HALLSTATT – ÖSTERREICH
Continuing on from our original post in Hallstatt over here, we have since been lucky enough to revisit a few times including most recently a trip to Hallstatt in Winter just after Christmas (Weihnachts).
Many people would not consider travelling in winter, only for Skiing or Snowboarding otherwise most wouldn’t plan a holiday during Winter let alone when its covered in snow in fear of being snowed in or not able to access or travel because of the snow.
First i will start by saying our recent trip in Winter to Europe (Hallstatt especially) was incredible, seeing everything that we have seen before and even new landscapes covered in snow was absolutely breathtaking and left us many times in awe even whilst driving on the autobahns and mountain roads. Add in a White Christmas and how can you say no?
All the streets, houses, shops and town square is covered in the most cute, beautiful and traditional Christmas decorations that really let you know and give that ‘real’ white Christmas feeling – and i will say its nothing like you will find back at home in Australia, whilst we celebrate well it really isn’t the same. In every small town you such as Hallstatt you will also find unique decorations, nativity sets including some life-size such as this one in St Gilgen as well and of course beautiful real Christmas Trees (weihnachtsbaum in German)
Secondly, don’t think you’re not able to access things or places are closed. Snow and Winter is normal and everything is open and accessible, of course granted the holidays and certain mountains or areas that are too heavily covered in snow aren’t but with that said there are many options and activities that you can do.
Winter Sports is a very big thing in Europe, they have plenty of Snow and provide all options for the avid Skier, pro or amateur Snowboarder and for the children they also have snow-toboggans also known as sledge or sledging in German. Some of the toboggan runs are actually quite long and very fast and only suit adults, so don’t think you can’t go have a bit of fun and get those calve muscles sore! Best of all, if you’re needing lessons they are actually cheaper and longer than what is offered locally in Australia – Ski/Board/Snow gear hire is also very reasonable.
So a trip to snow covered Hallstatt in Winter is something you must experience, at least once! And you can arrive just before Christmas to you will get to experience the cute and traditional Christmas Markets in most small towns (Christkindlmarkt, such as this one in Munich) which we would highly recommend.
A few White Christmas Austrian Tips;
Santa Clause doesn’t come at Christmas (25th) for the Austrians but in fact the 24th is when they open their presents and Celebrate Christmas.
Share the Christmas (Weihnachts) spirit and be sure to say Merry Christmas (in German; frohe weihnachten) to anyone you see, in a shop, on the street, getting a coffee or just some dinner. Weihnachten ist die schönste zeit im jahr! (Christmas is the nicest time of the year)
Get yourself some Gluhwein (warm mulled wine, traditional on Christmas) or Kinderpunsch (kids punch, non alcoholic fruit drink which is very nice, my favourite!) ,
Don’t be afraid to travel around to see the beautiful white landscapes and frozen lakes (just don’t walk on them haha)
So if you’re considering now maybe to go and thinking it looks too cold! It iss cold, but not that cold. Wear the appropriate clothing and shoes and you will have absolutely no problem. I do have to note if you do intend on driving in the snow that if it is winter hire a all wheel drive / four wheel drive and ensure you are very confident in driving as it may be a little daunting or challenging for some – we have no problems but we have driven a lot in Europe over the years. Hallstatt in Winter is a must do!
Walking through this gorgeous town in winter is even more beautiful than spring and summer!