With a name like Heidi, everyone assumes that I'm German, Austrian, or Swiss. I'm going to break the truth to you. I'm a global citizen with a DNA like a mutt: some German, some Norweigan, some French, some British, and who knows what else. So I'm on a quest to experience those locations, but also everywhere else. Until I do, I rely on travel experts, writers, and photographer that can share their destination knowledge. That's why I called up Carolyn Schonafinger, a peer travel writer and blogger, for her travel tips in Austria.
Let's adventure to Austria with Carolyn!
3 Things You Must Do in Austria
Austria is a country known for its stunning scenery and rich history - and as the setting for the movie “A Sound of Music”. And whilst it’s worth visiting the country if you’re a fan of any of these things, I’d also encourage you to explore more of Austria‘s delights.
Learn More about the Local Cuisine
No visit to Austria is complete with trying the delicious local cuisine. Hearty meals like dumplings, wurst (sausages) and Wiener schnitzel all make regular appearances on menus across the country.
If you’re a sweet tooth, two must-try dishes are Kaiserschmarrn and apple strudel. At Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace you can watch as apple strudel is made using the original recipe, which is believed to date back to 1696. Of course you get to taste it, too!
At Café Sacher (in both Vienna and Salzburg), the specialty is Sacher Torte, a rich chocolate cake with an apricot jam filling. More than 360,000 of the cakes are baked each year, with many of them shipped abroad. If you’re in Austria, you HAVE to try a slice.
Whichever dessert you choose, you should accompany it with a Viennese coffee. In Austria the coffee is strong and the Viennese version comes topped with a dollop of whipped cream!
Break Free of the Cities
Austria has some of the most beautiful cities in Europe but nothing beats an escape to the country.
Throughout the country, picturesque landscapes are dotted with pretty Austrian villages all waiting to be explored.
Chocolate-box houses, decorated with overflowing flower boxes in summer, line the streets.
Villages – many of which look like they are straight from the pages of child’s storybook - are a great place to observe the locals going about their daily life. Today’s modern lifestyle blends easily with centuries’ old buildings and long-held traditions.
Stop at a Gasthof (hotel) and you’ll probably see the staff wearing the traditional dirndl (dress) or lederhosen (leather trousers).
Make sure you have your camera on hand as Austria’s abundance of natural beauty will give you plenty of opportunities to take the perfect photo.
Crystal clear rivers, sparkling lakes, lush green fields and snow-capped mountains are just some of the subjects you’ll have to choose from.
Take a moment, close your eyes and breath in the fresh air of rural Austria.
Get up High for Amazing Views
For the best views in Austria, you need to get up high and the best place to do so is at the top of a mountain.
But reaching the summit doesn’t have to be hard work.
Austria’s mountains are home to many world-class ski resorts so there’s always an easy way to get to the top!
At many mountains, cable cars run year round, transporting skiers in winter and hikers and picnickers in summer. All are rewarded with wonderful views.
If you don’t have time to go mountaineering, even the cities offer great views. In Salzburg, a funicular takes visitors to Hohensalzburg, an imposing castle overlooking the city.
And in the capital, Vienna, a ride on the 65-metre high Giant Ferris Wheel, in the suburb of Prater, is guaranteed to show you the city as you’ve never seen it before.
So as you plan your visit to Austria, be sure to include some time to learn more about the cuisine, get out of the cities and experience the amazing views on offer. You won’t be disappointed.
**Post contributed by Carolyn Schonafinger, an Australian blogger and the founder and editor of Holidays to Europe. Carolyn travels to Europe annually to satisfy her desire to explore every inch of the continent.**