Austria is home to some of the most celebrated music festivals in the world like the Salzburg Festival (of “The Sound of Music” fame), Haydn Festival and the International Chamber of Music Festival in Vienna. Its capital, Vienna, has also been dubbed as the musical capital of Europe. For enthusiasts of both music and art, a trip to Austria would certainly be an enthusing option. Austria is, after all, the birthplace of Mozart. For those who are just mildly or even remotely interested in the arts, Austria’s artistic influence would merely be an added bonus to some of the other must-sees in the area including horse dances, the country’s snow-covered Alps during winter and the breathtaking castles. The Schloss Bernstein, for one, sits atop a village of the same name and provides a majestic view of its namesake. The castle sits beside Europe’s second largest river, the Danube River. Horse dances is a travel experience you wouldn’t want to miss when in Austria. The people of this country are very fond of horse riding. Schools that showcase Austria’s 400-year old horsemanship stage open door performances. Just remember to book your ticket beforehand. Austria experiences rain showers the whole year round and its summer is moderate in temperature—something to consider on your visit. Another thing to keep tabs on is the culture of the locals. The usual etiquette when meeting someone
for the first time applies, e.g. addressing the person by their last name until given the permission to do otherwise and offering a handshake. German is the national language of Austria and is the language predominantly spoken by locals. It can sometimes differ from Standard German, depending on the locality. Some of the minor languages in use in Austria include Slovene, Hungarian, Croatian and Turkish. A simple “Guten Tag” or “Gruss Gotta,” however, is acceptable when greeting people in public; “Auf Wiedersehen” when saying goodbye. When going around town, it is customary to give cab drivers a 10% tip and to leave a 5% tip on top of your restaurant bill, regardless of the usual service charge. Additionally, take note of the following duty free items when shopping for gifts to take back home: 1. 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco or a proportional mix of these products 2. 1L of spirits over 22% or 2L of fortified wine or spirits up to 22& or 2L of sparkling wine or liqueur and 2L of still wine 3. 500g of coffee or 200g of extracts, essences or concentrates of coffee 4. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extracts 5. 50g of perfume or eau de toilette 6. Medicines sufficient for the journey All the mentioned items above must be carried by a person over 17 years old.