Sunset Time16:24

Travel Information

Travel Information for Salzburg and Austria

General Information

Austria is one of the safest countries in the world. According to the OECD Factbook of 2006, levels of robbery, assault, and car crime are among the lowest in the developed world, and a study by Mercer ranks Vienna as the 6th safest city in the world out of 215 cities. Violent crimes are extremely rare and should not concern the average tourist. Small towns and uninhabited areas such as forests are very safe at any time of the day.


Emergencies

In case of emergencies the telephone numbers are:-

  • Fire: 122
  • Police: 133
  • Ambulance: 144
  • Mountain Rescue: 140


Currency

Austria is a member of the Economic and Currency Union and the currency is the Euro.

The following Euro-banknotes and coins are in circulation:
Banknotes: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.

Note that increasingly €500 notes are not accepted in a number of shops due to problems with forgeries.

Coins: €1 and €2 denominations as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. There are 100 cents in a Euro.

ATMs in Austria are called Bankomat. They are wide-spread and you will find them even in smaller, rural villages. Many shops (and some restaurants too) offer the service to pay directly with an ATM card. The majority of ATMs accept cards from abroad. All Bankomats in Austria can easily be identified by a sign showing a green stripe above a blue stripe. It doesn’t matter which Bankomat you use; the transaction fee is always zero (excluding any fees charged by your own bank).


Language

The national language is German but there is an Austrian dialect. There are also differences in vocabulary with Austrian version of words used.
English is widely spoken in the cities and main tourist spots.


Public Transport

There is a highly efficient network of buses within Salzburg and it is a great way to get around. Tickets are available from machines at the main bus stops or from the driver.

For longer distances there are both local and Intercity trains. Travel to Munich is about 2 hours and Vienna can be reached in just under 3. Both cities are therefore viable destinations for day trips.

More information:

Bus Travel in and around Salzburg: http://en.albus.at/

Train information – Local and Intercity: http://www.oebb.at/en/

Westbhan to Vienna: https://westbahn.at/en/


Restaurants and Tipping

In Austrian restaurants you must ask to pay. Get the attention of your server and say: “zahlen, bitte” (to pay, please). They will then bring you the bill, or tell you the amount of the bill verbally. Then, the proper way to pay in Austria is to give your cash and say the amount you wish to pay, including tip.

Servers are not dependent on tips and it is not appropriate to tip a large amount. Generally round up to the nearest 1 euro of the cost for each person. This should usually be 5-10% for a full meal.

Saying “danke” (thank you) when paying means keep the change! Alternatively, you can say the amount of the bill plus your tip and will only get change above that amount (for instance, if you pay with a €20 bill, the amount is €16.50 and you say “Siebzehn Euro” (seventeen euro), the server will give you €3 change and keep the €0.50 as tip).


Health

Austria has an excellent healthcare system by Western standards. Hospitals are modern, clean, and well-equipped.

If you are a traveller from the EU, you can get any form of urgent treatment for free (or a small token fee), non-urgent treatment is not covered. Simply show your European Health Insurance Card and passport to the doctor or hospital. When going to a GP, watch out if there is a sign that says “Alle Kassen” or “Keine Kassen” , in which case your EHIC is not valid.

Travellers from outside the EU with no travel insurance will need to pay the full cost of treatment up-front (with the exception of the emergency room). Medical bills can be very expensive, though still reasonable when compared to the USA.

Travel Insurance is always recommended especially if you are taking part in winter sports or other risky activities. Austria has a network of helicopter ambulances that can reach any point in the country within 15 minutes. Mountain rescue by helicopter is not covered by your EHIC, or indeed most travel insurances.

If you have a medical emergency while you are in the mountains (eg. break a leg while skiing), the helicopter will be called on you regardless of whether you ask for it or not, and you will be billed upwards of €1,000. Mountain sports insurance is therefore highly recommended; you can obtain this from your health insurer.

Tap water is of exceptional quality and safe to drink in Austria.


Driving in Austria

In Austria you drive on the right. Speed limits are 130km/h on the Autobahn and 100km/h on main roads. Expect limits in built up areas of 50-80km/h.

Traffic lights switch from red to red and yellow before turning green. At the end of the green phase, the green light flashes before turning to yellow. Right turn on red is not allowed. At night, some traffic lights will flash yellow continuously. This means that no-one has right of way and proceed with caution.

In Salzburg there are a number of parking garages around the city. Outside of the city, parking is allowed on the streets where there are blue lines. If the parking is free when parking in these areas it is important to display a “clock card” that shows the time you arrived. Failure to do so may result in a fine.

When travelling on the Autobhan you must display a “Vignette”. These are available at any petrol station or at the border. Hire cars will have one of these as standard.

Driving a car on the Autobhan without a vignette is punished with either payment of a substitute toll of €120 (€65 for motorcycles) or a fine of upwards of €300. If the fine is not paid on the spot, valuables may be seized from your vehicle and person to ensure that the fine is paid. Motorway police regularly check for vignettes so be warned.

Between 1 November and 15 April, passenger cars and trucks with a permissible maximum weight of up to 3.5 t may be operated in winter conditions such as snow-covered tracks, snowy slush or ice only if winter tyres have been installed on all wheels. During this period , hire cars will be equipped with the appropriate tyres.


Climate

Austria has a temperate continental climate. Summers last from early June to mid-September and can be hot in some years and rainy in others. Day-time temperatures in July and August are around 25°C (77°F), but can often reach 35°C (95°F).

Winters last from December to March (longer at higher altitudes) and are cold in the lowlands and very harsh in the Alpine region with temperatures often dropping below -10°C (14°F). Also in the mountains, large temperature fluctuations occur all year round and nights are chilly even in high summer.

The Salzburg area can have a lot of rain at times so check the weather forecast and be prepared.


Electricity

Electricity is supplied at 220 to 230V, 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard or Europlug types.

Generally speaking, travellers from the UK just need an adapter. US and Canada should pack an adapter and a converter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Austria.