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christmas/skiing in austria

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christmas/skiing in austria

Two questions: Is it more fun/beautiful/Christmas-y in Salzburg or Vienna? If we went to both would two days (three nights) in each place be about right or should we spend more time in one place or the other?

We are a family with three daughters ages 21, 15 and 12.

Also, Heiligenblut or Saalbach for skiing?


Midlands, UK
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1. Re: christmas/skiing in austria

It rather depends what you like to see at Christmas. Do you like mountains? If so Salzburg will give you those. From Salzburg you can go to other Christmas markets such as Schloss Hellbrunn and the lovely market at St Wolfgang on Wolfgangsee lake.

I doubt you'd reach Heiligenblut for skiing at Christmas. The Hochalpenstrasse closes in heavy snow. Saalbach is much more accessible.

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2. Re: christmas/skiing in austria

Our family of four (girls aged 10 & 11 at the time) spent last Christmas/advent in Vienna and Salzburg (plus a week skiing). Both fit your description of being fun/beautiful/Christmas-y. Vienna is a large city, Salzburg old town is small and has an almost village like atmosphere even though it too is a city. If you have three nights to allocate to each, I would do both even though it would be brief. Can you fly into Vienna, train to Salzburg then continue onto your skiing destination, then fly out of Salzburg or Munich or Innsbruck?

In Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace is amazing and the Christmas markets out the front allow you to kill two birds with one stone. Walking along Graben (street) at night is spectacular for Christmas decorations. In Salzburg don't miss the Hellbrun Palace markets, they have live animals in nativity scenes and open fires to sit around and toast marshmallows or cook a wurst. St Wolfgang markets out of Salzburg combine beautiful lake and mountain scenery.

I wrote trip reports for both Vienna and Salzburg if you want to get a feel for both destinations for families if you can only choose one.

Edited: 30 July 2012, 23:29
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3. Re: christmas/skiing in austria

I agree with Foodie, both have their charms and I would try to do both if possible. We did get some snow in Salzburg last year, which made for a perfect holiday feeling, and there was no snow in Vienna if that matters.

Munich, Germany
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4. Re: christmas/skiing in austria

Where you go and what you do as far ias skiing is concerned depends entirely on your flexibility and overal itinerary.

Whether you get snow in Vienna or Salzburg is unpredictable. We went to Vienna early december a few years ago for the xmas markets and were stood around in snow.

You haven't given exact dates of when you intend to arrive in Vienna, when you wish to go skiing and where you intended flying from back home. Without this it is impossible to advise.

Basically in all ski resorts there is a "xmas week". This is the week where the Hoteliers determine the xmas holidays start as far as pricing and much more imortantly fixed period holidays. Over the xmas period Hoteliers want a minimum of 7 nights.

The Xmas week normally starts a day or 2 before the 24th December. This year 22nd December falls "perfectly" (if you like) on a Saturday.

This year the Xmas week begins on 22nd December so many/most Hoteliers will be looking for fixed terms from 22-29 December and then 29 Dec - 5 December for New year.

So if you wanted to do your Vienna/Salzburg stuff before heading off to go skiing then your itinerary must start on 15th or 16th of December.

Also car or public transport. This may also have a large bearing on what is easiest after Salzburg

There are huge amounts of ski resorts to choose from.

Purely an example

The Skiamade region consists of 5 different Ski areas (that's not resorts that is Areas) all on the same lift pass



Schladming is a nice town and has lively apres ski

Other areas www.skiwelt.at - expeansive ski area - popular with families - me/wife and kids (kids now 18 & 20 but been skiing for 14 years) often at the Skiwelt for day trips (only 1h10 drive from Munich) - relatively speaking quite cheap (but won't be a xmas). Ellmau and Söll most popular places.

www.mayrhofen.com popular ski resort with quite a large ski area. Lively apres ski - popular with brits and families

www.alpbachtal.at/en/winter/skiing-alpbachtal - Alpbach voted Austrias prettiest village a million billion times. Now linked to the Schatzberg so a larger ski area

www.ischgl.com - one of the top ski resorts in Austria. Large skiing area and one of the top apres ski places/party towns in Austria. More expensive end. It is our whole family's favourite place of all (for all round everything - and we have done all the major french ski resorts and Dolomites/Val Gardena and others in Italy)

Bit difficult to get to as it is way past Innsbruck and by public transport requires a long bus journey. Even with a car it takes me just under 3hrs from Munich

but there are loads and what's best is really down to your overall itinerary.

Many resorts can be difficult ot get to/from via public transport. Some have train stations others may require buses or a taxi transfer.

Have a look at www.bergfex.com

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5. Re: christmas/skiing in austria

Thank you for your advice. It is very helpful. We will be arriving on December 20 and will probably begin in Salzburg. We'll stay two or three nights and then drive to a ski destination. I am now seriously considering Saalbach. 15 years ago we went to heiligenblut and it was magical. Our girls may want a bit more non-skiing action now. My husband and I still want a resort that is on the quiet, natural side--not too, too, busy or glitzy (we've spent several Christmases in Vail, Colorado and I don't like the glitz)

Might Saalbach fit the bill?

After skiing we will drive to Vienna and fly home after a couple of nights there. I presume Vienna's Christmas atmosphere will persist until the New Year.

Again, many thanks for your input. FoodieMama2 and giftzwerg, you were particularly generous.

Houston, Texas
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6. Re: christmas/skiing in austria

We will be in Salzburg Christmas at Hotel Stein ... Dec. 23-30 - I understand markets close Dec. 23?? We are doing lunch at Goldener Hirsch and then a Christmas concert at Mozarteum (?) and plan to go see Silent Night chapel and take cheesy Sound of Music tour. How long is daylight? I agree about Vail.

Midlands, UK
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7. Re: christmas/skiing in austria

The Christmas markets are open until Wednesday 26th December. This is from the official Christkindlmarkt website.

Here are the sunrise, sunset times for December 2012:

timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html… including length of daylight.

8. Re: christmas/skiing in austria

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