The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) has launched its Austria for Culture Vultures website this winter, featuring a set of eight great package deals designed to encourage families and couples to consider Austria as a holiday destination beyond the ski season, and a calendar of events and festivals to enjoy throughout the summer months.
The holidays offered cater to a wide variety of interests and budgets. If a little high society is what you’re after, then Travel for the Arts offers a four-day package based around Donzietti at the Vienna State Opera (£2995pp). Alternatively, Kirker’s throws in galleries and museums as well for a more varied experience (from £1996pp).
If The Sound of Music is more your bag then, to celebrate 50 years since the release of the film, you can take a six-day tour (from £389pp) which visits â€˜Austria’s most beautiful village’, Alpbach, the picturesque villages surrounding KitzbÃ¼hel, and of course memorable cinematic locations in and around Salzberg.
Whilst thoughts of Austria in the winter may conjure up ski resorts and aprÃ¨s-ski shenanigans with lederhosen and schnapps, Salzburg is a popular destination for those who want an alternative to the German Christmas markets with its own Christkindlmarkt. A UNESCO-listed heritage city, Salzburg is a hive of activity and traditional Austrian charm. An ancient cathedral and the Hohensalzburg castle decorate the skyline and cobbled streets of Altstadt, whilst the Residenz – where Mozart gave his first concert – transport you back to less complicated times.
The delicious scents of gingerbread and Gluhwein drift through market streets, where stalls are laden with colourful traditional goods, making this city an ideal place to spend the Christmas period. A trip with Newmarket holidays (from £599pp) allows you to explore the magic of Mozart’s birthplace and experience the idyllic winter wonderland of the Salzkammergut lakes region.
The mountains in Austria have a world-class reputation when covered in snow in the winter months, but many overlook the opportunities for exploration in the summer. When stripped of their white coats, the Austrian Alps are a utopia for flora and fauna.
Coupled with breathtaking lakes and a blossoming wine industry, these mountains make for an ideal cultural destination. You can take a few days to explore the myriad lakeside, forest and vineyard walks, sample local cuisine and wine, or take a boat trip across Lake Neuseidlersee and absorb the sights, tastes and sounds of rural Austria.
If something more energetic is what you’d prefer then the mountains offer a wide range of water and land-based sports to get your adrenalin pumping. Downhill mountain biking, kayaking, rafting and rock climbing are popular and set amongst lush green pastures and flowery meadows.
For evening entertainment, Austria also boasts the world’s largest floating stage at the Bregenz Festival, and a number of other open-air events often bridging the gap between contemporary and classical culture.
So remember: fancy a trip with a difference? There has never been a better time to visit Austria. Whether it’s lazy lunches and wine amongst sublime scenery, trips to fairytale castles with breathtaking architecture, or white-knuckle sporting experiences — Austria has it all.
Visit austria.info/uk/culture for more information and the affordable packages available.
Austrian National Tourist Office UK & Ireland
3rd Floor, 9-11 Richmond Buildings, London W1D 3HF
Ph no 00800 400 200 00
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