7 Amazing reasons to go on an escorted tour to Austria
Austria is the land of remarkable Alpine views, monumental palaces and architecture, and astonishing musical heritage. Contemporary culture also mixes with stylish tradition, which can be seen in Vienna - home to Baroque churches and the impressive Hoffbury and Schönnbrunn palaces as well as modern icons including Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier.
Our Austria holidays will take you on a journey of discovery, where you’ll be surrounded by spectacular mountains and lakes, historical cities and traditional villages. We’ll meet locals and learn about their customs and eat delicious Sacher Torte - an indulgent chocolate cake. We’ll take boats, cable cars and funiculars and go on an adventure in one of Europe’s most beautiful destinations.If you’re still not convinced by a holiday to Austria, our European Product Manager, Alison Porter, is a real fan of the country and she reveals some of her favourite highlights of our escorted Austria tours.
Stay in a stunning lakeside resortMy 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.
Enjoy Zell am See’s landscapesZell 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 GrossglocknerThe 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!
Hear the roar of thunderous waterfallsThe 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 townsOn 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.
Try speciality dishesLocal 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!
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.
Article published on: 12th August, 2020
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.