Austria is a little country in the heart of Europe with a spectacular combination of cultural and natural attractions. In this post, we’re going to share with you interesting facts about Austria.
- 1 Austria Description & About Austria Facts and Figures
- 2 About Austria & Superstitions
- 3 Facts About Austria Vacations
- 4 Facts about Austria – What Not to Do When in Austria?
- 5 About Austria Facts – What Not to Say to an Austrian?
- 6 Major Cities in Austria
- 7 Info About Austria Authentic Drinks
- 8 Austrian and Viennese Food Delights
- 9 15 Most Important German Phrases
- 10 Things to Remember When Moving to Austria
- 11 About Austria Facts History
- 12 Austria Facts and Figures – 20th Century
- 13 Facts about Austria – The 21 Century
- 14 FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Austria
- 15 Related articles:
Austria flaunts its heritage in exuberant fashion. Vienna’s bombastic Habsburg palaces and Salzburg’s baroque splendour are worthy.
However, dig deeper and you’ll unearth:
- Stone Age settlements
- Roman archaeological sites at Carnuntum
- medieval festivals
In the country where Mozart composed and Strauss taught the world to twirl, you won’t need to search hard for culture. It waltzes right up to you.
Austria Description & About Austria Facts and Figures
|Official name:||Republic of Austria|
|Area:||83,872 km2 or 32,383 sq mi|
|Lowest Point:||Neusiedler See (Lake Neusiedl) 115 m|
|Highest Point:||Großglockner 3,798 m|
About Austria & Superstitions
Superstitions may be old stuff but in Austria, there are still people who believe in them and practice them. If you’re curious about what they are, we share some of them here.
For many people, sharing their dreams does not mean anything but not to Austrians. Did you know that it means bad luck if you tell another person about your dreams even before you drink a glass of water?
When it comes to the money they earn, Austrians are very modest about it. In fact, they don’t have the habit of talking about their success especially in their professional life because doing so is believed to bring bad luck. But those who unintentionally talk about their good fortune should not forget to knock on wood to avoid bad luck.
Sneezing Means Bad Luck
Maybe you didn’t know this about Austria, but sneezing is a no-no as well but only in certain situations. For instance, it is believed that bad things will happen to you if you sneeze while viewing the new moon. Make sure you don’t do it too before you eat your breakfast.
Nature lovers like the Austrians have a lot to gain particularly for their health if they stay outside. One superstitious belief of Austrians when it comes to nature is that if a person has a headache, it can be cured by simply going outside and resting one’s head against a tree for several minutes.
The color white may be a symbol of peace but in Austria, nobody goes near a white horse, cow, cat or umbrella. And now that you know this, make sure not to use a white umbrella when in the country.
Vienna has some of the world’s best tap water. So instead of spending money to buy bottled water at hotels and restaurants, use your cash to buy beverages you love instead.
Facts About Austria Vacations
Vienna is of course a favorite city destination, but you would miss out if you prematurely discarded the rest of Austria.
Indeed, Austria is a popular vacation sport in the heart of Europe. As a hub of central Europe, it is a convenient destination for many Europeans and visitors from overseas.
One of the most popular destinations for locals is to spend vacations in Innsbruck amongst the Austrian alps. Whether you want to go skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer, or spend a leisurely vacation at the Austrian lakes – Innsbruck has a lot to offer.
If you’re heading to Innsbruck soon there are a few hotels you have to check out.
Hotel Maximillan is a fantastic spot right in the heart of downtown Innsbruck. Right next to the pedestrian zone the hotel is just a few minutes walk away from The Golden Roof.
All of the major attractions in Innsbruck are within a short walk from the hotel, with the Imperial Palace and St. James’ Cathedral both under 5 minutes away.
The city’s train station is just under a mile away from the hotel, an easy walk or a short cab ride away. In the winter this is a prime ski location, and in the summer a great getaway for many looking to escape city life.
This ultra-chic boutique hotel with views of Innsbruck is a 9-minute walk from Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof train station and 12 minutes from the Goldenes Dachl history museum.
Nala has striking individually decorated rooms, suites and apartments offer complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minifridges and coffee machines. Rooms have courtyard or city views, balconies, kitchenettes and/or in-room tubs.
A city well worth a visit is Salzburg, considered as the birth place of famous music composer Mozart. Bordering the German border with views of the Eastern alps, Salzburg was the setting of the epic film “The Sound of Music”.
Running through the town center is the Salzach River, which creates a pedestrian area (Alstadt) on the left bank and Neustadt on the right. The Danube valley with its vineyards is another variation in the sightseeing which promises to deliver the relief of greenery and wide landscapes.
In the western part of the country, the province of Vorarlberg reaches Constance lake. Those who are the ardent admirer of art and have a great interest for the same can visit the Ars Electronica Center in Linz.
Favorite Hotels – Parkhotel Seefeld
The Parkhotel Seefeld in Tyrol is a luxurious 4 stars hotel near the center of the village of Seefeld. Set on a sunny plateau surrounded by the Alps, the hotel is the ideal location for a relaxing and entertaining stay.
In the summer, Seefeld is the perfect place to play golf, for hiking and trekking in the Alps, and for adventurous mountain bike tours… In the winter the snowy landscape gives a touch of magic.
Facts about Austria – What Not to Do When in Austria?
Visiting a new place should fun and enriching. You get to meet new people and see interesting places even the historical ones.
But in order to create a memorable holiday, one needs to do a little research first about the place he or she is going to visit. This way, you avoid the common mistakes people make and don’t get the ire of the locals.
When in Austria, there are some things that you should keep in mind. Following these tips and learning few things about Austria facts will ensure a stress-free holiday anywhere in the German-speaking country.
Public Transport about Austria Facts
When you’re in Vienna, you’ll find out that the Viennese utilize public transport every day. It’s what they use to go about their daily lives so if possible, respect the commuters.
Don’t delay when going inside the train or bus and follow the line. Also when using an escalator, always stand on the right side.
Bike Lanes Austria facts
Austrians love to ride their bikes whether going to the school, to the office or when they’re going shopping.
Make sure then to stay out of the bike lanes because these cyclists can be fast and aggressive riders.
Facts about Austria Tap Water
Some tourists may be particular about the water they drink outside of their homes. But if you’re in Vienna, you need to try out the city’s tap water.
Things to know about Austria traffic Rules
Pedestrians including tourists should not make an excuse when walking on Vienna’s streets. It’s a must to follow the traffic lights.
Never make the mistake of jaywalking because it is inappropriate behavior. And apart from being frowned upon, you will also be made to pay a fine.
About Austria Facts – What Not to Say to an Austrian?
When in Vienna, it is great to experience interacting with the locals. This way, you get to know them better and learn more about their culture.
Remember that the Viennese are considered among the happiest people in the world so why not talk to them and even dine with them if you get the chance.
Just keep in mind some things that you should never be saying to an Austrian. A list has been prepared by the organizing team of the Wings for Life World Run set for next year.
What language do you speak?
Austrians normally speak the German language but the Germans might not always agree with it. In reality, Austria has varied accents and dialects. People living in villages around a city also speak different accents some of which sound German but may not be totally understood by a real German. So to avoid confusion, don’t ask about it.
Do you love kangaroos?
Kangaroos are adorable but these animals are not found in Austria so don’t mind asking somebody from the country about it.
I love the Sound of Music
Some Austrians may have seen the movie but they are not vocal about it or may not admit it. Share something else then such as more about classical music and you’ll surely spark the interest of a local.
It’s such a beautiful little country
Austria is now living the modern times which means it is enjoying its freedom with no monarchy and emperor to rule the nation. It stands on its own two feet now. Don’t talk about Austria like it is a nice little country.
May I call you by your first name?
Calling Austrians by their first name is not good etiquette. The people in this German-speaking country find that unacceptable unless you are a family member or a close friend. In fact, the Austrians are obsessed with academic titles.
Vorarlberg’s capital is delightfully located at Lake Constance, Central Europe’s third largest lake, and offers a dense cultural programme coupled with a wide range of outdoor activities.
Despite being Austria’s smallest provincial capital, this former seat of the Esterhazy noble family range, home to some 13,000 inhabitants, has plenty to offer its guests.
The Styrian capital Graz, whose roots date back to the Roman age, lies on both sides of the River Mur, and is well-known for its striking buildings and architectural highlights.
Past and future meet seemlessly in the heart of the Alps as Innsbruck’s world-famous sights, which testify to the Tirol province’s great past, stand alongside post-modern international architecture to create a fascinating blend.
For summer holidaymakers in particular, Klagenfurt is ideally located by Lake Wörthersee, one of Europe’s largest and warmest alpine lakes. The city is however enjoyable throughout the year with its Mediterranean climate, sunny winter days, colorful autumn and a mild spring.
The capital city of Upper Austria is enjoying its year in the cultural spotlight as 2009 European Capital of Culture.
Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is dominated by churches, castles and palaces. Its picturesque old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight.
Austria’s capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning modern architecture. It is famous for its cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cozy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm.
Info About Austria Authentic Drinks
There are many popular drinks that people can enjoy only in Austria:
- Elderberry syrup
- Mulled wine
When in Vienna, visitors should not only taste the famous Viennese coffee and pastries but also its authentic drinks.
This is fresh juice normally made from grapes. It is an alcoholic drink common in the regions between Mostviertel in the western part of Vienna and the Buklige Welt in the southeastern section. Its name is derived from the Latin words vinum mustum which means young wine.
This is a popular summer drink which has become a vital part of the Austrian culture. Its name is taken from the German term spritzen which means to spray or sprinkle.
It is made from white wine and soda or sparkling mineral water and can be enjoyed solely as a drink or with a meal. A sweet version of this drink can be created by adding sweet lemonade instead of the soda water.
Red wine can also be used in place of the white wine.
This is another summer drink but one which contains beer. It is mixed with either Almdudler, Sprite or lemonade.
Radler is very popular as a thirst quencher, especially during the hot summer months.
This is a new wine made of white or red grapes and a little alcohol. However, it is only sold between August and December.
This drink is made from the extract of elderflower blossoms thus, its name. Apart from being used in mixed drinks, it is also used in cooking and baking.
The Kaiserspritzer, a variation of the Spritzer, is one drink that uses elderberry syrup mixed with the white wine and soda water.
This drink also known as Gluhwein is most popular during the Christmas season.
It contains spices including cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus, sugar and can be served either hot or cold, alcoholic, or non-alcoholic.
Austrian and Viennese Food Delights
Here are some of their interesting backgrounds:
Certain food and confectioneries in Vienna in particular and Austria in general have a history that not many people know.
This is a crescent-shaped pastry considered to be the ancestor of the popular French croissant. A Vienna legend has it that Kipferl was baked for the first time in the shape of a crescent moon way back in 1683. The act was done to mark the victory of the Holy League over the Turks.
This fine brand of Austrian chocolates was named after famous musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart because it originated in his birthplace in Salzburg.
It was in 1890 when the first Mozart chocolates were made by master confectioner Paul Furst. He formed small balls using marzipan, coated them in a praline cream, and then dipped in chocolate. This technique was later followed by other confectioners in Vienna.
This is the very popular Viennese chocolate cake invented by Chef Franz Sacher. It was in 1832 when Sacher made this rich chocolate for Prince Wenzel von Metternich.
Franz Sacher was only 16 years old then and still an apprentice when he was tasked to create a special dessert for some important guests on the request of the head chef who got sick at that time.
It was the second year of Sacher’s training in Metternich’s kitchen at that time. Eventually, Sacher settled in Vienna where he opened a specialty delicatessen and wine shop.
Every December 5th is National Sachertorte Day in Austria.
This is the national dish of Austria that contains boiled beef, bone and vegetables. Dating back to the late 18th century, tafelspitz was created during the time of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
History has it that the chefs of the Emperor thought of creating a filling meal that can be prepared and served quickly particularly for his guests. In the past, guests of the emperor were served food only after the host finished his meal giving little time for the guests to eat.
15 Most Important German Phrases
The Viennese people use German as their main language of communication. As such, travelers planning to visit Vienna should at least try their best to learn a few words and phrases that will help them communicate easily with local residents.
Keep in mind that not everyone in Vienna and all other places that you go to know how to speak English so why risk not being understood?
So right here, we’re sharing 15 of the most popular German phrases you need to learn. Even if you’re not coming to Vienna any time soon, learning a new language is always an exciting and enriching experience and German is not that difficult.
Just practice them as often as possible so you can fluently say these phrases.
1. Guten tag!
Pronounced as ‘gooten tahk,’ this means hello or good day in English. Using this greeting will make you appear friendly to the locals and it can even start a conversation.
2. Danke schön
As a form of gratitude, travelers need to say thank you when the situation calls for it such as when your request has been granted or when you’re served well by a store or hotel staff. In German, this is ‘dahn-kuh shurn.’
3. Bitte schön
Pronounced as ‘bit-tuh shurn,’ this is you’re welcome in German.
4. Sprichst du Englisch?
Since you’re not a native German speaker, normally you would ask a local resident if he or she speaks English. In German, you would say this as ‘shprikst doo English?’ If the person answers yes, then you can continue asking in English. But if not, you need to use the other German words and phrases you know.
5. Ich kann kein Deutsch
This is pronounced as ‘ish kun kine doitsh’ means I can’t speak German. This phrase is very useful if you’re having difficulty getting your message across.
6. Mein Name ist
This is useful when introducing yourself to a local resident. In English, this refers to my name is but in German, you say this as ‘mine nah-muh ist…’
7. Wie geht’s
This phrase means how are you? and should be spoken as ‘vee gets.’
8. Guten Morgen!
This means good morning and is pronounced as ‘gooten mor-gen.’
9. Guten Abend!
Say this as ‘goo-ten ahbent’ which means good afternoon.
10. Auf Wiedersehen
As you are parting with somebody, you can say ‘ouf veeder-zane.’ This is goodbye in German. The casual version is Tschüss (choos) if you’re not comfortable saying the longer one. It can also mean see you later.
11. Entschuldigen sie
If you want to excuse yourself for a moment, say ‘ent-shool-degen see.’
12. Wo ist der?
When asking directions, say this phrase which means where is the. If you’re asking about the train station, say ‘wo ist der Bahnhof bitte?’
13. Wie komme ich zum?
If you want to know how to get to a place, use this phrase. This is spoken as ‘vee kom-muh ikh tsoom Hotel or Stadtmitte (town center) or Flughafen (airport)?’
14. Was kostet das?/Wie viel?
When shopping, you can ask for the price by saying ‘vas kostet das?’ The second phrase means how much.
15. Guten Appétit!
Meaning enjoy your meal, this is spoken as ‘gooten apetit.’
Things to Remember When Moving to Austria
Austria warmly welcomes migrants or expats from around the globe. And if you’re one of those planning to move to Vienna or other parts of the country, there are certain things you need to keep in mind and practice to enjoy a stress-free life.
This German-speaking country has a lot to offer people interested in living in any area of Austria. The people here are open to accepting and being friends with foreigners as long as you know how to respect them and can interact with them.
Learning to speak German is a good start even just the basic words and phrases. This will help you meet locals and interact with them better. However, don’t expect to befriend Austrians on your first and second meeting because it will take time to build friendships in the country.
Your reward later will be to have friends for life once you’ve gained their trust. Be active. It’s best to have something to do while you’re new in Vienna or any other part of Austria. There’s so much to do such as take music lessons or as many photos as you want.
By doing this, you can be sure to meet more people and find those who share your interests.
Renting a House – Yes or No?
If you plan to rent a house or unit, choose the agent-free properties so you won’t have to pay for agent’s commissions.
Renting can be expensive in Vienna, though, but if you have a steady job, that will not be a problem moving forward. A friendly place to stay for newcomers to Vienna are the 18th and 19th districts.
These areas are considered the expats slums with lots of English speaking families living the city temporarily. You can choose to live here so you won’t get homesick.
Celtic and Roman Days
The area of today’s Austria was already settled in as early as 8,000 BC. Around 400 BC, Celtic tribes from Western Europe settled in the eastern Alps and a Celtic state, Noricum, developed around the region.
From the 7th century BC one of the main regions of Celtic occupation was in modern Austria, centered around Hallstatt, a large prehistoric salt-mining area.
The Roman Empire
The Romans arrived in 200 BC and by 15 BC they dominated the area. The main Roman settlement in Austria was Carnuntum, which became the capital of the Roman province of Pannonia in today’s Lower Austria, 30km from Vienna.
You can get a glimpse into this history today in the large outdoor museum and archeology park.
From Ostarrichi to Austria
By the latter half of the second century AD, various German tribes were expanding their territory to make a devastating invasion of Roman territories. By the mid-500s, the Bavarians controlled large areas between the eastern Alps and the Wienerwald region.
Around 800 Charlemagne, king of the Franks and later Roman emperor established an area in the Danube valley is known as Ostmark (Eastern March). In 996 of Ostmark was called “Ostarrichi”, a clear forerunner of the modern German word “Österreich”.
Between 976, when Leopold von Babenberg was Margrave of Ostmark and 1246, the Duchy of Austria was just one of the extensive possessions of the Babenberg family.
In the 12th century Henry II moved his residence to Vienna, which has been the capital of the country ever since.
Also in the 12th century, the Cathedral of Saint Stephan („Stephansdom“) was completed, which until today is a landmark for the city.
Beginning of the Habsburg Rule
In 1273, Rudolf I came to the crown, beginning six centuries of Habsburg rule in Austria. The centerpiece of their kingdom was the imperial palace in Vienna.
The Habsburgs increased their influence and power through strategic alliances and marriages. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs began to accumulate other provinces in the vicinity of Austria.
The Turkish threat, which included unsuccessful sieges of Vienna in 1529 and in 1683, prompted Poland, Venice, and Russia to join the Habsburg Empire in repelling the Turks.
In the late 1690s, command of the imperial forces was entrusted to Prince Eugene of Savoy. Under his leadership, Habsburg forces won control of all but a small portion of Hungary by 1699.
With the completion of the Turkish threat, arts and culture experienced an increase. Magnificent buildings such as Schloss Schönbrunn (World Cultural Heritage) or the Salzburger Cathedral were built.
Under the rule of Empress Maria Theresa (1717-1780) the Habsburg possessions were reformed and united. After Maria Theresa’s death in 1780,, her son Joseph II, one of the so-called “enlightened monarchs“, continued reforms pursued by his mother.
From Biedermeier to the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau)
The French Revolution of 1789 and the advent of Napoleon, which ensured a French possession of many Austrian regions, proved to be a major threat to the Habsburgs.
During the Congress of Vienna (1814/15), which was held in order to redraw the continent’s political map after the defeat Napoles, Austrian Chancellor Metternich tried to reconsolidate Austrian power.
In 1848 the French philosophy of the middle-class revolution reached Austria, but the revolt was quickly crushed, and Emperor Franz I and Metternich responded by cutting civil liberties and imposing strict censorship.
As a result, people retreated to their houses, concentrating on the domestic and non-political, social life stopped. The second part of the Biedermeier period was marked by growing urbanization and industrialization, leading to a new urban middle class.
People began to meet again, and art was loved. In the late Emperor Franz I was eventually pressured to abdicate in favor of his nephew, Emperor Franz Joseph I, whose 68-year reign was one of Austria’s longest. Together with his wife Elizabeth, the legendary “Sisi”, he shaped Vienna to become one of Europe’s key centers of art and culture.
Johann Strauss, the King of Waltz, was celebrated throughout the world for his wonderful musical compositions. Sigmund Freud was the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior.
Around 1900 in Vienna Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) peaked with noted artists painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. A walk along the Vienna Ringstrasse boulevard with its magnificent buildings, a visit to the Sisi or Sigmund Freud Museum or Österreichischen Galerie Belvedere gives a good overview of this era.
Austria Facts and Figures – 20th Century
Filled with ethnic tension and locked into a rigid system of alliances of the 19th century wars, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was a disaster waiting to happen.
The necessary spark was the assassination of Austrian Archduke and heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 in Sarajevo. Austria’s declaration of war against Serbia marked the beginning of World War I. Emperor Franz Joseph died in 1916, and after the end of the war in 1918 the first Republic of Austria was created, ending 640 years old Hapsburg dynasty.
The young republic suffered massive inflation, unemployment, and near economic collapse. In 1933, the weak coalition government between the Christian Social and Socialist parties manner when Engelbert Dollfuss became chancellor in 1932 as leader of a rightist coalition government, which is designed to solve the problems caused by depression.
In May 1934 Doffluss declared martial law to protect Austria from Hitler. In July Dollfuss was shot and killed by the Nazis in an attempted coup. On 12 March 1938 German troops marched into Austria and the country was incorporated into the German Reich of Adolf Hitler.
After completion of the Second World War in 1945, Austria was restored to its 1937 borders and occupied by the victorious Allies – the United States, Soviet Union, Britain and France.
Facts about Austria – The 21 Century
On May 15th, 1955, Austria declared its permanent neutrality. Thanks to its location near the “Iron Curtain”, Austria quickly developed into a nerve center between east and west.
After the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the 1968 Prague Spring Invasion, Austria provided asylum to refugees. In 1995 Austria joined the European Union.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Austria
What I need to know about Austria?
Austria is a popular vacation sport in the heart of Europe. As a hub of central Europe, it is a convenient destination for many Europeans and visitors from overseas.
It has a rich history, beautiful cities and different kinds of food and drinks that you must try if you’re planning to visit this country.
How is sex talked about in Austria?
The Viennese are considered among the happiest people in the world so why not talk to them and even dine with them if you get the chance.
Even though local people are open-minded, you need to know that 80% of sex workers in Austria are foreigners. So, keep that in mind.
What is Austria famous/known for?
When people are talking about visiting Austria they always mention things like classical music, Austrian locals, castles and rich history.
Is Austria a country?
Yes, the Republic of Austria is a country.
Where is Austria located?
The Republic of Austria is located in the southern part of Central Europe.
How big is Austria?
Austria occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi)