The Hills Are Alive – Visiting Austria (Vienna, Halstatt and Salzburg)

Austria Children - Austria

A beautiful and sophisticated European vacation simply isn’t complete without the breathtaking vistas of Austria. If you’re one of those people who dreamed of living your own fantasy of the Sound of Music, the towns of Vienna, Salzburg and Halstatt are just right for you. Relive the magic, but this time, it will be reality.

Vienna

Vienna is bursting at the seams from the weight of its rich and varied cultural heritage. It is the home of the waltz, Habsburg palaces and an unsurpassable tradition of music. Here in Vienna you will find the old cobblestone streets you always associate with Old Europe, and as you walk down them you can practically hear Mozart and Liszt at work. In fact these streets today are lined with small orchestral ensembles playing the works of great masters as well as, occasionally, their own sublime compositions. Sharing the street stage with them are performers of various sorts, many of whom dress up in period costumes and stand still in one position, imitating statues. Many an unsuspecting tourist has been quite startled when they decide to move suddenly!

When visiting Vienna, plan to spend a moderately high amount of money. It is an expensive city with so much to offer that this money is a small price to pay for the privilege. You will come away enriched beyond your imaginings.

Salzburg

One of my favorite cities of all time, Salzburg is the home of Mozart as well as the famous Salzburg Music Festival featured in the Sound of Music. This placid, slow moving town is Vienna’s quiet cousin. Salzburg has just as much to offer, but its breathtaking beauty demands one to slow down and take it all in without the hustle and bustle typical of Vienna. A walk through the shopping district is an experience not to be missed even though it might leave your wallet a good deal lighter. Other experiences that one can only have in Salzburg are having a beer with monks, taking in an authentic Salzburg opera, or walking through the exquisite rose gardens. As sophisticated as Salzburg is despite its slower pace of life, do not expect it to be easier on your purse than Vienna. Many visitors find themselves spending even more here.

Halstatt

This little town in the Alps will beat your wildest imaginings of singing “The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music” like Maria. Located just an hour away from Salzburg, and easily reached by trains, Halstatt will take your breath away with its natural splendor and you may well find yourself quite unable to sing at all from being so thunderstruck. The train station is near a jewel-perfect lake, over which a picture-book ferry takes the eager visitor to Halstatt. No cars here to clog up the wholesome mountain air or mess with the romance that hangs as heavy as deep red wine around your every step. Meet the friendly people, say hello to the pure white swans that swim along the outdoor cafes edging the lake, and be thrilled when you discover the prices here are not *quite* as high as Salzburg or Vienna.

Anton Bell is a stay-at-home dad, whose really interested in gardening, biking and traveling. He is a part time tour-guide, and his main expertise is Western Europe. He also likes photography and art, and is browsing for a new photography website at least once a week.

Photo Credit – jasmine8559

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