Along with big-name cities like Vienna and Salzburg, holidays to Austria serve up picture-perfect landscapes, rich culture and mouth-watering culinary treats.
The hills are alive
Austria was the setting of world-famous musical The Sound of Music. It saw actress Julie Andrews, and a brood of dirndl and lederhosen-clad children, singing and dancing through meadows on the picturesque Salzburg mountainside. These same hills are ideal for hiking and biking, and they’re punctuated with teal-blue lakes, like Lake Wolfgang and Lake Zell.
Culture in the capital
Culture vultures will be in their element in Vienna. The palaces at Schönbrunn and Hofburg top the list of royal residences to visit, and the lavishly detailed churches will have your camera glued to your hands. One of our favourites is St Stephan’s Cathedral. Architecture aside, why not catch a classical concert with music from the likes of Mozart and Beethoven, or watch dressage performed by Lipizzaner stallions at the 18th century Spanish Riding School?
A taste of Austria
From schnitzel to sachertorte, there’s a culinary smorgasbord to make your way through in Austria. Traditional favourites come in the form of hearty stews like tafelspitz, and age-old recipes like wiener schnitzel – a thin cut of veal that’s coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Cakes and pastries are also popular, especially when served up alongside a mug of coffee in a cosy coffee house. And of course you have to try apple strudel, Austria’s most famous dessert, which hides chunks of apple, raisins, cinnamon and sugar beneath layers of buttery, flaky pastry.
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Alpbach has a scenic walk to match every pace, from gentle strolls through the green meadows to mountain trails with glorious views from the top of the cable cars. And the best part is stopping off for a cold drink in one of the Alpine huts along the way, or cooling your toes in one of the region’s five lakes.
The village has an idyllic setting in the Gastein Valley, with marked footpaths leading off on either side of the village. They’ll take you through woodland and up into the stunning surrounding mountains, past the Nassfeld toll trail - once used by gold miners - giving fantastic views and beautiful walks. Keep a watchful eye out along the way and you might spot vultures, eagles and marmots.
There’s a daily steamboat that'll take you up to the cold mountain streams on the north shore of the lake, or you can head to the meadows and cable car of Maurach in the south. If you’d rather get about on two feet, there are 450km of gentle lakeside paths and walking trails through the Karwendel Naturpark, the largest conservation area in the Northern Alps.