- Written by Paul Wainwright
- Created: 01 February 2015
Community and events
390,000 registered motorcycles
Austria's beautiful and varied terrain has made it a popular destination for motorcyclists, and there are plenty of hotels and B&Bs who will happily cater to bikers' needs. Not only that, but the world's third-largest motorcycle rally is held here!
European Bike Week – Austria's Lake Faak is home to Europe's biggest annual motorcycle rally, regularly attracting over 120,000 people. The ten-day event is so big it tends to split into smaller "villages" catering to different biker subcultures, so there's something for everybody.
Pleasantly twisty, breathtakingly beautiful, and usually all but empty of traffic: Nockalmstrasse is heaven on two wheels. It's a lower alpine route around 34km long, with 52 hairpins to negotiate and great views of spruce and pine woodlands.
Take in mountain lakes at nearly 2,000m above sea level on the Malta High Alpine Road, and hop off at the Kolnbrein Dam to admire the spectacular barrage wall. The road passes through a natural tunnel of stone that has been carved out the of rock over the millenniae.
Safety and the law
5.3 annual road fatalities per 100,000 people (2013)
PTWs account for 16% of fatalities (2011)
Austria has fairly safe roads for bikers, although care should always be taken in the snowier mountain regions. As in many European countries, motorcyclists must display dipped headlights during the day, and if you're planning to travel on the motorways you need to purchase a "vignette" (toll sticker) from a petrol station or border point.
All vehicles must have winter tyres between November 1st and April 15th, and motorists must carry high-visibility vests at all times and wear them in case of a breakdown.
73% of population speak English
Austria has a high proportion of English speakers, and fluency in English is a requirement for many jobs applications. In most places you shouldn't have a problem with communication, although a few German words and phrases will come in useful.