Traveller Story: A Wondrous Christmas in the Austrian Alps
After many years sweltering through the festive season in Australia, my family and I decided to treat ourselves to a traditional European Christmas last year. After researching all the options, as a family we decided on the Albatross Tours Christmas in the Austrian Tyrol tour. We thoroughly loved the ten days touring through the snow-kissed mountains and charming alpine villages of Germany and Austria, and this blog is a wonderful opportunity to relive my winter wonderland experience.
Winter Fun in Neustift
The highlight of the tour for my family was the five nights we spent in the beautiful village of Neustift. You might not have heard of Neustift unless you’re an alpine village aficionado, and while it might not have the global recognition of Salzburg or Innsbruck, this truly is a special place. Located in the broad Stubai Valley, surrounded by breathtaking limestone foundations, Neustift is immensely popular during the winter months for all the great winter sport options on offer. We’re not big skiers, but that didn’t stop us from having fun in the slightest. We spent Christmas Eve speeding down a very slippery, 8-kilometre snow-covered track on our little toboggan! We also really enjoyed the cable cars that run up to the Stubai Glacier. The views along the valley and up to the peaks are totally captivating.
Salzburg in the Snow
Salzburg is one of the most romantic, amazing cities I have ever visited. It was so special to be there over Christmas. The best experiences in Salzburg can be found in the city’s hilltop fortress. While the breathtaking views from this fortress make it special all year round, the site really comes alive during the festive season with special Christmas markets and events. We bought a number of handcrafted wood and metal tree ornaments that will always serve as reminders of our special winter holiday. My husband and I also indulged in a little of the famous Glühwein (mulled red or white wine) while the children played in the snow. And as always, getting there is half the fun – the short funicular trip up the hill is a real treat. Alternatively, if you are feeling more energetic you can take the steep path and stairs to the fortress.
A Really Great Group
I’ve always enjoyed touring with other people, but there was something extra special about this recent trip. Perhaps it was the magic of Christmas in the air? Our Christmas companions were a really diverse bunch. My daughter was the youngest traveller at just seven, and the oldest was a spritely 78 year old. There were families, friends, couples and single travellers all touring together and immensely enjoying each other’s company. It was so precious for me to sit back and watch my kids playing in the snow with the new friends they met on the tour, while my husband and I relaxed and chatted to the great people we’d met. The level of companionship we experienced was really touching – these were a truly special group of people to spend Christmas with.
Christmas is always special when you’re with the ones you love. But our Christmas tour through Austrian Tyrol will always hold a fond place in our hearts. Everything on this tour - the Christmas markets, stunning mountains, friendly villages and hearty European food – made this experience thoroughly magical for the whole family. While we do love a sunburnt country, we’d definitely love to experience another cool wintery Christmas again soon!