FOUR Speaks to the Official Tourism Office of Salzburg, SalzburgerLand, to hear about the Austrian wonderland’s best winter holiday offerings.
With the colorful Christmas lights twinkling against the white snow, the smell of roasted almonds, hot chestnuts and fresh toffee apples wafting through the air and traditional Salzburg trumpet fanfares gracing the airwaves, Christmas markets are an unmissable festive season tradition that bring back the most nostalgic of childhood memories. In SalzburgerLand, these Christmas markets may be small, but they are some of the most authentic and beautiful in the world. The finest Christmas baking, the sweetest Christmas tree ornaments and the cosiest kids’ bakeries deliver the Christmas cheer to both big and small to all those in SalzburgerLand.
The world-famous Christmas markets, such as the Salzburg Christmas Market at the Cathedral and Residenz Squares are a true delight that showcase the most authentic of Austrian folk culture. Throughout the county, there are also many small markets boasting a homely atmosphere and authentic traditions. The High-quality Christmas decorated stalls, arts and crafts, live acoustic Advent music as well as gastronomy are just a few of the extensive offerings that create the magical Christmas atmosphere at these SalburgerLand markets. Guests are invited to bake fragrant Christmas classics such as cinnamon stars, vanilla crescent biscuits, Linzer eye biscuits and fruity Christmas bread which pair perfectly with a cup of Glühwein (mulled wine). Kids especially love to watch the nativity plays and craft straw stars and Christmas tree ornaments out of felt.
To see the full schedule of the various Christmas Markets, and more information on these markets, click here.
SKIING & SNOWBOARDING
If you were asked to imagine a paradise for skiers and snowboarders – SalzburgerLand would undoubtedly pop into your mind. Nowhere else can you find such a rich variety and high concentration of first-class ski areas, one of the most beautiful freeride mountains in the Alps and year-round snow-covered peaks. With 22 skiing resorts and 2.000 km of pistes, snow-lovers will enter the playground of their dreams.
Here are just some of the reasons to choose SalzburgerLand for your next skiing adventure:
- Infrastructure: there is a wide selection of snow-sure and perfectly prepared pistes. The range of blue, red and black runs offer up a variety of challenges, whatever your experience. Family-friendly areas give you the opportunity to enjoy relaxed fun in the snow with your little ones, all against a breath-taking mountainous backdrop. Ambitious and passionate skiers, people returning to the slopes and beginners and hobby skiers alike will find their paradise here. From 5 star hotel suites and villas in the snow to youth hostels and camping facilities, SalzburgerLand also provides accommodation for every type of traveller.
- Top Range of Ski Schools: there are 124 ski schools and an abundance of ski and snowboard teachers who have expert local knowledge, which means that regardless of your level of skill, there’s fun for everyone to be had.
- Rustic Mountain Huts and Gourmet Restaurants: the plethora of mountain huts dotted along the mountain range are stocked with the most delectable culinary delights, ensuring that hungry skiers are sent back to the slopes refueled and raring to go.
- Vegan and Vegetarian Oasis: The region of Hochkönig is a paradise for vegan skiers. Sample meat- and fish-free delights on your skiing holiday, such as sesame falafel with hummus or lentil stew with fried onions in mountain huts such as the Zachhofalm (Dachegg), Wastlalm (Aberg), Steinbockalm (Hochmais/Sinalcobahn), Bärmooshutte (Abergbahn) and der Tischlerhütte (Aberg/Schönangerbahn)
- Great Variety and Diversity of Activities: Although the majority of people return here for good old skiing, you’ll also find a huge number and range of winter sports enthusiasts pursuing their dreams in the mountains. These activities include: snowbiking, airboarding, snowkiting, telemark skiing, skibob, zorbing, snowsailing, winter canyoning, snow tubing and ski safaris. Read up more about these activities here.
- Largest Area of Contiguous Ski Slopes: Everything comes together in SalzburgerLand with the Salzburg Super Ski Card, which combines 23 skiing resorts within 2700 km of beautiful slopes, offering up a whole heap of challenges and fun both on and off the slopes, all at fantastic value.
- Glacier Skiing: If you’re looking for fantastic glacier skiing with low temperatures all year round and perfectly groomed runs for all-round skiing, look no further than Zell am See-Kaprun.
- Fun for the Whole Family: SalzburgerLand puts emphasis on family-friendly fun both on and off the pistes. Some hotels specialise in family-friendly packages. Entire ski areas have also dedicated themselves to families. Forstau near Radstad and the Fageralm, Lofer and Saalachtal, the Lungau’s ski mountains and the Rauris Valley are just some of the regions to look out for.
- Ski Adventures by Night: Floodlit slopes all over the area enhance, your skiing and snowboarding adventure meaning you can ski late into the night in a magical wintery atmosphere. Click here to see the schedule.
For those who love gastronomy, Via Culinaria will sate their eager taste buds. Via Culinaria is culinary journey through SalzburgerLand, taking food lovers through 9 culinary pathways to the most delicious of SalzburgerLand’s regional products. Culinary seekers can sample foods directly from farmers and producers, enjoy traditional specialities cooked by rustic hosts or experience the highest level of gastronomic art at a critically acclaimed restaurant. The key ingredients of Via Culinaria are regionality, originality, quality and authenticity – it is therefore hardly surprising that Prof. Dr.h.c. Eckart Witzigmann, who was ennobled by Gault Millau as the “cook of the century”, has been chosen as a patron of Via Culinaria.
Via Culinaria offers culinary pathways for aficionados, fish fans, meat lovers, herbalists as well as friends of spiritual pleasures and fresh brews – which include beer and schnapps tastings. Those who adore cheese can sample the wonderful alpine cheeses along with the fine classics and other creative dairy products. With 260 culinary addresses, there will be scrumptious offerings for everyone’s taste.
For more on Via Culinaria, click here.
The accomodation in SalzburgerLand varies from idyllic Alpine Hut Villages to luxurious resorts. Some of those recommended by the SalzzburgerLand Tourism Office include the following:
- Ski amadé: “Austria’s Greatest Ski Paradise”, situated in the heart of Austria, amadé is sure to bring you the ultimate ski holiday filled with unforgettable moments.
- Obertauern: Located higher than most other resorts, Obertauern provides the perfect platform for unlimited fun on the slopes, rustic cosiness, breathtaking views and nights you don’t regret sleeping in after.
- Saalbach Hinterglemm: “The Coolest Ski Resort in the Alps”, Saalbach boasts 270km pistes and 70 modern ski lifts. Hosting many events throughout the festive season, including Bergfestival and the Fis Alpine World Cup, this resort will have you entertained throughout your stay.
- Zell am See-Kaprun: Nestled between alps and overlooking the Zell am See lake, the views of this resort are unparalleled. In winter, this is the perfect spot not only for skiing and snowboarding, but also for ice-skating, winter hiking and wellness and spa experiences.
For more on SalzburgerLand, visit their official website here.
Ski-lift image © Kitzsteinhorn
All other images © SalzburgerLand