Explore a little bit of Austria and a lot of yourself on an Austrian Time press trip.
Austria is, of course, blessed with a topography that’s conducive to exploration - atop mountains, amidst green expanses or on lakes as clear as they come. In the Austrian countryside we achieve what is so often missing in our daily lives - a moment which is ours alone. Here are some suggestions for your personal #austriantime experience.
Balm for the soul: the Sölktäler Naturepark
A special reminder of what is missing in our lives
Archduke John of Austria valued the solitude of nature and stated that he could never get enough of its splendours, a sentiment shared by visitors 200 years later on. It’s worth looking down now and again as you walk through the Sölktäler Naturepark to spot the healing herbs, which can be identified using the information panels along the themed trails. Whether you're planning a gentle stroll or a demanding summit hike, this is the place for a little peace and quiet and rediscovering the real you.
Birdwatching at Lake Neusiedl
Not just birdwatchers are drawn to this lake's wide expanses, secret reed belts and salt ponds
The Neusiedler See-Seewinkel National Park is a little reminiscent of the African plains. Over 300 different species of bird nest and breed in the reed belt, more than anywhere else on the European mainland. They are all native - from the proud eagle to the tiny chiffchaff - and the region's experienced rangers show great respect for the wildlife, helping visitors to get as close as possible without disturbing it. The Seewinkel has been a well-kept secret amongst birdwatchers since the 1960s and today's hosts and tour providers know how to awaken an interest in visitors who have never birdwatched before. The impressive area on the east shore of Lake Neusiedl is also an experience without binoculars. Extending from the reed beds via the salt ponds to the Hanság fens in Hungary, it opens your eyes - sometimes to things that you thought long since forgotten.
An Austrian farm stay: immerse yourself in country life
You don't have to be up at the crack of dawn to appreciate life on a farm
The day gets off to a delicious start, with a hearty organic breakfast to set you up for the day. 100 cows and calves graze the fields around the Zehenthof farm and need milking. You're welcome to help with this task, and in the vegetable and herb garden too. You quickly learn how nice it is to be working in the fresh air, and that it’s a long time since you felt so fit and well. The 200-year-old farmhouse is surrounded by sunny meadows, ancient trees, bubbling streams and dense woodland, radiating a peacefulness which is rare nowadays. Here on the farm everything seems just a touch more authentic.
Horse riding in the Mühlviertler Alm
Mystical forests, murmuring streams, gentle hills and the beat of the horse's hooves
The Mühlviertler Alm is traversed by over 700km of bridleways and there are always plenty of riding centres or inns nearby, devoted to equestrians and their faithful companions. From paddocks for the midday break to saunas in which two-legged guests can relieve aches and pains, there is everything for the perfect riding holiday here. As you ride along shady forest trails and through sunlit meadows, take a spontaneous break at an old ruin or gallop through a cooling stream. How good life can be!
Tour the Styrian vineyards by bike
Tasting the superb wines is an essential part of your tour
If getting some exercise, seeing new sights, experiencing gourmet delights and taking as long as you like sounds good, the Styrian Wine Country Cycling Tour is perfect for you. It's not just the gently undulating, romantic wine routes which are charming here in southern and eastern Styria, but also the historic little towns, the many culinary delicacies and Styrian hospitality extended along the way.
Fabled and secret trails of the Green Ring
Follow the mythical creatures of folk tales in mystical locations
Huge giants and petrified wizards, cunning witches and a mystic mountain which quakes and shakes deep inside. Mythical figures and places such as these fit perfectly into the enchanting scenery around Lech-Zürs am Arlberg. It's hardly surprising you can expect to encounter them on the Green Ring circular trail - a three-stage hike across mountain ridges and deep valleys, past magical mountain lakes and waterfalls - with hidden installations and entertaining legends told to hikers along the way.
Salzburg: world class city in a green setting
Hills, pastures and forests surrounding one of the world's most remarkable cultural centers
Nestling in the setting of the "Stadtberge" city hills, Salzburg blends beautifully into the landscape. Few other places enjoy such a natural backdrop in the city centre and so many outdoor recreational areas alongside the cultural activities. Combining both is a great idea - the baroque gardens of the Mirabell and Hellbrunn Palaces are real oases. A stroll through the world's oldest tree avenue, 17th-century Hellbrunn Avenue, combines romantic nature and culture. Prefer something more active? Climb the Untersberg on the city outskirts, also accessible by cable car. Or take a walk on the Mönchsberg Stadtalm and revel in the wonderful view of the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town.
Vienna: the wine-growing capital of the world
Sitting in a vineyard, a glass of wine in hand, and Vienna silhouetted by the evening sun
Green spaces such as the Nussberg vineyard on the outskirts of Vienna are reached in no time at all and attract foodies and wine lovers alike. Savoury, home-made treats are served at the Heuriger buffet as the perfect accompaniment to Grüner Veltliner or Gemischter Satz - a speciality Viennese wine which has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Another invariable accompaniment is the sensational view of the city which, with its 700 hectares of vineyards, the only one in the world to have a wine-growing area worthy of mention.
Explore nature above the tree line in East Tyrol
Discover rare animals and plants with the help of an experienced mountain guide
No matter where you travel, it's always an advantage to be accompanied by a local. This applies especially when you take to the mountains because with the help of a National Park ranger you will explore places you would never find on your own and discover many of the wilderness's deepest secrets. Spot a shy marmot, watch a mighty lammergeier floating on the breeze and learn the names of rare flowers and herbs dotting the alpine meadow. The rangers are delighted to share their knowledge with visitors at the Hohe Tauern National Park Osttirol.
The delights of the Wachau World Heritage Trail
Local culture and culinary highlights along the Wachau Heritage Trail overlooking the Danube
Picturesque wine villages, shady sunken roads, flower-filled gardens and sun-drenched vineyards all enjoy a view of the Danube valley. The charming countryside around the Wachau World Heritage Trail draws visitors back time and again, especially as the 180-kilometre hike is hardly ever boring, laying the most wonderful places in the Danube valley at visitors' feet.
Take a creative walk through the Bregenzerwald
Old farmhouses mix with modern buildings and local cheese stores vie with fine craftsmanship
Why do Bregenzerwald villages look the way they do? What are the values and ideas with which they are imbued? The Umgang Bregenzerwald features twelve walks through 13 Bregenzerwald villages trying to answer these burning questions, but achieving much more. Shingle-roofed farmhouses stand cheek-by-jowl with contemporary buildings, there are massive cheese stores and a part of a village only accessible by bridge. The authenticity of the people makes you feel that you are old acquaintances, even if it's your first time here.
The Alpe-Adria-Trail: from the Großglockner to the sea
Overcome boundaries in the impressive scenery of the Alpe-Adria-Trail
Completing this impressive trail, from Austria's highest peak to the Adriatic Sea, under your own steam is a nice idea. But even if you don't hike all 750 kilometres of the Alpe-Adria-Trail, for understandable reasons, but just one of the 43 attractive stages, it is absolutely worthwhile.
Hiking along the Eagle Walk in Tirol
Enjoying the same perspective as an eagle in flight, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views
Hike from the east to the west, through all of Tirol. The Eagle Walk, which takes in 33 different stages over 413km, is in the shape of an eagle with its wings outstretched over the high-Alpine world. The change in altitude over the entire trail is around 31,000m, but each individual stage runs at a similar altitude. You’ll often feel as though you’re floating over everything. Regardless of whether you’re planning to walk the entire trail, or just conquer a single mountain chain, planning a leisurely ramble through gorgeous nature or looking to bag a number of peaks, you’re guaranteed whole new outlooks and insights.
Wanderhotels: wild herbs, gentle nature
Discover the taste of flowers, leaves and roots, learn about the origin of freshly picked wild herbs, and feel the healing power of nature.
Ever sampled freshly picked watercress, spicy thyme or samphire that was growing just a few minutes before? Or drunk perfumed tea prepared from raspberry and blackberry leaves that you have picked from the bush? The School of Wild Herbs run by "Wanderhotels" (hiking hotels) offer relaxed guided hikes and practical cookery lessons, which teach you how to identify these treasures in the wild and use them to create delicious meals, health-giving drinks or natural remedies for home use.