Where can you go skiing on top of a glacier in the morning and then swimming in the lake that lies beneath it in the afternoon?
The answer is in a region famed not only for being the birthplace of Mozart, but also the setting for The Sound of Music.
Salzburgerland, the Austrian region that comprises the city of Salzburg and surrounding areas, is made up of five multi-resort areas and a handful of charming villages. Most are within one to two hours’ drive or a train ride from Salzburg city.
I caught up with the Salzburg State Board of Tourism recently to join them in raising a glass to everything this province has to offer travellers. In the past year, it has seen 980,000 overnight stays from UK visitors, with two-thirds visiting in winter.
This winter will see a number of new developments signalling good news for skiers.
This includes the opening of ski lifts Kitzsteinhorn 3K K-onnection on 30 November and the zellamseeXpress on 7 December.
Together these will create a network of 408 kilometres of pistes and 121 cable cars spanning three premium Austrian ski areas: Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Zell am Seen and Kaprun/Kitzsteinhorn.
However, the healthy lifestyle doesn’t stop with outdoor sports.
The region is focused on gourmet cuisine, with 60% of its food classed as organic. Sustainability is also high on the agenda.
“We have several wonderful independent five-star hotels which source all their food within 30km
of the property to reduce their carbon footprint,” explained Yvonne Rosenstatter, director of marketing and market management at the Salzburg State Board of Tourism.
Rosenstatter was also keen to highlight the destination’s appeal outside of winter. “The shoulder seasons have plenty to offer, with the temperature mild enough to allow swimming in the lakes until September.”
As a year-round destination, what are the bucket-list items for each season?
“In summer, I recommend stand-up paddle-boarding on Lake Fuschl. No motorboats are allowed, so the water is really calm and beautiful,” said Rosenstatter. “In winter, go horse-sledding from Oberalm down into the village of Filzmoos – it’s an incredible experience.”
Flights: A wide range of carriers including British Airways, Ryanair and Jet2 fly from all over the UK directly to Salzburg.
Climate: June, July, August and September experience the best weather, with average temperatures between 20°C and 25°C.