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In Vienna, the coffee house isn’t just a hangout: it’s an institution. Lingering over a newspaper with a pastry and a strong espresso drink is, according to UNESCO, officially a Viennese cultural pastime. Walk off your slice of Sachertorte with a self-guided tour of the city’s stunning traditional, Secessionist, and modern architecture, such as the Imperial Palace, the State Opera House, the Kirche am Steinhof, or the Kunsthistorisches Museum, an exercise in ornate geometry.
It’s been 200 years or so since he lived here, but Mozart is still very much Salzburg’s favorite son. Visit the composer’s residence and birthplace, then explore the Altstadt (Old City), taking in the baroque architecture. If your musical tastes run more "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens" than "Requiem in D Minor," catch one of the many Sound of Music tours and follow in the footsteps of the Von Trapps.
One of the Tirol area's most popular ski resorts, St. Anton offers some of the best expert skiing and one of the liveliest après-ski scenes in the Arlberg region. The Valluga, Kapall, and Schindler peaks offer almost a mile of vertical skiing. For the seasoned, Schindlerkar and Mattun are less groomed routes.
Once a mining town, the resort area of Schladming is a playground for expert skiers and snowboarders. Four interlinked mountains feature world-class runs and exquisite off-piste opportunities. When the sun goes down, the slopes heat up with night skiers looking to keep their adrenaline pumping after hours. Accommodations range from quirky cabins to rustic lodges to supersized resorts, all heavy on the Austrian charm.
In Saalbach-Hinterglemm, the hills are alive with the sound of happy travelers. Nestled in the Austrian Alps, it’s a skier’s dream, featuring a network of pistes and perfect powder. There’s plenty to do in the summer months, like hiking, mountain biking, geocaching or exploring the mountain forest from above, via a “treetop path” that’s a series of bridges, platforms and towers.
If you live, eat and breathe skiing, Obertauern is your paradise—its own little mountaintop microcosm where you can literally walk (er, ski) out the door of your charming lodge or B&B and directly enter the slopes. Feeling ambitious? Complete a “Tauern Circuit” of the ski lifts and slopes that encircle the village. The restaurants and lodges offer merry après ski rejuvenation.
In wintertime, lovely Seefeld in Tirol channels the fairytale magic of a Christmas village. Located on a plateau amid mountains and valleys, it’s an ideal place for snow sports, particularly cross-country skiing. In fact, several Olympic and World Championship competitions have been held here. Off-season, the crisp mountain air and epic views make for excellent alpine hiking. When you’re ready for refreshment, you can’t go wrong with schnitzel and a local beer at one of the area’s charming restaurants.
The picturesque lakeside town of Zell am See offers about 80 miles of local slopes, with beginner, intermediate and advanced runs all well represented. One hundred and twenty-five miles of cross-country trails offer gorgeous panoramic views. The neighboring town of Kaprun is famed for its glacier skiing.