The Traveling Guide to Salzburg, Austria

Austria, the country of the Von Trapp family, the boot-sized wiener schnitzels and Viennese waltz. When I was a little kiddo my travel enthusiastic parents took me to Vienna. That was the one and only time I’ve been on holiday in Austria.

And to be honest, in the recent years I’ve never thought to book a spring or summer trip to Austria. Maybe because I mainly associated (yeah associated) it with retired, tree-hugging people who love to live in complete silence outdoors. Quite generalising and prejudiced. But after SalzburgerLand invited me to discover their region, I definitely said ‘yes’. Time to figure out what the Western part of Austria has to offer for this 27-year-old urban girl.

We Dutchies mostly know SalzburgerLand from the 2300 slopes and aprês ski

SalzburgerLand in a nutshell

Just a 1,5 hour flight from Amsterdam and you’re in Salzburg. We Dutchies mostly know SalzburgerLand from the 2300 slopes spread over 23 ski areas (like Zell am See, Saalbach, Hinterglemm or Kitzbühel), the Austrian place to be for skiing, snowboarding or other winter sports fun. But did you know there’s no other country that waltzes so smoothly between winter and summer time, between urban and outdoors? I didn’t! One day you’re standing on top of the world overlooking the greener than green, fresh-aired Almhof and Milka look-a-like settings, the next you’re swanning around in Mozart’s birthplace Salzburg. I can tell you, a perfect nature-city combi for me!

What to do in SalzburgerLand

Just so you know, I had almost 72 hours in SalzburgerLand. And I can tell you it felt much longer, good thing. This area is very suitable for short trips, but also for a longer summer holiday. Recommended is to do a day trip over the Grossglockner High Alpine road. I kicked-off with it, and was blown away by the natural beauty and calmness. Bizarre to walk on a height of almost 3000 meters in winter wonderland during spring. Best tip I can give: during your journey of discovery definitely go together with a guide. And don’t forget your sunscreen, in no time you’re a complexion or two richer.

Extra Tip » the valley of Gastein. Go by cable car up to the summit of mountain Stubnerkogel, give the flying fox over the waterfall of Bad Gastein a try for an adrenaline shot or unwind in the spa area of Alpentherme. Little sidenote: don’t expect a spa in the mountains, but surrounded by mountains.


Bad Gastein

City Tip Salzburg »

when in SalzburgerLand, a city sightseeing walk through picturesque Salzburg is a must. You can’t escape it: this really touristic town is all about Mozart, interesting to learn more about this classical music wunderkind. And based on my window shopping experience, I can say their High Street has lots of cosy and delicious boutiques. Besides it’s not the most special city I’ve ever been, it’s worth a visit through the lovely ambiance and perky parks.

Shopping in Salzburg
Shopping in Salzburg

SchloBpark #6 Salzburg

Active Tip » Go with the flow during stand up paddling on the Mattsee. I ended my journey here in the for me Austrian Côte d’Azur. The sympathetic, originally Dutch girl Danique learns you the tricks in a sec, so you can enjoy the amazing, idyllic surroundings. Like to be challenged? Well, all right what about sup Vinyasa flow or Yin yoga (*wink*)

Suppen at Salzburgerland

Where to eat in Salzburg

Guess what? This gourmet tasted lots of the typical Austrian gastronomy. Not so surprisingly I was excited to try if the super sweetened Kaiserschmarrn were as good as people told me…they’re, no doubt! And despite meat isn’t my fave food, you really have to order a jumbo wiener schnitzel. But there’s more to Austrian cuisine than this. If you’re hungry for visiting restaurants where you can taste the love Austrians have for the land, and where they like to swing with the seasons, definitely restaurant Unterbergerwirt at Dorfgastein (famous for their award-winning, mouth-watering Salzburger Nockerl) and Biohotel Schiessentobel are two must-try’s (please, don’t get disinterested by their bit dated websites).

Icecream SchloBpark
Ice-Ice Baby

Food in Salzburg

Where to Sleep in Salzburg

And last but not least, my two hotel recommendations. Let’s face it, there’s nothing as good as ‘coming home’ in a serene hotel room after an active day outsides. The four-star hotel Das Goldberg was heaven on earth (too bad it only was a one night stand…uhh stay). This upscale place with spa, swimming pool and a breaky buffet with the X-factor has captured my heart. In case you prefer a classic Salzburg style hotel with all the modern room facilities, choose for hotel Neumayr at Obertrum.


Das Goldberg

there’s nothing as good as ‘coming home’ in a serene hotel room after an active day

Das Goldberg

In short, I was totally surprised by the Austrian area SalzburgerLand. Giant plus was the diverse mingle of urban and outdoors. Will miss the breaths of fresh air here in Amsterdam…ohh and the Kaiserschmarrn for sure!

For more info about Salzburg, check this website.

Love,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She no kitchen princess so she’s always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on Instagram!

Private slopes and more in Zillertal, Austria

I can ensure you that I’m not a morning person but while getting up at 5:30 am for the private slope at Hochfügen, Zillertal, I only snoozed once (very proud of that). Leaving my cozy bed at Das PostHotel – Zillerseasons to get ready for the untouched slopes and a heavenly white view.

Hire a Private Piste
The private slope is limited to a maximum of 30 people so take the title ‘private’ very serious. Standing 2.133m high with my head in de clouds, ready to take a jump in the powder snow on our very own red slope. The experience is amazing; nothing can be compared to skiing down the smooth white sheets while the world is still asleep. Creating that very first track, the silence that embraces you and nobody that (in my case) overtakes you. Truly an amazing experience, one of those try-before-you-die things. But, if you are a beginner be sure to check the type of slope before setting your alarm at 5:30 am. To be honest, going down a red slope on the third day of skiing was a little bit too ambitious for me. I have absolutely no regrets but for now I’ll stick to the blue beginner slopes to keep myself from a heart attack. The private piste hire is available from 7.30 – 8.30 am from €40 per person.

Private piste Zillental
Virgin slopes are guaranteed!

Luckily for me, Zillertal offers 132km of Eva-proof blue slopes. The confident skiers out there can take it to the next level with the 238 km of red slopes. Zillertal is also a perfect destination for snowboarders because of the small amount of flat connections between the slopes.
There is another 65km of black slopes for the experienced skiers and snowboarders. The real daredevils can try their luck on the Harakiri. Beware, cause with an average gradient of 78 percent this is the steepest slope in Austria. I kindly turned down the invitation this year, but who knows what the future will bring.

img-20170131-wa0019

skiing in Zillental

Those 435 km of slopes Zillertal has to offer will keep you from getting bored for sure. But there is more to Winter sport then stroking the slopes with your skis or snowboard. And no, I’m not talking about après-ski cause we all know how much fun that can be. Zillertal changed my opinion on which ingredients a laid back vacation had to include. Forget lying on the beach all day, working on your tan and following those yoga classes at Bali.

Winter sports is the new mindful vacation this world has to offer and will surprise you with the diversity of activities. Although I enjoyed skiing to the fullest, it wasn’t exactly a relaxing experience for me as a beginner. I’m not even talking about the muscle pain or bruises on my butt, cause that’s just part of the deal. The blame is to my inner voice who kept on shouting “DON’T DARE to fall in front of this cute ski instructor!” Well, bye bye inner peace… Here are my favorite activities that can clear your mind while still exploring the area and enjoying the nature:

Cross Country Skiing
It’s still quite a workout but that way you can order another plate of Keizerschmarren without any guilt feelings (at least I did). You use different muscles then with skiing, what makes it a perfect alternative if you suffer from muscle pain. Next to that it’s a really calm way to explore the area but way more fun than walking. Pause to take some photos, enjoy the view or to catch your breath. And once you are at the top of the mountain, you only have to slide down again. I took the Gamsstein Cross Country path near Hochfügen. The access to the area is free so grab those skies und gehen!

Langlaufen in Pill, Zillental

Toboggan Run
In Gerlosstein you can find the longest toboggan run in the Zillertal Valley, 7 km of sliding fun. The cable car will take you to an altitude of 1.650 m and after that you actually don’t have to do anything… perfect winter-sports- activity right? Just sit, enjoy and somehow find a way to steer around the corners. The best part; you’ll even find bars along the toboggan run for some Glühwein to warm you up.
Tip: Check the weather condition before planning a toboggan run. If there is too much snow you will loose your speed and will need a lot more Glühwein to stay excited.

Gluhwein in Zillertal

My verdict: Zillertal is a great place to discover and enjoy the diversity of winter sports. It offers a great amount of slopes, modern lifts and Austrian hospitality. Next to skiing there are plenty activities to add some variety to your trip. Choose from snowtubing, funparks, cross country skiing or rent your very own private slope. Whatever you choose, I can ensure you that you won’t get bored. Find more info about the area here.

Read my previous article, A Beginners Guide to Wintersport and find out where I had the best High Tea at 2600m!

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

A Beginner’s Guide to Wintersport

Walking into the unknown to discover a whole new world. It felt like the openings scene of Alice in Wonderland. Except my tour-guide wasn’t the smiling Cheshire cat and I didn’t have to climb down the rabbit hole (just a 1,5 hour flight to Innsbruck) but hé, minor details. A big blanket of snow covers the typical Austrian houses and impressive mountains. Standing in the middle of paradise at Hotel Chesa Monte in Fiss. The perfect place for a good night of pre-ski-sleep, while the 62 ski slopes are waiting to be explored. I was ready for my beginner’s guide to wintersport.

The slopes of Fiss

On the slopes for the first time

With all of my courage in my backpack, I was standing at the top of a real slope for the first time. Fiss is where I started. Although the Slope was next to ‘Berta’s Kinderland’, what probably says a thing about the height, I suddenly felt a lot less confident then I did at the indoor skiing course at Snow World. After 5 lessons of skiing on artificial snow, this was the moment I worked for. The moment to show of my skiing skills and… well, I went down in the biggest pizza shaped vorm you probably have ever seen. It can’t be compared to the training I’ve done indoor and on the dry slopes. Nevertheless.  I would still recommend taking a few lessons on artificial snow or a dry slopes. 

Beginners guide to wintersport in Fiss
Yep, that’s a beginners guide to wintersport! (Gear by Head, outfit by O’Neill.)

A group lesson at Skischule Fiss-Ladis helped me to boost my confidence on the skis. It took away my fear after noticing that falling a few times doesn’t mean the end of the world, especially at my speed. Most of the time it’s just a little laugh for others while diving into the fluffy snow. Of course, you should still be careful.  A lesson with an experienced teacher is also a fun way to discover the area. They usually know a lot about the slopes and cities surrounding it.  

Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis

For further exploration of the ski area I’ve left my skis at the ski depots at serfaus-fiss-ladis. Wait what, does it make sense to explore the area without ski’s?! Well, it does. You can even do a Segway tour instead of skiing (for sure a bucket-list thing, believe me). While being on the slopes, if you are a beginner like me, you probably stay at the foot of the mountain for your skiing practice. But it truly would be a shame if you miss out on the heads-in-the-clouds feeling.

Segway tour in Fiss, Austria

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
As evening falls in Fiss during the Segway Tour

The view high up at Mount Schönjoch (2491m) is like living in a dream so say goodbye to your skis and take a ski lift to the top. The good part about ski lift is; as long as they go up, they can always bring you down again. There are 68 lift facilities in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis so more than enough to explore, discover and experience. If you’re planning on going to Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis please do yourself a favor and make a reservation at the Crystal Cube. Have a champagne breakfast, luxury lunch or high tea at 2.600m high and with a 360-degree views of the winter mountain panorama. Both the food (I had more than 8 courses with the lunch) and the view is something you won’t easily forget. Check here for more info.

Crystal Cube, Fiss

Lunch at the Crystal Cube in Fiss-Ladis
Lunch with a view!

Eva at the Crystal Cube for Wander-Lust

My verdict as a beginner:

Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is beginner proof. Beautiful nature, charming villages and many activities to discover. Your ski ticket is valid in all three area’s so take your time to discover the area and find the slopes that match your experience. It’s also a great place to go to if you’re have kids. While they are being enchanted by the charm of Berta the cow in Kinderland, you can enjoy your cold beer at one of the 19 nearby après-ski bars.
P.S: Did you know that Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is the sunniest place of Tirol? With those 2000 hours a year of sun you don’t even have to choose between tanning and skiing!

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. 

Planning a Winterbreak? These Are Some of the Best Ski Regions in Europe.

Winter is coming. Once the leaves begin to color and fall to the ground and my summer tan is definitely gone (as far as I had one to begin with), so are my desires for crystal clear oceans and coconuts. The winter child in me has awoken. Bring me the snow, the freezing cold and the mountains. But most of all, give me a snowboard to ride them. That’s right, nothing beats that feeling when you breathe in the fresh alpine oxygen, speeding down a perfectly prepped slope surrounded by white mountain peaks as far as your eyesight can reach. I don’t know about you, but those little moments of happiness happen everyday when I find myself in one of the many awesome (and some of the best) ski regions in Europe. And with the snowflakes coming down earlier and thicker than ever, it’s time to book your next ski trip (trust me)! Now, if you’re like me you know picking the right destination is a struggle every year. Which area has the right slopes, has snow certainty and will make you holiday awesome? To make this struggle a little easier on you this time, I’ve listed my five faves for you.

checking-out-the-best-ski-resorts-in-europe
Ready to rumble!

Avoriaz – Portes du Soleil, France
Now don’t go cold on me, but I’m not really the heavy après-ski kinda girl. Every day I get up early as F to try to make it in time for the first lift going up, to snowboard all day and go to bed at 10 PM because I’m to exhausted to function. Doesn’t mean I don’t sip on a few beers or a glühwein whenever the lifts close down, but no radical parties for me. Recognize yourself? Then you MUST go to Avoriaz, a little car-free village which is part of the Portes du Soleil ski area. You can’t really go wrong with a ski area that translates into ‘doors to the sun’, right? With 650 km of slopes, touching the French and Swiss border the true ski/board lover will have a non-stop grin on his or her face. The lifts are modern and very well connected. Avoriaz is quite cute compared to the French ski-village standard. There are some bars, shops and restaurants so you won’t starve. The fact that there are no cars allowed makes it the perfect place to stroll around at night and look up at the amazing sky full of stars above you. Don’t like walking? Well, you can get transported by enormous sledges, powered by actual horses. Oh the pure bliss. Oh and did I mention you can get on the slopes straight from any apartment?

Söll – SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental, Austria
Up for a bit more true hospitality on your holiday? Head over to Austria for some alpine coziness in Söll. This is where you find the typical chalets and hotels and a hell of a lot more Schlager music when you enter the bar for that well deserved after-ski beer. With 284 km of slopes you won’t be bored easily. If you want to you can ski to a different village every day while passing numerous huts to indulge in some kaiserschmarrn (who doesn’t love scrambled pancakes) and coffees with cream. The latter is a bit more affordable in Austria then when going to France. Slopes here are wide, well prepped and fit for every kind of experience level. You do get lost quite easily here, but that’s part of the charm.

soll-one-of-the-best-ski-resorts-in-europe
Relaxing in Soll

Valfrejus – Valfrejus, France
With 61 Km of slopes, not a biggie but the area is only 4 hours away from Paris! But it is the perfect place for beginners on a budget. There aren’t that many lifts and the area is super compact, so the issue of losing your friends is non-existent in Valfrejus. The village is small and friendly with some nice little bars, and no cars (always a plus). You easily go up to the top of the mountain, eat a crepe in the sun and then take one of the wide slopes (or forest paths) down to the middle station to meet up with the rest of your friends. Perfect if you have some beginners, taking lessons, with you and want to meet up for lunch or a drink. To rent an apartment here is pretty cheap, same goes for your ski-pass. So don’t let a tight budget hold you down from booking a trip. But I must admit, this area does have some not so snowboard-friendly paths, if that cranks you up: make sure to pick the right tracks (the green slopes here are horrible ;-).

valfrejus of of the best ski resorts in Europe
Only 4 hours away from Paris!

Zell am Zee – Zell am Zee Kaprun, Austria
The Kaprun Glacier ensures white mountains, Zell am Zee village ensures a good time. The perfect place to go if you want to do some other stuff when your done skiing (ice hockey, sledging!). Where the glacier offers you pure white plains, the Zell am Zee area is more ‘ gemütlicher’ with lots of slopes between the threes and mountain cabins to drink hot cocoa. The lifts are modern, big and fast so you never have to spend a lot of time hanging and waiting in the air. With 138 km of slopes and most of them blue (easy), this is the place where you want to learn (it’s what I did) those perfect turns and brakes. Also, après-ski, much much better then in France. This place is full of lights and fun.

Les Arcs – Paradiski, French Alps
Paradiski, the word already says it: paradise. This place is gorgeous and not a surprise that it’s listed as one of the best ski regions in Europe. Well connected lifts, long rides, different scenery, awesome slopes. If it’s busy, you hardly notice it. I don’t think I ever waited longer than 2 minutes to get in the lift (apart from waiting for the big ass gondola’s that take 200 people at once) and there where so many options for day trips (if you have the extended ski-pass you can even head over to the La Plagne area). The total ski area of Paradiski offers 425 KM of slopes, never a dull moment. There are several villages in Les Arcs, of which I think Arc 1800 and Arc 1950 are the nicest with most restaurants and little shops. There are a number of bars, but don’t expect any of them to be really good. But buying some beers in the supermarket and just having fun with you friends in your accommodation is just as good right? Also, most apartments in Les Arcs are next to the slopes or just a couple minutes of walking!

lesarcs, one of the best ski regions in Europe
On top of the world!

lesarcs-at-night
Les Arcs at night

What’s your favorite place to enjoy wintersport? Of course there are so many great options to choose from when you are booking your ski trip. But I hope these little insights from a hardcore snowboard fan just gave you a bit more knowledge. My next trip is booked, how about yours?

Love,

Jill

*Jill is one of our guest bloggers living in Amsterdam (@jillgwendolyn) where she works as a content manager for a digital agency. She’s Crazy about traveling and has spend her studies in New Zealand . You can read a new article from Jill in every 3rd week of the month

Also read; A Winter Secret in Greece:

Vasilitsa