Let’s start at the very beginning, because (you guessed it) it’s a very good place to start!
Inspired by the Sound of Music and images of Maria and the Von Trapp kids happily running through the mountains, we decided to try a new type of family holiday this summer.
Our aim was to have an active, outdoor adventure whilst experiencing the highlights of Austria. We combined a two night stay in Salzburg with a week in the Austrian alps of Saalbach-Hinterglemm in August.
With three kids aged 8, 6 and 2 to entertain, we hoped that there would be something for the entire family and Austria certainly didn’t disappoint. We were completely blown away by the beauty of this stunning area and there was so much to do we were utterly spoilt for choice.
Forget about raindrops on roses and brown paper packages tied up with string, read on to discover our favourite things from our trip to Austria.
1. Sightseeing in Salzburg
As you would expect from any European city, Salzburg is the perfect place to walk around with kids.
Not only is it compact and easy to navigate, but with endless playgrounds, museums, castles, churches, palaces and squares it’s extremely family friendly.
Around every corner you will discover historical Baroque architecture which is framed perfectly by the vast Untersberg Mountains in the background.
Our highlights and must sees include Mirabell Palace and Gardens where you can admire the beautiful grounds full of oversized statues and fountains, Love Lock Bridge and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alsdtat (old town) with its cobbled streets, shops and cafes.
Salzburg is also home to the historical landmark of Hohensalzburg Castle which one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.
Visible for miles due to its prominent position at the top of Festungsberg Mountain, Hohensalzburg Castle is accessed either by a steep 15 minute walk or a 1 minute ride in a small, glass funicular.
Whilst you would be forgiven for just going there for the restaurants and spectacular 360 degree view of Salzburg alone, we spent an entire afternoon here immersed in 11th Century history by visiting various museums, exhibitions, art studios and walking around the enormous courtyard.
For further information about Salzburg click here.
2. Sound of Music Tour
No trip to Salzburg would be complete without a Sound of Music tour!
On our 4 hour guided trip around Salzburg and the Lake District, we immersed ourselves completely in the movie by visiting numerous filming locations such as Nonnberg Convent and Church Mondsee where Maria and the Baron Von Trapp got married.
Throughout the tour we learned all about the history of the movie and there was lots of yodelling and singing along to the soundtrack thrown in too.
Check out the website to find out pricing and a full list of movie scene locations you can visit.
3. Hiking in Saalbach Hinterglem
After a couple of days in Salzburg, we hopped on a 90 minute train and headed to Saalbach Hinterglem in the Pinzgau region of Austria.
A busy ski resort in winter, the summer season officially kicks off in the middle of June with over 400kms of hiking trails reached by 6 summer gondolas.
Despite not being an experienced family of hikers (we did zero training and took our regular trainers) I was pleasantly surprised to discover how family friendly and manageable the trails were.
You can even bring your buggy on most trails and gondolas.
What makes these trails so kid friendly is that there is always a park and/or restaurant and bar at the top of each mountain.
Also, as you hike down there are often games/water activities for the kids to play/interact with or slides so they don’t have to walk all the time.
Each day we were rewarded with spectacular scenery which made it such a relaxing and enjoyable day out.
For further information about hiking in Saalbach Hinterglem please click here.
4. Baumzipfelweg Alpine Golden Gate Bridge & Tree Top Trail
If you do one thing in Saalbach, make sure you visit Baumzipfelweg.
Comprising of the ‘Alpine Golden Gate Bridge’, Tree Top Trail, High Rope Park and the Lindlingalm mountain restaurant you can easily make a day of it here.
We started our day walking along the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge of the Alps.
This 200m suspension bridge allows you to enjoy the panoramic views of the expansive and breathtaking mountains of this valley. Not for the faint hearted though as it’s 42m high and does slightly wobble under your feet as you make your way across!
Once you reach the end of the bridge, you step onto the highest tree top trail in Europe.
Nothing beats taking a relaxing 1km stroll whilst you admire the spectacular views. There is also plenty to keep the kids entertained along the way. Not to mention the free hats!
Once you’ve completed your circular 2 kms tour, you can then stroll over to the high rope park and try out the longest zip wire slide in Europe.
For prices and opening hours click here.
5. Hochselpark Jump & Slide Park
The fun doesn’t end there as Hochselpark Jump & Slide Park is also located here.
Perfect for older (and big) kids, Hochselpark has a trampoline area, 8m high jump tower and my personal favourite, the freestyle ramp where you hop onto a rubber ring and launch yourself down an extremely steep ramp before landing on 2m high airbags. The hills were alive with the sound of screaming when I did this!
For prices and further details click here.
Having hiked, swam, jumped, rode in gondolas and launched ourselves down ramps, there was only thing left for us to do. Catch a toboggan ride!
This fun 1.6km toboggan run is full of twists and turns and is probably the most fun way to make your way down a mountain. The kids loved it especially as you can control your own speed on the way down.
For prices please click here.
7. Hotel Johann
As if the beautiful scenery and exciting outdoor activities hadn’t made us fall in love with Austria already, our accommodation was the icing on the cake.
Hotel Johan is a friendly, family run hotel with the most beautiful outdoor swimming pools nestled amongst landscaped gardens and amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
We booked a package which included accommodation, organic gourmet board for all meals, childcare, swimming pools and a free Joker card which gives you free access to local buses, cable cars, guided hikes and much more.
Our apartment was very spacious and perfectly accommodated the five us in two separate bedrooms with its own kitchen and living area.
After a busy day exploring, we all loved returning to the hotel and jumping in the pool before dinner. The food was absolutely delicious and we made lots of new friends when sitting in the bar lounge at the end of the day. A truly authentic Austrian experience.
For further information and to request a quote, please click here.
You can certainly build up an appetite whilst hiking so it was always a highlight of the day when we would discover a restaurant or bar along our mountain trails.
The food was always reasonably priced and the portion sizes were generous.
Not only this but the views were simply stunning and we thoroughly enjoyed eating and drinking in some of the most spectacular spots you would normally only associate with a ski trip.
As mentioned above, included in the price of our accommodation was a Joker Pass.
This pass gave us complimentary access to the hikers bus and six summer gondolas in Salbaach. We used this pass to get to all of the all activities mentioned above.
This pass made getting around extremely easy and stress free as the bus stop was located moments from our hotel.
Overall, we had an absolutely amazing holiday and I would highly recommend it.
Our outdoor mountains and city adventure in Austria was the perfect alternative to the classic beach holiday and allowed us to experience so much of this wonderful country.
The Sound of Music may have brought us here, but the mountains, family friendly activities, delicious food, unforgettable hotel and stunning scenery will keep us coming back for years to come.
If this looks like your sort of holiday then check out our 10 Day Austrian Itinerary with all the details of our trip and how to book it yourself.
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye Austria.
Please note, this is not a sponsored post. We paid for the entire trip ourselves. Opinions are my own.