While it is very tempting to escape the winter gloom and head to sunnier locations such as the Canary Islands (we wouldn’t blame you!), there is another alternative. Embrace the cold! While sunbathing at the beach or lounging by the pool is a definite no-no in most parts of Europe, there are certainly some benefits as the temperatures start to drop. Yes we know for many of you winter means hibernating indoors with the heating on and hot chocolate in hand, but don’t let the beauty of winter go to waste. While some parts of Europe such as the U.K. just become rainier and gloomier, other places take on a completely different beauty from the other seasons. One such place is the amazing country of Austria!
Austria has a relatively small population size in comparison to many other European countries, with approximately 8.7 million inhabitants. The population of the capital city, Vienna represents around a quarter of the total population of the country and is by far the largest city. Other large cities are Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. Austria has a rich culture and history which can be found in Vienna and other cities where you will find stunning architecture, grand buildings, theatres and gourmet restaurants offering delicious food and drink. While the cities and towns are certainly amazing, one of the best features of Austria is how it has remained relatively untouched by human development and retains an incredible natural beauty.
Breathtaking Snowy Landscapes
One of the key features of Austria’s geography is the high altitude of much of the country. An alpine climate is predominant throughout the majority of Austria as nearly three-quarters of the country is dominated by the Alps, where the country is located. Only about a quarter of the country can actually be considered low-lying and only around 32% of the country is below 500 metres above sea level.
A large proportion of Austria is hilly and mountainous which has been one of the contributing factors to its escape from overdevelopment. The high altitude and location also means that the country can become fairly cold in the winter, but rather than detracting from it’s beauty with rainy, grey skies, it is enhanced with snow and ice, creating spellbinding snow covered landscapes.
If you stay in a timeshare resort in the countryside or take a trip into the countryside you will be amazed at the sheer natural beauty that Austria has to offer. You can hike to the top of mountain peaks or use mountain lifts, and stand, marvelling at an expanse of snowy white mountains stretching out before you. There are some truly great photographic opportunities in Austria. Rainfall is relatively low too, so often you will be blessed with beautiful blue skies, creating an epic contrast with the snowy landscape.
If you head to Austria during winter, especially over the Christmas period, you really will get into that Christmas mood as you can almost be guaranteed a white Christmas. You may have heard of the famous German Christmas markets. Austrian culture is similar to German culture in many respects and they definitely share a love of this wonderful winter cultural tradition.
— CLC World (@clcworld) 6 December 2016
Throughout cities, towns and villages in Austria you will find Christmas markets that start as early as the 12th of November and continue up until 6th of January. As you wander through these markets you can sample a selection of traditional Austrian food such as pastries and cookies, warm up with delicious mulled wine and pick up some great gifts like hand made toys.
There are also numerous delightful Christmas displays to really get you in that Christmas mood! Some of the most popular of these markets are located in the capital city of Vienna and the other major cities such as Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz and Linz. There is also an amazing authentic Advent experience in Austria’s smallest city, Rattenberger. This is a medieval city of only 439 inhabitants, covering an area of 11 hectares with a lovely Christmas market only on certain weekends in December.
Skiing and Snowboarding Holidays:
No winter trip to Austria would be truly complete without taking part in some form of winter sports and in Austria you are truly spoilt for choice! Of course if you are thinking of winter sports, then skiing and snowboarding will immediately spring to mind and Austria is one of the best places in the world to do this. Austria is perfect because of the vertical drops, the difference between the highest lift-served point and the end of the ski run, which in Austria is usually the village. The big verticals that exist in Austria mean long runs and uncrowded lifts.
You can usually ski or snowboard right into perfect picturesque villages that have been there for centuries, where the traditions and architecture of the region are central to the daily life of both the community that lives there and visitors. There are welcoming, friendly locals, top quality restaurants, and a genuine sense of tradition and history. The experience of skiing in Austria can’t be repeated anywhere else because of the uniqueness of the Austrian slopes and their cultural connection to the beautiful villages that almost feel like they are from a different time.
The skiing experience is not just a sport for tourists during a few winter months, but a genuine part of Austrian life, so if you head to Austria for a skiing holiday you will be taking part in a sport that is rooted in the culture of the people who live in this incredible Alpine region. Your winter sport vacation will become the experience of a lifetime!
Other Winter Activities:
If skiing or snowboarding are not for you though, there are plenty of other winter activities that you can enjoy in Austria, that take full advantage of the outstanding environment the country has to offer! This includes horse-sleigh rides, tobogganing, snowshoe adventures, ice skating or winter golf which are all available at most resorts. There are also spa facilities to relax and unwind at, you can shop at uniquely Austrian boutiques, take in the beautiful surrounding areas by enjoying wonderful excursions and also meet an international crowd that loves to gather in the outdoor cafes.
As you can see Austria is an absolutely amazing destination to choose for your next timeshare holiday this winter. There is breathtaking beauty, wonderful winter activities to enjoy and a whole host of great cultural activities. Although it can get cold, the snow and ice only add to the sublime Alpine landscape, transforming the lakes, forests and mountains into a true winter wonderland that will provide you with memories you can treasure long after you return home.
Instead of hibernating at home in front of the TV with the central heating on full blast, why not take a trip to Austria for your next timeshare holiday. You can spend the daytimes exploring and the evenings curled up next a lovely log fire. A number of RDO members have some gorgeous resorts on offer so you have wonderful places to choose from.
CLC World – Alpine Centre – Saalfelden
Diamond Resorts – Alpine Club – Rohrmoos / Schladming
Bad Gastein – Salzburg Province
Bad Kleinkirchheim – Carinthia
Saalbach – Salzburg Province
Sonnleitn – Carinthia
St. Michael – Salzburg Province
Zell am See – Salzburg Province