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Tirol & Salzkammergut in March or May & horse riding

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I'm planning a trip to Austria next year and would really appreciate some advice on my itinerary.

I'm traveling with my husband and we are both non-skiers but we love snowy alpine landscapes and nature walks. As a reference, we've visited the Dolomites in early March and loved it -- it was the best part of our Italy trip.

This trip will be fairly laid back, and our main stops will be a scenic Alpine town in the Tirol area as well as the Salzkammergut area for lakes/mountains.

We intend to fly in and out of Zurich. Here's the tentative itinerary:

Day 1 - Arrive in Zurich at 8am
Day 2-3 - Explore Zurich
Day 4 - leave Zurich for Innsbruck via the Arlberg Pass, a scenic train ride and proceed to Alpine town
Day 5-8 - Explore Alpine town and surroundings
Day 9 - travel from Alpine to St Wolfgang/Hallstatt
Day 10-13 - Explore Salzkammergut area + horse riding
Day 14 - travel back to Salzburg, catch train from Salzburg to Zurich
Day 15 - Depart Zurich at 11am

Some questions:

1) Which Alpine town would be most suitable for a mid-range budget, with scenic walks for non-skiers? I've seen recommendations for Alpbach, Seefeld (seems quite high end in terms of price), as well as Finkenburg in the Zillertal.

Budget wise, we're looking at mid-range B&Bs. We had amazing luck in Italy getting wonderful B&Bs for under 100 Euros for two persons per night -- I'm guessing Austria will be more pricey, though.


2) Would it be better to take our trip in March, April or May? Given that we'll be in Tirol and Salzkammergut. I understand April is the least ideal as it's the shoulder season and many places are shut.

In the Zillertal, the earliest cable cars only open on May 23 (except for the glacier cable car which is open all year).
http://www.zillertal.at/en/summer/mountainsummer/cable-cars/

The Dachstein activities (ice cave, 5fingers, cable cars) open on May 1.

If we go in March, we can enjoy the snowy landscape in the alpine town, but would have to forgo the Dachstein activities in Hallstatt.

If we go in May, we can do Dachstein but I'm afraid that the snow would have melted in the alpine town and everything will be muddy and/or turning green -- we live in a hot tropical country surrounded by greenery all year round, so we really wsnowy landscapes.


3) Horse riding possibilities - any recommendations for a place in Tirol or Salzkammergut where we can go for a scenic horse trek? We are beginners and aren't looking for riding lessons, just a horse trek around the area for a couple of hours.

So far I've found:
Posthotel Achenkirch in Achensee - www.posthotel.at/en/
(amazing but very expensive)

Reiterhof Suassbauer in St Wolfgang - www.suassbauer.at/
(leaning toward this one as it is reasonably conveniently located)

We don't intend to drive, so accessibility via public transport is an important factor.


Would love to hear your thoughts on my itinerary and the questions above. Thanks!

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