Revealed: The 10 Most Romantic Ski Resorts in the Austrian Alps

by Felice Hardy

Most Romantic Resorts in Austria

 
There are all sorts of reasons why you might be considering a trip to the Alps this season. If you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder, you’ll need little encouragement – the sheer delight of flying down a mountainside with the wind in you hair is its own reward.

But that’s not the key factor for everyone. For parents, it can be a great way to keep children busy and grinning ear-to-ear in a healthy and active way. Others love nothing more than taking in a mighty mountain panorama on the sun terrace of a mountain restaurant, piping-hot gluhwein in hand.

Several ski resorts are also reporting that couples who’ve stopped heading to the slopes in recent winters are increasingly reigniting their passion for the mountains – and perhaps for each other – by taking up skiing or snowboarding again.

It’s not a new idea: shared enjoyment of the slopes can bring couples closer together. I mean, why wouldn’t it? Only the most cold-hearted would fail to be seduced by log fires, stunning scenery, great food, and the constant exhilaration of carving down the hill all on a daily basis.

Depending on what you’re looking for, there’ll be dozens of amazing ski destinations that fit the bill. But if romance is the name of the game and you want an Alpine setting that fits, there’s really only one option: Austria.

 

Why Austria Is the Answer for a Romantic Ski Break


Explore the rolling pastures and pine forests of regions like Tirol and Salzburgerland, and you’ll find the place is dotted with chocolate box villages set against a backdrop of snowy peaks. The architecture, too, is magnificent: traditional chalets are invariably constructed from local timber and decorated with intricate heart-shaped fretwork.

When you step inside each mountain chalet – be it a simple bed and breakfast pension or a five-star hotel – and you’ll regularly find a spotless interior with a warming log fire or antique tiled stove, wood-panelled walls, hand-painted furniture and home cooking.

There are very few places in the world that offer all this, and certainly nowhere that delivers it with the consistency of Austrian skiing.

So where, exactly, should you go? Look no further than my personal shortlist of Austria’s most beautiful villages, and the top ten romantic resorts for the winter.

 

For Medieval Splendour, Try St Johann


St Johann - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaThe 16th century silver-mining town of St Johann in Tirol is one of the most gorgeous ski towns in the Alps. The traffic-free centre has cobblestone streets and pastel-painted buildings decorated with delicate frescoes.

The centre of this pretty but unpretentious Tirolean village is full of old coaching inns, offering plenty of quiet spots to hole yourself up in with a glühwein after a hard day of skiing.

Once you hop on a lift and leave the idyllic village behind, you’ll find the slopes are mostly easy-going – the snowsure side of Kitzbüheler Horn has 60km of pistes which will suit intermediates skiers (with plenty still to offer for more advanced ability levels). A toboggan run, ice-skating rink, and indoor pool at Panorama Badewelt (with a 62-metre water chute) mean non-skiing couples have plenty of entertaining ways to fill the day.

Those in search of large lift systems and dozens of bars or restaurants will be more at home in nearby Kitzbuhel, but what St Johann lacks in scale it more than makes up for in understated charm.

 

Alpbach Is a Perfect, Pocket-Sized Village


Alpbach - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaAlpbach is a small sunny settlement that is regularly voted the prettiest village in Austria. A green and white 17th-century church surrounded by wooden chalets and two medieval inns dominate the centre.

In the early 1970s the resort resolved not to go down the commercial route taken by some of its rivals. As a result it remains an unspoilt village where farming carries on outside the ski season.

However, the skiing certainly isn’t limited: a couple of years ago Alpbach linked up with Auffach in the Wildschönau to form the giant Ski Juwel area.

The nightlife is quiet and laid-back, and this is one of the factors (as well as its undeniable beauty) that makes it a excellent destination for couples looking for a romantic escape.

 

You’ll Find Lakeside Beauty in Zell am See


Zell am See - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaZell am See was first established by a monastic order in the eighth century and was of great commercial importance in medieval times. The stately old buildings have been transformed over the years into hotels, boutiques and villas that are dotted along the shore of the beautiful Lake Zell.

There are several top ski resorts around the world near lakes, but Lake Zell is surely one of the most scenic – if not the most. As you’d expect in a lakeside resort with a busy summer season as well as a winter one, there are some lovely hotels – including five-star Hotel Salzburgerhof, and four-star Romantikhotel Zell am See which has rooms with panoramic views of the lake. Skiing is substantial – backed up by a snow-sure glacier on the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier above Kaprun.

 

The Heart of Family Skiing: Obergurgl


Obergurgl - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaObergurgl is where I learnt to ski and it will always have a special place in my heart. The first time I fell in love I was seven years old and his name was Walter; he was my ski instructor in Obergurgl and at 25 seemed ancient.

My heart broke when I had to fly home without him. Next year I was back again, but by then Walter had moved on to Squaw Valley and Pepi swiftly replaced him in my affections.

I returned 30 years later to find that the resort had grown, but remained the same charming village set around an onion-domed church, with a handful of shops and an outdoor ice-skating rink. Because the village is set at the end of a valley it doesn’t attract day-trippers or weekenders, so the pistes remain blissfully uncrowded and you never have to queue for a lift.

 

It’s Ischgl for Couples That Like to Party


Ischgl - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaAn unorthodox choice in a list of ski resorts characterised by their quiet charm, Ischgl is for couples that would sooner dance together into the wee hours than curl up close by a log fire.

This is the birthplace of the mountainside music festival, a badge Ischgl has worn with honour since 1994 when Elton John opened the season, and continues today with the Top of the Mountain Festival. Past concerts have featured Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Sting, Bon Jovi, Deep Purple, The Killers, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, The Scissor Sisters, The Killers, and – last year – Robbie Williams.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is therefore a resort full of the 20-somethings you’ll find in other resorts that carry a ‘party town’ reputation. The largely upmarket accommodation and smattering of Michelin-starred restaurants means the typical Ischgl-goer is at least ten years older than that.

The skiing’s not half bad, either. 45 frequently-upgraded lifts serve 235km of slopes which, especially after a big night at Pacha beneath Hotel Madlein, are regularly free of crowds.

If you like largely intermediate skiing with dramatically long runs and you love to party, I can think of no better place in Europe for a ski holiday than Ischgl.

 

Innsbruck Doubles as a Romantic City Break


Innsbruck - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaThe colourful old city of Innsbruck is always associated with Emperor Maximilian I who ruled here in the 16th century and built the city’s iconic landmark, the Goldenes Dachl – or golden roof.

The city has its own international airport, which is surrounded by towering mountains on either side of the valley. You can ski locally in Igls – the setting for the Men’s Downhill of the 1976 Winter Olympics which was won by Austrian legend Franz Klammer. Snowboarders head for Axamer Lizum, which is set 1000m above the city and is as close to purpose-built as you will find in Austria.

With some lovely architecture – not least the grand Habsburg palace and baroque cathedral – Innsbruck is very different to the other locations on the list simply because it’s a city. To that end, the options for restaurants and non-skiing activities far exceed equivalent ski resorts. Which makes Innsbruck a great fit for anyone who considers skiing or boarding to be only a secondary interest.

 

Royal Flavour: Lech and Zürs


Lech Zurs - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaFrom the late Princess Diana, the Jordanian and Dutch royal families and Princess Caroline of Monaco to Boris Becker and Vladamir Putin, Lech and its neighbour Zürs are a favourite of royals and celebrities. The two villages are quiet hideaways and very smart indeed, so it’s really no wonder that they have such a history of rich and famous clientele.

The traditional village of Lech – which also served as a film location for Bridget Jones’ Diary 2 – lies on the banks of a river, with a large collection of lavish four- and five-star hotels. It’s an ideal base for people who prefer a flattering piste to a tricky challenge. If you want something more testing, head over to St Anton, which is on the same lift pass.

 

Steep and Deep Lovers Should Go to St Anton


St Anton - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaSt Anton is the place for couples who are excellent skiers, as they will be tested to their limits. Beginners might find St Anton’s ski area intimidating, with the exception of party animals who are mainly here for the nightlife.

The world-famous resort is at the heart of the Arlberg area and the village is a blend of old and new, with a pedestrian zone lined with shops, bars, cafés and traditional hotels.

There are lots of romantic places to go while you’re here, including the Underground On The Piste bar which has live music and lots of atmosphere, and The Museum restaurant where you eat in front of the fireplace in what feels like someone’s large private home.

 

Sumptuous and Sophisticated: Seefeld


Seefeld - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaSeefeld is a stylish and sophisticated town with an attractive pedestrian main street a bit like a small Innsbruck or Kitzbühel. Plush hotels with gourmet restaurants, a casino, and an impressive health centre attract visitors who don’t necessarily come here to ski downhill.

Which makes it a great option if you’d prefer a winter wonderland experience to an intense week of skiing. You can wrap up warm for a romantic sleigh ride, walk along some of the many mountain paths, or try Seefeld’s raison d’être: cross-country skiing on the 279km of trails.

Several hotels have a great spa setup too, so if you fancy chilling out with your feet up or going for a couples massage then this is a fine place to do it.

 

Wildschönau Is a Wild and Beautiful Valley


Wildschoenau - Romantic Ski Resorts in AustriaI once spent a month in the Wildschönau, which is a quiet valley containing four classically-pretty villages – Niederau, Oberau, Auffach and Thierbach. The largest village is Niederau, with its chalet-style hotels and attractive tree-lined slopes.

I’ve always thought the most attractive village is tiny Oberau, which has a treat in the form of the 12th-century Tirolean inn, Gasthof Kellerwirt. The inn has belonged to the same family for six generations, serves excellent food and holds wine tastings in its cellar.

There’s plenty to offer on the slopes, too. Auffach was recently linked with Alpbach in the neighbouring valley to form the Ski Juwel area, doubling the size of the accessible terrain. Considering Wildschönau is just 45 minutes from Innsbruck by car, there’s a lot to like about this valley.

 
Felice Hardy is co-editor of ski information website Welove2ski.com.

 

These Are the Best Value Ski Holidays You’ll Find Anywhere This Winter


Not skied for a while? Then book a ski holiday to one of 14 top Austrian ski resorts with the Ski Again programme. Provided by ski holiday companies Inghams and Ski Total, Ski Again packages start at £825 and include flights, transfers, 7 nights accommodation, 6-day lift pass, 6-day ski and boot hire and up to 16 hours of SkiWorkShops. Getting back to the slopes has never been this easy.

Visit austria.info/uk/skiagain for more information on Ski Again and the affordable packages available.

OK! TAKE ME THERE NOW.

 



 Martina Jamnig on 26.11.2014  |   No comments

October Skitouring in the Arlberg

by Matt Clark

Chris Loerke & Matt Clark (c) Tom Fichtel

Chris Loerke & Matt Clark (c) Tom Fichtel

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons in Austria. It’s a quiet and peaceful pause between the summer tourism season and the madness of the winter season, yet equally a time of change of excitement; you can feel and smell the approach of winter, and the very air seems pregnant with the potential of a fresh new season.

 

The first significant snow of winter 14/15 fell across Austria on 24th October. The build up to the storm was fraught with anxiety, at least in the LUEX Snow Travel office: the various snow forecasting websites continually switched expected amounts and locations up and down, east and west… Would we score, or not? On Tuesday things got serious, and the Austrian police issued a severe weather warning… On Wednesday morning the first flakes began to fall, as clouds shrouded the mountains and winds howled around the peaks. We all went to bed early on Thursday night. Read More



Tags: , ,
 Anna Blum on 07.11.2014  |   No comments

Treasures of the Salzkammergut

by Susanne Stiegler

Gmunden at Lake Traunsee

Gmunden at Lake Traunsee

When people holiday in the Salzkammergut they mostly visit the major attractions like the Salt Trail, the Ice Cave at Dachstein or the Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl, but there is more to experience!

Lake Attersee and Lake Traunsee offer exciting activities as well, which are well worth giving a try.

When staying at Lake Attersee, one must-do is a cruise with the Attersee shipping company, which offers different tours of the lake. I would recommend going on board of the southern route, which takes about 2.5 hours. The special thing about this route is that you cannot only enjoy the beautiful landscape and feel the fresh lake air, but also view magnificent villas of Austrian and international celebrities. Maybe you are lucky and spot the two times Austrian Olympic champion in alpine skiing Hermann Maier sunbathing in his garden – who knows? Read More



Tags: , , , , ,
 Anna Blum on 17.07.2014  |   No comments

Noshing in Vienna

Sandra Shevey visited some Austrian markets. The Naschmarkt in Vienna was of course on top of her list. So, what does she have to say about it?

“Of Vienna`s 26 permanent markets, Naschmarkt is the oldest with a charter dating back to the 17thc.  It probably however was going long before that as an unincorporated market.Naschmarkt, Wien, 2009, Copyright www.peterrigaud.com

Meaning `wares` or `spices` Naschmarkt was repatriated to Wienzeile over the Wien River in 1917 when the Vienna River was covered over and city planners had decided to demolish the old city walls and redevelop Vienna`s `Ring`.  The original market site now hosts Vienna`s fine Opera House.  Naschmarkt spans 1.5 kilometres.

The old quarter still has a link with the ancient markets as old street names prevail such as meat market, fish market, honey market, bread market, milk market, cheese market and others.  It is on Meat Market that `Some Like It Hot` director Billy Wilder lived as a boy when attending grade school in Vienna.

The Naschmarkt was rebuilt within city walks just before the market was moved to Karlsplatz (its present site) in 1917….moved along with the old market building which still serves as its primary administrative centre.  Architecturally it is impressive- a rotunda market building with a majolica frontpiece symbolising fecundity- cherubs, grapes and vines. Read More



Tags: , ,
 Martina Jamnig on 26.06.2014  |   No comments

A Summer Journey to Austrian Wine

Wine & Travel (c) AWMB

The picnic basket filled with scrumptious Schmankerl delicacies is ready. The bicycles are geared up for the first tour of the season, and the joy of a warm spring day in an Austrian vineyard can barely be contained! Austria’s wine growing regions from Vienna to Steiermark and from Donauland to Südburgenland offer endlessly delightful adventures and experiences.

 

The warmth of the sun entices to go outside and into nature. The blissful months of April, May and June play host to 4.5 million Austrian holiday trips – the second highest number after the summer holiday period. So now would be an optimal time to plan, book and enjoy an Austrian wine journey.

 

There are so many things to discover – beginning with a bike or walking tour along the Danube river; the opening of the Viennese Schanigärten sidewalk cafés; a visit to see the Lipizzaner horses in Styria and the beautiful nature parks near the Neusiedlersee (Lake Neusiedl). But that isn’t all. For those who are particularly attracted to regional delights and enjoyment on the highest level, a wine and pleasure journey is exactly the right thing. This kind of travel is mainly an all-round experience, where wine and pleasure along with nature, culture and attractive places of interest make up a well-rounded holiday. For some food for the soul, take a romantic stroll through the Kellergassen (cellar lanes) in Lower Austria, visit the winery of your favorite producer, or take a walk through the vineyards and then enjoy a hearty Brettljause platter of coldcuts with a glass of good wine in a Buschenschank tavern.

 

“Wine & Travel” made easy

Where, when and how long is a Heurigen or Buschenschank “Ausg´steckt” – open to serve their own wine and food? Which winery has guest rooms? When do regional wineries hold their Weinfrühling – wine springtime open-house? Where are the places of interest? The answers to your questions and much more can be found on the wine-tourism platform www.winetravelsinaustria.com. This tool offers the possibility to search for and find interesting points and locations such as winemakers, wines, vinotheques, hotels and restaurants, and to combine them together in one or more travel routes. So, go ahead and plan your Austrian wine and pleasure journey, upload photos and videos, rate your target destinations and share it all with other users and begin your summer with Austrian Wine!

 

All travel tips and advice are available on the “Wine Travels in Austria” platform from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) at www.austrianwine.com



Tags: , ,
 Anna Blum on 06.06.2014  |   No comments

Innsbruck Market: On a Clear Day You Can See George Clooney

Sandra Shevey visited some Austrian markets. The Innsbruck market was one of it. So, what does she have to say about it?

The train to Innsbruck was jammed with evangelists on their way to Oberammergau for the Passion Play which runs every 10 years.  Seating was difficult as I had to make my way around the placards which obstructed the corridors. Window views appeared like a film montage- images of mountains and sheep and deer (right out of `The Sound of Music`). Five hours later I arrived dog tired at Innsbruck, the capital city of Tyrol (western Austria) and one of the best ski resorts in the world.  It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice (1964 and 1976) and has also hosted the Paralympics (1984 and 1988).  In 2008 it was chosen to host the first Winter Youth Olympic Games to be held in 2012.Innsbruck_Copyright Innsbruck Tourism

Meaning `Bridge over the River Inn` Innsbruck was and is an important trade crosspoint of both Germany and Italy.  Lake Como is just across the border and on a clear day you can see George Clooney who has a villa there. The counts of Andechs were given rights over the Tyrol valleys by the Roman Emperor and in 1180 established a market, built a bridge to facilitiate movement of goods between north and south regions of the Alps. It is conceivable they merely regulated an existing market in as much as the location has always had an enviable proximity linking trade routes and the Brenner Pass.

In this Innsbruck would not be unlike our own Borough market in London which originally existed on the north side of the Thames and was expanded by the Romans who built the bridge linking north and south London.

The market began in the open amidst the cobbles and alleys in the old town square.  It still exists to some extent today in the same form and the same place. An Art Noveau indoor market hall was built in 1921.  A bit of the old building exists and you can view it from the rear of the New Food Hall which was built in 1960. In times past the 1921 hall was doubtless used to sell perishables whilst outdoor stalls sold fruit and veg and other produce.

There still is an outdoor market, generally specializing in antiques, bric-a-brac and other flea items but it was cancelled during my trip.  Two outdoor stages had been erected for band concerts taking place in the market square later that evening. I think this is a good omen…..a progressive omen…a healthy omen.  Rock concerts sure beat the kinds of entertainment previously generated for the amusement of sovereigns who would sit on their thrones peering down from terraces as some poor soul got his arm or leg hacked off in a tournament or some other blood sport.

The difference between New Hall and Old Hall is that between farm-fresh and organic.  New Hall reminds a bit of Harrods.  Everything is pukka, smart and expensive.  It`s like Saturday at the Borough market in London. Old Hall produce is not only local and home-grown.  It is organically grown which means the taste is that much more rarefied.  The houmas was thick and rich.  Fillets of roast pork were so tender you could eat them with your fingers. Pumpernickel and creme fraiche sprinfled with parsley were definitive in both taste and texture.Food_Copyright Innsbruck Tourism

The General Food Hall is open Monday – Friday 6am – 6:30pm and on Satuday from 6am – 1pm.  The Farmers Market is open Monday – Saturday 6am – Noon. I must admit at this stage that I speak not a word of Austrian.  Not a word.  And yet it didn`t seem to matter.  I had long conversations during my trip but they weren`t always verbal. I was asked to try a cheese which translated means `love cheese`.  I was given a single taster.  `Nothing`, I said to the cheesemonger. `I need more than one taster to get me going`.  A local behind me in the queue quipped, `Natural Viagra`.  I howled.  I laugh every time I think of the remark, even now as I write the blog. Another stall purveyed homemade onion cake and also a delicious bread called `Feigen cake` which is stuffed with nuts, apples and raisins.

Saturday also hosts two small Farmers markets in other parts of Innsbruck.  Visiting them gives you the chance to walk around the city.  You feel diminished by the grandeur of Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo architecture- also somewhat daunted by the wooden Durer-like crucifixes which still dominate this lovely, lost Austrian valley, shrouded in mist, mountains and magic.

And it`s not just on the streets.  I was booked into the Hotel Adler, around the corner from the old marketplace.  A large part of the hotel was originally a Capuchin convent.  This 400 year old hotel owned by the Ultsch family since 1900 and currently part of the Best Western Group remains architecturally true to its monastic origins and those origins include a singificant amount of religious iconography. As I savoured some of the best cheese I have ever eaten, I departed this last Austrian market venue.  It was the end of the tour.  I was sorry it was over.  But I thought I`d come back.  Like the cheese, it had left a pleasant taste in my mouth.

Copyright 2010 Sandra Shevey All Rights Reserved
Sandra Shevey runs tours around local markets worldwide.  http://sandrashevey.tripod.com
Contact: sandra_shevey@yahoo.com
 Hospitality courtesy of the Austrian National Tourist Office, www.austria.info



Tags: , ,
 Martina Jamnig on 07.05.2014  |   No comments

It begins in Linz…

Linz (c) linztourismus_JohannSteininger

Linz (c) linztourismus_JohannSteininger

By Cynthia Flaggl

 

There is an Austrian saying „In Linz beginnt’s”, which basically means „It begins in Linz”. So why don’t you actually start your holidays in Austria in Linz?

Admittedly, there are far more famous cities in Austria than Linz, but why don’t you step away from the crowded tourist paths and enjoy exploring a really interesting and upcoming city far away from Mozart and the Sacher Torte?

Linz was made European Capital of Culture in 2009 and since then its image really has changed. Linz developed itself from a very industrial city to a modern, upcoming, cultural hub, which is definitely worth visiting.

Linz offers something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in culture, shopping or nature, Linz has something for you too.

On a sunny spring day I would recommend you to take a stroll along the famous Linzer Landstraße. The Landstraße is the most important shopping street in Linz and offers a variety of different shops. I can ensure you, you will find something there. And if you are a little bit tired after your stroll you can walk up to the “SKY GARDEN” and enjoy a coffee with a unique view of the cathedral and the Pöstlingberg. There is a reason why “SKY GARDEN” can say that they have the most beautiful terrace in Linz.

But no worries, if you are not that interested in shopping there are plenty of other things to do in Linz, which are connected with culture and nature.

For cultural lovers it is a MUST to pay the Ars Electronica Center a visit. And if you are lucky and you are in Linz at the right time (4th – 8th of September 2014), then there is also the Ars Electronica Festival which is absolutely worth a visit. This festival turned out to be a very successful and remarkable event for media art, and it now belongs to the most important of its kind. In the Ars Electronica Center you can enjoy different exhibitions, which change over time. But they are always connected to the theme of the permanent exhibition – “Neue Bilder des Menschen” (meaning “new pictures of humans”) – and take a closer look at humans, how the live and how they will be living.

Another highlight in Linz is the Bruckner Festival (13th of September – 5th of October 2014). This festival has taken place in the Brucknerhaus every year since 1974. The Brucknerhaus, named after the famous composer Anton Bruckner, is a famous concert and event venue. During the Bruckner Festival there are many outstanding concerts with elite international artists and ensembles.

And if you still looking for more cultural experiences in Linz you can also pay a visit to the Mariendom cathedral, the Lentos Kunstmuseum or the Schlossmuseum.

But if you have done enough culture and are now looking for some relaxing outdoor activities, I would recommend you to either take the Pöstlingbergbahn - Europe’s steepest mountain railway – up to the Pöstlingberg, or why not enjoy a cycle ride along the beautiful and majestic Danube?

Up at Linz’s local mountain – the Pöstlingberg – you can enjoy visiting the Wallfahrtsbasilika, Linz’s Zoo or the popular fairy-tale world of the Grottenbahn. Not to forget the absolutely magnificent view over Linz, which awaits you at the mountain top.

So, after telling you all of these things about Linz, why don’t you pay a visit and experience Linz on your own. You will, without a doubt, come to the conclusion that Linz is definitely worth a trip!!!

 



Tags: , , , ,
 Anna Blum on 11.03.2014  |   No comments

An Insider of Graz

 

Graz - Main Square (c) ANTO/Diejun

Graz – Main Square (c) ANTO/Diejun

By Cynthia Flaggl

When people think of Austria, they always think of Vienna and Salzburg. It’s not so often that they think of Graz. But they definitely should! Because Graz is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Austria, and I am not just saying that because I am from Graz. Over the past few years Graz has become a very modern city, which offers its visitors a variety of possibilities during their holidays.

 

Graz for Cultural Lovers

Graz can call itself a “City of Design” since UNESCO has declared Graz to be part of its “Creative Cities”. And honestly, Graz is pretty proud about this fact. But I have to admit, Graz definitely deserves this title!

 

“City of Design”

When you are in Graz, it is a MUST to take a stroll through the picturesque and charming old city centre. I promise you, you will experience a unique mix of old and new architecture. There are beautiful buildings from the gothic, renaissance, baroque and art nouveau eras, as well as plenty in contemporary style.

But Graz offers more than just architecture! Do you like to go shopping? Well, if the answer is YES, you definitely have to pay a visit to the department store Kastner & Öhler! Shopping at Kastner & Öhler is not just about buying things, it really is an experience to shop in this special atmosphere and admire the amazing interior. There is a reason why Kastner & Öhler earned the title “Department Store of the year” in 2011. And if you are a bit tired after walking through the old city centre and shopping, visit the café “Freiblick by Eckstein” on the 8th floor at Kastner & Öhler. This café offers you more than just coffee and apple strudel. You can enjoy the amazing roof terrace with the skywalk, which provides you a unique view over the old city centre, the Schlossberg and the main square.

 

Dining in Graz

If you love to enjoy good food and wine within an incredible atmosphere, then let me tell you about this one special event in Graz, which you absolutely have to attend: the so called “Long Table of Graz” !

The “Long Table” takes place at the main square in Graz around mid-August every year since 2010. The whole main square turns into a giant open air restaurant for about 700 guests. At the “Long Table” you enjoy a delicious 5-course-menu, cooked by 27 chefs from different restaurants in Graz, in the heart of the city centre. You will experience a festively decorated table, delicious food and wines and entertainment. And believe me, I have been there, you will never experience something like this anywhere else. To sit there, in the heart of Graz, under the sky, at this festively decorated table, enjoying delicious food and wines together with an amazing view off the Schlossberg und the clock tower is just indescribable!!

 

So, after telling you all these things about my beloved hometown, there is only one thing left to say: “GRAZ IS DEFINITELY WORTH A TRIP!”



Tags: , ,
 Anna Blum on 04.02.2014  |   No comments

Luxury Chalets in the Austrian Alps

Chalets Montafon (c) ÖW EbersbergDrying the ski gear by the fireplace in a freezing mountain hut or setting off on a half-day hike to source dinner could be classed as romantic, but if you like a few creature comforts on your hard-earned holidays then a chalet stay can still be an option in Austria! We present you with a selection of quirky and luxurious lodgings across the Austrian Alps that offer everything from ski boot warmers to food delivery at unbeatable prices.

 

For sweeping slopes with guaranteed snow in winter and sunny trails leading to glistening lakes in summer, head to Carinthia. Traditional Alpine huts, comfortable hunting lodges and generous chalets form the exclusive Almdorf Seinerzeit, including a rustic restaurant, wine cellar, swimming pool and spa. Right by the Nockberge Biosphere Reserve, one of Austria’s beautiful national parks, the scenery and attentive chalet staff make guests feel like they have found a secret haven.

 

INNs HOLZ Chalet Village is located in the Bohemian Forest of Upper Austria. A special focus was placed on the materials used for the 11 chalets, with traditional loden and cloth playing the main role alongside wood. Each chalet has its own Finnish sauna and outdoor area, and guests can also use the wellness area of the INNs HOLZ Hotel.

 

45km south of Salzburg you’ll find the Wood Ridge Luxury Chalets. These luxurious Canadian-style log cabins offer plenty of comforts such as a whirlpoorl on the terrace, private sauna and daily breakfast basket. For larger groups visiting the SalzburgerLand region Alpin Chalets are ideal, sleeping up to 30 on a self-catering or fully catered basis.

 

Those looking for an authentic mountain experience will love the Hüttendorf Pruggern in Styria. Next to the summer hiking trails and winter slopes, the self-catering chalets are modernly equipped, but guests can still pay a visit to the on-site shop that sells farmers’ produce and freshly baked goods.

 

Tirol is one of our favourite holiday destinations, so why not avoid the hotel crowds and give your holiday a unique twist? The Biohotel Stanglwirt in Going takes bookings for its newly renovated Hüttling Moos. Up to 60 people can be hosted in this 5-star cabin, fully serviced with an own cook and butler. In nearby Kirchberg you can stay at the Maierl-Alm and Chalets, where you can enjoy goodies including your own panorama sauna and ski boot warmer.

 

We end our selection at the height of luxury in Vorarlberg. The 5-star Hotel Bentleys House has 3 chalets, stylishly equipped and providing full board with a personal butler service. Located at an altitude of 1720m, not only the service but also the stunning views of Lech Zürs will have you on a high!



Tags: , , , , , ,
 Anna Blum on 03.01.2014  |   No comments

Family Hollywood visits a Kinderhotel

Mrs. Kim Hollywood kindly send us her family’s experience of her stay (26 Oct – 2 Nov 2013) at Europe’s 1st Baby and Children’s Hotel. Read what the family thinks of Kinderhotels…

Maple and Nola

Autumn half-term break.  There, I’ve said it, and for many a parent it’s a stressful what-do-we-do-with-the-kids time when the weather can be questionable, and UK attractions crowded to the max.  As I’m writing this after the fact, let me just preface this short report by saying that we lived through half-term and we loved it – in Austria.

After a quick (1 hour and 45ish min), and fairly inexpensive  Ryanair flight, my husband, two daughters (2  ½ & 4) arrived in Salzburg. From there, the hotel had organised a transfer service complete with two appropriate car seats already secured in the car. Our destination was ‘Europe’s 1st Baby and Children’s Hotel’, a member of the Kinderhotels collection of hotels that for some 25 years have found great success in specifically catering to families.

I’m not even sure where to begin except that I’m quite sure that it was on day two, when I nipped down to the spa for a pedicure, safe in the knowledge that my husband had our small charges well-entertained in the soft play Pirate Land area, that I was already thinking that this was the absolute perfect holiday choice. Let me just say in the days that followed, we all played outside in the gloriously fresh Austrian air, we became a party of four kids splashing around in the generously heated pools as the girls even braved the 100m water slide, we sung around an open campfire with  stars above, and of course we ate….and then ate some more (the food was wonderful and despite a lovely daily selection of kids‘ favourites, who knew that our girls would even be open to trying such things as red snapper, chamois, and venison?!) The hotel facilities were cosy, clean and with thoughful touches throughout such as child appropriate toilets/sinks, child-height banisters, and mini robes in the rooms.  A fascinating world of play awaited inside and out, and despite three full days where we stayed indoors due to rain, it never was a bore.

For us, one of the absolute highlights was each morning when one of the hotels‘ three mascots would come down to the kids club area and sing and dance with all the families. Mascots are really  surprising entities I think with their magic sometimes lost on us adults, but to our surprise, our whole family was completely enamoured by Smiley, Smile-lina, and Hubsi Hu the kangaroo. One of our daughters, who is speech delayed, would, in the middle of the singing, always turn to us and say “I like it” – brought tears to our eyes, and quite frankly, this morning ritual is one of our favourite memories of our stay.

Also, while I am able to hold a basic German conversation, the hubby and kids can’t. This wasn’t a worry either as all staff that we encountered spoke enough English that we never had a problem. Menus and daily progranmme highlights were also provided for us in English and no request was too much trouble.

The hotel was not filled to capacity as this was not a half-term week in Austria, so it was marvellous to really unwind in the relaxed and uncrowded atmosphere.  In fact, at one point during the week we were already remarking that we should do another Kinderhotels trip at exactly this same time next year, and that to me is the sign of a terrific holiday.

Thank you to all our new friends at ‘Europe’s 1st Baby and Children’s Hotel’– we want to keep you our little secret but we can‘t resist spreading the word!

Family Hollywood

Family HollywoodOn the bikeNew FriendsHubsi



 Martina Jamnig on 26.11.2013  |   No comments