Fascinating Facts for fans of Austria!

By: Simon la Lau at 03-01-2024 - reactions

Austria; a stunning country with unique mountain landscapes that attract tourists from around the world for unforgettable winter sports adventures, breathtaking mountain hikes, and gourmet delights that make your taste buds rejoice. Located in the heart of Europe, amidst the breathtaking Alps, Austria serves as a natural border between the north and south of the continent. Despite being twice the size of the Netherlands, the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wolfgang Mozart, and Niki Lauda has only half the population.

Austria is likely a well-known holiday destination for many, but did you know, for example, that the name comes from the German word "Ostarrichi," meaning eastern land? Discover such fascinating facts about the beloved holiday destination and much more in this blog!

Slogan

Austrians prefer travelers to keep coming to their favorite holiday destination. To prevent tourists from accidentally booking a ticket to Australia instead of Austria, the locals have come up with a humorous slogan for Austria: "No kangaroos in Austria." This slogan is often used on road signs and souvenirs.

Winter Sports

In addition to this lighthearted approach by the Austrians, the country is, of course, known for its fantastic winter sports opportunities. The Alpine country is, figuratively speaking, one large ski area. This places them in third position globally with over 3525 lifts, surpassed only by the United States and Japan. However, Austria not only boasts impressive ski resorts but also had a notable record holder: Harry Egger was the fastest skier in the world for three years. The almost 60-year-old daredevil achieved an astonishing speed of 248 km/h in 1999 on the Les Arcs circuit in France!

Mystical Discovery

It was not the only remarkable event that took place in the Austrian mountains in the 1990s. In 1991, a fascinating discovery was made: a frozen mummy of a 35-year-old man, 160 cm tall, who lived more than 5000 years ago. A discovery that adds a mystical touch to the rich history of the country, or so it was assumed. After thorough research, however, it turned out that Ötzi, as the mummy is called, was not found in Austria but just 92 meters across the border in Italy.

Despite the disappointing outcome of the research, Austria eventually got its own Ötzi: a popular Austrian DJ, known for the hit 'Anton aus Tirol,' goes by the stage name DJ Ötzi!

Spectacular Landscape

One thing that is not kept secret is the beauty of the Krimml Waterfalls. These stunning cascades, with a height of 380 meters, are the highest in Europe and therefore an impressive spectacle to visit. It's no surprise that Austria harbors such beautiful waterfalls when you consider that 62% of the Austrian territory is occupied by the enchanting Alps. The Grossglockner mountain is considered the highest point, making it an iconic feature of the Austrian Alps.

The Großglockner

By Car

To drive from the west to the east of the country by car, you cross a significant part of the Alps. Along the way, you can choose to visit hundreds of lakes in the country, provided you take a considerable detour, but that is, of course, an unusual route. You can also choose to drive through a forested area since the Alpine country is one of the most forested countries in Europe!

However, if you opt for the fastest route of 705 km from the westernmost point (border with Slovakia and Hungary) to the easternmost point (border with Liechtenstein), you receive a remarkable piece of advice. It is recommended not only to travel through Austria but also to take a significant portion of the German highway, as this is considerably faster.

Language and Hospitality

Fortunately for Austrians, they can easily make themselves understood at German gas stations. Over 90% of Austrians speak German, the official language of the country. However, Hungarian, Slovenian, and Croatian are also official languages, but only in the regions of Burgenland and Carinthia. Allowing 'foreign' languages as official languages is a sign of the hospitality for which Austrians are known according to other Europeans. The population of the Alpine country wants to maintain this image and tries to smile at every passerby, even if they are going through a tough time in their own lives.

Culinary Heritage

Regarding the culinary culture of Austria, there is a rich variety of flavors and culinary delights to discover. When visiting Austria, tourists should definitely taste the local delicacies, including the famous apple strudel, schnitzels, and mulled wine! Besides these treats, almost all holidaymakers also try the two wheat beers Weizenbier and Stiegelbreu. Due to the beer's taste sensation, it has become an essential part of the culinary culture. Local breweries offer a range of delicious beers. However, it's not the only golden drink that is incredibly popular in Austria. A world-famous energy drink also comes from the Alpine country: Red Bull. It is a typical example of how Austrian eating and drinking habits have also influenced the international market.

Sustainability

Austria not only influences the culinary world but also the global stage. When it comes to sustainability, the country is a major player. It was one of the first countries in the world to switch to more than 50% energy-saving equipment and currently gets over 75% of its electricity from various renewable sources.

Enjoying a mulled wine

Transportation

Being a pioneer has always been in the blood of Austrians. In the mid-19th century, the country built a railway. This railway ran through the mountains and still exists today! After laying the first train track, Austrians haven't been idle. The country is now known as one of the largest railway countries in Europe, with an impressive length of 5800 km of railway lines! So, taking a train in Austria is not impossible. Renting a bike is also not unrealistic. Bike rental is very common, allowing you to easily explore the breathtaking landscape by bike. An additional advantage is that if you rent a bike in one city, you can simply return it in another city. This provides an environmentally friendly way of traveling.

Cycling to the top of a mountain is not for everyone, but that's what cable cars are for. There is, for example, the Zugspitzbahn that takes you from Austria to the highest mountain in Germany, the Ahornbahn in the Zillertal that can transport 160 passengers at once, and the Kitzsteinhornbahn in Kaprun that takes you to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier, even in the summer.

Festive Traditions

Celebrating in Austria is not limited to climbing mountains or admiring breathtaking views. In the months of January and February, the Alpine country transforms into a paradise for ball and carnival enthusiasts. Two celebrations that are part of the traditional festivities in Austria and that are essentially open to everyone. In addition to the authentic festivities, they also celebrate the end of winter. Traditionally, a puppet or effigy of a witch is made and then placed on the bonfire. Lighting the bonfire symbolizes the end of the cold months. Such events vary by region.

Freedom

If, after reading all these remarkable, fun, and interesting facts, you are fully convinced to travel to Austria for a holiday, here's an additional fun fact: In Austria, you are allowed to wild camp in some places, as long as you take your waste with you! Just make sure before pitching your tent that it is allowed in the area you are in at that moment.



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