When I lived in the States during High School. Snow was a given during winter. Here in The Netherlands it isn’t, but I love a good snow day. So to see snow this year I headed out to Austria.
When you say Austria during winter time. Here in The Netherlands the first question you get asked is: “Are you going skiing?” When your answer is no, people start wondering what it is you are going to do there during the winter.
I found out first hand that Austria is so much more during winter than just a ski destination.
My three tips on what to do when you don’t want to go skiing.
1. Winter hiking
In summer you will find numerous hiking trails in Austria. But even in winter you will find loads of trails. There are snow shoe trails or regular winter hiking trails. Take note which one you will be hiking before you start the hike. On the regular winter hiking trails all you need is a good pair of hiking boots. Which makes it accessible to most people. The trails are well marked and cleaned up daily. Some trails will take you to huts at the top of the ski slopes and on some trails you will barely even see a soul.
There are trails in all ranges from fairly easy to hikes with a lot of elevation gains. I did several hikes while in Austria, ranging in difficulty:
– wintertrail in Fieberbrunn. I started the trail at the church in Fieberbrunn and hiked up to the hut at Stroebuden, hiking through forests and breathtaking mountain views, but with quite a bit of elevation gain;
– trail starting from Leogang to Knappenstube in the Schwarzleo Tal, which is closed during winter, but it is a fairly easy hike taking you along the river and through the forest;
– Asitz Hoch Station. You can take the lift up from Leogang, which is free for one day if you are staying in the area. There is a hiking trail on top of the mountain with the most incredible 360 degree view of the mountains around Leogang. You will hike here from about 1.700 meters up to 2.000 meters. The only downside is that you will hike along the ski slopes and there is no hiking trail back to the Mittel Station, which means the only way down is by lift if you aren’t skiing;
– The Achensee, on the last day I visited the Achensee, where there is a trail leading along the banks of the lake. It is a beautiful place and an easy hike.
2. Sleigh rides
If you do want to slide of a mountain, skiing or snowboarding isn’t the only option. In most places they have sleigh tracks. You just pick up a sleigh at the bottom of the lift and carry it up with you to the top to ride it back down to the valley again on special tracks just for this. It is an activity for the entire family.
One thing they know how to do in Austria after a day in the outdoors is how to relax. In most hotels you will find saunas that you can use, but there are also public ones in some towns. What is a better way to end a day of hiking while relaxing in the sauna?
Have you ever been to the Alps during winter? If yes did you do any activities that weren’t ski related?