Austria for Xmas

May 21st, 2004, 01:57 PM
  #1  
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Austria for Xmas

Its a little hard to think about this when its 90 degrees outside - but my wife and I are planning about 7 days or so in Switzerland and Austria over Christmas. As usual - too much to see too little time. Considering that does anyone have any general overall brainstorming suggestions to point me in the right direction. Have spent a little time in Switzerland and none in Austria. Thanks in advance for your comments.
Shrink is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 07:35 PM
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Salzburg is positively charming. I have been there, but not at Christmas, unfortunately. However, I've heard many people say that is makes a fabulous Christmas destination and I hope to do it someday. Lucky you, Shrink!

I'd honestly think about Salzburg for the holidays, but I'm sure you will get many other great suggestions.
Statia is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 08:07 PM
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We took a 10 day trip a few years back over Christmas and New Year starting in Bavaria with Innsbruck, Bertchesgarden and Saltzburg. I was very pleased with the trip, weather and opportunities. My best advice relates to timing--Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are very special and your activities will be rightly limited. Restaurants are few and booked, make plans and you will enjoy some very special "gemutlich". The same is true for New year's Eve and day--make plans as lots of "public" facilities will be affected. I had my sons with us and we were able to adapt but the holidays are a factor. We had a great time and experienced wonderful local traditions, christmas markets and winter weather. Have a great trip. Paul
macanimals is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 09:39 AM
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There will be special advent festivities going on in Salzburg and Vienna, and probably several other places. Check their tourism site austria-tourism.at
Vera is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 11:58 AM
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Thanks guys --- How bout Vienna? Have I read somewhere on this forum that Salzberg is much more "scenic"? That sounds much more to my liking. Maybe I have Salzberg and Vienna reversed. I have gone back to look and can't find it. Aside from Mozart and Freud -- any other birthplace I shouldn't miss?
Shrink is offline  
May 23rd, 2004, 04:38 PM
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Salzburg is more scenic; Vienna is more modern, but still has lots of historic buildings. We skipped the Freud birthplace because we heard all the actual furniture, etc. had been taken to London. But in Salzburg there is the Mozart Birthhouse, and also the Apartment building where his family lived when they got a little more money. Plus lots of coffee shops he spent time in and churches that hired him. Salzburg is Mozart's time preserved in amber. Plus the old town where all the interesting stuff is can easily be walked. And the surroundings are very scenic.
This is not to downgrade Vienna. It is a wonderful city--just bigger.
Rather than famous people, the attractions in both cities are the palaces of the Bishops (Salzburg) or the Hapsburgs (both cities).

Vera
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May 28th, 2004, 04:14 PM
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We spent Christmas in Austria 2 years ago and had a terrific time. We started with 2 nights at the Hotel Jagdschloss Graf Recke in Wald im Pinzgau (which is run by Count von der Recke). It is an old hunting lodge that is full of history and charm. We enjoyed a horse-drawn sleigh ride, complete with warm blankets, hot cocoa, and schnapps to keep us toasty. The Count keeps a superb Chef on hand to provide gourmet meals and the views are wonderful.

Then we were off to Salzburg and our favorite hotel there -- the Hotel Freisacher. We had a very white Christmas -- it snowed every day. We took the bus into Salzburg where the outdoor ice rink resounded with tunes by Elvis Presley and others. The King is everywhere!

The Christmas market was great and we took in a concert one night in the castle (fort) on the hill and enjoyed many a memorable meal. The Freisacher has 2 restaurants of it's own that are worth visiting.

It was an amazing vacation full of magical moments. We would highly recommend the experience.
Tries2PakLite is offline  
May 28th, 2004, 04:35 PM
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That sounds absolutely wonderful. We'll have to think about an Austrian Christmas one of these years--soon.
Underhill is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 09:42 AM
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New Year's Eve in Vienna is pretty spectacular also!
Operaman is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 10:26 AM
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I was in Salzburg and Innsbruck for Christmas in '91 and '92. Believe me I've tried in vain to get the time off to do that again. All I can say is Austria is THE place to be that time of year. My advice is as follows: Visit the Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg and eat lots of rostbratwurst and gingerbread. Stand with the locals Christmas Eve in the main square in Innsbruck as a light snow falls, listen to members of the local choir sing, drink hot-spiced wine, go to Midnight Mass(full orchestra and choir). Get up the next day for a train ride in heavy snow through the Tyrolean Alps. Have lunch in the dining car. Check out the tiny Alpine villages. They remind me of the toy villages my grandmother used to set up at Christmastime. Wander around these villages and take lots of pictures. Please write a detailed report on this website when you return.
platzman is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 08:51 PM
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We spent Christmas and New Years in Salzburg 2 years ago. Coming from a Middle East country - playing in all the snow, seeing all the Christmas decorations, and hearing the Christmas music was just magical.

We stayed in the Hotel Bristol and had a room that looked across the square and had the fortress in the distance. The view was spectacular for the New Year's Eve fireworks (kids were too tired to stay out the whole time). But if it had just been me and my husband -we would have been out partying with the rest of the crowd!

A couple of points....

The Christmas market is lots of fun - but it closed mid-day on Christmas Eve, as do most other places.

We had Christmas Eve dinner at the hotel. It was a very formal and festive set-menu dinner. Fine for us, not so great for the kids. If you want to eat somewhere else, then make reservations in advance.

Most everything in town was closed on Christmas Day, so we took the salt mine tour.

New Years Eve was fun because there are food and drink booths set up along most of the major pedestrian streets and squares. There was music all over the place. There was a big concert scheduled for the square. We skated under Motzart's statute, drank mulled wine (not the kids!), and had fun people-watching. It was a little difficult getting dinner. So either make reservations or try to eat early or at the various food stands.

Again, most of the shops closed mid-day on NY Eve and were closed all NY Day. Since we were leaving on the morning of the 2nd, we missed out on some last minute shopping we had wanted to do.

Other things to do -
Mozart concert - there are some really fancy dinner concerts or simple 1-2 hour concerts

Marionette show - don't let the "kid" aspect of this deter you - it was quite good.

Skiing - you can do day trips from Salzburg to the nearby ski resorts. They have all necessary rentals there (even clothing).

Holy Night Church - Take a tour to where the song Silent Night was written. Festive - but very crowded - on Christmas Eve.

For a city comparison, we spent last Thanksgiving in Vienna. It was fun and Christmasy - but not as nice as Salzburg. The shopping was better in Vienna (although I thought the fun, interesting souvenir shopping in Salzburg was better) - but the whole famiy agreed that we liked Salzburg better.
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