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Kindred spirits make traveling so much fun, hiking spirits are another kind of traveler altogether. I have a few of these adventurous friends who like to hike and love to explore. Hiking in Austria in cold, wet and rainy conditions, well, those are some GREAT friends. Here is our weekend in Austria hiking an all new Alpine region and finding out another glorious mountain to love. Thankfully, both these traveling gals said a resounding “YES!” Let’s do it, let’s get muddy.
As it turned out it was a German holiday weekend. Unification weekend! Last-minute plans, oops! Unification weekend is a HUGE weekend of celebration and that means lots of train travel, staus (autobahn traffic) and very few places open with rooms. Especially short notice. Thankfully, we were able to head to Austria only a few hours away to try a different Alpine region to explore and hike.
How to get there
Travel by Train ~ if you are heading to Austria by train it is quite simple. If you are traveling within Europe there are Eurail passes you may purchase from America state-side prices.
If you are a temporary resident of Germany or other EU country buying a Eurail pass from America to use while traveling in Europe is a no-no. You’ll want to read the fine print here before you purchase a cross country Eurail pass.
You should realize too that taking the train will be a combination of a train ride and a bus as these locations are high in the hills.
We decided to drive as it was a 3.5-hour drive one way. Not bad for a weekend getaway.
Getting here from the states, the easiest airports are Zurich, Switzerland at about 2 hours drive and Münich around 3 hours. Both easy to fly into, however, right now Zurich flights into Europe are a bit cheaper.
Stops along the way
We also thought since we were taking a more scenic route to “stop and smell the roses” or at least find out if there was a fun park on our way. We found the Alpsee Bergwelt. This outdoor recreation center is said to have the highest Alpine Slide in Germany and the longest in Europe at almost 2.5 kilometers long. That’s a FUN RIDE!
We didn’t let the rain stop us and we had a blast! Just remember “bremsen!” means to brake in German.
Stop to get a bite to eat ~ we enjoyed some soup and cocoa before getting back on the road. On a sunny day, you might decide to stay a bit longer. The beer garden and Gasthaus at the top of the hill looked inviting despite the weather. This area also appeared to be a great FAMILY destination. It might be somewhere that fits an active family with water sports, fun parks and lots of accommodations nearby.
Not on this weekend trip but you might be tempted to add the Bodensee or Lake Constanz to a weekend or week getaway. This large body of water happens to be one of the most beautiful in all of Germany surrounded by picturesque towns that have drawn tourists for centuries.
Next, we made our way to the Austrian Alps of Faschina
Without a doubt, finding last-minute affordable accommodations is one of the biggest challenges. This is why I recommend not waiting until the last minute. However, let’s face it if I can fit in an extra weekend for fun without breaking the bank it is worth the time to see what is available. Luckily, we found the Alpenpanorama Konzett Faschina and Susanne!
Susanne made our stay absolutely perfect. As a host, she was responsive to my texts and messages and we ended up coming in a little later (from all our playing) which turned out to not be a problem. She also recommended where to buy groceries, hiking trails, and activities around the aparthotel.
Spa bathing in Germany (for the most part.) Just a little helpful information. It is culturally accepted here and considered not a big deal. Here’s more info on spas around Germany and what you can expect.
Faschina and Fontanella are right in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve. The hiking trails throughout this area are well marked, indicate the difficulty and distance. I would have loved to hike for days as all the trails seemed to lead to waterfalls, lakes on top of the mountains and trees of every color.
The trails we chose were from the hotel and easy to walk to the trailhead. Thanks to Susanne we found one trail that led to a ski-lift and had two stops one in the middle of the mountain and the other to the top. Since the rain just would not let up we decided to only hike to the “mitte” middle.
This led us to Franz Josef hütte that was warm and friendly and was filled to the seams. The oompa music and smells were unbelievable. After a potty break and unable to find a seat in this packed Gasthaus on the mountain we continued with our hike.
If you are a skier this place would be a tiny bit of heaven. Lots of trails and it appears for all levels. Cross-country skiing and other winter sports, ski lessons and super family-friendly. Here is a bit more information ~ Skiing in Walsertal.
Still more to see!
We only had the weekend and all three of us said we would have liked to stay a few more days. Without a doubt, this fun, breathtaking natural beauty is a keeper and there is still so much to investigate and share!
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!
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