Austria in detail


Austrians are fairly formal and use irony to alleviate social rules and constraints rather than debunk or break them overtly.

  • Telephone Always give your name at the start of a telephone call, especially when making reservations. When completing the call, say auf Wiederhören ('goodbye'), the customary telephone form.
  • Greetings Use the Sie (formal 'you') form unless you're young-ish (in your 20s) and among peers, or your counterpart starts using du (informal 'you'). Acknowledge fellow hikers on trails with a Servus, Grüss di (or the informal Grüss dich) or Grüss Gott (all ways of saying 'hello!').
  • Eating & Drinking Bring chocolate or flowers as a gift if invited into a home. Before starting to eat, say Guten Appetit. To toast say Zum Wohl (if drinking wine) or Prost! (beer), and look your counterpart in the eye – not to do so is impolite and reputedly brings seven years of bad sex.