There are so many fulfilling things to do on an Austria vacation, and among the most rewarding is Austria shopping. It's rewarding because you come away with something that will remind you of your wonderful Austria vacation. You know you always wanted to buy some lederhosen anyways. Of course, those might not be the look back home, so buyer beware. On a more serious note, Austria boasts an array of interesting shops, galleries, markets, and souvenir stands, and so shopping can quickly become a full-time pursuit if you want it to. In other words, you can truly shop until you drop in Austria.
Alas, before you can hit the Austria shops and shopping outlets, you will need to arm yourself with some Austria currency first. In the past, the Austrian schilling was the official currency, but things have changed. On March 1, 2002, Austria adopted the Euro, for which the abbreviation is EUR. While those from many different European countries will not have to concern themselves with changing money on their visit, those from the United States, the UK, and pretty much anywhere else will need to change money, which is best done either at a bank, a hotel, or one of the Austria shops. Credit cards get the best exchange rate, so it's a good idea to pay with one whenever you get the chance. However, your card won't work everywhere, so you will want to keep that in mind.
Once you've got some Euros in your pockets, you can begin your Austria shopping adventure. Vienna is a good place to start. Mariahilferstrasse is Vienna's most prolific shopping avenue, and besides a list of department stores, you'll also come across cafes and some smaller shops that offer a more unique shopping experience. You can buy pretty much anything on Mariahilfer Strasse, with furniture, books, leather goods, clothes, and more to browse through. Another top Austria shopping street in Vienna is Karntnerstrasse, which is a pedestrians-only strip. You can find Karntner Strasse and its some 160 Austria stores between the Vienna Opera House and the historic St Stephens Cathedral. Often lively, especially when the weather is nice, this street tends to be filled with tourists and the always entertaining street artists. For those interested in jewelry, Vienna's Kohlmarkt street is ideal. You won't find as many Austria shops dedicated to jewelry anywhere else in the country. Also, antique hunters will definitely want to search for a bargain at Vienna's antique shops.
Also boasting some antiques shops is Salzburg, which doesn't offer the range of Austria stores that Vienna does, but is nonetheless a joy to shop. For the best shopping in Salzburg, head to Getreidegasse street, and in case you're still looking for those lederhosen, Salzburg is a good place to have some luck. The state of Land Salzburg, of which Salzburg is the capital, is known for lederhosen, as well as for petit point and dirndls. Petit point is also known as needlework point, and it is a specific way of embroidering. A dirndl, for those who don't know, is the traditional dress of alpine Germany and Austria. It is the female counterpart to the lederhosen. As is the case in Vienna, you can find a Swarovski store in Salzburg, and take home some crystal from this renowned Tyrolean producer. Coincidentally, when shopping on Getreidagasse street, you will be on the same road where Mozarts Geburtshaus is, so you'll have to head on over for a tour.
In addition to hitting the Austria stores, you can also stop at a market here and there. Austria's most renowned market is back in Vienna, and it is called the Naschmarkt. Definitely worth checking out for the atmosphere, Naschmarkt is an open-air market that features mostly fruits and vegetables. Seafood, cheeses, and different kinds of fresh breads are also among the items available for purchase at this multicultural melting pot. On Saturdays, you can also catch Austria's best flea market at Naschmarkt. Other markets in Austria can be found in other destinations as well, such as Klagenfurt and Villach. The latter is a great place to pick up some ceramics and pottery.
Austrian cuisine has its definite merits, and among the things you can purchase on your Austria trip are special cakes, coffee, and other Austrian favorites. Austrian wine is making a name for itself, and a few bottles from a wine tour can make for some interesting conversation back home. Keep your eye out at all times in Austria, because with Austria shopping, you never know what you are going to come across. There's just about everything under the sun here.