Say Austria and everybody talks of Vienna and Salzburg. However, besides these fantastic travel destinations, I want to tell you a bit about visiting Austria off the beaten path.
Come with me to Zell am See, Bad Gastein, and Innsbruck!
1. Zell am See
Zell am See is a name that rolls off the tongue, but that pleasure pails in contrast to the location. Sometimes characterized as paradise on earth, Zell am See is a fantastic spot in the Austrian Alps. With mountains on one side and a lake on the other, the city looks like something out of a postcard!
In winter, Zell am See is all about skiing on a variety of glacier ski resorts. In the middle of summer, you can relax on a boat on the lake or visit the nearby mountains for hiking, fishing, and rock climbing. The Krimml waterfalls are highly impressive and worth a trip in the warm season, too.
However, the best month to visit Zell am See is December, to enjoy the best skiing and the lovely winter festivals.
Zell am See is not the cheapest travel destination, but if money isn’t a problem it should be the first place to visit in Austria off the beaten path.
2. Bad Gastein
Bad Gastein will probably earn the prize for the best name. It just sounds like a town where bikers would hang out. Although to be honest, it’s hard to imagine the Austrian Hells Angels, I’m sure you get my point.
Bad Gastein is actually an old Austrian village with not so many modern buildings. Built to overlook the entire beautiful valley, the town offers spectacular views. Historically, Bad Gastein is the spa town of Austria where emperors and other VIPs went for treatment.
Because of this atmosphere, the city looks like it hasn’t changed since the 19th century. If you are searching for the old world of Austria, this is the place. But don’t wait too long to visit, as Bad Gastein won’t remain one of Austria’s hidden gems for long. It will become more and more popular. Soon, it will be impossible to consider it as part of Austria off the beaten path.
Established on the Inn Canal, Innsbruck hosted the 1976 Winter Olympics. And for a fair reason, too! Like many of Austria’s cities, Innsbruck is also picturesquely set against mountains and filled with street cafes and surrounded by scenery that looks like something out of the Heidi film.
Innsbruck is a decent starting point to reach the mountains, but there is a lot more to it. The historic district has the look and atmosphere that you’ve come to know and expect in the beautiful Alps. In addition to admiring the wonderful landscape and Innsbruck’s old streets, you can tour ancient beautiful places such as the tomb of Emperor Maximilian 1.
If you visit Austria, both Vienna and Salzburg are travel destinations you shouldn’t skip. Just make sure you also see Austria off the beaten path as you discover the most beautiful towns in the Alps!
Sarah Grossman was born in Austria but moved to Canada after college. She is an avid and savvy planner and organizer of worldwide travel and enjoys sharing her personal stories to encourage, inspire, and help other travelers.
You too can become a guest blogger on The Travel Bunny. Just submit a free guest post.