8 Days from £ 1,109
Self-Guided Holidays (Excl. Flights)
Self-guided cross-country skiing in a winter wonderland.
Bad Ischl: Known for its thermal springs, glistening lakes and mountainous backdrop, the spa town of Bad Ischl has a most beautiful setting and is set to become the European Capital of Culture in 2024. Dotted throughout the town you’ll see Baroque churches and grand architecture. Bad Ischl is also called the Imperial City as it was a regular stomping ground for Emperor Franz Josef as well as other emperors. Alongside the River Ischl, there are several buildings of interest, and it’s worth visiting the Imperial Villa, the Katrin, and the Congress and Theatre House.
Hallstatt: Nestled on the banks of the idyllic Lake Hallstatt, this pretty town stands against fjord-like hills and dates back to the Iron Age. A walk along the lakeside introduces you to the UNESCO World Heritage area where you’ll discover the extraordinary Dachstein Ice Caves and old salt mines. Each season brings with it new scenes to explore in Hallstatt, but autumn is especially captivating as intense colours paint the landscape. There’s plenty to do here too, whether that’s taking a boat trip on the lake, learning about the history at Museum Hallstatt or visiting the intriguing Charnel House which stands inside a Baroque chapel and houses over 600 painted skulls.
St Gilgen: The delightful village of St Gilgen rests on the shore of Lake Wolfgangsee in the Salzkammergut region of Salzburg. There’s a real elegance about it, with its blend of Baroque and Rococo architecture, frescoed houses and dramatic peaks. St Gilgen has long been associated with Mozart as it was home to his family, although it’s believed that Mozart himself never visited here. You can take the cable car up to Zwölferhorn mountain and enjoy sublime views over the valley, amble around the café-lined streets or visit the onion-domed church which features in the opening scenes of The Sound of Music.
Stubai Glacier: Affectionately known as the ‘Top of the Tyrol’, Stubai Glacier lies at over 3,000m and stretches for an incredible 42km. While it is a popular resort for skiing and tobogganing during winter, in the summer it’s a natural paradise for walkers, and boasts some of the finest views of the Italian Dolomites. As well as visiting the magnificent ice grotto in summer, you can also hike across the glacier and dine at the mountain restaurant, where uninterrupted panoramas unfold. On the summit of Stubai Glacier, there’s also a viewing platform that is just out over the cliffs.
Lake Schwarzsee: Surrounded by forest trails and the Wilder Kaiser mountains, Lake Schwarzsee is considered one of the most beautiful
of the Austrian lakes. Although its name translates to ‘black lake’, its waters are ridiculously green and the warmest in the Alps, making it a great place to enjoy some wild swimming in the summer months. There are lots of walking routes around the area to choose from, leading you through pretty meadows and woodland interspersed by traditional farmhouses and mountain peaks.
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