Austria is a member state of the European Union as well as of the Schengen Agreement. It is a good country for hitchhiking, with fabulous views of the surrounding Alps and small lakes. While hitchhiking by motorway you can easily “hop” from city to city - ramps are usually easy to get to and easy to hitch from. Good places are service stations, too.
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Vienna is by far the country's largest city. Graz is second in size, with 291,007 inhabitants, followed by Linz (206,604), Salzburg (155,031), Innsbruck (131,989), and Klagenfurt (101,303). All other cities have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants.
People in Austria speak German (in some parts locally also Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian) but if you are not a German speaker you won't be in big trouble since almost every Austrian speaks at least basic English.
In Austria most motorway service stations serve both directions of the motorway and there is one situated in the junction of the A9 and A1, serving all four directions! This is an overview of features of all motorway service stations along the Austrian motorways
- Most of the traffic going through Passau is heading East to Linz, Vienna, Budapest
- Most of the traffic going through Salzburg is heading South to Trieste, Italy, Slovenia, Balkans
I was hitchhiking mostly on A1 between Ansfelden and Vienna, with no big difficulties. If you are comfortable talking to the drivers, it's probably the fastest way to approach them at resting areas or gas/petrol stations. After a hike in the mountains or on smaller local roads without public transport your chances of a car stopping for you are very high. -Max
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