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Austria's winter wonderland

Hiking in the snow: feel the winter sunshine with all your senses

 

The crunch of snow under your feet, the wonderfully crisp winter air on your face, peace and quiet and beautiful nature. In times when going skiing has become a challenge, we need to find alternatives. We’d like to introduce you to the best winter activities in and around Austria, because exercising in the fresh air can free the body and the mind.

Snowflakes fall at an average speed of 5 km/h. That’s slower than you’d think – nature takes its time. It takes the time it needs to unfold. It’s the perfect teacher of how to slow down, helping us to leave hustle and bustle, noise and stress behind. And the great thing is that you don’t need to drive as far away as possible, which we can’t do at the moment anyway, because nature starts right outside your front door. So, pull on those winter boots and get out in the fresh air!

 

 

Winter hiking

Whether you go on your own or with someone else, hikes in the snow offer a unique kind of relaxation. Your destination will depend on whether you are looking for a sporty challenge or prefer just to plod slowly through the snow, step by step.

 

 

Up on the Rax - Lower Austria:

on the high plateau of the Rax mountains, just an hour’s drive from Vienna, you can enjoy the stunning panoramic view of the surrounding Vienna Alps. Well-marked trails will guide you through this winter paradise.

Filzmoos - Pongau:

there are designated trails with various levels of difficulty to choose from all around this idyllic mountain village at the foot of the Bischofsmütze.

Lech am Arlberg - Vorarlberg:

a winter hike through the fresh snow in the midst of an impressive mountain landscape is a great way to discover the vastness of this region.

 

Snowshoeing

Snowshoes are a great alternative to skis and snowboards and are ideal for a day trip.

 

 

Hochkönig - Salzburg:

There are 164 varied snowshoe routes to choose from in the Salzburg region, for example in the Hochkönig area. Miles of designated trails start out from the romantic winter village of Maria Alm.

Eberstein – Carinthia:

The Saualm, known as the “sun terrace of Carinthia”, is the perfect place for anyone who wants to enjoy a winter day with the sun’s warm rays on their face and a breathtaking panoramic view across half of Carinthia.

Grossglockner – Tirol:

The village Kals am Grossglockner is situated at the foot of Austria’s highest mountain (3,798 metres). From there, you can head out on your snowshoes into the extraordinary Hohe Tauern National Park.

 

Cross-country skiing

Whether you prefer skating or classic style, and whether you’re a beginner or a performance athlete, cross-country skiing is one of the most wonderful sports that winter has to offer. The big advantage is that you can avoid gatherings of people. The huge selection of cross-country skiing tracks in Austria makes this a great place to enjoy the winter sunshine on your own or with close family.

 

 

Cross-country skiing by Lake Aachensee – Tirol:

Gently undulating routes alongside the lake and challenging cross-country skiing tracks in the Karwendel Nature Park mean you can enjoy cross-country skiing tours of all levels of difficulty. Even your four-legged friends can run alongside you on specific dog-friendly tracks.

Ramsau – Styria:

There are 220 km of perfectly prepared cross-country skiing tracks waiting for you at the foot of the Dachstein mountain. Various different routes lead through the beautiful snowy winter landscape, ranging from fun runs to competitive level.

Hochfilzen – Salzburg:

The snowiest region in the Pillersee valley, right in the middle of the Kitzbühel Alps, is great for cross-country skiing. The Dorfloipe track and Warmingloipe track are suitable for beginners, while the 10-kilometre Pass Griessen track is classed as medium difficulty.

 

Whether on foot, in snowshoes or on skis, winter hikers all share one common experience. At some point, they all pause just to marvel at the incomparable peace and quiet in the midst of the snowy landscape. No city noise, just soothing solitude, and even the snow falls silently from the fully-laden branches. However, please don’t forget that your health must always remain paramount while you are out having fun. Enjoy the time on your own or just with close family, listen to your body and return home feeling refreshed and recuperated!

 

Once you are back home, there is nothing better than enjoying a delicious hot drink in front of a crackling fire or under a fur blanket on the sofa. And here’s a tasty Austrian punch recipe for you:

 

Ingredients for 4 glasses of apple punch:

o 800 ml naturally cloudy apple juice
o 80 ml cranberry syrup
o 100 ml baked apple liqueur (optional)
o 20 ml hazelnut syrup
o 20 ml apple pie syrup (e.g. by Monin)
o 2 cinnamon sticks + 4 sticks for decoration
o 2 star anise + 4 for decoration
o 1 apple

 

 

 

To prepare the apple punch:

o Put the apple juice, baked apple liqueur (if using), syrups, two cinnamon sticks and two star anise in a pan and heat until it reaches a suitable drinking temperature.
o Cut 4 slices of apple, remove the core and place the slices in the glasses.
o Pour the apple punch into the glasses and add a star anise and cinnamon stick to each.