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Bordered by no less than eight other European countries, Austria is small, land-locked destination with a big reputation. The landscape is dominated by the Austrian Alps - and much of the country’s visual appeal comes from the combination of snow-capped mountains, green alpine meadows filled with wildflowers and charming wood-roofed villages dotted across the slopes. Of course, Austria is also home to the vibrant city of Vienna, where you can get your fill of beautiful architecture and rich culture. Add to this truly world-class skiing (and some of the most fun apres-ski you’ll find anywhere), and you’ll start to see what makes Austria so special.
Vienna is often described at Europe’s cultural capital, and after a few days here we are sure you’ll agree. The streets are packed with cafes where locals discuss politics over coffee, and there seems to be an art gallery on every corner. The opera house is world famous, and the palaces and churches with their imposing architecture will stop you in your tracks. For a truly unique experience, and to enjoy the city of Vienna like royalty, you can even rent your very own castle in Austria .
For a fascinating look at one of the city’s most famous artists, head to the Belvedere Museum to see the glowing works of Gustav Klimt in person. Klimt was instrumental in founding the Moderne Galerie, which has evolved into the Belvedere, as a place to showcase contemporary Austrian art. You can see a number of his most iconic paintings here, including The Kiss (Lovers), famous the world over for its gold-leaf background and delicate depiction of two lovers in an embrace. Nearby, at the Vienna Secession, you can see the monumental Beethoven Frieze, which celebrates the work of the German composer.
The Vienna State Opera is famous the world over for its incredible productions, attracting the best opera singers to perform in its productions. It’s one of the busiest theaters in the world, staging up to 60 different operas and 10 ballet productions per year. There’s often a major opera being performed every day of the week - from Madame Butterfly to The Magic Flute.The opera house is well known for its productions especially for children - so if you’re traveling with family it’s a great opportunity to introduce your kids to classical music. If you’re interested in attending a performance, your Luxury Retreats concierge can organize opera tickets for you.
Of course, Austria is world famous for something other than its culture, namely, its mountains. In fact, Austria is the birthplace of Alpine skiing, and the Austrians have more Olympic alpine skiing medals than any other country in the world.
Perhaps the most famous ski region is the Arlberg, a collection of five villages - Lech, Zürs, St. Anton, St. Christoph and Stuben - that together offer more than 170 miles of slopes. A favorite day out with skiers here is the famous White Ring - setting off from Zürs you can ski around to Lech where you can stop for a break and a Viennese coffee in the village and a stroll around the shops before heading home again.
A favorite with younger skiers, St Anton is well-loved for its apres-ski scene. Two bars, Mooserwirt and The Krazy Kanguruh are known for their lively party atmosphere and attract revelers night after night during ski season. Our traditional Austrian Chalets in St Anton are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the charming ski region of Arlberg.
If skiing is not your thing, there’s still plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors on your Austrian vacation.
One must-visit destination is the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave, just south of the city of Salzburg. The largest ice cave in the world, it has been welcoming visitors for almost 100 years. Visitors are only allowed inside the cave alongside an experienced guide, who leads the tour, gas lantern in hand, for a truly out-of-this-world experience through the frozen landscape. The climb is quite strenuous, so it’s an activity best suited to active travelers.
Although winter in Austria is spectacular, summer in the Alps has its charms too. The valleys of the Tyrol come alive with colorful wildflowers from early summer onwards. A day’s hike here and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped straight off the set of The Sound of Music. From Innsbruck, St Anton or Kitzbuhel you can set out along one of the many beautiful trails through the mountains. Just bring plenty of sunscreen and water with you on your hike, and remember that conditions can change very quickly in the mountains so pack an extra layer too.
Hiking, skiing or simply exploring the beautiful cities - our warm and welcoming properties in Austria are located in some of the country’s most popular spots - from charming ski villages to the major cities.
With comfortable beds and cozy living rooms with real log fires, you’ll love returning to our luxurious ski chalets at the end of a hard day on the slopes. Sleeping from 6 up to 29 people, whether you’re planning a small couple’s getaway or a huge family ski reunion we have some great options.
Located in the Austrian Tyrol, the ski village of Kitzbuhel is a favorite with well-heeled European skiers. Located along the Kitzbuheler Ache river, the charming town is lined with brightly painted shops, cafes, and restaurants, which look extra beautiful with a dusting of fresh white snow. A must-visit for experienced skiers, Hahnenkamm mountain hosts the annual World Cup ski races, including the downhill race on the legendary Streif slope. Our Kitzbuhel vacation rentals are located either in town close to the action, our conveniently located for the mountains. Some have ski-in, ski-out access, and many offer sauna, steam room or hot tub to soothe tired muscles.