Summer and winter – Filzmoos in Austria has something for everyone

In this article, guest author Claire Palmer shares with us her family’s favourite holiday choice of Filzmoos, Austria, the perfect destination for summer walking or winter skiing, your choice for a gentle or full-on family activity holiday!

The traditional mountain village of Filzmoos has been a much-loved destination for my family in both winter and summer since we first discovered it when my 19 year old son was a 19 month old! Building and development is strictly controlled so it has retained its alpine chocolate-box charm with no high-rise buildings to mar the breath-taking views of the Bischofsmutze (Bishop’s Mitre) peak and the Dachstein glacier range. There is no shortage of things to keep our two teenage boys occupied and the village has kept pace with their requirements as they have grown.

The mountain village of Filzmoos, Austria

The mountain village of Filzmoos, Austria

Uncrowded slopes meet the needs of any ski enthusiast

The whole family learnt to ski (snowboard in my younger son’s case) in Filzmoos, including my father who learnt at the ripe old age of 74 and still holidays with us 19 years later, an inspiration to us all! All the instructors in the excellent ski schools speak very good English. Filzmoos is only known to one UK tour operator which means the slopes are uncrowded and the lift queues short, even in the school holidays. We love that the gentle nursery slopes are right in the middle of the village and the more challenging runs finish in the middle of the village so, if some of us have been on the “red” runs and others opted for a leisurely cruise on the wide, well-groomed “blue” pistes, we can all easily meet up in one of the many restaurants and cafes for a warming hot chocolate (Gluhwein for me, please).

Skiing for all the family in Filzmoos, Austria

Skiing for all the family in Filzmoos, Austria

Speaking of restaurants, the typical Austrian mountain food is delicious and filling. My sons never tire of the local specialty dessert – Germknodel – a yeast dumpling filled with plum jam and served with vanilla custard. When they were younger it was a whole meal in itself, now it follows a huge Tiroler Grostl, a sizzling cast iron pan of diced potatoes, bacon and eggs fried with herbs.

Activities abound in any season

At Christmas our “must-do” outing is a sleigh ride up to the Oberhofalm and Unterhofalm for the “Advent Idyll” walk around the frozen lake featuring fire pits, candle-lit decorative scenes and huts selling spiced Gluhwein. Watch out for the trick-playing Perchten, horned beasts from folklore dating back to pagan times.

Campfire around the lake at Filzmoos, Austria

Campfire around the lake at Filzmoos, Austria

On Christmas Eve Father Christmas arrives in the village square by sleigh and he and his angel-helpers give out sweets and sparklers to the children. Gluhwein is, as always, on offer for the adults!

Father Christmas comes to Filzmoos

Father Christmas comes to Filzmoos

Our favourite summer outing is also up to the Oberhofalm and Unterhofalm inns but this time by hiring electric-assisted mountain bikes to ride through the woods, arriving in time for lunch outside on the terrace under the sun umbrellas, gazing at eagles circling in the bright blue sky and the majestic snow-capped peak of the Bischofsmutze, now so much closer.

The electric bike will take you up to Unterhofalm

The electric bike will take you up to Unterhofalm

On the way up our refreshment stop is a trough with a spout that gushes pure mountain spring water straight from the ground at an amazing 5 degrees C. Bliss! These electric bikes are amazing machines! The fittest in the party can pedal just as on a normal bike and I can choose how much assistance to have from the battery power, enabling me to go up slopes I could only dream about otherwise!

Inside the Oberhofalm

Inside the Oberhofalm

Discover local flora and fauna

Once up at the mountain inns there are numerous marked walking paths across the high alpine pastures and around the small lake. In fact Filzmoos has 200km of marked walking trails and I love to see the wild mountain flowers in spring and summer. I’ve found gentian, carlina and many others that I can’t identify but no edelweiss yet, sadly.

Filzmoos has 200km of marked walking trails

Filzmoos has 200km of marked walking trails

Another favourite walk of ours is the Marmot trail where we take the Wanderbus high up into the mountains where one can see marmots (although the only ones we’ve seen so far are on postcards!) then walk back down to the village, admiring the incredible alpine scenery and views at every turn.

Take the Wanderbus up the mountain with stunning views at every turn

Take the Wanderbus up the mountain with stunning views at every turn

Plenty to do for the adventure seeker

For something a little more adrenalin-fuelling for our teenagers, we take the Wanderbus to the neighbouring village of Ramsau where there is a summer toboggan run. Riding the toboggan down on spiralling metal rails that loop out on stilts over the valley is certainly exhilarating, as is going up the mountain on the chairlift and hiring a mountain scooter to ride back down. A completely new experience for all of us! Ramsau also has a bathing lake, archery, hang-gliding or a long cable car ride up to the Dachstein glacier for skiing or to visit the ice caves. A walk out on the Dachstein Sky Walk, a platform overhanging the valley 250 metres straight below, gives a spectacular panorama but I prefer to look out not down!

Teenagers and speed lovers enjoy the Ramsau toboggan run

Teenagers and speed lovers enjoy the Ramsau toboggan run

Despite only having 1,450 inhabitants, Filzmoos village has everything we have ever needed and so we relish not having to use a car and therefore not having to worry about how much of the refreshing “golden nectar” we have drunk!

There's everything you need in the village centre at Filzmoos, Austria

There’s everything you need in the village centre at Filzmoos, Austria

As well as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a bowling alley and tennis court, there is a well-stocked supermarket, butcher and delicatessen, a wonderful bakery with coffee shop, pharmacy, doctor’s surgery, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, bowling alley and, most importantly, numerous restaurants and cafes serving scrumptious coffee and specialty cakes such as Viennese Sachertorte or apple strudel and cream. After 18 years of holidaying there we have still not run out of things to do and there are many excursions we have still not taken.

You can rent Claire's apartment in Flizmoos, Austria

You can rent Claire’s apartment in Flizmoos, Austria

Two years ago we realised our dream of buying a one-bedroomed apartment in the village, within five minutes walk of ski slopes and restaurants. This sleeps up to 5 and is available for hire. Please email Claire Palmer at myskiapartment@gmail.com for more information.

14380197632_4dfeab4859_qAuthor Bio: Many thanks for this article to Claire Palmer, who has loved to travel ever since she was a child touring Europe by caravan for the summer (her parents were teachers) and spending part of her childhood in New Zealand. Since having her own children she has travelled extensively as a family both in Europe and back to New Zealand. She loves Austria and, since realising a long-held dream of buying a property there, is taking German lessons in preparation for spending much more time there when her sons have left school.

For more Austrian adventures:

May Day at The White Horse Inn on Lake Wolfgang, Austria
Lost in the Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg
Riding the steam train – on the Schafburgbahn at St Wolfgang

This article  is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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Let the sights of Europe come to you on a River Cruise

Each year millions of visitors flock to Europe to experience its beauty and culture. Planes, trains and automobiles may be the traditional methods of reaching famous locations but can be stressful and tiring. River cruise tours in Europe offer an opportunity to relax in comfort and luxury, while the continent’s greatest sights and experiences are brought to you. From Amsterdam, cruises set sail for Germany – treating passengers to luxury cabins, stylish restaurants and spacious sun decks.

Cologne Cathedral and the river Rhine at night Photo: in_focus on Flickr

Cologne Cathedral and the river Rhine at night

The Rhine, Main and Danube river cruise stops first in Cologne, where the twin spires of the city’s Gothic cathedral dominate a scenic skyline. In the afternoon, guided walking tours take passengers out into the city and around its most interesting and historic locations. The city is host to a wealth of eye-catching architecture, including medieval churches and the Colonius tower – the tallest structure in the city.

The leisurely trip through Germany includes stops at the historic Koblenz and the sleepy, idyllic town of Miltenberg. Passing onto the Danube, the towers of Nuremburg’s 11th century castle rise into view and the cruise stops for guided tours of the city’s old town and popular market districts. Once regarded as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, there’s a lot to see and do in Nuremburg, including cultural attractions like Museum of Modern Art and the Justice Palace. Don’t forget to find time to sample some of the city’s famous Nurnberger Bratwurst!

A view of Miltenberg from your river cruise Photo: Steve Masiello on Flickr

A view of Miltenberg from your river cruise

Passing into Austria, the next stop is Passau from where you might like to take a coach trip to Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart and home to spectacular Alpine views and cosy mountain settlements. Further into Austria, stops include a Benedictine abbey and Durnstein, one of Austria’s finest wine producing villages. After a stay in the stylish Vienna, it’s on to Slovakia and the capital, Bratislava, in the Carpathian mountains.

A view of Salzburg, Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

A view of Salzburg, Austria

Bratislava is a melting pot of central European culture – dating back 2000 years to early Celtic civilisation. Rich royal heritage is all over the city – in elaborate baroque palaces and the imposing Bratislava Castle. There’s a modern side to Bratislava and you’ll see striking, innovative buildings, like the diamond-shaped Kamzik Tower and the inverted-pyramid of the Slovak radio headquarters, scattered across the skyline.

View of the Chain bridge in Budapest Photo:Heatheronhertravels.com

View of the Chain bridge in Budapest

Ending in Budapest, the river cruise chance to experience some of Europe’s most famous destinations at a pace which lets you savour their beauty free from the stress and complications of the airport and the motorway!

This article was brought to you by Titan Travel,  where you can book your River Cruise holiday and discover the sights of Europe in luxury and comfort.

More good things to explore in Europe

Lost in the Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg
Passion, Music and drama in Oberammergau
The latest dirndl fashions from Bavaria in Munich

Photo credits: Cologne Cathedral and the river Rhine at night by in__focus , Miltenberg by Steve Masiello

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

A Culinary Journey through Styria, Austria

Whenever you visit a country for the first time, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of new food options on offer. It was apparent to me that I had to get over my English distaste for meats that are not processed to the nth degree (a process which began on my trips to Germany in the previous year). Every country has its own food traditions, and Austria is no different. An Austrian diet is very typical of the national diets of continental Europeans.  Meat is a prominent feature, but with a few subtle nuances to give it an identity all of its own.

Steirersee in Austria Photo: *MarS

Steirersee in Austria

The Cuisine of Syria in Austria

Styrian cuisine takes its influence from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, which adds to the dishes an essence of Italy, Germany, Hungary and The Balkans. The Austrians cook primarily with pork, beef and chicken, while bacon – known as ‘Speck’ – is seen more as a salty spice. A traditional meal in this region is rich, homely and full of flavour.

Murau in Austria

Murau in Austria

Styria, which covers the central and south-east regions of Austria, has a palette all of its own. Visitors who get to know the food culture of the area will likely experience the chopped bacon spread Verhackertes. This is delicious spread on Emperor Rolls (or Kaisersemmel in the local parlance) or on freshly –baked rye bread. Heidensterz is a sort of mash – very similar to grits but slightly drier, made from buckwheat. The locals often serve this with meat, such as Klachelfleisch (pork knuckle) as part of a Styrian meal along with the very dry rosé wine Schilcher.

Traditional Austrian food in Graz

Perhaps the biggest city in Styria is Graz, and it has plenty of great restaurants the specialise in traditional Austrian food. Among them is Der Steirer, an Austrian tapas restaurant. The tapas style of eating makes it a great way of trying out small portions of unknown dishes to find out what you can and can’t stomach!

For those who are not so keen on the Österreichische Küche – there are a huge range of international eateries across the city of Graz. In addition to specialised food, you’ll find more straightforward American-style diners and the supermarket is always an option if anyone in your party is particularly hard to please when it comes to food.

Franz Josef Markets in Graz Photo by Garton

Franz Josef Markets in Graz

Foraging in food stores in Styria

Family camping holidays lend themselves to self-catering and foraging of the native food stores and markets. This is a great option for families with young children, as kids tend to be a little fussier when it comes to meal time. I found that discovery of the local cuisine was enabled to a greater extent by catering for yourself. Discovery of strange little delicacies and imagination in preparing them for mealtimes is part of the fun for me. I would recommend the region of Styria to anyone with a love for the language, of meat based delights and gorgeous cakes. If you can, check out some of the region’s superb traditional dishes.

Photo credits: Franz Josef Markets by Garton, Steirersee II by *MarS.

More things to enjoy in Austria

Bratwurst and Sacher Torte – or what we ate in Salzburg
Cars, Planes and Smart Food at Hangar 7 in Salzburg
May Day at The White Horse Inn on Lake Wolfgang, Austria – video

My thanks for this article to Thomson AlFresco

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

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