The first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the word ski inevitably is Austria. The country is the world’s ski centre with hundreds of excellent resorts in almost every valley in the Alps. In the province of Tyrol alone, there are more than 240 ski resorts. Some of the best skiing destinations in the world are here. Names like Kitzbuhel, Sankt Anton and Saalbach-Hinterglemm are familiar to every lover of the winter sports. Many times Winter Olympic Games and world championships were held in Austria, proving that when it comes to skiing or snowboarding, Austrian resorts are the first choice for both professionals and novices. The explanation is obvious – the best ski conditions in the world, the hospitality of locals, the rich culture and history and high quality of service draw millions of skiers every year again and again. The planning and organization of a ski holiday in Austria is extremely easy, as all resorts and even most hotels have own websites, where you can book online and arrange everything to the last detail. Numerous tour operators also include Austrian resorts in their catalogues.
The gorgeous Austrian mountains are perfect not only for skiing and the other winter activities. Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the country. The beautiful countryside of mountains, often covered with forests, clear rivers and lakes offers an unrivalled choice of different locations that guarantee relaxation and adventure. Those who plan a hiking holiday in the Austrian Alps will estimate highly the on-going expansion of the marked hiking tracks – their total length in the whole country amounts to the huge 50,000 kilometres. The high summits of Tyrol and Salzkammergut are ideal for fit tourists keen on hiking and climbing. Those, who don’t want to climb so high, will be delighted to find options for longer hikes in Kaernten and Steiermark. Whichever the route, it is advisable to get an experienced guide and keep strictly to the safety rules.
A cycling holiday in Austria promises to be an extremely enjoyable experience. Apart from the fantastic landscape and fresh mountain air, the extensive and well signposted network of cycle paths and excellent infrastructure contribute to this. There is also plenty of accommodation along the cycling routes where bikers can find everything needed – from bed and delicious food to repair services. The most scenic route is the Mur Cycling Route from Lungau to Bad Radkersburg. Here you can take a rest at Graz to explore one of the cultural centres of Austria. Another spectacular route is the Danube Cycle Path which starts in Passau and ends in the idyllic town of Grein. It is suitable especially for families with children due to the negligible difference in altitude. In Burgenland you can find the most extensive network of cycling routes – more than 2000 kilometres. The season for cycling holidays in Austria is between April and October.
Swimming and Watersports
Austria doesn’t have a seaside but this is not a problem at all if you want to relax with some really good swimming. The country has an enormous number of crystal clear lakes and rivers. You can decide for sunbathing in one of the warm southern lakes like Neusiedlersee or the numerous lakes in Kaernten, where in the summer the temperature of the water exceeds 28°C. This is due to the proximity to the Mediterranean coast. Alternatively, you may prefer a mountain lake high in the Alps – you couldn’t even imagine something more refreshing in the summer heat. Thousands of indoor and outdoor swimming pools in all resorts and big cities also provide you with an opportunity for a relaxing swimming holiday. In the lakes and rivers tourists can enjoy not only swimming, but also a lot of other water sports like sailing, windsurfing, canoing, rafting and many, many others.
Austria has established itself as having some of the best golfing in Europe. It has more than 140 golf courses situated in attractive locations across the country. Most of them are close to either mountain resorts or big cities. One of the most popular courses is in Kitzbuhel, thus turning the charming town into paradise not only for skiers, but for golfers as well. The new Murau-Kreischberg golf course is another example of how golf can be used to make the season in the Alps last a whole year. For keen golfers there is a Golf Alpin Pass which allows golfing at exclusive prices on 33 golf courses in Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Salzburg and Kaernten.
Active Holidays in the City
In Austria’s big cities there is also a wide range of sports activities. Numerous tennis courts and spa centres guarantee a perfect relaxation after a busy day in the city or just a way to escape from the everyday problems. Green parks with excellent alleys for bikers give you another chance to combine healthy with pleasant activities. Of course, you shouldn’t miss the main tourist attraction of Vienna – the Prater. The world-famous park boasts over 250 attractions which will not left you bored even for a second.