Destination Austria – Discover an Alpine Gem

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Posted October 9, 2012 by David in European Journeys

With its high mountain peaks and cobalt lakes, fascinating cities with palaces and parkland and distinctive delicious food, Austria has been a firm favourite with our customers for over 25 years.

Back in the 1980’s, Leger began operating holidays to Austria. Almost 30 years on, it continues to be one of our most popular holiday destinations.

Contrary to popular belief Austria is not all about mountains. While the Alps do cover three quarters of the  country, dominating areas like Tyrol and Salzburg, the eastern provinces of Lower Austria, including Vienna, are more similar to the geography of the neighbouring Czech Republic and Hungary.

This diverse mix of landscapes is packed into a relatively small area and you’ll find everything glaciers, meadows and alpine valleys, to wooded foothills, gently rolling farmland, vineyards and river gorges.

Picture-postcard scenery in the Austrian Alps

Best for awesome alpine scenery…

Some of Austria’s panoramic views are best seen by train. Imagine relaxing on an old steam locomotive and looking out onto breathtaking lakes and endless mountains.

The famous Ziller Valley Railway, in operation since 1902, runs from Fugen and takes you to Mayrhofen, situated near the Hintertux glacier, which, at 3250m above sea level, is above the snowline.

There’s also the nostalgic Gisela train, which transports you back to the romance of the good old days. Along the journey the train travels through the valleys of the Kitzbühel Alps, passing alpine villages and little towns dating back to the Middle Ages.

If this sounds good, you could try our Little Trains of Austria tour, which also visits Capital of the Tyrol’ Innsbruck; Lake Achensee, the largest lake in the Austrian Tyrol; and St. Wolfgang, home of the cog railway.

Best for ‘Sound of Music’ highlights…

In 1965 Salzburg was the setting for a film which would become world famous – ‘The Sound of Music’.

There are some fantastic sights to see in the city including the Mirabell Gardens, where, in the film, Maria and the children were seen dancing around the statue of Pegasus, the winged horse, and throughout the gardens singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’. Also, Mondsee Cathedral, where the wedding between Maria and Baron Von Trapp was filmed.

Salzburg is also the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and you can visit the fascinating museum, housed in the Mozart family home, where Mozart composed much of his early work.

You could experience the ‘Sound of Music‘ for yourself on our tour which also visits Alpbach, voted ‘Austria’s most beautiful village’, Krimml Falls, which gives views considered to be unsurpassed throughout Europe, and Swarovski Crystal World, where you can treat yourself to a holiday memento.

The beautiful city of Salzburg

Best for city sightseeing…

The city of Innsbruck is awash with architectural gems including superb examples of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture, Imperial residences and museums.

The Imperial Palace is in the Baroque style and has four wings and a splendid two-story Riesensaal (Giant’s Hall), painted in white and gold.

However, Innsbruck’s most popular attraction is the Golden Roof, which is a three-story balcony on the central plaza at the heart of the Old Town. It was constructed for Emperor Maximilian I to serve as a royal box where he could sit in luxury and enjoy tournaments in the square below.

One of the most beautiful cities in Austria is Salzburg, with its towering spires, green hills and romantic gardens. Salzburg means ‘salt castle’, referring to its massive fortress and the white gold from the mountains in the south. The city’s magnificent baroque town centre is rated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and can easily be explored by strolling along the winding alleyways and through the charming squares.

You could join us on our Spectacular Austria all inclusive tour, where you’d also go to picturesque Zell-am-See, the ski resort town of Kitzbuhel and beautiful Achensee and the Ziller Valley.

Best for spectacular snowy scenes…

It’s not often we see clean crisp white snow here in the U.K. but if you take a relaxing break to Austria, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be disappointed. A blanket of snow transforms the lush, green landscape to the perfect winter wonderland, so taking your camera is a must!

Get your scarf and gloves on and take a stroll along Lake Zell in Zell-am-See. This is one of the most beautiful scenic regions of Austria, with the village on the shore, backed by the 6500ft Schmittenhohe Mountain. The centre of the town is pedestrianised with delightful flower-decked street cafés and shops to browse in, plus many good restaurants.

Then there’s Kitzbühel, a ski resort in the heart of the Alps. Explore the walled Old Town or take a horse and carriage ride through the snow, Then stop in a café for a lovely warm drink.

Try our Austrian Winter Wonderland tour where you’ll also get to ride on the over a century old Ziller Valley Railway and visit enchanting Salzburg.


About the Author

David