Most Austrians are formal and polite, but also friendly, thoughtful, courteous and diplomatic. Proud of their heritage, they hold persons of art and academia in very high regard, as the arts, and music in particular, are an important part of their culture. A favorite pastime of the Austrian people is relaxing in a café over a cup of Viennese coffee, a mouthwatering pastry and a lively conversation.
German is the official language of Austria, however you will hear strong regional dialects throughout the country.
The majority of Austrians are Catholic, with other Christian religions following. Different worldwide religions are also represented in smaller numbers.
Austrians tend to be formal when greeting friends and acquaintances. The usual salutation is guten tag, good day, or Grüss Gott, God's greetings, when meeting, and auf Wiedersehen, goodbye, upon parting company.
Music plays a very important role in Austria's culture. With a long and distinguished history of great musicians and composers, it's no wonder Austrians are proud of their heritage. Theatre, the opera and symphony are also key elements of the country's national image.
Austria's cuisine has been influenced by her neighboring countries, and her desserts are renowned worldwide. Some tasty dishes to try while you're visiting include: wiener schnitzel, breaded and fried veal escalope; tafelspitz, or boiled beef, Austria's national dish; and palatschinken, Austrian pancakes. Then the desserts! Don't miss apfelstrudel, mehlspeisen - cakes and puddings, and numerous delicious tortes - the most famous being Sacher-Torte, a luscious creation of chocolate and apricot jam.
And what to drink with your meal? Sample the local wines or sip some Obstler, the regional fruit schnapps. Plus, the coffee in Austria is excellent.