Last year, Ben and I did a European road trip with my family, but I actually didn’t post that many photos of the trip! To be honest, we actually stayed in one place for most of it while they did the road tripping, but did travel across Austria and into Italy to Venice. The main bulk of the holiday however was spent staying a small town in the Alps called Altenmarkt im Pongau.
I’ve been to Austria lots of times, but all of those times before last year were for skiing so we really wanted to see the Alps in summer instead for once. I was imagining pretty meadows, scattered with wildflowers, goats on rocky outcrops – yes, okay, maybe my visions of Austrian Alps were inspired by the Sound of Music. And I wasn’t too far wrong! Austria was beautiful in summer and I would happily return. Here are my 5 top reasons for that:
The architecture of Austria is gorgeous. You might think that the ornate timber buildings with shapes carved into the wood, glorious spires on the churches and pretty balconies is a stereotype of the Alps, but when you visit, you realise that it’s not just a stereotype. A lot of the buildings really do look like this! Set against a verdant mountain backdrop in summer, they’re so photogenic and beautiful to look at.
2. Food & Drink
Austrian food is rich, like really rich. But tasty. So tasty. It’s home to the Weiner Schnitzel and the Apple Strudel, what more can I say?! To be honest, I had problems reading the menus at first because I don’t speak a word of German – my linguistic abilities cover romantic languages only, those which stem from Latin and Ancient Greek! Because I’m used to having something of an understanding of most languages, this was quite stressful for me and I ended up picking safe options at first, but as I started to stray away from those and pick more adventurous dishes, I realised how amazing the food was.
Then there’s the beer. Okay, confession time – I don’t like beer. Or any alcohol all that much really – give me a lemonade and I’m happy! But Ben and my dad are big beer connoisseurs, so they very much enjoyed sampling Austria’s infamous beers.
3. Outdoor Activities
Austria is a destination for the outdoorsy types, but doesn’t need to be limited to just them – I promise! I’m a country girl at heart but don’t often have a chance to spend time outside, so it was lovely to spend some time on some hiking in the woodland, swimming and exploring. You can also hire bikes, take boats on scenic lakes and even do paragliding! To take it a bit slower, a guiding walking holiday like this one from Inntravel would be ideal – perfect for even people like me who sit in an office all day long but like to get out and see the outdoors!
While Vienna is the capital of Austria, I would always recommend a visit to Salzburg. We’ve been multiple times in winter but chose to visit in summer too as the fountains and more ornate decorations have been covered up to protect from snow and ice during winter.
There’s so much to do there, even if you just wander Salzburg’s many winding streets and squares. I’d recommend a visit to the Salzburg egg shop where you can buy hand painted eggs as the first stop. Or maybe the last, depending on how clumsy you are if you’re walking around all day!
We visited Schloss Hellbrun (pictured above) for the first time last year and it was beautiful and fun – I’d highly recommend it! The garden is home to a series of trick fountains which you take a guided tour around. Definitely do this if you’re visiting.
I’d also recommend checking out:
- Festung Hohensalzburg – this is a fortress that was originally built in 1077 and has beautiful views over the city. You can either walk or take a cable car up and down to it.
- Mozart’s Birthplace – this is right in the middle of Salzburg and is really interesting.
5. Scenery & Wildlife
And of course, you can’t visit Austria without appreciating the beautiful scenery and wildlife! I’ve dotted pictures of it throughout this post and there are views like these around almost every corner in the Austrian Alps.
One place I’d recommend a visit to is the Grossglockner Pass (in some of the pictures above). It’s a slightly terrifying drive at points but has the most stunning views. We took a day to visit it, stopping at several viewpoints and a couple of visitor centres and museums that are dotted along it. Plus there’s plenty of wildlife to spot along the way too, so keep your eyes open!
And now the fun bit! Do you want to win this vintage Austrian travel poster? I know I do…
Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below and I’ll pick a winner a week’s time to receive this gorgeous poster! (And if whoever wins can show me their poster in pride of place on their wall so I can appreciate it, I’d be super happy!)
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Post in collaboration with Inntravel.