Austria is mostly seen as a winter resort, however, from my summer experiences the country is full of sunshine, gorgeous mountain ranges, majestic historical architecture and picture-book style villages that have left me wanting to go back. In many ways, it is the ultimate destination for a coach tour in Europe.
Our Tyrolean All Inclusive Tour heads to some amazing stops in Austria - Salzburg, Kitzbuhel alps, Saalbach, Zell am See and GrossGlockner.
It departs 22nd June 2019, 13th of July 2019 and 7th September 2019.
Having lived in Austria for 2 years I would like to share with you my top insider tips and recommendations for things to do and see in each resort of the tour.
The Wilder Kaiser Mountains
Salzburg is a city like no other, cobbled streets, the beautiful river that runs through, the Mirabell palace and gardens and world famous Gereidegasse. Most known as the home to Mozart and The Sound of Music there is much more to this medieval town.
Whilst there and after visiting the old town and gardens, I recommend heading up to the medieval fortress and getting some panoramic pictures down on the city.
There is a walk up the many steps, this is also steep, so make sure you have good boots on, the walk takes about 15 minutes but is well worth the views on route.
Alternatively take the FestungsBahn; fortress funicular which travels 200m and runs every 10 minutes this will take you from the heart of the historic centre of Salzburg up to the Fortress and from here you can walk around and see the 360 views of the city below.
On your way back down if you walk from the museum there is a perfect place to catch your breath, and taste some of Salzburg’s original beer. The Stieglkeller dates back to the 14th century and offer a huge range of beers and Austrian cuisine.
If you are looking for traditional Austria there are no better towns than St Johann and Kitzbul both ski resorts in winter, in summer they come alive with walkers and hikers. When driving between the two resorts get your cameras ready for the amazing mountain range, WilderKaiser.
With most Austrian villages the buildings are full of history and tell their stories through the the frescos on the walls.
Kitzbhuel though quaint is where you will find an array of expensive cars, as this area is one of the wealthiest towns of Austria, it is home to some of the most important people in the current business world. Throughout the year the town hosts events and many are vintage car related.
St Johann on the other hand, which is 15 minutes away and well connected by train, offers a more quaint and peaceful life. As with most towns the hotels and restaurants are all interlinked by families and you get a real community feel as you walk through the town.
The twin spired church of St Johann is a Roman Catholic Church situated right in the town square, the Hautplatz is highly worth a visit. It is open during the day for prayer and reflection, and to enjoy the beautiful architecture.
My top places to eat are:
Huber Bräu This is the local brewery in St. Johann is a landmark in itself - at the top of its tower is an amazing restaurant, and also is the highest point in the town. You can spend time sipping a pint of beer or enjoying a traditional Tyrolean meal – I recommend the Oven-fresh, crispy knuckle of pork in a beer sauce, it comes with homemade bread dumplings, sauerkraut and fresh horseradish. You can also have a small portion if your just in for a snack. The best part is at the top you can admire the beautiful surrounding mountains and a panoramic view over St Johann.
For Afters…. the best strudel I have tasted can be found in Cafe Rainer situated just on the main road that runs towards the train station.
Day at Leisure - Saalbach
Whether you want to walk around the town or take the opportunity to head up a cable car there is plenty in Saalbach to keep you entertained.
The 4 main lifts in Saalbach, each have fantastic views of the Glemm Valley below and have clearly marked walking trails for all abilities.
- Schattberg X-Press Lift
- Reiterkogel Cable Car (Hinterglemm)
- Zwolferkogel Cable Car (Hinterglemm)
You'll need a lift pass to use the cable cars and lifts in Saalbach and these cost around 24 Euros, however, if you are going to go on multiple lifts I recommend getting the Hiking card.
The lifts generally begin operating at 9am, and the last descent from the top station Schattberg is at 4.15pm and from the mid-station at 4.30pm.
My recomended trail for those who are looking for a challenge is to take on the Pinzgauer Spaziergang Trail.
This trail goes all the way to Zell am See and is 20km long. You'll start from the top station of the Schattberg X-Press and finish at the Schmittenhohe lift in Zell am See. The last bus from Zell am See is 7.20pm from the train station.
Zell Am See
Zell is known for its lake, in winter you can ice skate on it and the area is linked to the ski resort Kaprun, it also has good links to Kitzbuhel.
The town itself is big with lots to see, eat and do, but a trip to the old town is a highlight I wouldn’t want to miss.
The Stadt museum is located in the Old Town in the Vogt Tower and is the oldest building in the town, the tower is thought to be 1000 years old, first mentioned in 926 as an escape tower for soldiers and citizens of Zell am See.
If you are more of a nature lover or people watcher head to the lake, but bear in mind to walk around the whole thing it would take around 3 hours (depending on how many times you stop for coffee and cake, of course). Its 12 km, however, even walking a short distance you will find lidos (beaches), restaurants and plenty of places to sit and enjoy the sunshine, not to mention take in the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
On the final excursion of the tour you will head to Grossglockner, the coach journey alone provides a scenic trip into the Hohe Tauern National Park on the High Alpine Road, this leads to the glacial base of Austria's highest mountain. The scenery really is breath taking so ensure that you bring your camera and capture some spectacular shots.
The mountain range is popular with marmots - the friendly Austrian animal, which are usually hard to spot but in the environment of the Grossglockner, the marmots are in their element, relaxing in their natural habitat in abundance.
At the viewing point, you can access the Pasterze glacier by foot or via the funicular, I would advise taking the funicular.
Once there the Kaiser Franz Josef exhibition visitor centre offers exhibitions on the "Fascination of Ice and Glaciers" and a "Rock and Ice" adventure trail, as well as an amazing collection of classic cars and motorbikes. On the 3rd floor is the Glockner cinema which lets you experience all that the Grossglockner has to offer up close.
TOP TIP: The temperature can change quickly when you’re high up. Take layers with you, but don’t forget your sun cream either.
From just £799 per person the Tyrolean All Inclusive tour works out at such great value. With all you meals, tea and coffee and unlimited drinks* you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and picture-book villages without a care in the world.