Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

On the beaten path: Tirol, Salzkammergut and Munich

On the beaten path: Tirol, Salzkammergut and Munich

May 20th, 2019, 11:25 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
On the beaten path: Tirol, Salzkammergut and Munich

This is a continuation of the following trip report:

Will Walk for Food: Winter Wandering in Switzerland

Itinerary for this section:

Seefeld in Tirol (Austria) – five nights

St Gilgen (Salzkammergut, Austria) – five nights

Munich, Germany – two nights

Seefeld – Day 1

Upon arrival in snow-free Seefeld we got our bearings and then walked from the train station through the pedestrian zone (one of the oldest in Tirol), lively on this Saturday afternoon with Advent Market festivities.


Seefeld, Austria

We had a bit of trouble locating our apartment, first missing the turn, and then circling back behind what we suspected was the correct building, putting us at the base of a steep incline (but of course). We decided to divide and conquer, me walking up to investigate, Bill staying with the luggage.

Sure enough, it was our apartment; the door to reception locked (at 3:30 pm), an envelope with our name taped to the door. It contained a letter of instructions and a telephone number - testing my near non-existent Deutsch.

I didn’t have a cell phone, so I did what any other hapless tourist would do, I asked a man sitting nearby for assistance. He read the letter, called the number and obtained the key code (which reminds me I still owe him a beer).

Our home for the next three nights was a “Margherita” category unit in Torri di Seefeld, which turned out to be our least favorite accommodation of the trip.

https://www.appartement-torri-seefel...argherita.html

I’d originally reserved using Booking.com, but when I contacted the hotel directly to verify the room type, they offered me a slightly better rate, free breakfast and a more lenient cancellation policy (five nights, 473 Euro all in).

Our apartment faced a busy corner; it was too warm - even with the heat turned off - noisy with the windows open.

The shower leaked, creating a lake in the bathroom every morning; it was never fixed despite daily promises from reception. They did provide a few extra towels on one occasion at no charge and Bill managed to slow down the flooding somewhat by stuffing a towel between the tub and the shower enclosure, but morning showers were a PITA.

Breakfast, which didn’t begin until 8 am, was a major disappointment. Coffee was behind the bar, out-of-reach and never offered; we had to chase down the woman in reception and request a cup every morning, even though she saw us enter the room, and we were usually the only people there.

The food was very basic; when an item was depleted, it was gone for the remainder of our stay. The whole place had a weird vibe; we just didn’t feel welcome. Suffice to say, this, our first experience with Austrian hospitality in eons, didn’t leave a good impression.

After getting settled we made a recon visit to Spar, a well-stocked grocery store near the apartment – where, thanks to the Swiss Effect, everything seemed very inexpensive.

We randomly chose the AlpenHotel for dinner, conveniently located in the pedestrian zone. We tried (and liked) the Grüner Veltliner, a Fourfortravel suggestion; I was sold the minute I heard the word ‘dry’ and ‘white’ in the same sentence. We didn’t know it at the time, but we’d be consuming a helluva lot of Grüner Veltliner over the next ten days.

Bill’s beef tartare and Caesar salad went over well, but my vegan Gnocchi wasn’t very good. The massive serves and staggering number of items on the menu suggested that we’d inadvertently stumbled into a US chain restaurant. It had that toned-down-for-the-tourists feel, but it worked in a pinch (40 Euro and the wine was good!).

It’d been a long day; after a stroll through the Advent Market we called it a night.

To be continued…
Melnq8 is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 01:28 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,287
Happy to see you started this report, Mel!
Adelaidean is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 01:39 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Seefeld – Day 2

We woke to rain that turned into heavy wet snow. I knew from my pre-trip research that there was an Advent Market today in Leutasch from 4-7 pm promising live music, but we had no idea how to get there.

So, after our first thoroughly underwhelming breakfast we worked our way to the Tourist Information Office at the Bahnhof. The weather was downright nasty; the slush deep; it felt like wading through Gazpacho.

We soon discovered that we could purchase an area bus ticket for 12 Euro each with our guest card (in retrospect, it wasn’t such a good deal, as we barely used it). Problem was, we hadn’t been given a guest card. So we slopped back through the cold soup to our apartment to obtain one.

Our not-very-friendly hostess tried, but failed to print one. A few phone calls followed. Something was broken. After much faffing about she printed a copy of our registration card and told us to use it instead. We headed back into the miserable weather, hoping to reach the Tourist Information Office before they closed for lunch. Success.

We wandered town, located the bus station and laundromat for future use, tucked into our first Advent Market bratwurst of the trip, and then retreated to our room to dry off and warm up with hot chocolate.


Seefeld Advent Market

Later in the day we walked back through the mush to the bus station and caught the 2:50 bus to Leutasch (11 minutes), getting off at the Weidach Zentrum stop, the closest to the Advent Market.

We arrived long before the market was due to open (limited bus schedule), so spent a few minutes watching the vendors set up and tried (unsuccessfully) to find cover from the face pelting snow tornado.

We decided to walk through town looking for a place to cool our heels over a warm drink and kill some time. Not a single place seemed to be open, save a small promising cafe that closed just as we walked up. Argh…

Sodden and miserable, we returned to the sad little Advent Market. No longer interested in hanging around until the music started, we bought a mug of Gluhwein and then hightailed it to the bus stop to catch the 3:50 bus. Needless to say, our very short visit to Leutasch was a bust.

The short drive back was slow and cautious, the thick, heavy snow now rapidly accumulating, the road icy. We missed our stop, (no announcements or display), so stayed on board until we reached the bus station. We were glad we left when we did, as it could have been a long cold walk home.

Back in Seefeld we explored the village, eventually ending up at the inviting and warm Sailers Restaurant (fortunately for us the Austrians are more flexible with their restaurant hours than the Swiss). We settled in for a nice late lunch/early dinner (shared salami pizza, two glasses of Grüner Veltliner and a Dunkelweizen that tasted suspiciously like bacon - and reminded me a bit of German Rauchbier, 24 Euro).

Afterwards we walked back to our apartment via the pedestrian zone; retailers busy knocking the heavy snow from awnings with brooms, the Seefeld Advent Market now festive in the falling snow; giggling kids sledding down a man made mountain and tossing snowballs.


An entire shop dedicated to pork! Seefeld, Austria

Seefeld Advent Market

We wiled away the evening rugged up on our balcony, sipping prosecco, watching the snow accumulate and cars negotiate the icy intersection on the road below us.


View from our apartment balcony, Seefeld, Austria

An abysmal weather day had somehow become magical.

To be continued…
Melnq8 is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 01:40 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Happy to see you started this report, Mel!

Only took five months
Melnq8 is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 03:25 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 15
The weather sounds miserable ;( (I'm going to Seefeld this September, hopefully nicer weather).
nonconformist2 is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 03:34 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Well, that day certainly was miserable nonconformist, but it got better.

As luck would have it, it's snowing at this very minute in my mountain town of Colorado. The hummingbirds don't quite know what to make of it.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 03:17 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,440
Happy to see the report, as well. Even happier that you enjoyed the Grüner Veltliner.
fourfortravel is online now  
May 21st, 2019, 05:47 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Seefeld/Mittenwald – Day 3

We woke to mounds of fresh snow, our cue to get out and play.

Having sussed out a promising walk, we wound our way uphill from the apartment through a series of residential streets, dodging snow blowers and passing a snow-loving dog, playing in and eating the white stuff.


Seefeld, Austria

We eventually located the trail to Wildmoosalm, home to an alpine dairy and guesthouse (closed at the time of our visit).

https://www.tyrol.com/things-to-do/s.../a-wildmoosalm

It was still snowing like crazy, and we were surprised to find the trail groomed.


Trail to Wildmoosalm, above Seefeld

We followed the path through the winter wonderland, veering around groomers and plows, seeing only one other walker. Once at Wildmoosalm, we backtracked, again passing the frolicking dog, now wet and covered in snow (as were we), but still ignoring his comfy looking bed on the covered porch (3.7 miles, 2:15).


Snow dog

A Herculean snow removal effort was underway when we got back to Seefeld.

We returned to the apartment, consulted the bus schedule and decided to make a spontaneous trip to Mittenwald, Germany…for lunch…catching the 12:29 bus from the nearest bus stop (bus pass + 2.10 Euro each German supplement). An enormous set of snow chains lay in a pile near the door inside the bus, the driver probably hoping he wouldn’t need to put them on.

The bus was on a school run; we were the only adults on board as it made several stops to collect a gazillion raucous 8-10 year olds; the driver repeatedly telling them to quiet down, they obliging for about two minutes. After two warnings, and an ever increasing decibel level, the annoyed bus driver pulled off the road, turned to his rowdy passengers and hollered at them. No idea what he said, but it worked; you could have heard a pin drop.

Volume level aside, the drive through small villages and mountain fringed countryside was beautiful, particularly the descent into Mittenwald.

Bill and I had spent a few nights in Mittenwald in December 2001, mere days before Germany adopted the Euro. I’d made a short return visit with some girlfriends in 2003, but hadn’t been since, so we were both curious to see how it had changed.

The snow had followed us; we poked through town for a bit, the Bahnhof looking vaguely familiar, as did some of the centuries old frescoed houses, but not much else.


Mittenwald

We randomly chose the tiny Bistro La Sicilia for lunch, a fortuitous choice. Despite the proprietors speaking not a word of English, and us knowing all of 50 words of German and even less Italian, we got along swimmingly, had no issues with the menu, and enjoyed a lovely lunch (tortellini with fontina cheese and spinach in butter Parmesan sauce for Bill – what’s not to love? - pumpkin cream soup for me, wine for both – delicious – 23 Euro).

We returned to Seefeld via a more direct route (no tiny villages, no school stops, 2.10 Euro each German supplement + bus pass).

A few slivers of sun had appeared, enticing us to investigate Seefeld’s most famous landmark, Seekirchl, me hoping for some decent photos in the waning light.


Seekirchl

https://www.seefeld.com/en/sights-an...ekirchl-church

The village was alive with sleds, cross-country skiers and walkers. The season was upon us.

A very good day all around.

To be continued…
Melnq8 is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 05:54 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 101
Enjoying this read and the photos as this region is definitely on our must-see list!
northfork280 is online now  
May 21st, 2019, 06:11 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 502
I enjoy reading your report. I have been considering spending time in December in Austria. Thank you to you and fourfortravel for the suggestion for the GrUner Veltliner.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 06:52 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Thank you back. Happy to help.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 10:47 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Seefeld/Hall in Tirol/Innsbruck – Day 4

We checked out the live ski cam on the apartment’s TV – and saw this:


Ski cam

On a whim we decided to visit Hall in Tirol, just because it was there and so were we.

It took some doing at the Tourist Information Office to explain that we wanted to purchase an Einfach-Raus Ticket (which we had trouble finding on the ticket machine). This ticket allows unlimited travel for a group of 2-5 people on OBB’s local and regional transport trains, valid all day Sat, Sun and holidays until 3 am the following day, and M-F from 9 am until 3 am the following day.

The Einfach-Raus Ticket was 34 Euro, whereas tickets just to Hall and return were 33.60. The extra 40 cents was insurance, just in case we wanted to make additional stops.

https://www.oebb.at/en/tickets-kunde...us-ticket.html

Note: While we’re very comfortable with the Swiss transport system, we found the Austrian transport system a bit confusing and more difficult to navigate.

After being sold the wrong ticket and making another run at it, we got things sorted and were soon on our way via the 9:16 am train to snow-free Innsbruck, where we changed to a train to almost snow-free Hall in Tirol, located about five kilometers east of Innsbruck.

We collected a map at the Hall Tourist Information Office (surprised to see a kiosk selling fireworks nearby), and set out to explore “the largest and best-preserved medieval Old Town in Tirol”, finding it near deserted on this Tuesday in December. We meandered through narrow alleyways, examined various buildings, ogled the goods at a small Advent Market and visited the Parish Church of St Nicholas.

After much aimless wandering, people watching and photo taking, we chose The Augustiner Brau Keller in the Hotel Goldener Engl for lunch in the beer dungeon.

https://www.goldener-engl.at/en/eor/...ener-engl.html

Bill ordered the lunch special, not knowing, or seeming to care, what it might be… but delighted when a dish of Styrian Palatschinken (Austrian crepes) with some sort of meat filling and (I’m guessing, pumpkin seed oil) was placed before him.

I’m told it was delicious. I played it safe with something familiar, a rich garlic cream soup, followed by a shared dish of Apfelstrudel, with both cream and ice cream, lovely indeed (33.50 Euro with beer - and you guessed it - Grüner Veltliner).

We then caught a train to Innsbruck to wander the passageways of Old Town and soak up the atmosphere of this incredibly beautiful city and its numerous Advent Markets.


Innsbruck

Never one to pass up a food hall, I made a beeline for the Markthalle the minute I saw it. We wandered through fresh produce, mounds of cheese, tempting baked goods and a surprising array of small food and drink establishments. Our eyes lit up when we spotted Vinvum.in, a tiny wine bar.

We bellied up to one of its six two-tops, joining the mostly male clientele, all leisurely swirling wine glasses. Oh. My. This was our kind of place. Relaxed, inviting and overlooking the Inn River. It was here that I fell in love with Innsbruck.


Innsbruck

On the recommendation of our waiter we ordered the Hirtl One in Red, dense and delicious. We wiled away the time, relishing the wine, the views and the ambiance. It was one of those rare perfect occasions, impossible to describe, thoroughly enjoyable (24 Euro).

Later we wandered back to the Marktplatz and joined the Advent fray, sharing some Racelette on bread and admiring the 14 meter, 90,000 crystal Swarovski Tree.


14 meter, 90,000 crystal Swarovski Tree

The carnivore needed meat, so we returned to the Markthalle for a plate of spicy sausage and mustard…and the luxury of sitting down.

After a chocolate seeking mission at Spar and Aldi, we caught a train back to snowy Seefeld. We carefully made our way to the apartment via the icy and snow-packed pedestrian area, the Advent Market sleepy on this Tuesday evening.

To be continued…

Last edited by Melnq8; May 21st, 2019 at 10:51 AM.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 01:10 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,242
Melnq8, thanks for your ongoing report. We never tire of reports of Austria and Switzerland. That Swarovski Tree is outstanding!
tomarkot is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 01:14 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
No, thank you tomarkot - good to see you here!
Melnq8 is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 01:50 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,287
So interesting to see familiar places but in the winter. Love this part of the world.
Adelaidean is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 09:58 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,440
It's so fun to follow along, as we have been to all of these places in winter. Isn't the train ride between Innsbruck and Seefeld lovely? I really like Innsbruck's Markthalle, too.

Not surprised that fireworks were out. The Austrians become pyromaniacs for New Year's. In Vienna the madness begins in the early afternoon; our first year here we thought it would be a brilliant idea to hike up into the vineyards to watch the festivities over the city. Not so brilliant. We were the only sober folks up there; and many of our peers had crates of fireworks to light while swigging the Schlumberger, too. At midnight itself the cityscape resembled the "Shock and Awe" campaign over Baghdad. From then on we've just stayed home to comfort DDog, who trembles in terror for a good 12 hours.
fourfortravel is online now  
May 22nd, 2019, 04:23 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Interesting about the fireworks fourfortravel - I think I'd stay home too!
Melnq8 is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 09:39 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Seefeld/Innsbruck – Day 5

Sunshine!

After getting Bill settled in with his Kindle at the Laundromat we’d re-conned a few days prior, my camera and I went for a long leisurely stroll through some as-of-yet-unexplored bits of Seefeld.


Seefeld

I have no idea where I went, but - and this is saying something - I managed to not get lost.

Washing clothes in Austria turned out to be much simpler, and considerably faster than washing clothes in Switzerland. Six Euro to wash, one Euro to dry and - the best bit - a huge dryer that only took 20 minutes! Woo-hoo!

The day was beautiful, the snow sparkling, the skies clear. Having fallen in love with Innsbruck, a return visit seemed in order, especially with the promise of better light for photos. So we purchased a Gruppenfahrschein ticket, 9.40 Euro each, and were on our way.

We walked back to Old Town where we stumbled upon Swarovski Crystal World. We spent quite a bit of time ogling the sparkles and admiring the Ordinary Life Exhibit, which was something to behold, even if you’re not a die-hard Swarovski fan.


Swarovski Crystal World


Swarovski Crystal World

https://kristallwelten.swarovski.com...Swarovski.html

We sought out sustenance at the enticingly named Happ Weinhaus Restaurant, Bill hoping to tuck into another mystery Mittagsmenü. But alas, as we’re wont to do, we arrived too late (1:50) and they’d already rolled up the lunch specials.

We consoled ourselves with a bowl of creamy garlic soup, rich and excellent, but tiny, leaving plenty of room for a shared Topfenstrudel (our first), cream cheese strudel topped with…more cream. One can never have too much cream, no? (25 Euro with a glass of grape each, no doubt Grüner Veltliner).

And then it was back to our new favorite wine bar in the Markthalle for an encore glass of Hirtl One in Red, same lovely ambiance, same fabulous mountain views, but no glass swirling men.

We wandered the various Advent Markets, me taking a gazillion photos of the snow covered mountains (blue skies!) and our festive surroundings.


Innsbruck - blue skies!

Innsbruck Advent Market - blue skies!

We strolled through a labyrinth of alleyways overlooked by giants (later learning that we’d found the ‘Fairy Tale Forest, home to some 28 giant figures from fairy tales).

https://www.christkindlmarkt.cc/en/f...ruck/46-0.html

We eventually crossed the river looking for the Advent Market of St Nikolaus, having been lured by its description of ‘small and cozy’. Small it was…so small that we weren’t sure if we’d actually found it…just a few gluhwein kiosks surrounding an open fire.

https://www.austria.info/uk/things-t...s-in-innsbruck

https://www.christkindlmarkt.cc/en/m...laus/40-0.html

But the diversion paid off – we were treated to some fabulous views of the festivities on the side of the river we’d just crossed, just as it began to get dark and the lights were all ablaze. Beauty.


Innsbruck

Back in Old Town we watched/listened to a trumpet performance under the Golden Roof and then returned to the Markthalle for sustenance, this time a shared Diavola pizza at La Piccolo. Good fast and cheap.


Innsbruck Advent Market

Then it was back to Seefeld to prepare for our departure the following day.

To be continued…
Melnq8 is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 01:05 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,218
Seefeld to St Gilgen, with a detour to Kitzbühel – Day 6

We were up and out early, boarding the 9:16 am train to Innsbruck using another Einfach-Raus Ticket (34 Euro).

The day was beautiful, the views from the right side of the train tremendous, those glorious snow covered Alps framed by a flawless blue sky.

After a very cold 28 minute wait in Innsbruck, we were on a train to Wörgl with an entire carriage to ourselves. Then came another 20 minute wait in Wörgl, and another train, this one to Kitzbühel, also near empty, the views from on board gorgeous.

I’d been weirdly fascinated with Kitzbühel ever since I saw it featured in a glossy travel magazine years ago. This seemed as good a time as any to satisfy my curiosity, so we’d worked in a quick stopover on our way to St Gilgen.

Weeks prior to our trip, I’d contacted the Kitzbühel Information Office to ask if they offered luggage lockers at the train station. I was told they do.

So imagine our surprise when we arrived at the train station and discovered…no luggage storage of any kind…and were met with perplexed looks when we asked where we might store our luggage for a few hours.

Q Resort to the rescue (conveniently located a short walk from the train station). I explained the situation to the woman at reception and she graciously offered to look after our luggage while we explored town.

I’d read that Kitzbühel has the best guaranteed snow in Austria and boasts some 200 days of skiing a year (ski area opened 10/13/18), but you wouldn’t know that from our experience on this sleepy mid-December day.


Kitzbühel

We explored the quiet village and chose a random Italian restaurant for lunch (there seemed to be many, in fact Kitzbühel felt Italian).

Bill chose the Mittagsmenü, this one beef, potatoes, salad and minestrone; I opted for ricotta and spinach ravioli with butter and Parmesan. Both were good, but nothing special (42 Euro including water and two glasses of wine and…a first for us…Coperto/Servizio of 2 Euro each – in Austria?)

We returned to the Q Resort to collect our luggage and wait out our train in the bar, we the only guests, the bartender unable to find a corkscrew, forcing us to guzzle our wine or risk missing our train. We left feeling that we probably hadn’t missed much by not visiting Kitzbühel sooner, although I suspect the best bits are well above the village.

We boarded yet another near empty train - this one to Salzburg - both of us noting how Swiss-like the trains had been thus far in Austria – bright, modern and shiny, step-free, and most with clean automated WCs, very nice.

We passed a castle, more beautiful snow covered mountains and stunning sheer-sided cliffs; scenes impossible to adequately capture on camera from within a train carriage.


Snap from the train

We skirted Lake Zell, our short stop in Zell Am See piquing our interest for “next time”. It was a very pleasant journey; all the more so because our fellow passengers were eerily quiet.

Upon arrival at the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof we floundered a bit, but eventually located the bus departure area and boarded Bus 150 for the last leg of our journey to the Salzkammergut (6.90 Euro each).

It was after 5 pm, getting dark, traffic very busy; as our bus wound through the congested streets, we decided then and there that we’d probably not be making a day trip back to Salzburg.

The full bus emptied out during the one hour journey; we were the last remaining passengers when we pulled into St Gilgen.

As anyone who has visited the area knows, the main villages around Wolfgangsee are St. Wolfgang, St. Gilgen and Strobl, all of which are connected by regular ferry service. We chose St. Gilgen due to its convenient bus connections and because it seemed much quieter than St Wolfgang, more inviting than Strobl.

We were met at the bus stop by Victoria, the owner of the apartment we’d booked, and good thing, as we’d have never found it in the dark. We piled ourselves and our luggage into her little car and headed up the hill to Haus Victoria.

https://www.bedandbreakfast.eu/bed-a...toria/3348260/

Lovely spot this. Spacious, comfortable and well equipped, with, we were assured, a view of Wolfgangsee.

We’d arrived too late to make a grocery store run, so Victoria brought up milk, bread and homemade jam, in addition to the provisions she’d already left in the fridge, all much appreciated (five nights, 509 Euro). Yes, this would do nicely.

It’d been a long day – nine hours, four trains and one bus.

To be continued…
Melnq8 is offline  
May 23rd, 2019, 02:17 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,287
Lovely!
Am dropping in to Innsbruck with Mum in September (last time was over 30 years ago) so glad to hear you liked it.
The Salzkammergut looks very nice...
Adelaidean is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:54 AM.