Austria is one of the most naturally beautiful place in Europe. I was lucky to have travelled during semi-peak season of September with less crowds, less snow and greenery still visible across. The weather was perfect – expect drizzling rain throughout your stay if you visit in September like I did.
What I quickly learnt living and traveling in Europe, was that big cities were not for me. Having lived a city life since childhood, my travel goals were always to stay away from crowds, buildings and traffic. So on the Austria trip, we stayed outside Innsbruck and Hallstatt. Hotel Sonnenhof was the perfect small hotel – with cozy rooms and simple local breakfasts.
On the day we reached, we walked around the city in the evening. Taking in the scenery of River Inn surrounded by all the slopes which would soon be converted to a Skiing haven.
Walking to the Golden Roof – roaming around the “Innenstadt” (city center in Austria, Swiss, German region). Eating hot Indian Dinner before getting back to bed.
If you are in Innsbruck, and you have been brought up watching Bollywood movies, you have got to visit the Swarovski Kristallwelten. The main image on this post is from the movies. Just a few minutes drive from Innsbruck, and inside you will find all shiny objects you have ever dreamt of.
An hour from here is the Leutascher Geisterklamm. This was a favorite of mine on the trip. It is a gorge with steep hillsides and water running at the base of the cervices. It is a scenic place for a small hike and spend a few hours.
Another place away from city, worth visiting, is Hallstatt. Hallstatt is a village on Lake Hallstatt’s (locally known as Hallstätter See) western shore. Alpine houses, boat trips on the lake, beautiful hiking trails and a ropeway leading up to the Hallstatt Skywalk.
A very close place to Hallstatt is the Dachstein Krippenstein mountain. It is accessible by cable car and is extremely popular for hiking, paragliding and winter sports.
Luckily for us, there is a live camera placed at the top of the mountain and a TV placed at the cable car ticket counter. And this helped us immediately turn back to the car to add more layers and wear the right boots – the weather at the top and the base is very different. Always take warm clothes when travelling to Austria – you are never too far from the Alps.
On the way back top Germany, we had to visit Neuschwanstein Castle. If you do not know, Neuschwanstein castle is a fairy tale-like castle in the German Alps that inspired Walt Disney to create Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
In my personal views, Austria is much more naturally beautiful compared to Switzerland. Travelling by roads helped us get a much better understanding of the local culture and environment.
If you choose to visit Austria, and are not a museum buff or historically inclined, I would recommend to stay out of the cities and explore nature in all it’s glory.
Taking your leave with some more pictures – even 100s would be less to explain the natural beauty of this place…
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