Disclaimer: all pictures and activities took place prior to the covid-19 pandemic
Typically I spend the holidays visiting my family and friends in Austria-where I feel most at home. So, I feel more than qualified to write today’s blog post about the top five things to do in Austria during the holiday season! I tried to make this list very broad so that it applies to different areas of the country depending on where you plan to visit! Schöne Feiertage!
Some of my favorite cities in Austria- Zell am See, Innsbruck, Enns, Salzburg, Wolfgangsee, Vienna, Kitzbühel
I come from a family of die-hard skiers. So, whenever I visit Austria during the winter, a good amount of my time is spent up on the slopes with my twin sister. If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, try off-roading in some deep snow through the trees. If you’re more of the relaxed type, take some hot chocolate breaks between runs in rest hütten and enjoy the views.
✓ Tip: Try skiing early in the morning or late in the afternoon to see the sunrise or sunset! The picture above captures a surreal sunset I saw after a long day of skiing.
My favorite ski spots in Austria- Schmittenhöhe, Hahnenkamm (photographed above)
2. Visit Christkindl Markets
If skiing isn’t quite your thing, try visiting Christkindl Markets (Christmas markets) instead! Almost every single town in Austria has one leading up to Christmas Eve. Christkindl markets are large markets in the middle of town with rows of different booths lining the streets that sell different Christmas decorations, traditional Austrian food, and warm holiday drinks (I recommend glühwein or hot chocolate!). Walking through the market streets at night with all of the lights displayed throughout the town is a very festive experience. It’s one of my favorite things to do during this time of year!
My favorite Christkindl Markets: Salzburg, Innsbruck (photographed above), St. Johan, Wolfgangsee
St. Wolfgang, Austria
3. Holiday Treats
What screams the holiday season more than Christmas cookies and sweets? If you’re like me and have a serious sweet tooth, then you’re in for a treat! No seriously... here are my top recommendations for Austrian sweets and treats you need to try! Kaiserschmarrn, Krapfen, Vanillekipferl (Austrian Christmas cookie).
I visited the cutest cafe called Cafe Zauner (pictured above) while in St. Wolfgang and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw all of the cases of fresh-baked cakes and cookies. Austria is famous for their handmade sweet delicacies, so make sure to drop into a bakery and pick up something new to try, odds are it won’t disappoint!
4. Celebrate Silvester
Gutes neues jahr! In Austria, the new year celebration is known as Silvester. I normally celebrate Silvester in Kitzbühel (pictured above). On new year’s day, the city of Kitzbühel holds a huge celebration at night on the famous Hahnenkamm ski slope full of lights, ski jumpers, and live music!
In Austria, there are also many night clubs, bars, and restaurants that host Silvester celebrations!
Zell Am See, Austria
5. Road trip through the snow
What better way to experience the holidays than in the snow! I went on a road trip to Zell Am See to visit all of my friends who live there! I grew up visiting Zell and consider it a second home because knowing all of the streets and shop owners by name gives me a sense of familiarity and nostalgia. The drive there was a route of winding roads through snow-covered mountains. Any drives throughout Austria guarantee breathtaking scenery of lakes, mountain ranges, castles, and quaint towns. You can’t go wrong, so just get out there and explore! There’s so much to see and sometimes it’s exciting to just get lost and see where the road happens to take you!
Spending the holidays in Austria with friends and family is something I always look forward to. Over the years I’ve developed old and new traditions that make the holidays even more special. I hope you enjoyed reading about how I like to celebrate!
Fly high, Nicole
An introduction to Nicole Travels, a blog that digs deeper and celebrates living life to the fullest.