Etiquette & Customs (in short)
The Austrians have a formal attitude to practices and attitudes.
Try to learn as much Austrian you can before you arrive, or at least so many simple words you can, like “Hello”: Guten Tag (GOO-ten tahk), “Thank you”: Danke schön (DAN-kuh shurn) or “Goodbye”: Auf Wiedersehen (owf VEE-dur-zene)
This shows, that you are willing to learn their language. You can learn more here.
- A quick, firm handshake is the traditional greeting
- Maintain eye contact during the greeting
- Some Austrian men, particularly those who are older, may kiss the hand of a female
- A male from another country should not kiss an Austrian woman’s hand
- Women may also kiss men, but men never kiss other men
- Titles are very important and denote respect. Use a person’s title and their surname until invited to use their first name
Gift Giving Etiquette:
- In general, Austrians exchange gifts with family and close friends at Christmas (generally Christmas Eve) and birthdays
- If invited to dinner at an Austrian’s house, bring a small gift of consumables such as chocolates
- If giving flowers, always give an odd number as except for 12, as even numbers mean bad luck
- Do not give red carnations, lilies, or chrysanthemums
- Gifts should be nicely wrapped
- Arrive on time. Punctuality is a sign of respect
- Dress conservatively and elegantly
- Put your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down
- Do not begin eating until the hostess says ‘mahlzeit‘ or ‘Guten Appetit‘
- Cut as much of your food with your fork as possible, since this compliments the cook by saying the food is very tender
- Finish everything on your plate
Should you leave a tip in restaurants or bars?
You can leave a tip, but you don’t have to.
As in many European countries, the bill includes a service charge. So make sure to check the bill itself; there is no need to leave any extra tip in addition to this amount. A service charge is not the same as a tip.
People sometimes give 5 or 10% of the bill as a tip or round up to an even number. It depends on how happy you were with the service.
Austria is generally a peaceful country, but there can always happen thefts of mobile phones, cameras and other valuable things. Be aware of pickpockets around various sights – especially around cathedrals and other places where tourists gather.
Most travellers will not experience any issues or problems on their holiday in Austria. It can happen, but it can also be prevented by some simple precautions as:
- Do not “flash” cash or expensive items
- Visit only the cash machines during the day or early evening
- Do not leave expensive items visible in the car
Places you should avoid in Vienna :
- Brigittenau – Avoid day and night, it’s not safe
- Meidling – Avoid after dark, parts of this area are not safe
- Favoriten – Avoid after dark, it’s not safe
- Rennbahnweg – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
Places you should avoid in Salzburg:
- Salzburg Hauptbahnhof (central station) – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
Places you should avoid in Innsbruck:
- Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof (central station) – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
Emergency numbers in Austria (free call)
In case of any emergency call:
- 112 – National emergency number
- 122 – Fire brigade
- 133 – Police
- 144 – Ambulance
The caller must:
- State the location where assistance is needed
- State their name and telephone number
- State what happened and if it is still happening
- State how many people need help
- State, if there are weapons involved