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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The Top Things to do in Covent Garden, London

Covent Garden always appears on the “must visit” list of tourists to London and is also popular with the locals who are drawn there by its great variety of leisure activities. There are so many things to do in the area that we have compiled a list of the top things to do within the vicinity of Covent Garden.

Covent Garden Apple Market Photo: Neil Howard on Flickr

Covent Garden Apple Market

The Covent Garden Markets

Covent Garden is possibly most famous for its market which has reputedly been in existence since around since 1654. The original fruit and vegetable market (New Covent Garden Market) has now moved out of the area and relocated to an area called Nine Elms but it has been replaced with the Covent Garden market we have today. Apple Market is housed in a stunning nineteenth century, colonnaded piazza and stocks a wide variety of items from jewellery and toys to stationary and ties. Many of the items will provide something a little different to what you can get on the high street so you are bound to find a quirky gift to take home.

Jubilee Market in the South Piazza sells items that fall more into the antique category. If antiques are your thing then head there on a Monday for the antiques market. Saturdays and Sundays sees around 200 stalls open which are generally aimed at arts and crafts. The Real Food Market occurs every Thursday where you can get your hands on treats such as homemade cakes and macaroons, fresh olives and specialty breads.

Piazza Covent Garden Photo: SPakhrin on Flickr

Piazza Covent Garden

Shopping in Covent Garden

Covent Garden is also famous for its shops. Although there are high street brands there they are generally higher end suppliers and fit with the hip image that surrounds the area. For fans of designer ware you will be spoilt for choice. Brands such as Chanel, Paul Smith, Mulberry and Burberry sit alongside more regular high street favourites such as Reiss and Jigsaw. For the more adventurous out there you can peruse outdoor shops such as Cotswold Outdoor and Field & Trek. If you fancy a mid-afternoon snack then you could treat yourself to some macaroons from Laudrée. You could get a box to take away but why not sit in and take advantage of their champagne or savoury snacks.

Shopping in Covent Garden Photo: Alison Fancon

Shopping in Covent Garden

Museums near Covent Garden

The British Museum is one of the top museum attractions and it is only a short walk from Covent Garden. In a world dominated by money you might be pleased to hear that it is free to get in and there are free tours and talks during the day. This makes it an ideal choice if you are travelling with a large family as individual entrance prices quickly add up. The museum houses a variety of artefacts from a range of locations and eras and often has exhibitions on which you may be required to pay extra for. Recent exhibitions include the Vikings and some beautiful Egyptian mummies. Due to the popularity of some exhibitions it might be worth pre-booking tickets rather than being disappointed on the day. If you are visiting with children they will often put free events on such as object handling, art tasks and museum trails. This is bound to spark the interest of any little explorer!!! If transport is more your thing then head to the London Transport Museum which has buses, trams and railway carriages on display.

London Transport Museum Photo: Snapshooter46 on Flickr

London Transport Museum in Covent Garden

See a show in the Theatres near Covent Garden

Covent Garden is bursting at the seams with theatres so it is hard to choose which one to go to. The Theatre Royal is one of the largest theatres in Covent Garden and has hosted some of the most famous shows. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Matilda might appeal to children (and adults!) or perhaps a tear jerker such as The Bodyguard or War Horse would be preferable. No matter what you choose to see you will be amazed and with two Royal boxes you never know who you might see there! The Aldwych Theatre is worth visiting just to see its stunning façade and was home to The Royal Shakespeare Company for a number of years. If there is a certain show that you would like to see then it is probably best to research the show and find out which theatre it will be on at as there are so many theatres in the area that it would be a shame to miss out on your favourite show.

War Horse theatre in Covent Garden Photo: Andy Roberts on Flickr

War Horse theatre in Covent Garden

Your theatre visit might keep you up late so what could be better than staying in your own luxury apartment in the vicinity of Covent Garden so you don’t need to worry about getting a bus or the underground. Rather than stressing about heading “home” you could enjoy a few post theatre drinks or even head to a club completing your weekend.

If you fancy a trip to London be sure not to miss out on the delights of Covent Garden just be prepared for a positive assault on all your senses!

This article was brought to you by London Serviced Apartments who provide luxury serviced apartments in a variety of prestigious locations across London, including Covent Garden.

Photo Credits: Apple Market by Neil Howard, Shopping by Alison Sanfacon, Piazza Covent Garden by SPakhrin, London Transport Museum by Snapshooter46, War Horse by Andy Roberts

More London Attractions

High in the Treetops at Kew Gardens
Three great ways to spend a day in London
Fine dining favourites at the top London Hotels

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

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

Love locks and fairytale castles – a romantic weekend in Copenhagen

Whether you’re just-getting-to-know-you or celebrating many years of happiness together, you’ll want your romantic weekend away to be just perfect. Copenhagen, with its delightful parks, sparkling canals and delicious cuisine could  fit the bill perfectly. From the Tivoli pleasure gardens to fairytale turrets of the Rosenborg Palace, here are my suggestions for ways to spend your romantic weekend in Copenhagen, whatever your budget;

Christianshaven in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Christianshaven in Copenhagen

When to visit Copenhagen?

The best time to visit Copenhagen is from the spring through to the early autumn when the Copenhageners are out enjoying the green spaces, harbour walks and pavement cafes after the chilly Nordic winter. That’s not to say that you won’t find romance in a cosy cafe with flickering candles in the winter months up to Christmas or in February when the city puts on the Wondercool festival encompassing a jazz festival, the Copenhagen Cooking festival and many design events.

The fairytale Rosenborg Palace and the Kings Garden

You’ll find parks and green spaces all over Copenhagen, but the most romantic is considered to be the Kongens Have or Kings Garden in front of the fairytale turrets of the Rosenborg Palace, with a rose garden, formal hedged enclosures and the moat around the palace. Eat nearby at one of the inexpensive food stalls at the Torvehallerne Food Market or pick up something to eat from one of the deli stalls and relax on the grass under the trees with a picnic. For a delighfully romantic restaurant on the edge of the King’s garden, try Orangariet which is set in the old orangery of the palace and serves smorrebrod at lunchtime and a set menu in the evening. While you’re there take a look around the palace where all the rooms are furnished from the period of different kings of Denmark and see the crown jewels in the Treasury in the basement of the castle. The botanical garden with a lake and palm houses is right behind the Rosenborg Palace and is another pretty place to have a picnic or go for a walk.

Rosenborg Slot and the Kings Garden in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Rosenborg Slot and the Kings Garden in Copenhagen

The Tivoli Pleasure Gardens

Tivoli is one of the treasures that Copenhageners of all ages hold dear to their heart, with landscaped gardens and lakes, the Moorish palace that houses the Nimb Hotel, roller-coasters and rides for the more daring and plenty of great restaurants. The parks has a slightly old-fashioned, fairy tale atmosphere with bandstands where you can sit to listen to the music and a pantomime theatre where mime shows are performed. Visit in the afternoon to listen to the musical entertainments and stroll under the magical Chinese lanterns as dusk falls, then enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants where you’ll find everything from hot dogs and pizza, to traditional Danish and Nordic cuisine. In summer I recommend a romantic meal at the Brasserie in the Nimb Hotel where you can dine al fresco on the terrace overlooking Tivoli pleasure grounds.

Lake in the Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Lake in the Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

Around the harbour

Copenhagen is a city that’s founded on the water and you’re never far from one of the canals or the harbourside. A good way to get your bearings and see all the sights around the harbour is to take a harbour tour with DFDS or Netto boats, from the quays near Gammel Strand. If you want something more intimite, you can hire a rowing boat in Christianshaven and use it to explore the canals with all the houseboats on your own.

In summer join the Copenhageners sitting along the harboursides and canal sides, dangling their legs or sitting on the steps outside the Royal Library, also known as the Black Diamond. Nyhaven is also a favourite spot for a stroll, with pretty coloured merchant  houses and plenty of cafes to sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere while the small bridge that crosses it has a collection of love locks similar to those found in Rome and Paris.

Love locks on the bridge at Nyhaven Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Love locks on the bridge at Nyhaven

Artworks and sculptures at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

The art museum of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is full of classical sculptures and French impressionist artworks is a romantic place to visit at any time of year, and it’s free on Sundays or with a Copenhagen Card. Wander through the spacious halls filled with white marble statues from Danish neo-classical sculptors and see the impressionist collection that includes paintings by Renoir, Van Gough and Monet including the Degas “Little Ballerina” sculpture. At the centre of the building is a winter garden with glass roof and greenery with a cafe at one side that is a romantic place for lunch.

Statue in the Winter Garden in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Statue in the Winter Garden in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Climb the Round Tower

The Round Tower, in the Latin quarter is a fun place to visit for couples, as it’s an easy climb up the internal ramp (no steps so the carriages were able to ride to the top) to get great views over Copenhagen from the top of the tower. Look out for the Kissing Bench near the top where you can sit with your loved one by the window with a view. Half way up there’s also a large  art space in the former library with a small cafe, and modern artworks and installations, where they also hold concerts and musical events.

The Rundertaarn or Round Tower in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Rundertaarn or Round Tower in Copenhagen

Romantic places to eat in Copenhagen

For that special celebration we recommend the top end Alberto K in the landmark Royal Hotel (Now SAS Radisson Blu) designed by Arne Jacobson. Although this is a blow-the-budget experience, you’ll be dining in an intimite candle-lit restaurant on the top floor where every table has views over the city. For a similarly high end gastronomic experience, try the Mielcke og Hurtigkarl in the Frederiksberg Gardens with sparkling crystals dangling from the ceiling and views over the gardens. If you’re looking for a romantic place to eat on a more moderate budget, try the colourful but cosy dining room with a fireplace at Cap Horn in Nyhaven or Orangariet in the Kings Garden. If you enjoy jazz then check out The Standard, where the old Customs House near Nyhaven has been converted into three different restaurants and you can have dinner and then follow with the jazz performance in the club upstairs. If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend the Tollerhallerne food halls at lunchtime, where you can squeeze in at one of the many stalls selling inexpensive lunchtime dishes or take them to eat on the benches outside in fine weather.

Restaurant Orangariet in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Restaurant Orangariet in Copenhagen

Romantic places to stay in Copenhagen

If money is no object for a luxurious romantic break then consider the Nimb Hotel at the Tivoli Gardens, with 17 individually furnished rooms filled with antiques or the classic and elegant Hotel d’Angleterre where you’ll feel like a princess. For those of us who have to live on a more realistic budget, try the Avenue Hotel in the affluent neighbourhood of Friederiksberg where we love the cosy atmosphere of their salon with Moroccan lanterns and flea market finds or the Axel Guldsmeden Hotel in trendy Vesterbro where contemporary design meets Balinese styling. If you and your loved one want to be truly alone then try the Central Hotel in Frederiksberg “the smallest hotel in the world” with just one room where breakfast is served in the retro neighbourhood cafe. To breathe some sea air, travel to the northern edge of Copenhagen for the Skovshoved Hotel with rooms decorated in light and romantic Scandinavian style and sea views.

Avenue Hotel in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Avenue Hotel in Copenhagen

For more information about visiting Copenhagen, see the Visit Copenhagen official Tourism website. Thanks to Wonderful Copenhagen who sponsored our weekend visit to Copenhagen.

Heather Cowper shares her travel stories, videos and podcasts at Heatheronhertravels.com and you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

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