Traditional Austrian dishes are Wiener Schnitzel,
boiled beef (Tafelspitz), calf’s liver
with herbs in butter (Geröstete Leber),
Palatschinken and Salzburger Nockerln,
as well as various types of smoked and cured pork. Viennese
cuisine is strongly influenced by southeast European cuisine,
notably that of Hungary, Serbia, Dalmatia and Romania. Many
of the simpler meals are often made with rice, potatoes and
dumplings (Knödel) with sauces. The
main meal of the day is lunch.
Mehlspeisen is the national term for cakes and puddings,
all of which are wonderfully appetising. There are more than
57 varieties of Torte, which is often consumed
with coffee at around 1500 hrs. Open all day, the Austrian
coffee shop (Kaffeehaus) is little short
of a national institution and often provides the social focus
of a town or neighbourhood.
Spirits such as whisky and gin, together with imported beers,
tend to be rather expensive, but local wines are excellent
and cheap. Most of the wines are white and include Riesling,
Veltliner, but there are also some good red wines from Baden
and Burgenland, as well as imported wines
from other European countries. Generally the strict registration
laws mean that the quality of the wine will be fully reflected
in its price. Obstler is a drink found in
most German-speaking countries, and is made by distilling
various fruits. It is usually very strong, and widely drunk
as it is cheap and well flavoured. Most bars or coffee houses
have waiter service and bills are settled with the arrival
of the drinks and the restaurants have waiter service.
There are no national licensing laws in Austria, but each
region has local police closing hours. Most coffee houses
and bars serve wine and beers as well as soft drinks.
High-quality goods such as handbags, chinaware, glassware
and winter sports equipment represent the cream of specialist
items found in Austria. A 20-32 % value-added-tax (called
MwSt) is included in the list price of items
Shopping opening hours
Shops and stores are generally open from Monday-Friday
0800-1800 hrs (with a 1 or 2 -hour lunch break in
the smaller towns). Some shops are open until 1930 hrs on
Thursday and on Saturday opening hours are until 1700 hrs.
Viennese nightlife offers something for every taste including:
opera, theatre and cabaret
as well as numerous discos, bars and nightclubs.
There are cinemas of all types, some of them of architectural
interest, showing films in different languages. A good way
to spend a summer evening is in one of the beer gardens found
all over the country. The wine-growing area around Vienna
features wine gardens (Heurigen) where visitors
can sample local wines in an open-air setting.
Dec ‘Magic of Advent’ Christmas Market,
For a full list of events celebrated in Austria, contact the
Austrian National Tourist Office (see Contact
The following is a selection of
special events occurring in Austria in 2005:
||New Near Day's Concert in
|| FIS Snowboarding World Cup
||International Ballooning Week,
||Snow Arena Polo, Kitzbühel
||Mozart Week, Salzburg
| January 22th-30th
||Resonanzen Festival, Vienna
|| Rainbow Ball, Gay and Lesbian
||Formula 1: Austrian Grand
||Vienna Spring Festival.
||Davidoff Gourmet Festival
|| Vienna City Marathon.
||Jazz Festival, Vienna.
|| International Milka Chocolate
||International Youth &
Music Festival, Vienna.
|July 25-Aug 31st
||Christmas Market Schönbrunn,
|| ‘Magic of Advent’
Christmas Market, Vienna
Austrians tend to be quite formal in both their social and
their business dealings. They do not use first names when
being introduced, but after the initial meeting first names
are often used. Handshaking is normal when saying hello and
goodbye. It is considered impolite to enter a restaurant or
shop without saying Guten Tag or, more usually, Grüss
Gott, similarly, to leave without saying Auf Wiedersehen can
cause offence. Social pleasantries and some exchange of small-talk
is appreciated. If invited out to dinner, flowers should be
brought for the hostess.
The Church enjoys a high and respected position in Austrian
society, which should be kept in mind by the visitor. It is
customary to dress up for the opera or the theatre.
Widespread, but large amounts are not expected. On restaurant
bills a service charge of 10 to 15% is included, but it is
usual to leave a further 5 %. Attendants at theatres, cloakrooms
or petrol pumps, expect to be tipped €0.15-0.25. Railway
and airports have fixed charges for portering. Taxi drivers
expect €0.25-0.50 for a short trip and 10% for a longer