Winter holidays the Austrian Way

With snow-dusted mountains, a thriving ski culture and Austrian hospitality, sporty clients will love an alpine getaway in Austria, says Sheena Adesilu

(Main picture Ischgl blanketed in snow © TVB Paznaun – Ischgl)

Hit the slopes

Austria ski
Winter hiking in St. Johann in Tirol © Franz Gerdl

Austria is a hotspot for skiing thanks to its powdery-white snow that bedecks its peaks well into spring. The Arlberg region is Austria’s largest connected ski resort and is one of the snowiest regions of the Alps. With new rail packages from Inghams, clients can travel to St Anton am Arlberg by train.

Also new this winter is an up to 84km long tour, without having to take a single lift twice, in the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental Resort.

Travellers looking for activities beyond the slopes can opt for cross-country skiing, tobogganing, snowshoe hiking or dog sledding. In Zell am See-Kaprun clients can go skiing on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier before a spot of ice-skating on the frozen lake.

Cosy stays

Austria relax
Enjoying the sun on the slopes in Innsbruck (image Innsbruck-Tourismus_Andre-Schoenherr)

For ultimate ease, a ski-in-ski-out hotel or guest house right on the slopes is the way to go. Gurgl in the Ötztal valley in Tirol or St Johann in Salzburg offer great options.

Families are well-catered for in Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau, so the little ones feel instantly at home.

If clients want to adopt an Austrian lifestyle, they can head to a spa before dinner and relax after a long day on the slopes. There are plenty of four- or five-star hotels with spa facilities, including Das Central in Sölden, Green Spa Resort Stanglwirt in Going am Wilden Kaiser in Tirol or the Naturhotel Forsthofgut in Leogang.

Culinary delights

Austria family
Family enjoying Kaiserschmarren (image Oesterreich-Werbung_Christoph-Oberschneider)

Discovering Austria’s hearty food scene is a must. Famous local dishes include shredded pancakes called Kaiserschmarren, bacon dumplings known as Tiroler Speckknödel, and Käsespätzle – Austria’s answer to mac n’ cheese.

Foodies should visit Zillertal, with its 150 refreshment stops and rustic alpine huts, or Ischgl, a hotspot for fine dining with 10 award-winning restaurants.

Gemütlichkeit

Gemütlichkeit, meaning comfort, cosiness and homeliness, is a key part of Austrian hospitality. Austrians are known for their warmth and conviviality, encouraging travellers to connect with its locals and nature.

Visiting a Christmas market or two is the perfect opportunity to mingle with locals, sip a glass of Glühwein, sample Christmas biscuits and browse the stalls for handicrafts. Famous Christmas markets to visit are Innsbruck and Kitzbühel which kick off from mid-November.