Austria Travel Guide: There’s More to it Than Just Skiing

If you’re new to skiing, or are thinking about taking up a winter sport, you have to consider booking a ski chalet in Austria. Nestled neatly in the central strip of the Alps – Europe’s largest mountainous region – skiing is to Austria what Wimbledon is to tennis. Austria is the mother of the most adrenaline-fuelled Alpine discipline, the Downhill.

Innsbruck is the most famous resort in Austria. Twice host to the Winter Olympics, it is a city with Alpine slopes on all sides. Nowhere else in the world is so dedicated to skiing. A free ski bus connects 25 village resorts and over 500 km of thrilling runs. The terrain has been divided into eight areas, each with a different level of difficulty.

If you prefer snowboarding, you’ll find dedicated parks across Austria providing half-pipes, natural and artificial jumps. For cross-country skiers there are hundreds of kilometres of tracks across the country, all offering beautiful scenery.

If you’re not a member of the Faint-Hearted Club and really want to get your adrenaline pumping, book a Heli-Ski. A helicopter will take groups of up to six experienced skiers, plus a guide to a remote mountain top. Getting to the bottom is up to you. Be warned, you will face some seriously tough turns, some heart-stopping vertical drops and you will have the time of your life. For the experienced only.

However, if you want to take time off from the slopes, you’ll find plenty of activities. All resorts offer designated walking trails and allow guests to hire snow shoes. Many also offer guides for both daytime and twilight walks. Of course, there will be a map available if you want to make your own way through the winter wonderland.

Tobogganing is also very popular. Originally used as a means of transporting hay from the mountain-side into the village, it later made its way into the Winter Olympics. Some original runs still exists, however, most resorts have purpose-built runs for the delight of their guests. Some are several kilometres long and many can be enjoyed at night.

Those who love swimming should note that there are places to enjoy the water, especially in the summer. You should pack your swimming trunks and your other swim related necessities, such as what this inflatable supplier offers ( You won’t regret it, just check in advance which areas you’ll visit. 

If you fancy a real challenge, try ice climbing. If you climb already, you’ll only need a short introduction to the specific techniques and safety components of the sport. If you’re completely new to it, it’s worthwhile taking a full introductory course, which you’ll find in many resorts. Usually lasting a week, the course will teach you the basic techniques of climbing, how to handle the equipment and the behaviour of different types of ice before introducing you to an ice wall.

Tourism is one of the staples of the Austrian economy and they work hard at delivering great hospitality. Standards are high and traditions are strong, so booking ski chalet breaks in Austria will give you a wonderful holiday. The country is clean and tidy, and there is very little crime. The people are not afraid to offer an opinion, so if you make friends with the locals, be ready for a ferocious debate that may not be entirely politically-correct. They are also blessed with a land of outrageous natural beauty.

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