Kangaroos and koalas? No, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Austria is famous for the waltz, the apfelstrudel and other delicious cakes, Christmas markets, beautiful landscapes, the movie The Sound of Music and the Hapsburg Empire that once encompassed the entire Central Europe.
I first visited Austria’s capital Vienna (Wien) with my other best friend M. (not the one that I go to London with) in 2005. We spent a couple of days in Vienna at our high school friend’s who was studying there. I even got to celebrate my birthday there and enjoy the Christmas markets. Since then I visited Vienna twice (one afternoon whilst returning from another trip) and a short business trip last year. I’ll be travelling to Vienna again next month because of my work but I’ll be sure to find some free time to enjoy the many Christmas markets.
I’ve visited a couple of other Austrian cities too but I still haven’t done any skiing or hiking in Austria which is a shame because this small country offers plenty of outdoor activities in beautiful nature.
In 2013 I went to Graz, Austria’s second largest city and visited the chocolate factory Zotter in Riegersburg with my boyfriend (now my hubby). That was a fun day even though it was a gloomy November day. I’m a chocoholic but after trying out a huge amount of chocolate (from almost 90% cocoa content to milk chocolate standard of around 30 % cocoa content) I was put off of chocolate for a few days. Luckily I soon recovered from that chocolate overdose and continued to enjoy chocolate in its many delicious forms.
Only a month after this chocoholic experience I visited the Christmas markets in Villach and Velden with my mum who also loves browsing Christmas markets and drinking mulled wine and eating pretzels and other sweet stuff. There’s something almost magical about the Christmas time in Austria; everything is so beautifully decorated, you can hear carols in the streets, the smell of cinnamon and punch wafts through the air and there’s a promise of a white Christmas.
But you don’t have to visit Austria only in the winter time. Last year my mum and I visited Klagenfurt (a charming little town) and Minimundus in May. Do you believe that it was 29°C ?! Minimundus is a fun park that showcases models on a scale of 1:25 of the most famous landmarks and buildings from all around the world. There’s something similar in Brussels near the Atomium but I didn’t visit that one because I had already done the one in Austria.
Have you heard of Hallstatt? It’s often put in a lot of must-visit lists and I’ve visited it in 2011. I spent a day exploring the so called Lake region (Salzkammergut) and its towns. Besides Hallstatt I also saw Bad Ischl famous for the summer residence of emperor Franz Joseph II and his wife the empress Sisi, St.Wolfgang at the shores of the lake Wolfgangsee and St.Gilgen where you can see Mozart’s mother’s house. It was such a cold June day but the landscapes were stunning. And I bought some lebkuchen (similar to gingerbread).
I’ve been wanting to visit Salzburg which is famous for chocolate pralines Mozartkugeln and as a birthplace of great composer Mozart himself of course. I’d also like to visit Innsbruck and then my tour of Austria would be complete 🙂
Ps. Sometime in December when I get back from my trip (or in January because I won’t have a lot of free time for blogging next month) I’ll write about Vienna and it’s Christmas markets so stay tuned for new posts:)