Travelling to a white destination is a must each year for me. I have to visit a mountain destination and enjoy some skiing or simply breathe in the cold fresh air. My husband loves Austria so we decided to go for a trip in Austria to celebrate the New Year with our friends a couple of years ago. It was a truly magical destination and as soon as we arrived it was snowing heavily, exactly like we had imagined. Spending the New Year in Austria is a good idea for anyone who loves magical white landscapes but wants to enjoy some good vibes on new year’s eve. It is less expensive than the neighbouring Switzerland and the scenery is equally impressive.
New Year’s Eve in Innsbruck
Innsbruck is the perfect place to spend your new year if you want to enjoy some live music in the streets and a fireworks show on the Inn river at midnight. There are several concerts in different parts of the city ranging from parties with DJs to rock music as well as pop and dancing shows. All of this at the dramatic backdrop of the Nordkette mountain range that surrounds Innsbruck.
Tip: if you plan to stay outside be careful to be adequately dressed as it gets really cold. Most of the people will be wearing ski wear and do not bother with being elegant as most probably you will be the only one.
Skiing in Steinach am Brenner
We were staying in Gries am Brenner (shown above) a village close to this skiing resort and we decided to give it a try. This was our first time ‘skiing’. We rented the equipment and took the cable car up the mountain. The visibility was not ideal as it was snowing very heavily, but we had the time of our lives. We laughed so hard as we kept on falling all the time. It was an experience that I will remember forever. After all the hard training, (skiing can become really tiring) you can always enjoy a warm drink in the cosy restaurant while enjoying the views.
Day trip to Neuschwanstein
This was not the perfect day as nothing went as planned. We ended up in a traffic jam that delayed a lot our arrival. As soon as we arrived in Schwangau and went to buy tickets for the castle we discovered that it was fully booked. For anyone intending to visit Neuschwanstein castle I recommend booking in advance since it is very popular all year round. Instead we visited Hohenschwangau which was very interesting.
Tip: An interesting stop along the way can be the castle of Fernstein situated right by the lake of Fernstein on the Fernpass. You can even opt to spend the night in this castle.
Crossing the border to Liechtenstein
As we were quite close to Liechtenstein we decided to take a look at the principality. Be sure to carry with you your passports as they are checked at the borders. We stopped in Vaduz; the capital city of this micro country that is famous for its medieval castle. Honestly there is nothing special to visit here apart from the castle and everything is extremely expensive. The currency used is the Swiss Franc. However if you would like to tick off a country from your list this might be a good excuse to visit.
Tip: An interesting stop on your way might be the village of Feldkirch. It is situated right at the border between Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Relaxing by the lake in Davos
This was one of the highlights of this trip. Davos is a magical destination and we happened to visit during the most beautiful time of the day; around sunset. Getting to Davos is also very spectacular as you drive along a narrow valley with mountain peaks on both sides. Apart from a popular winter sports destination, this Swiss village is also ideal for a relaxing walk around its lake.
Postcard village of Hallstatt
Getting to Hallstatt was not easy as it was over 3 hours away from where we were staying. We had to cross the border over to Germany and this also involved getting a speeding fine. Luckily we were rewarded to a magical postcard-style village. Hallstatt is most probably the most popular village in Austria and it deserves all its reputation. It was very quiet when we visited Hallstatt and we hardly met any tourists. Adding to the magic of this place were the white swans that accompanied us as we walked along the lake.
Other interesting places not to miss
Seefeld was another village that impressed me and should I go back I would stay overnight here. There is a very nice christmassy atmosphere and the food here was great. We stopped just for a dinner, but I wish we had more time.
Stams is another interesting stop located west of Innsbruck. The main attraction here is the abbey, that is very photogenic with the backdrop of the mountains covered in snow.
A small note for anyone who is not used to driving in the snow
This was our first time driving in the snow. Although equipped with winter tyres, as soon as we left the highway we were no longer able to continue. The car was packed with luggages and 4 adults and the road was so slippery that the car kept on skidding left and right instead of moving forward. We ended up calling for rescue and after taking away most of the load in the car (luggages and two of us), we were able to arrive at our destination safe and sound. Be sure that your car has winter tyres and avoid driving at night when it snowing heavily.