Charming Villages in Austria for a Cozy Winter Vacation

A charming village in Austria.

Austria is known for its idyllic landscapes, beautiful architecture, and enchanting Christmas markets. In addition, this beautiful country is also a haven for those who like to practice winter sports in Europe. Massive snowfalls, however, transform practically all Austrian villages into fairytale settings right out of the movie Frozen from November to March. Unfortunately, most tourists visit only popular cities like Vienna, Salzburg, or Innsbruck. For this reason, we have prepared an article about those charming villages in Austria where you can go for a cozy winter vacation whether you want to practice winter sports or not. By visiting these villages, you will discover the authentic Austrian spirit and realize just how beautiful this country truly is. So let us proceed in our journey to discover the charming villages that you have to visit when in Austria.

Hallstatt

This tiny village, found on the shores of the lake with the same name, is one of the most beautiful villages in Austria. The Salzkammergut mountains surround Hallstatt and give it a picturesque view that you would never believe to be true. Moreover, this village is so unique and valuable that it became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Over 2000 prehistoric graves were found near Hallstatt village, suggesting that this area might be the cradle of Austrian civilization. In addition, the many 16th century buildings around the local market square will make you take an architectural trip back in time. However, besides admiring the beautiful surroundings, you can also have some fun. For instance, you can go hiking, cycling, or cruising on the lake. And, you can have a taste of the famous Austrian pastry, Schaumrollen.

Picture of the village of Hallstatt.
Hallstatt is one of the most charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation.

St. Gilgen

If you want to visit one of the most charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation, you should visit St. Gilgen. This village, located 20 minutes from Salzburg, is bordered by Wolfgangsee Lake and the Zwölferhorn mountain. And, even if this village is small, there are lots of attractions to be seen here. For example, “The Sound of Music” was filmed here, so you can visit some places that appear in the film. In addition, you can take a cable cart ride to the top of the Zwölferhorn mountain or visit the Mozart house. The Mozart house is not, as one might imagine, where Mozart resided, but rather where his mother was born. Nonetheless, the Mozart house is worth a visit, as is a Wolfgangsee Lake cruise or experiencing the local food. The famous Austrian spaetzle noodles are a must when you come to St. Gilgen.

Mayrhofen

Mayrhofen is another pretty village that is close to a big city. It is located in the Zillertal Valley, just around one hour away from Innsbruck by car or train. The village becomes a ski resort during the winter, but the good part is that it is not very popular among tourists. So, if you like to practice skiing, you can do so here and avoid the crowds. In addition, you can take the cable car to the top of the mountain Ahornbahn and see the Ahorn Lake that sits at 2000m. Also, you can swim in an outdoor swimming pool or take a steam train ride to nearby Zell am Ziller, where you can slide down the alpine toboggan Arena Coaster. Or, you can explore the valley further and visit Hintertux Glacier. There, you can explore an incredible ice cave known as the Ice Palace, or you can ski some more at the local resort where skiing is possible all year round.

Sunset over a mountain in Austria.
The mountain villages in Austria offer breathtaking views.

Durnstein

This village of Lower Austria is said to be the jewel of the Wachau Valley. Durnstein is a historical village alongside the Danube river that will enchant you with its beautiful architecture. For example, the Blue Baroque tower of Durnstein Abbey. This abbey is a former Augustine monastery from the 15th-century, restored in the 18th-century in the Baroque style. In addition, you can also visit the ruins of a 10th-century castle where Richard Lionheart was imprisoned. And, if you decide to visit this beautiful Austrian village, you don’t need to pack a lot of items with you. In the narrow, cobblestoned streets, there are many modern stores where you can get anything you need. As a result, it is best to keep your valuables at home and ensure their safety by renting a storage space for them. It will help you travel lighter and more comfortably

St. Wolfgang

St. Wolfgang is another of the charming villages in Austria that you can visit for a cozy winter vacation. You can find this typical Austrian village on the banks of lake Wolfganesse, surrounded by breathtaking mountains. It has beautiful streets, flower-decorated buildings, and a magnificent 14th-century church that adds to the picturesque setting. This church is famous for being the site of a former church built in 976 by Saint Wolfgang, Bishop of Regensburg. Also, the church serves as a destination for a pilgrimage that takes place every year from St. Wolfgang’s grave. Besides viewing historic buildings in the village, you can go on a train ride. The Schafbergbahn train will take you up the mountain for more than 1700 meters, from where you can admire the beautiful view of the village. Or, you can take a boat ride along the Wolfgangsee and admire the village from the lake.

Church tower and lake in St. Wolfgang, Austria.
The charming villages in Austria are just as beautiful in summer as they are during winter.

Final words

Austria is more than simply the birthplace of the Viennese waltz and the home of the famed Habsburg emperors. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world that becomes more and more beautiful when you take the time to explore it. And, the best way to get to the true heart and soul of Austria is to visit its little villages. There, you can meet friendly locals, taste delicious Austrian cuisine, and learn about the country’s history. Austria is an ideal winter holiday destination, whether you want to explore it on your own or have a memorable family trip. So make sure to visit the charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation.

Best European Destinations for Singles

person traveling single to a European destination.

Europe is an excellent destination for a solo traveler. You can meet friendly people, enjoy some great meals and learn a lot about art and history. Also, Europe is relatively safe for travelers and, because of the European Union, many countries have the euro as a common currency. But, if you don’t know where to start your journey, we made a list of the best European destinations for singles. Pack your bags and prepare for a great adventure. You will be booking a flight to one of these destinations in no time.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and one of the Europes’ top financial centers. This beautiful city is a great destination for a single traveler, and especially for solo female travelers. It is regarded as a safe city with a laid-back attitude that will make you feel at home. You can rent a bike and ride around the city’s famed canal networks, or you can visit one of the city’s many museums. You will discover artworks by famous painters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh. Also, Amsterdam’s numerous cafes can keep you busy for hours. Rest assured that one day is not enough to discover all of Amsterdam’s beauties. Therefore, make sure you have at least a week to spend in this beautiful European capital.

Madrid, Spain

An inside of a building
If you want to see something spectacular in Madrid, visit the Cristal Palace.

Another one of the best European cities for singles is the capital of Spain, Madrid. It is also a secure city with an outstanding metro system that allows easy exploration. Best of all, you can do it on a budget. Furthermore, it is an excellent destination for singles that are looking for great nightlife. You can book a guided tour at night and explore the city alone by day. You will find amazing secret gardens, tons of museums, and exceptional restaurants. Mediterranean cuisine is at its finest in Madrid, and you can even learn how to make paella by taking cooking classes.

Munich, Germany

This amazing Bavarian city has a friendly small-town feel to it that will make you fall in love with it immediately. If you plan a trip during autumn, make sure to visit the famous Oktoberfest. You will have the chance to taste many different types of beer and eat the famous German wurst. If you don’t like beer, don’t worry, Munchen has a lot more to offer. You can choose to visit one of its 42 museums or join the locals in riding a bicycle through the beautiful parks. Also, if you decide to travel during summer, make sure to pack your swimsuit. You can go for a swim in the Isar river and have a picnic on the riverside.

Belgrade, Serbia

View of a bridge in one of the best European destinations for singles.
Belgrade offers impressive views during the night.

Belgrade is another capital that is one of the best European destinations for singles. The White City has a special charm to it that will keep drawing you back time and again. Also, this Slavic city has become notorious among tourists because of its incredible nightlife. It’s not only great to visit at night, but it also has amazing places to see during the day. For example, the Kalamegdan fortress is the jewel of the city that you can’t miss if you travel to Belgrade. Although this capital has had its undisputed rough moments, it somehow managed to rebuild itself every time. Even if it’s not your ordinary beautiful city to visit, the fantastic cuisine, the welcoming locals, and their famous rakija will make your journey there more than worth it.

Florence, Italy

Florence is one of Europe’s most beautiful towns, and it is ideal for solo visitors. In fact, it is better to visit Florence alone, so that you don’t need to compromise. While you are here, you can take the chance to see the famous Galeria Degli Ufizzi, where you can admire the artwork of Raphael, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. Also, the Duomo cathedral is one of the most iconic sights, visited by thousands of tourists each month. If you prefer to take a walk around the city, you won’t be disappointed. There are a lot of cafes and gelato shops to explore. Moreover, Florence is a great city to find original souvenirs that you can take back home.

Paris, France

Even if it is considered the capital of love, Paris is also an excellent destination for single travelers. Even more, if you don’t like to share your croissants. Besides the fact that multiculturality is the word that can describe Paris the best, here is where the word cuisine is at home. You must visit local restaurants and sample famous French cheeses as well as excellent wines. After that, you can see the Eiffel Tower and do some shopping on Champs Elise. Also, make sure to visit the Louvre museum to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa painting. You can rest assured that you won’t be bored while visiting Paris by yourself.

Budapest, Hungary

If you’re searching for a beautiful European destination for singles on a budget, look no further. Budapest is the best place to find stunning architecture, a rich history, and superb cuisine without breaking the bank. Here you can taste a great drink and learn about history while being in the same place. The ruin bars in Budapest are world-famous for being built from the ruins of buildings left after World War II. Also, you can relax in a Turkish bath from the 16th century or take a cruise on the Danube river. Wherever you turn, there is something to see or do in Budapest. No wonder it has become a must-visit city on any European itinerary.

A statue in Budapest, one of the best European destinations for singles.
In Budapest, you will see outstanding architecture all around.

Traveling alone through Europe

All of the cities we have mentioned are great destinations for a single traveler. They are safe, full of life, and inhabited by friendly people. Best of all, in all these cities, there are large communities of foreigners who can help you get around easily. Who knows, you may decide to move to one of these cities, and you will need help to become familiar with a new country. So, it’s nice to know that there are people in Europe ready to welcome you and help you settle quickly.

Prepare for a great adventure.

If you choose to visit any of our suggestions for the best European destinations for singles, rest assured that you will have a great adventure. Pack all the things you never travel without and book a flight as soon as possible. You might like it so much that you will want to visit all the cities we suggested. Bon voyage!

Exploring London’s Underground Secrets

London1


Over the past century and a half, London’s Underground has seen two world wars, millions of passengers, and more secrets than we could begin to count. The “Tube” is used by Londoners and visitors to the beautiful city every hour of every day, but most are unaware of the history they’re traveling through.

Once you learn of the 150-years’ worth of secrets and history housed below England’s capital, you’ll earn a completely new appreciation for this feat of engineering and human-kind.

Underground History

In the early 1800s, London was booming. The influx of people bustling about quickly made it apparent that a better method of mass transportation was needed, and fast. The Metropolitan Railway took on the immense challenge of constructing the first underground line below the city. After months of construction, the 3 and three quarter mile railway carried 38,000 passengers safely to their destination on the inaugural ride on January 10, 1863.

soldiers parading on the streets of London

For the following five decades, London’s Underground saw changing ownership, builders, and thousands of passengers. However, once World War I began London saw its first air raid, and the tube was transformed into much more than a transportation system. The safe-haven continued on into the World War II.
Image Source: BiblioArchives

abandoned bomb shelter

Initially, British government officials tried to prevent the tube stations and lines use as bomb shelters. But, after their attempts to keep people from taking shelter there were decisively ignored, they decided to regulate the shelters instead. Trains continued to run on certain lines, bringing supplies, food, and other Londoner’s seeking shelter. A number of unused stations were converted into factories for wartime productions.
Image Source: secretlondon123

While the Tube was considered by many to be the safest haven, no place in London was completely protected from German Blitzes. Hundreds of Londoner’s lost their lives when the tube was hit by German bombs in 1940 through 1943.
Even in the times of crisis and tragedy, the Underground has remained as a point of togetherness for the people of London. It’s an unmistakable symbol of the ingenuity and strength of Britain as a whole.

Traveling the Underground Today

The Underground lines cover nine zones and stop at more than 200 stations. Even though there are nine zones, tourists typically stay in Zones 1 and 2 because they cover Central London where many of the major tourist attractions and hotels are located.

These days, 11 Tube lines transport locals and tourists throughout Britain’s capital:

  • Bakerloo Line
  • Central Line
  • Circle Line
  • District Line
  • Hammersmith & City Line
  • Jubilee Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Northern Line
  • Piccadilly Line
  • Victoria Line
  • Waterloo & City Line

Generally, the Underground runs are between 5:00 a.m. — 12:00 A.M., Monday through Saturday. Sunday times are reduced by a few hours with later starting times and earlier stopping times.

Secrets Along The Stops

We alluded to the importance of the Underground during the World Wars, and proof of that is beneath 8 of the 11 Tube lines. For under these lines sit deep-level air-raid shelters. The construction of the shelters took place between 1940 and 1942. Originally reserved for government officials, 5 of the 8 shelters opened up to civilians as bombing intensified.

abandoned tube station in London

Image Source: secretlondon123

The shelters that were constructed include:

  • Chancery Lane
  • Belsize Park
  • Camden Town
  • Goodge Street
  • Stockwell
  • Clapham North
  • Clapham Common
  • Clapham South

After the war ended, several of the shelters were still used by London’s military. The Goodge Street shelter was used by the army until the 1950s. The Chancery Lane shelter was used for the Kingsway Telephone Exchange during the Cold War years.

Recreated World War 2 communications room

Image Source: Shiny Things

In addition to the secrets you’ll uncover while traveling the Underground, you’ll also see all of the most iconic sights of the region.

Circle Line – Tower Hill Station

Tower Bridge – Built 120 years ago, the Tower Bridge is an engineering marvel and arguably one of the most recognizable attractions in the world. If you’re feeling brave, trek out onto the high bridges suspended between the bridges towers.

Tower Bridge in London

Image Source: spacedust2019

District Line – St James’s Station

St. James’s Park – Millions of visitors flock to the beautiful St. James’s Park every year. It’s the oldest of London’s eight Royal Parks, and it includes The Mall and the Horse Guards Parade.

View of St. James Park, London

Image Source: foshie

Jubilee Line – Westminster Station

Big Ben – Is there a more iconic London sight than Big Ben? Lucky for visitors, this sight is right along the Jubilee Line outside of Westminster Station. Whether you’re a history buff or just want to check it off of your bucket list, you need to stop by Big Ben.

Night view of Big Ben and Parliament Buildings

Image Source: Nan Palmero

Northern Line – Waterloo Station

London Eye – The London Eye is a larger-than-life Ferris wheel on the River Thames in London. From here, you will be treated to the most spectacular views of the city and a ride you won’t forget.

The London Eye at night

Image Source: Altug Karakoc

Piccadilly Line – Covent Garden or Leicester Square Station

Covent Garden – The district of Covent Garden in London is a hub for local shops, delicious food, and incredible street performers. Once you hop out of the Covent Garden station, you’ll have a tough time fitting everything you want to explore into just one day.

Covent Garden

Image Source: Aurelien Guichard

Parts of the Tube’s storied history are somber, but the incredible spirit of London persists and prevails. For once you wander the stations and secret passageways hidden beneath the surface, you’ll never think of London the same way again.