31 Fun Facts About Austria That Will Blow Your Mind

Searching for a few fun facts about Austria? Austria is a country busting at the seams with alpine lakes, stunning mountains, modern and historic cities, charming villages, fresh air, and adventure sports. Needless to say, it’s easy to see the allure.

This country has a ton of history and interesting facts to learn. Whether you’re traveling to Austria or interested in the culture, we’ve compiled some fun Austrian facts for you. Here are some interesting Austria facts to learn about before visiting.


Fun Facts About Austria!


1. Austria is a Landlocked Country

Austrian ski holiday

No beach days in Austria, guys. Austria is landlocked, which is one of those well-known facts about Austria. But what it’s not lacking is neighbors. It’s bordered by Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and even little ol’ Lichtenstein. That’s a lot of border crossings!


2. Most of Austria is High Altitude

Gargellen, Austria fresh snow

This Central European nation sits in the Austrian Alps. As a result, only about 30% of the country is found anywhere below 1,640 feet. Most of it is tall – like, really tall. The highest peak is 12,461 feet above sea level. The mountains naturally affect the culture of the country and how people live.


3. Austria was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Austro-Hungarian Empire

Aka Austria-Hungary. This was a union between the two empires of these countries in 1867. It comprised many kingdoms in Southeastern Europe, including Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Ruled by the Habsburg dynasty, it was one of the most influential, powerful, and biggest European countries. Issues within the empire led to WWI, after which it collapsed.


4. Austria has a Big Roster of Famous Composers

Mozart Austria

This is one of my favorite fun facts about Austria. Famous names like Franz Liszt (born in Austria), Mozart, Strauss (both junior and senior), Schoenburg, Josef Haydn, and Franz Schubert were all from Austria. Classical and orchestral music is still a big deal in the country.


5. Vienna was a Creative and Cultural Hub of Europe

A lot of those composers would have been active in Vienna. The beautiful European city and capital city of Austria drew creatives and intellectuals from all over Europe – thanks in part to its own intellectual heritage, delicious Austrian food, and, of course, its famous coffee houses.

Beethoven (not Austrian) spent most of his life here. Sigmund Freud hung out here, and so did Leon Trotsky, former Yugoslavian dictator Josip Tito, and Adolf Hitler.


6. Yes, Hitler was Austrian

Okay, this is not so much a fun fact about Austria. So, in a way, Germany (with help from Austria) didn’t just start the First World War. It’s also how the Second World War began… kind of.

After serving in WWI, Hitler got into politics in Munich and led the Nazi party to power. The war led to 85 million fatalities, and there hasn’t been a war like it.


7. Austria Isn’t Called Austria in German

It’s called Österreich, which means “Eastern Realm,” or something like that. It was first recorded in 996 AD as Ostarrîchi. It was called this because Austria was once the easternmost portion of Bavaria. Hence the German.


8. The Habsburgs were Based in Austria

Properly referred to as the House of Habsburg, this royal dynasty began in the 11th century and became the most distinguished noble house in Europe. Every single Holy Roman Emperor, bar one, was a Habsburg. That lasted until the Empire ceased to exist in 1806, creating the Austrian Empire.


9. After WWII, Austria was Split Apart

A little-known fact about Austria, we think. These were the British, French, American, and Soviet occupation zones. The country was split into four and run by the Allied Commission for Austria. Vienna, the capital, was also divided into four and was effectively an international zone. This lasted until 1955.


10. Austria’s National Day Celebrates the Allied Forces Leaving

Yep. Well, sort of. On October 26, 1955, the Austrian Parliament passed a law of “permanent neutrality.” This day, October 26, is celebrated as the country’s National Day each year.


11. Austria is Home to the Oldest Restaurant in Europe

Founded in 803 AD in the walls of an abbey, St. Peter Stiftskulinarium is a super, super old restaurant and inn. It’s the oldest still in existence, anyway. Greats like Mozart and Christopher Colombus are said to have eaten at the restaurant.


12. Half of Austria’s Electricity Comes from Hydropower

This is one of my favorite facts about Austria. It may seem strange for a country with no coast, but hold up: there are waterfalls, rivers, and a lot of water streaming down the mountains all the time. Hydroelectric dams are the way to do it, with Kolnbrein Dam being the tallest. Combining wind, solar, and biomass power plants, Austria makes about 60% of its electricity from renewable sources.


13. Austria Doesn’t Have a Big Population

Austria has a population of 8.83 million people. 1.8 of these people live in Vienna. To compare, London, UK, has a population of 8.7 million. Austria’s second-largest city only has a population of 255,000.


14. 19% of Austria’s Population are Foreign-Born

What an interesting fact about Austria! That’s a lot for a European country. If you’re looking for hard numbers, that’s about 1.69 million people not born in Austria living in Austria. All people inside and outside the EU come to Austria looking for better prospects.


15. You Get to Know Your Teachers in Austria

In the Austrian equivalent to elementary school, kids are taught in classes by one teacher for four years. They’d be like a family member by the time you moved on to junior high. Oh, and also, you only go to school from 8 am to 12 pm. Four hours a day? Not bad.


16. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian Jew

He sure was. He was a neurologist who lived and worked in Vienna and is considered the founder of psychoanalysis. He analyzed people’s dreams, came up with the theory of being fixated based on various stages of your childhood, the id, ego, and superego, and is supremely influential. After escaping the threat of Nazism in the 1930s, Freud died in London.


17. Red Bull came from Austria…

… Via Thailand, that is. Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian entrepreneur, went on a trip to Thailand in 1982. Looking for a cure for jetlag, he found Krating Daeng, an energy drink formulated in 1975 to help keep Thai laborers refreshed. He took the formula back to Austria as “Red Bull,” and, needless to say. It was a hit. Don’t worry; the Yoovidhya family, who originally came up with Krating Daeng (which also means “red bull” in Thai) own 51% of the business.


18. Winter Sports are Big News in Austria

So big that they’ve hosted two Winter Olympics and the very first Youth Winter Olympics. All those winter sports – like bobsleigh, luge, skeleton, and classics like ski jumping and slalom – have the benefit of many dedicated facilities in Austria. Why would you not, with all those mountains and all that snow?


19. It Never Gets Very Warm in Austria

Another reason winter sports are probably such a big thing is that the snow never melts. Well, mostly anyway. Every 300 meters you go upwards, the temperature goes down by 5°C. Chilly. The hottest average temperature for Vienna is 19°C, and the lowest average is -1°C. Needless to say, it’s cold here.


20. During the 19th century, Vienna was Involved in Nine Major Wars

This is one of those wild facts about Austria, don’t you think? It was a tumultuous time, that’s for sure. At the start of this century, you had Napoleon marched all over Europe. Then there was the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. The list could go on. With all these wars going on, the average life expectancy during this time in Vienna was just 38.


21. Vienna Boasts one of the Largest Cemeteries in the World

Totally. It’s called Vienna Central Cemetery. And inappropriately enough, it was opened on October 31, 1874 (Halloween, if you were wondering). Spanning over 600 acres, it’s the site of over 330,000 graves and 3,000,000 internments. The first person to be buried there – Jacob Zelzer – was interred 15 days after it opened. Viennese people joke, “It’s half the size of Zurich, but twice as much fun.”


22. Austria has the Largest Ice Cave in the World

A cool fact about Austria: it boasts the world’s largest ice cave. Located in Werfen, the Eisriesenwelt is completely plastered with ice in its 26-mile-long interior. It was only known locally until 1879, before which the locals regarded it as the entrance to hell. A bit cold for hell, though, right? Fast-forward to right now, and it gets over 200,000 visitors a year. Temperatures are below freezing, and no photos are allowed.


23. The oldest known natural human mummy in Europe was found in Austria

Sort of, anyway; it was on the Austria-Italy border. He’s over 4,000 years old, and his name is Ötzi. The Iceman (as he’s also known) was found in 1991 by two German tourists. They thought he was just some ice climber who’d not made it; little did they know, he was super old.


24. Croissants are Not French

facts about austria

A diabolical fact about Austria now, as we imagine, many of you are reeling in shock. No croissants are not French. They are just one of the many pastry-based delights you can find in Austria – particularly in Vienna.

Croissants, alongside other pastries that proliferated through Paris, were known as Viennoiseries: a selection of Viennese-style treats that either came from Vienna or were born in Paris after the Viennese fashion.


25. Coffee is Super Important to Austrian People

In Vienna’s golden age, there were tons of different coffee shops. Today, there are still loads. Old coffee shops still exist, like 19th-century establishments Café Central and Café Landtmann. They were the places where intellectuals created, sat, drank coffee, and exchanged ideas.

There’s a Viennese blend – Wiener mélange – which is kind of like a cappuccino. Around 90% of Austrian people drink coffee. There’s even a name for a 3 pm coffee break (with pastries, of course) – jause.


26. There’s a Long History of Organic Farming in Austria

facts about austria

This is another of my favorite fun facts about Austria. Starting up from around 1927 to 1935, the Carinthian region of Austria began seeing the emergence of organic farms. As of 2010, 21,800 farmers were managing 545,000 hectares of organic farmland. That’s pretty good!


27. The Austrian Flag is One of the Oldest in the World

Based on the coat-of-arms of the Babenberg dynasty, the Austrian tricolor of red, white, and red was first attested in 1230. But it’s thought to have been used as a national flag from around the 15th century.


28. Postcards as we Know Them Come from Austria

Though the first postcard known to be sent was from a London writer (to himself) in 1848, it was the Austrian government who allowed the use of postcards throughout the country in 1869 – and beyond. It was, in fact, a postcard from Vienna with an image on it that became known as the first postcard as a souvenir: the picture postcard.


29. Austria Made the Waltz Popular

facts about austria

You know that dance, usually in a ballroom, everyone’s turning around as they walk along in a big circle? Yeah, the waltz. That wasn’t always so fancy. The nobility danced minuets, as composed by Haydn and Mozart, but the working people danced this thing known as a Landler.

As aristocrats copied it from commoners’ dances, it became the waltz. This style of dance, adopted by high society in 1780s Vienna, became uber-popular throughout Europe.


30. Vienna has a Palace with 1,441 rooms

Wow, those Habsburgs sure knew how to live, didn’t they? Built in its current form between 1740 and 1750, the Schonbrunn Palace is a grandiose Rococo edifice and one of the most spectacular buildings in Austria. It’s got a lot of rooms – almost 1,500 of them. That’s impressive.


31. Military Service is Compulsory for Men in Austria

Yep. All males under the age of 35 must have completed six-month conscription in the military or a nine-month stint in the civil service. Between 17 and 51, all Austrian males are subject to compulsory military service.


32. Austria and Australia get Confused a Lot 

Koala in Australia

Post gets sent to the wrong country; people book flights to Down Under instead of the Alps, social media mix-ups, and news channels confuse them (CNN did it)… You can see why.

For example, one Australian parcel was sent to Austria five times with five “Missent to Austria” stamps (yes, there’s a specialized stamp for it). An amazing fact about Australia – we mean Australia. Argh! Austria. A great fact about Austria.


We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Austria! See below for more facts around the world!

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About Natasha

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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