TPG U.K. readers’ top tips for Austria

Jan 23, 2020

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It’s Austria month at TPG U.K.! This Alpine country has so much to offer travellers, from the majestic architecture of Vienna to stunning ski resorts like Kitzbuhel. And it’s very possible to pull off a visit to Austria using miles and points. It just takes a little savvy planning and we’ll show you how. So stay tuned for more content about getting there, staying there and what to do.

So far we’ve created a guide on how to get to Vienna on points and miles and then what to do while you’re there. And if it’s wellness and spas you’re after, read our breakdown here.

But that’s enough from us, for now. We absolutely love hearing from you, our readers. We can learn just as much from you as you do from us, which is why we asked you on Instagram for your hints and tips for Austria.

So without further ado, here they are.

Second cities

Salzburg

Salzburg was mentioned by several readers as worth a visit. Many fly there for its proximity to amazing ski resorts but don’t get chance to explore the city itself. It’s about a three-hour drive from Vienna and is also the birth place of Mozart, as well as being known for its impressive Baroque architecture. Treat yourself to a slice of Sachertorte in one of its many cafes or ride the cable car — there’s loads to do.

The downtown of Salzburg and the Fortification of Salzburg (German: Festung Hohensalzburg) viewed from the Mönchsberg (HDR image)
Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images)

Getting there from the U.K. is pretty easy. There are year-round, daily flights from Gatwick (LGW) with British Airways and year-round, five-weekly flights with Ryanair from Stansted (STN). From the rest of the U.K., flights to Salzburg are usually seasonal and are operated on Saturdays by airlines like Jet2, EasyJet and TUI.

Innsbruck

Innsbruck is another city that most people will only have flown to for a skiing trip. That shouldn’t be the case. Many readers suggested visiting this picturesque little city in Austria’s Tyrol region. Taking the train is often the quickest option from Vienna — around 45 minutes quicker than driving.

“Spend the day in Innsbruck and visit the airport visitors’ desk.” — Max B.

Market square of Old town of Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck’s old town market square. (Photo by Dado Daniella/Getty Images)

It’s also one for the AvGeeks. Innsbruck airport is one of very few airports that still has a landside viewing platform. It’s free, opens from around 8 a.m. every day and has unrestricted views of the runway from dawn until dusk.

Flying to Innsbruck from the U.K. is a little more complicated. There are daily flights throughout the winter skiing season with EasyJet, and four-time weekly flights with British Airways from Gatwick. From elsewhere in the U.K., it’s a similar story to Salzburg, with flights mainly on Saturdays throughout winter with EasyJet, Jet2 and TUI.

Austrian Airlines climbing out of Innsbruck. (Photo by James Oates/The Points Guy)

Hallstatt

The icing on the cake — Hallstatt. It looks like it’s been taken out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale. This beautiful town, just to the southeast of Salzburg, is not one to be missed. It’s in the Salzkammergut region and a funicular railway connects it to Salzwelten, an ancient salt mine with a subterranean salt lake and to Skywalk Hallstatt viewing platform. With a population of only 780, it is said to be the inspiration behind Disney’s Frozen franchise, so has seen an incredible spike in tourism in recent years. You need to book in advance if you plan on visiting by coach, as the mayor is cracking down on the amount of “foot fall” because it has “deteriorated the quality of life for locals”, he said.

Hallstatt, Austria. (Photo by Manchan/Getty Images)

Dreilandereck

It’s in the name: Drei (three) Lander (countries) Eck (corner). There’s a place in the south of the country where you can stand in three countries at once. Austria, Italy and Slovenia share a border. Head to a tiny place called Dreilandereck by ski lift and stand at the exact spot where the three countries meet.

“Dreilandeck, near Villach — you can stand in three countries at once; Austria, Slovenia and Italy.” — Fiona H.

(Image courtesy of Google Maps)

From Vienna, the best way to get there is by car — you can expect a drive of around four hours.

Skiing

Austria boasts some of the best, most well-known ski resorts in Europe — Mayerhoffen, Kitzbuhel, Saalbach-Hinterglemm and Ischgl are among the most popular. A few of you recommended some smaller, off-the-beaten-track resorts like Flachau, Kleinwastertal and Obertauern, which I can vouch for as it was the first place I ever went skiing and it was amazing.

“Visit Flachau and try to fly to Salzburg for great skiing.” — Georg S.

Photo taken in Obertauern, Austria
Making tracks through deep powder in Obertauern, Austria. (Photo by Dominic Hilgendorf/Getty Images)

Centimeter restaurants

Centimeter is a chain of restaurants in Vienna, Austria’s capital. According to many of you, there is a great selection of mouth-wateringly tasty Austrian delicacies all for very reasonable prices. Want a real taste of Austria? Then make sure you visit a Centimeter.

“Centimeter restaurants in Vienna! Great food for reasonable prices!” — homebaselhr

Germknödel

Don’t worry about the pronunciation, just focus on the taste. Germknödel is a full meal in one dish. It’s a savoury, fluffy dumpling stuffed with a thick plum jam called Powidl. It’s served piping hot, swimming in a vanilla sauce (kind of like a light custard) and finished off with ground poppy seeds and powdered sugar on top. The verdict? 10/10. I can assure you that there is nothing more satisfying after a hard day’s skiing than a Germknödel. It’s so good it can be served as a main dish or a dessert.

Germknodel is a fluffy yeast dough dumpling, filled with spiced plum jam and served with melted butter and a mix of poppy seeds and sugar on top.
Austria’s mouthwateringly good Germknödel, (Photo by Paul Biris/Getty Images)

Bottom line

Austria has so much more than skiing and schnitzels, from picture-perfect little towns like Hallstatt to wonderful Viennese balls to the original chocolate cake. Stay tuned for more Austria-inspired content.

Featured photo by Manchan/Getty Images

 

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