The aim of the current study was to estimate the prevalence of all primary headaches and cranial neuralgias in the general community. As part of the population-based Bruneck Study, 574 men and women aged 55–94 years underwent extensive neurological and laboratory examinations involving a standardized headache interview. In the Bruneck Study population the lifetime prevalence of all primary headaches combined and of cranial neuralgias was 51.7 and 1.6%, respectively. Tension-type headache (40.9%) and migraine (19.3%) emerged as the most common types of headache. In men and women aged 55–94 years the 1-year prevalence of primary headaches was high at 40.5%. In this age range headaches caused significant impairment of health-related quality of life. The Bruneck Study has confirmed the high lifetime prevalence of primary headaches and cranial neuralgias in the general population and provided first valid prevalence data for all primary headaches based on International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition criteria.