Winter in Austria is like a great festival season. The country’s already known for its great weather, unbelievable vertical drops, excellent resorts, mountain villages, Baroque city architecture, imperial history and rugged alpine terrain, so you can imagine how magical this country looks with a nice thick layer of powdery white snow all over.
Describing it with ‘perfect snowfall’, charming hotels with authentic village life and famous ski resorts, Austria is one of Europe’s best destination to experience winter.
A number of key elements determine the cost of a winter vacation: transportation (usually air plus transfer), accommodation, meals, ski lift tickets, local taxes and tips, and, for many skiers, equipment rental and ski instruction.
Skiing is part of the cultural fabric in this snow-blessed country and it’s more affordable than you think. For someone on or close to the East Coast, a trip to an Austrian ski resort could be between US$ 100 and US$ 300 less than a trip in a Western ski resort. Go in search of Apre Ski- this will be a fun experience.
More than just skiing, for non-skiers, there’s plenty to do and see. Sleigh rides, snowshoe adventures or ice-skating are all available at most resorts. Most ski resorts offer great spa facilities for you to relax, explore the local sights, shop in boutiques for unique Austrian goods, take excursions to some of the beautiful surrounding areas and meet the international crowds that love to gather in the outdoor cafes. Cleared footpath walks to follow, stopping at a mountain restaurant for a hot chocolate or something stronger. Hot air ballooning over snowy mountains! There is an annual festival at the end of January.
Shopping at Zell am See or Salzburg market in the snow. Take a cable car to the top of a mountain and take in the view. Foodies will adore Vorarlberg’s Bergkäse cheese, Styria’s Weissburgunder wines and pumpkin seed oil. Warm up with hearty Austrian fare like spicy goulash in the Alps, tuck into Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad in the city, washed down with gold-hued beer. And don’t forget to save room for fluffy apple strudel or chocolatey Sacher Torte.
Austria is also blessed with the most beautiful cities that you will see in your lifetime. With their misty surroundings, snow capped roofs and orange windows burning with light, laughter and music. Visit an art gallery in Salzburg, Vienna, Linz or Innsbruck as these are the cities of culture.
Try Igloo Building. Something your friends would’ve never tried before! So attend an igloo seminar in Ebensee or on the Styrian Burgeralm. You can also spend some nights in the igloos.
Despite the low temperatures (which can drop well below zero – even during the day), there’s plenty of life on the streets of Vienna in winter. In fact, with frequent clear blue skies, and often a crisp layer of snow, it can also be at its most beautiful. Even if you do start to get a little chilly, few cities are quite so well-equipped with cafés and bars in which to warm up, and with street markets aglow and the ball season in full swing it’s a fun time to visit.
Tourists love to visit Salzburg to ski, eat Lebkuchen and drink mulled wine or Glühwein, which is sold on market stalls all over the city. Go to Christmas markets around Christmas time, they are famous all over Europe. Try going for a sauna and spa visit while at Salzburg, There is nothing like running out of a sauna into the snow, naked and steaming! If you want to experience a different Salzburg go to Perchtenlauf, These Celtic, pagan traditions in which young men dress as demons were blended into the Christian teachings and are still part of local customs. Not for the light-hearted, these events are Alpine heritage at its best!