View over Zell am See in summer, Salzburg, Austria
14 August, 20203 minute read

7 amazing reasons to go on an escorted tour to Austria

Stay in a stunning lakeside resort

My favourite Austria tour by far is Lakeside Austria and magical Zell am See staying in the beautiful lakeside resort of Zell am See. The seven-night stay and explore holiday is a relaxing, scenic tour of this fabulous region visiting the musical city of Salzburg, crossing the Grossglockner High Alpine road for glorious views across the mountains and valleys before dropping back down into the pretty town of Heiligenblut with its tall spired church, visiting the impressive Krimml waterfalls and getting the chance to sample local products in the stylish resort of Kitzbühel.

A boat floats on the lake in Zell am See in Austria, with green hills in the background

Enjoy Zell am See’s landscapes

Zell am See is a perfect place to stay as you get a lakeside location and mountain scenery. You can take a boat on the lake in high season and use the cable cars and chair lifts to get up the mountain for fabulous views from the top. It has a cobbled, pedestrianised central square lined with cafes and shops and the short stroll to the lakeside is the perfect after dinner stroll. I’d also recommend taking the post bus into neighbouring Kaprun and travel up in the gondola onto the glacier for a different experience and great views back down across Zell am See. And taking a stroll along the lakeside after dinner - it is magical.

Feel the twists and turns of Grossglockner

The trip along the high alpine road to the Grossglockner - Austria’s highest alpine road - is absolutely stunning. Experience 36 hairpin bends that wind up and show you the changing landscape as the altitude increases. In early summer, the coach makes its way through snow tunnels cut out of the snow that blocks the road throughout the winter and closes the road. At the top, when we stop, there is snow by the side of the road and it can get quite chilly in the sun. Look out for the furry marmots that live happily in these extreme conditions - they look like guinea pigs!

Grossglockner High Alpine Road leads through the mountains in Austria

Hear the roar of thunderous waterfalls

The Krimml Waterfalls are another highlight and the largest waterfalls in Europe. You can hear the noise of the water as it cascades down and the surrounding scenery is mesmerising. It is possible to get very close and there is a pathway where visitors can walk up to get to various viewpoints, as well as cafes and souvenir shops. Travel to Austria on this escorted tour and you really will get to see the different types of spectacular local scenery.

Explore beautiful cities and towns

On a day trip into Salzburg, you have a small town split in two by the Salzach river. Walk through the gorgeous Mirabell Gardens - and see famous locations which feature in the Sound of Music. The other side is the Old Town with narrower, cobbled streets and hidden squares adorned with pretty fountains, as well as the magnificent cathedral. This is a great spot to enjoy delicious cakes and drinks, too. Lastly, the town is overlooked by a majestic fortified castle that you can take a funicular to and explore. The history is fascinating and the places we go to are all very different. 

Mirabell Gardens with Mirabell Palace and the old historic Fortress Hohensalzburg in the background in Salzburg, Austria

Try speciality dishes

Local food specialities to try in Austria include  Salzburger nockerl- a soufflé  desert, Kaiserschmarrn; or Emperor’s nonsense- chopped pancakes with raisins and sultanas, sprinkled in icing sugar and fresh plum compote; Sacher Torte from the famous Viennese Hotel Sacher - an indulgent chocolate cake topped with apricot jam and a mirror glaze. Finally don’t forget the apple strudel packed with juicy apples and sultanas in a flaky filo pastry and served with vanilla custard or ice cream!

Apple strudel and traditional Austrian doughnuts on sale at a Christmas market stall

Meet the locals

Head to the Hochkoenig Mountains and surrounding countryside and get a glimpse of how the locals live. Admire their their traditional dress that is still popular to this day - ladies wear lacy blouses and aprons, while men wear leather shorts for practicality. Learn where climbers begin their journeys and get lots of hidden facts about a traditional way of life. A stop in Maria Alm means there is time for more coffee and cake, as well as lovely views across this pretty Alpine village. I think this is the perfect way to see and experience the local countryside and learn a lot more about the region.

If you’ve been inspired to book this magical tour to Austria, then do get in touch.

Image of blog author Ting Dalton
Ting

Ting has a serious case of wanderlust. Having travelled to over 40 countries, it’s her mission in life to make her way through her ever-growing list. Her two young sons have also caught the travel bug, and recent trips have seen them making snow angels in Iceland while watching the Northern Lights, as well as walking alongside elephants in South Africa.

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