Austria lies in Central Europe, bordering Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Italy. It rests on the east side of The Alps. You can imagine the exhilarating countryside and mountainous views Austria is known for. Although the country is landlocked and there is no sea, there are many lakes that flow through it.
What Is Austria Famous For?
Austria is known for its mountain ranges, lavish palaces, and social culture. Furthermore, there are many traditions in which the population partakes, because of the religious beliefs of the country and the importance placed on family. Austria is famous for its charming natural travel destinations, where these traditions are often held.
History, Culture, and Traditions Austria Is Known For
Coffee Drink Culture
Whilst drinking coffee is an essential part of the day around the world, it is a way of life in Austria. Not only do Austrians drink for a caffeine kick in the morning, but they make it a staple throughout the day. This includes drinks with friends, an afternoon pick-me-up, and even as dessert!
Viennese coffee, for example, is popular globally. It consists of espresso, hot water, whipping cream, and cocoa powder. It is also a staple for breakfast in Austria.
When in Austria, famous food like chocolate can also be served on the side. A similar example is a mocha; however, the former is sweeter.
Eierpecken, also known as ‘egg fighting’, is a common tradition in the Easter period. Austria is known for being predominantly Catholic, which is the main reason why religious holidays are upheld and immensely enjoyed.
During the egg fight, friends or family take a hard-boiled egg and paint it in different colors. After this, they decorate it with stickers or other ornate embellishments. On Easter day, two eggs are taken, one by each person. The eggs are then tapped against each other, and whoever’s egg breaks are the loser.
This continues until only one egg is left, which can then be left all year round as an emblem of good luck.
Almabtrieb is the yearly cattle drive. Austria is known for this alpine event whereby farmers herd their cows and round them up, ensuring they are safe during the winters.
This tradition is not exclusive to cattle and also includes goats and sheep. Almabtrieb occurs in the late September period, after a summer of roaming around freely.
Locals embrace the return of the cattle by celebrating all day, drinking coffee, and handing out snacks after the event.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
If you are interested in the olden times or label yourself as a self-proclaimed historian, you will know about the events leading up to World War I.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand is one of the main historical figures Austria is known for, or more specifically, his assassination.
In 1914, he was shot in Sarajevo by a teenage assassin, which sparked an outcry and subsequently led to an international war. This is because Austria-Hungary recognized this as a personal attack, thereby announcing a war against Serbia.
German is the predominant language which is spoken in Austria, suggesting that Austrians and Germans can understand each other and communicate effectively. However, there are several variations in the dialect, which result in the coining of the term ‘Austrian-German.’
A common example of the difference between Austrian-German and German is the accent. Austrian-German is much harsher, pronouncing the sound ‘G’ in a clearer tone. On the other hand, German is softer. Similarly, accents are put in different places on words.
As a whole, the language is almost entirely the same, apart from a few select words and phrases.
The Summer Solstice Ritual, also known as Midsummer, is a traditional festivity celebrated in Austria. As Austria is located in the Northern hemisphere, this means that the solstice is held on the longest day of the year, which is usually the end of June.
This event can be celebrated with friends or family and is usually a large celebration held outside among nature. People light fireworks, hold barbeques and listen to music in the warm weather.
The Maypole tradition dates back to the 16th century. In Austria and Germany, it is known as ‘maybaum.’ Essentially, this event celebrates the arrival of the spring season at the beginning of May.
Austrians decorate a tree by wrapping a ribbon around it, which is often brightly colored and woven. After this, many like to jubilantly dance around the tree to celebrate.
There are many other versions of the Maypole, some of which include climbing up the tree to retrieve the ribbon. Often, this is done by men, in an attempt to prove their faith in the woman they love.
Cities And Travel Destinations Austria Is Known For
Vienna is the capital, and the main city Austria is famous for. It is almost always the first stop for travelers. After all, the city was the cultural hub of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Vienna is special because it is the world capital of music. The State Opera House, Wiener Staatsoper, is the best place to visit for live concerts, ballet, and of course opera. In addition to this, the Kunsthistorisches Museum is an art museum that is adored by fine art lovers worldwide.
Vienna is also known for its beautiful natural landmarks. For example, Schonbrunner Gardens are a great family day out, especially as they are free of charge! Kids love to roam around Privy Garden, and there is a unique Maze that they will never forget.
If you are a fan of old buildings and Baroque architectural styles, Linz is one of the best cities in Austria to visit.
The Old Town Hall is a huge building that began construction as early as 1415 and opened almost one hundred years later. It is in the heart of the city square and has a clock tower and statue.
The Castle of Linz is another example of an old building in the city. Austria is known for its castles; therefore, it is no surprise that this 13th-century formation is one of the most popular attractions. Currently, the castle serves as a museum, which you can freely explore.
Salzburg is one the biggest cities in the country, and another destination that Austria is famous for. This is predominantly due to its surrounding nature.
Salzburg has some of the best natural landmarks in Austria. For example, it is on the border of Germany, and therefore has scenic views of the Alps. Similarly, the Salzach River runs through Inn and eventually leads to the Danube River flows through.
There are also many historical landmarks. Mirabell Palace is a Baroque-style structure built in 1606, consisting of landscaped gardens and well-maintained plants.
Bregenz is a lesser-known city in Austria, which is a hidden gem if you adore peaceful towns with natural landmarks.
The most attractive feature in Bregenz is Lake Constance. This is a lake that flows through Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, fed by the Rhine River. During the summer, several resorts have water sports such as paragliding, as well as places to sunbathe. Alternatively, in the winter, there are skiing resorts.
Similarly, Fisher’s Pier is another example of a natural landmark in Bregenz. It is found on Lake Constance and consists of a promenade that is perfect to stroll on during the summer.
Innsbruck is a large city in Austria. Austria is famous for the Alps, where Innsbruck is found. Because of this, winter sports such as skiing are incredibly popular here, as there are several resorts to stay at. The Winter Olympics have also been held here twice, in 1964 and 1976.
Additionally, as we mentioned, Austria is known for its castles. The Imperial Palace is a significant historical building in Innsbruck, which was built in the 15th century for Archduke Sigmund the Rich. The tour explores the many rooms, including a gallery and the chapel.
One of the most popular activities is to take a cable car to the top of Innsbruck for some breathtaking views. There is a city card that makes it easy and convenient to explore the city.
The Alps are a famous mountain range that stretches across Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, and others.
The Austrian Alps surround the country, however, are best seen in cities like Innsbruck. On the Alps, you can ski, snowboard, or simply explore. On the other hand, in the summer months, hiking is less chilly and a fun adventure to partake in.
The Alps can also be distinctly seen from Salzburg and Vienna, therefore it is worth considering adding them to your trip!
Landmarks And Architecture Austria Is Famous For
Austria is famous for its many castles and palaces. Schönbrunn Palace is among the most popular, found in the capital city of Vienna.
The palace was built at the beginning of the 18th century, hence its Baroque style. This is reflected by the highly decorative interior and grandiose exterior. Although it is a relatively modern palace, the history of the grounds goes back even further.
The palace and gardens occupy 190 hectares and include over 1,400 rooms. If you decide to visit, the informative tour is a great place to start. This way, you can explore the rooms, sculptures, and fittings which are most interesting.
Consider grabbing a skip-the-line tour or ticket to save time as this is a popular attraction. There are also many other activities and events held in this iconic venue that you can attend.
Kunsthistoriches Museum is an art museum in Vienna.
Although there is an array of collections composed of over 250 thousand works, the building itself is what Austria is famous for. The building itself is colossal, with a dramatic staircase and ornately decorated hall. The exterior features a huge dome that can be seen from the surrounding areas!
The museum houses several masterpieces. This includes The Resurrection, The Tower of Babel, and Madonna del Prato. Aside from Austria, there are works from Germany, Holland, and France.
St Stephen’s Cathedral
As we mentioned, Austria is famous for its palaces.
Hofburg Palace in Vienna is much older than Schönbrunn Palace, as it first opened in the 12th century. The two palaces are linked, as Hofburg Palace and Schönbrunn Palace were the winter and summer imperial residences of the Habsburg dynasty, respectively.
Nowadays, it is the home of the Austrian president, who resides in the Leopoldine Wing of the 2,600-room palace. It also comprises three museums: The Sisi Museum, The Imperial Apartments, and The Silver Collection.
Here, you can also find and tour the Spanish Riding School, where you can experience horse dressage. It is a very popular activity for visitors.
In terms of religious landmarks, Austria is known for its beautiful churches. St Stephen’s Cathedral is located in Vienna and is famous for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, the Cathedral is prominently known for its towers which can be seen on the skyline. There are four in total, the tallest of which stands at 136 meters. These powerful and striking features are a result of the unique architectural style, which is a combination of Gothic and Romanesque.
St Stephen’s Cathedral first opened in the 15th century. As a result, it has been affected by numerous significant historical events. An example of this is the Battle of Vienna, whereby the cathedral was burned in an attempt to siege the capital. It has since then been restored and improved.
The Schlossberg and Uhrturm
The Schlossberg is a hill in the heart of Graz. Although Austria is known for its buildings and grand architecture, we cannot forget about its nature.
The hill is famously 473 meters above sea level, and because of this has magnificent views of the city. Legend states the hill was created by the devil, who was flying over Graz. Suddenly, he became infuriated, dropping the rock he was holding and therefore creating Schlossberg Hill.
On the Schlossberg, you will also find the Uhrturm, a clock tower situated on the hilltop. This clock tower was established in the 13th century, making it an essential historical landmark to visit.
If you prefer adventure you can walk to the tower, however, there are also stairs and a lift. The Schlossberg also has a romantic restaurant with panoramic views. Visiting this iconic spot is one of the best things to do in Graz.
Lake Constance And Bregenz Festival
Lake Constance is a beautiful natural destination in Austria. The promenade of this graceful lake is also the host of the popular Bregenz Festival that Austria is famous for.
Every year in July and August, the arts festival houses musical events as well as other internationally-acclaimed productions. The main venue is the ‘floating stage’, which sits in the lake, surrounded by water. Other events, such as the symphonies, take place in the theatre.
You can visit the Bregenz Festival with friends, or even solo, meeting new people along the way. During the winter months, the lake is colder and there are other activities to partake in. This includes snowboarding or exploring the nearby castles.
Food Austria Is Known For
Wiener schnitzel is a thin slice of veal that is breaded and fried. This is one of the most famous and traditional Austrian food. It first made an appearance in the 19th century, although the original dish was inspired by an entirely different country.
Legend has it that an Austrian general visited Italy, and was in awe of the veal cutlet he sampled in Milan. He went back to his homeland and ordered his chef to cook a similar meal, and hence, Wiener Schnitzel was born.
The dish is often offered as a main course, garnished with lemon, and served with fries.
Apple strudel is undoubtedly one of the main desserts Austria is known for. Strudel itself is a thin pastry that is layered and filled with a combination of fruits, meats, or candies. However, apple sauce is the most typical filling.
This dessert served warm with vanilla ice cream makes for the ultimate Viennese comfort food. There are several recipes with different levels of difficulty, but classic apple strudel is made with homemade pastry and can take hours to make.
Nevertheless, when using premade pastry, this is easier and quicker.
Goulash is arguably a soup or stew. It is originally traced back to 9th-century Hungary, although the Austrian version is an entirely different dish. It is much richer and focuses on meats instead of vegetables.
Austrian goulash is mainly made up of high-quality beef, minced onions, and a thick base of gravy. It is ideal for the wintertime and is a popular meal with Austrians during any time of the year.
Tafelspitz is a popular Austria is known for. Additionally, it is adored by the neighboring country of Germany.
The main component of the dish is boiled beef which is stewed in a broth of bone marrow and vegetables. You can let the meat cook for two to three hours, which allows for the meat to intensify in flavor and melt in your mouth.
Tafelspitz is usually seasoned with horseradish and served with roast potatoes and vegetables. This is a hearty dinner that fills you up in the cold seasons.
Knodel is boiled dumplings that are frequently eaten by many European countries. Aside from Austria, this includes Germany, Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria.
Knodel are versatile in that they can be eaten as a main dish, as a side, or even added to soups and stews! Usually, they consist of flour, bread, and eggs. They can be seasoned with a variety of ingredients such as salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley.
If you are a mac ‘n’ cheese fan, you should consider authentic Käsespätzle. Hearty foods are what Austria is known for, and this is no exception.
The dish consists of spätzle, an egg noodle pasta, which is baked and sprinkled with cheese. This is most often Emmental, although there are many variations. Once baked, this is topped with caramelized onion and enjoyed straight away.
Often this is the main course, because of the richness and depth of flavor. It is made casually for dinners, as well as a side dish for festive occasions and special events.
Famous People From Austria
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American celebrity born in Thal, located in Austria’s second-largest city. He is one of the most famous people from Austria.
Schwarzenegger is popular for a variety of grounds. First and foremost, he is known for his role in box-office hit movies. This includes The Terminator, Jingle All the Way, and Twins. He has worked with several renowned actors such as Danny DeVito and Sharon Stone.
Additionally, Schwarzenegger is a retired bodybuilder who made a career from spirited exercising to enhance his muscles. His awards include wins for both Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, known professionally as Mozart, is arguably the most influential composer of music we have ever had. Like many famous people from Austria, he was born in Salzburg.
Mozart cumulatively produced over 800 works in his career. He later migrated to Vienna where he lived most of his life, although he did not gain much financial security at the time.
His most famous piece is arguably The Jupiter Symphony, which he composed a few years before his death.
Others include The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. His works have been played in operas, included in pop culture, and even referenced in movies.
Sigmund Freud was a neurologist and psychologist who founded the main principal ideas which we still believe today.
His main contribution to society as we know it was his ideas regarding the subconscious. Freud believed that our actions were influenced by our subconscious. This comprises our hidden urges, conscience, and a compromise between the two.
Additionally, Freud’s ideas on psychosexual development involve five stages that shape us into the adults we are today. Although many of his theories have been disputed, he remains the father of psychoanalysis and one of the most famous Austrian people.
Ludwig Wittgenstein is the most influential philosopher which Austria is famous for. He worked primarily in three areas: mathematics, language, and logic.
Although Wittgenstein was born in Vienna, he attended Cambridge University and died in England. Nevertheless, he was proud of his heritage and served in the Austrian army, as well as working there as a teacher.
Wittgenstein published Tractatus Logico–Philosophicus, a book that transformed the way we view language. In short, it summarised that the world is influenced by the words we speak, which shapes our reality.
Andi Herzog is a professional footballer who was born in Vienna. Herzog played for the Austrian national team, where he scored 26 goals during his career.
He played mainly as an attacking midfielder. After retiring as a professional footballer, he subsequently decided to manage clubs instead. His most notable jobs include manager for Israel’s national team, as well as Admira, an Austrian club.
Discovering More Things Austria Is Known For
These are just some of the many things that Austria is famous for. Its many historical features include buildings such as Mirabell, Imperial, and Schönbrunn Palace. Many of these formations are located in Vienna, the dynamic capital city which is popular for its coffee houses, museums, and theatres.
Conversely, Austria is also known for its nature overlooking The Alps. Activities here are not limited to skiing, as hiking during the summer months proves to be an experience you will never forget!