Browse content similar to Austria. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hello and welcome to Getaways.
The show where we go where you want us to go.
We're on a mission to check out
some of your most popular holiday destinations.
You've been sharing your top travel tips, telling us where to go...
..and what to do when we get there.
This week we're off to the mountains of the Austrian Tyrol
to find out what a ski resort can offer on a summer holiday.
We flew direct from Dublin to Salzburg.
There are weekly flights during the summer months.
Travel time to our resort in St Johann is about an hour.
OK, here we are in the Austrian Tirol,
one of the most beautiful parts of Europe in the summer.
I know, we've both been here before, skiing.
I've done it three times and have loved each time I've been here,
because the Austrian people are so friendly.
The place is very family-friendly, the food is great,
but it's going to be interesting to see how they adapt
to the summer holidays here.
Yes, I'll tell you something -
-we're not going to get much skiing done.
St Johann is a popular ski resort in the winter.
It's situated in a valley between the Wilder Kaiser mountain range
and the mighty Kitzbuheler Horn.
In the Tyrol region you'll find that typical resort hotels
are family-run, generally small, clean and friendly.
We are staying at the four-star Hotel Park.
It's a five-minute walk from the main ski lift
and a ten-minute walk from the centre of town.
During the summer season,
a night here costs from 65 euro per person, half-board.
If you're looking for amazing scenery,
then you don't have to travel far here in the Austrian Alps.
Any of the cable cars will reveal spectacular views.
But if you want to explore the natural scenery of the Tyrol,
then I would recommend you take a drive.
A 30-minute drive west of St Johann
brings you into the Wilder Kaiser mountain range.
My advice is to take your time
and stop off at the mountain lodges along the way for a coffee.
Places like this won't be found unless you have a car.
But check out that view - stunning.
The Wilder Kaiser region is home to a nature conservation area,
so you won't find any ski slopes here.
-It's a beautiful day for it today.
-Yes, it is.
But it's the first Alpine area
to bear the Austrian hiking seal of approval.
Scenery here is outstanding. It's so beautiful.
There's a variety of hiking trails to choose from,
and I've chosen one that comes with a personal guide.
OK, take care, it's a little bit slippery here.
Silvana, what is this place like in winter?
I mean, is it so cold that this freezes over?
It depends how cold it is in the winter.
Normally it's just covered with snow here.
Oh, that would be amazing.
I also do snow shoe hikes here, along...
Oh, that would be class.
It is very nice. it is like winter wonderland here.
'You can arrange all sorts of guided tours into the mountains
'for all levels of ability and experience.'
'Silvana is an experienced mountaineer,
'so the short hike shouldn't be any bother to her.'
Oh, look at that. Oh, beautiful.
-Let's have a break.
Look at this.
This is unreal. You've brought bottles of water,
but you can basically drink from the river here.
You can throw your water bottle into the river.
Yes, you can do that, but you always have to check out, as I do that,
if there are no cows over these water!
That's a good tip. If you're on the mountain,
make sure you are above where the cows are.
Meanwhile, I'm going high into the mountains
to the lake, Hintersteiner See.
Look at this natural gem.
That water is so beautifully clear.
Locals and tourists come to sunbathe
or for a bracing swim, or in my case,
a quick paddle.
The water here is drinking quality
and the reason it's so clean is because
it's fed by an underground spring.
The water that flows out of the lake
is also used to generate electricity,
so it's clean and green.
Winter or summer, if you look up to the skies above St Johann,
you will see these -
paragliders, drifting effortlessly and serenely
along the mountain ridges.
So have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly like an eagle?
Paragliding is very popular around these parts.
Eva from Donegal doesn't recommend it because
she's terrified of heights.
Well, Eva, you and me both!
But I'm going to do it anyway.
'My pilot for today's flight is Herve Chayrou, a Frenchman
'with many years' experience of soaring these mountains.'
How are we looking today?
Pretty good. Amazing day. Look at these clouds. Chances are there will be thermals.
The panorama up here - amazing.
You fly over St Johann a bit, OK, and make a relaxing flight.
'The thing about the Tandem paraglider is
'you don't really have to know what you're doing.
'You just have to make sure you're strapped to a man that does.
'All I have to do is take a running jump.
Here we go! Whoo!
'The flight from the top of the Kitzbuheler Horn to the town takes
'about 20 minutes, so relax and enjoy it.
'You won't get a better view of the valley
'and the surrounding mountains.'
I'm still terrified of heights...
..but I loved every second of that.
It's still good to be on the ground, though.
A holiday in the Alps is certainly all about outdoor activities,
but if you do want a break from the mountains and fancy being pampered,
then you could opt to stay in one of Tyrol's spa hotels.
'The Franzlhof resort hotel in Soll
'is perfect for a family summer break,
'as well as a winter one, with outdoor activities
'and access to one of the Tyrol's largest lift networks.'
'Accommodation options include the main hotel
'with a selection of double and family rooms.
'Or you could stay in one of the holiday homes,
'which can accommodate up to six people,
'with a living space and a kitchen.
'There's also a campsite on the ground with pitches for tents,
'motor homes and caravans.'
'But I'm taking advantage of the spa,
'which is a perfect place to relax after a day on the mountains.
Here they have a swimming pool, steam bath,
'two saunas and a silent area,
'so don't even think about bringing your phone.'
Halfway up the Kitzbuheler Horn mountain
is the Hornpark Activity Centre.
Kate Ward recommended a day out in the park,
saying that it's fun for all the family.
And even the cable car up is a bit of a joy.
Look at that view.
'The Horn Park is a high rope adventure trail
'where you whizz between trees and over lakes.
'There's a number of courses to suit all ages and abilities,
'and I've opted for what is called the Flying Fox Aerial Course,
'with a 230-metre zip line across the lake.
-Hold that for me...
HE SHOUTS AND LAUGHS
Ah! That was awesome!
Ha-ha-ha! Loved that.
'OK, that's the easy bit.
But now, once you're 20 metres up a tree,
'you really wish you'd paid more attention
'to the lesson on how to connect to your safety wire.'
Give yourself a little push off the platform with your remaining foot.
'But here goes.'
'All right, not the most elegant, but I'm still alive.'
'Now, you don't have to yodel, but I find it helps.'
Not a textbook landing, unorthodox, but it's all part of the fun.
'Lisa Durkin from Kildare recommended
'we visit one of the summer traditional
'handicraft markets, where local craftsmen and food stalls
'create a festive atmosphere.'
This market is in the town of Going, just 20 minutes from our hotel.
Traditional handcrafts are made here in the same way they've been for hundreds of years.
And traditional Austrian music is a big thing.
This traditional song helps make driving poles into the ground seem
like a fun thing to do. Assuming you think that's a fun thing to do.
'Most of the food on offer seems to involve cooking
'a sort of doughnut batter in interesting and unusual ways.
'This is a typical Tyrolean pancake called strauben.
'It's served with jam and it is so easy to make, anyone can do it.
-So how do I slow it down?
-A little bit.
Oh...I am much better with Irish pancakes!
-I think you are lying!
A little bit bigger than everyone else's!
I mean, look, I could sell this. A bit of jam.
'But if you prefer a break closer to home,
'then Joe has been on a short getaway in County Mayo.'
I'm in Cong in County Mayo,
home of the world-famous Ashford Castle and Lodge
and the setting for one of the biggest and most iconic
Hollywood blockbusters of all time.
HE HUMS TUNE
'The film, of course was The Quiet Man,
'and the cast and crew stayed here at Ashford Castle.
'It was first built as a stronghold on Lough Corrib
'by the de Burgo family in 1228.
'Nowadays, it's a luxury resort hotel
'that features a variety of activities on its 350-acre estate.
'The castle has recently been renovated,
'and for those of you who love to holiday with your pooches,
'the hotel is pet-friendly,
'but the castle's resident Irish wolfhounds
'get the best spot beside the fire.
'You're not going to argue with them, are you?
'I'm staying in the Lodge,
'which is a self-contained four-star hotel within the castle grounds.
'It has 50 individually decorated rooms and suites...
'..and its own bar and restaurant.
'But guests here can avail of all the activities on the estate,
'and I'm heading for Ireland's School of Falconry
'to learn about these magnificent birds of prey.'
When I open my hand, he knows that I'm not holding it.
'Aztec is a Harris hawk,
'and Thomas is showing me the basics of the ancient art of falconry.
So I will show you. So my hand is open.
And watch his feet.
And you're going to call him.
-So you turn your left shoulder towards him.
-And if you raise up your glove, but point it towards me.
Ah, that is incredible. You would imagine you'd be intimidated
when he's looking at you. But he just seems quite calm.
I find a lot of people, when they come here,
they have an idea of a bird of prey,
and people are always expecting them
to be very big and very aggressive, and they're just not.
Ready, mate? Away you go.
Perfect. Now that's a great flight again.
'The grounds of the castle are seeped in history,
'but it was a good old-fashioned love story
'that really put this place on the map.'
The quiet village of Cong was changed for ever in 1951
when Hollywood came to town, and it really hasn't been the same since.
In a good way.
The Quiet Man starred Hollywood legend John Wayne
and flame-haired Irish actress Maureen O'Hara.
The film earned its director, John Ford, an Oscar in 1952.
But for many, the real star of the show was the village of Cong.
And there's plenty to remind you of the film all over town.
'The Quiet Man Cottage Museum
'is a detailed recreation of White-o-Mornin' Cottage,
'one of the film's main locations,
'and Gerry Collins is the museum guide.
Gerry, what do you think the appeal is of The Quiet Man as a movie?
What do you think people really love about it?
They love the Irishness of the movie, they love the scenery,
and of course the village of Cong, the castle.
It's a fairytale setting here in Cong.
And what has The Quiet Man done for the town of Cong?
To be honest, I'd have a hole in the arse of my trousers today
if it wasn't for John Wayne and The Quiet Man.
There's an industry built around The Quiet Man.
There's thousands of people come from all over the world.
All they want to know is The Quiet Man, where the location is.
They don't want to go fishing or do anything,
only The Quiet Man. It's unbelievable.
Cong is booming because of it.
Back on our Austrian getaway, we've been exploring the mountains,
experiencing the traditional Tirolean lifestyle...
'And I jumped off the side of a mountain,
'with a parachute, thankfully.'
Up in the mountains,
I've been told there's an adventure playpark
that's an enchanting place for children.
The cable car from Soll takes you 1,800 metres up to the Hexenwasser,
which means "witch's water".
Malcolm Johns from Newtownabbey says
if you have children, this should be
your first port of call.
It's easy to forget that in winter, all of this is a ski resort.
The only reminder we have today are the gondolas.
There's a magical theme to the Hexenwasser,
with broomsticks on the cable cars
and a gift shop shaped like a witch's cauldron.
But water is a common theme that runs through the Hexenwasser.
This water is so clean and so fresh, it's straight off the mountain,
and they have 60 of these small pools all over the Hexenwasser.
And I can tell you, the kids love it.
'You can follow the barefoot walk over grass, wood,
'stone and bubbling water, whilst smooth pebbles massage your feet.'
This would be perfect for after you've been in high heels.
Because it's like a free foot massage.
'The Hexenwasser is ideal if you have young children,
'but if you have teenagers,
'then you might want to look for something a little more adventurous.'
Check out these yokes.
How cool are these? Now, think about it.
The cable car runs all year round.
There are tracks they normally use for skiing in winter,
so put two and two together, you get this.
All you need is a wee push. Gravity does the rest.
A little help, lads? Push?
'The mountain carts are beautifully simple.
'Fat tyres, separate brakes for the left and right,
'but no parking brake.'
-Are you ready?
-Ein, zwei, drei!
'The route takes you over 5km from the top of the mountain
'to the base station in St Johann.
'If you like skiing, then you will love this.'
'Go as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable,
'and take in the beauty of the mountains along the way.
'When you get to the bottom,
you'll probably want to do it all over again.
'Back at our hotel, I bumped into the O'Leary family,
'here on a three-week break.'
So tell me what sort of activities you've been getting up to.
Swimming in the afternoons.
A day trip into Salzburg. We saw the fortress. Yeah, so...
Beach holidays don't do it for you, then?
-We prefer the variety.
-Yeah, we do.
Would you recommend this place, then, for a summer holiday, for families?
Absolutely. It's great value.
Some people seem to just think Austria is maybe just only winter,
but it's fabulous in the summer.
Absolutely fantastic, and the weather has been terrific.
Over 34 degrees this week.
Too hot for us.
Hence the shiny faces.
The people are nice as well.
And the food is good as well.
The food is excellent. Excellent, really.
'For centuries, farmers in Tirol have been using
'the fruits and berries from the mountains to produce
'one of Austria's most famous tipples - schnapps.'
-Hi, Joe, welcome to you.
-Thank you very much.
Come with me, I show you the world of schnapps.
Excellent. Let's go.
'And I'm getting a tour from Marc Aggstein,
'a fourth-generation schnappsmeister,
'whose distillery here in St Johann
'produces one of Austria's most popular brands
'of the local liquor.
'In Aggstein's hi-tech factory,
'the schnapps is made the same way it has been for centuries,
'using oak barrels and copper stills.'
And now you see the still parts.
It's like being in a submarine.
-All these machines are incredible. This is great.
Come with me.
'This Tirolean tipple comes in many flavours,
'and it seems you can make schnapps from just about anything.
'And although it's only ten o'clock in the morning,
'Marc is keen for me to try his newest flavour.
Chocolate with chillies.
Chilli chocolate schnapps.
First you taste the chocolate.
After you swallow it,
you get a kick.
I do this so you don't have to.
I feel right as rain now!
The capital of Tirol is Innsbruck, and we're taking a day trip
to check out what's on offer in this ancient city.
And if you do decide to come to Innsbruck for the day,
then get yourself one of these cards.
It gives you access to everything.
Indeed, everything we are doing on our day trip to Innsbruck is
covered by the card...
Including admission to the grand building in the centre of Innsbruck,
the Hofburg Imperial Palace, once home to the Habsburg royal family.
It's now a museum open to the public,
and the highlight of a visit here is the frescoes that adorn the ceilings
of the giant hall.
Look, see this great wee feature?
Right, instead of breaking your neck looking up at the ceiling, look!
Mirrors, big mirrors.
'Next door is the Tiroler Folk Art Museum,
'giving you access to the Hofkirche Gothic church,
'built as a memorial to Emperor Maximilian I
'by his grandson, Ferdinand.
'Maximilian's cenotaph is a centrepiece of the church.
'And the statues that surround him are of relatives and ancestors.'
This is King Arthur of England,
who wasn't actually related to Maximilian,
but Maximilian considered him a hero, a fellow knight.
You can tell Maximilian had quite the idea about himself.
Outside, another must-see is the Goldenes Dachl, or the Golden Roof,
which was built for Emperor Maximilian's wedding.
It's not actually made of gold. It's copper.
And it's not really a roof, more of an awning,
but pretty impressive nonetheless.
The Hungerburg Funicular starts from near the town centre
and takes you 300 metres up the mountain,
where you can get spectacular views of the city.
'If you have time you can get a cable car further up the mountain.
'But I want to visit a symbol of Innsbruck's more recent history.
'Bergisel ski jump played its part in the Winter Olympic Games
'of 1964 and 1976.
'The ski jump is still in daily use,
'and I'm lucky enough to see it in action.'
The speed of him. Wow!
'This fearless daredevil is Austrian ski jumper Markus Gruber.'
That is something.
That looks absolutely terrifying.
When you're coming off the ramp, what speed are you hitting?
I was, like, 90 to 95km per hour, and after the landing,
about 100km per hour.
You're landing at 100km per hour?
-Braver man than I.
Now you might find it hard to imagine
just what it's like doing a ski jump. Well...
..not any more.
Here you are, Markus, thank you.
'The centre of Innsbruck has had a makeover in recent years
'and many of the streets have become pedestrianised,
'so you can browse the street stalls for some genuine Austrian apparel.'
'But if you want to look like a local,
'then there is one item of clothing
'that every self-respecting Tirolean man
'has to have in their wardrobe.
Oh, off you go.
-You spoil me so.
How are you getting on, Joe?
JOE LAUGHS MANIACALLY
They last you for ever. You're not supposed to ever wash them.
I know that's maybe not a selling point.
But they're also...extremely comfy.
-OK. You've spent far too long in them already. Don't push it.
If you want to spend more than just a day in Innsbruck
then there's a good range of accommodation options.
We found aDLERS Hotel,
centrally located beside the town's main railway station.
It's a boutique-style hotel with modern, well-lit rooms,
and a rooftop terrace with magnificent views of the mountains.
A double room here costs 135 euro per night during the summer months.
Austria is home to Swarovski Crystal,
and the factory here in Wattens has taken the art of glass cutting
to a new level.
Here at Swarovski Crystal World,
the company has combined its technical knowledge
with some artistic creativity
to produce a magical visitor experience.
'The centrepiece of the park is a giant that forms the entrance to
'a series of underground rooms.
'And outside is a labyrinth in the shape of a hand,
'a fiendishly complicated maze, and it's very easy to get lost.'
Where am I?!
'But the highlight for me has to be the crystal cloud
'that floats over the mirror pool.
'More than 800,000 crystals have been used to create
'an enchanting fairytale canopy.
'And when the sun hits it,
'it comes alive with thousands of twinkling points of light.'
When I hear the word "crystal"
I immediately think of a vase you'd stick some flowers in
or maybe even some fancy glasses,
but this place is all about art, creativity and even entertainment.
So, Mairead, the Austrian tour. What did you think?
I have to say, I think it's the perfect family holiday
for those who don't want to lie by the pool all day.
My big highlight was kind of doing the mountain cart thing. I loved that. What about you?
I loved Innsbruck, I would go back to that place in a heartbeat.
-Loved that place.
-Yeah, it's great.
And you know what? With a view like this,
don't stay away from the mountains too long.
No, they're stunning.