17 Things You Should Know About Austria If You Plan to Visit It Soon
Austrians are known as people who enjoy art, sports, good coffee and are fans of a healthy lifestyle. Also, they are hard workers who try to create a very warm home that they will be proud to open to guests. And of course, they are pretty famous for their amazing desserts that any tourist should give a taste. But, there are also other customs and traditions that might look unusual to someone visiting from a different part of the world.
- Dogs are welcome everywhere. They can visit cafes, restaurants, subways, and many other public places and transport. Places that prohibit dogs usually have a sign saying so.
- Dogs are more welcome in restaurants than your children. The patrons will be unhappy to see your baby at a restaurant but will fawn all over your dog. If your baby behaves...people will come up to you afterwards to compliment you on your “good baby”. Janet Darrow / Quora
- They don’t use taxis. It’s normal in many places to just call a cab or an Uber, although you’d only have to walk for 10 or 15 minutes. This is not the case in Austria. Taking a cab in Austria means you’re either very old and not able to walk anymore, or really rich and can’t be bothered. Jakob-Manuel Krobath / Quora
- Eating meat with lingonberry jam (a slightly less bitter type of cranberry), especially beef, steaks and game meat (I didn’t even know that word existed). A classic “Wiener Schnitzel” is also served with lingonberry jam. Jakob-Manuel Krobath / Quora
- The litter-burning factory called Spittelau is one of the capital’s business cards. Tourists get surprised with the way this building looks: its walls are decorated with colorful mosaics, while its golden tops joyfully shine in the sun. It was designed by the famous Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He was a true protector of ecology and started working on the project only when he got ensured that the new plant in the center of Vienna wouldn’t bring any harm to the environment.
- Austrian don’t use bedspreads. If you check into a hotel, you’ll likely notice that there will be a neatly folded blanket lying on the bed in your room. The bed itself will have no cover on it. You will also rarely see bedspreads in the homes of Austrian people, while visitors or immigrants from other countries, for example, will often add it to their interior.
- “If you ask, ’Does this dress make me look fat?’ you will actually get a ‘Yes,’ if it does!’ Austrians come across as super harsh to lots of other cultures, but if what they are saying is true — then the Austrian is not being harsh (in their opinion). They are just telling it like it is.” Mariana Bernasconi / Quora
- It is unlikely that you will find an Austrian who can’t ski. They are taught this activity from their very childhood, visiting ski resorts with their parents. Moreover, when they are schoolkids, they take mandatory ski classes. It is no coincidence that it is the Austrian skiers who usually receive the largest number of medals at the World and European Championships. "Skiing is quite an expensive activity and that’s why many only do it once or twice a year. Still, we watch the Alpine Ski World Cup together and it’s just as important as soccer, maybe even more so, because we’re good at it. Jakob-Manuel Krobath / Quora
- Distain for fruit and vegetables. Ok, I know potatoes are a vegetable, but they appear in many guises and frequently in Austrian cuisine, but there aren’t that many others. I often have to resort to buying fresh fruit if I’m touring in Austria because traditional restaurants do well in their offering of meat, spuds and dumplings, but fruit and green veg gets hardly a look in. (Ok, I know asparagus time is a big deal). Nick Schön / Quora
- It’s okay to smile a lot but don’t expect the Viennese to smile back. Smiling is a cultural thing. Americans smile a lot...as do some other cultures. The Viennese attitude is “I’ll smile when there is a reason to smile.” They tend to think we look like loons smiling all of the time. Janet Darrow / Quora
- Tourists might get scared by the buttons in Austrian elevators. For those who are used to seeing only numbers in elevators, finding letters on the panel might look pretty weird. These buttons carry passengers to the rooftop, ground floor, and basement.
- Tickets to the famous Vienna Opera House are not affordable for everyone, but there is a way around this. On the day of the performance, a couple of hours prior to its start, people can buy standing room tickets. They are about as expensive as a cup of coffee. Besides the concert itself, visitors can entertain themselves with a free excursion around the theater. “There was a huge queue for the standing room tickets, as expected. But we were lucky because the counter closed just after we got our tickets. We were awe-struck as soon as we entered the State Opera house. It was beautiful. I mean, really beautiful.” Rohan Jain / Quora
- There is a shelf in Austrian toilet bowls. Before going to the sewage, the former contents of the guts stays on the surface of a shelf located inside the bowl. That’s how people can do a self-check for their health or take a sample of their stool to later bring in for testing.
- There is a dog tax in Austria. The tax is fixed for all owners of 4-legged friends and it doesn’t depend on their breed. Each city sets the tax rate independently, but on average, the owners pay €72 per year for the first dog and €105 for each subsequent one. Those who don’t comply with the rule can be fined for a large amount of money.
- Don’t wear overalls. They aren’t in fashion now, but fads come back. I made the mistake of wearing my cute overalls there but I never felt so stared at or loathed as the day that I wore them out shopping. I think I burned them afterwards. Only laborers wear overalls. Janet Darrow / Quora
- Austrians can study at university for their whole life. Due to the fact that studying at universities is free, everyone goes and they go at any age. Your classmate may easily be someone’s grandfather, who decided to refresh his knowledge or learn something new.
- Staring at unknown people can be considered the manifestation of a bad upbringing in some countries, but it’s the other way around in Austria. Locals watch unknown people on public transport or in the streets with undisguised interest. This doesn’t mean that the object of attention looks strange, on the contrary, this is how Austrians express their approval. “You haven’t really lived in Vienna long enough if you don’t just stare at people on the subway without feeling any guilt about it.” toffmon / Reddit
What are some of your country’s customs and traditions that might seem unusual to outsiders?