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 previous 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 the friendly locals, taste the 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.

How to Protect Your Home While Traveling?

A door handle

So, you’re slowly packing your bags for your next big trip. If you plan to go somewhere sunny to escape a cold Christmas, you are probably focused on figuring out what you might need to do to protect yourself from the sun and the heat that awaits you. Or, you might be excited about your field trip to Florida with your kids. Whatever your destination may be, it is essential to consider the safety of your home and your possessions while you are away. That is why we will discuss how to protect your home while traveling so that you do not leave anything to chance.

Why you need to protect your home while traveling

You might feel like nothing could surprise you when you prepare thoroughly for the journey. And you are not alone. Interestingly, most people tend to worry about the safety of the belongings they bring with them on the trip. This is because people usually associate the very feeling of safety with being at home. As a result, their caution is usually focused on avoiding pickpockets and frauds in a foreign country or state. 

However, eagerness to finally sit on the plane or the bus taking you to your vacation may distort your judgment. Just take note of the fact that most break-ins and burglaries happen during the holiday season. And of course, we are not saying it is not important to determine what you should not travel without. But, it is equally important to think about safety precautions you ought to make to ensure your home and your belongings are safe and secure. In that sense, a few things can help you deter criminals while you are traveling. 

Create an illusion that someone is at home

Certainly, the last thing you would want to happen to you during your holiday is a burglary. All of the lovely memories you make on your trip could be outright tainted by such an awful experience. So, instead of becoming a crime statistic, you should do everything in your power to outsmart burglars

The first step toward fortifying your home is to make it seem like someone is there all the time. You can set up an automatic timer on radios, TVs, and even lights to give away a false impression you are at home. Just make sure you set the timer to turn off the lights during the day. It will be incredibly suspicious if your porch light is turned on in broad daylight. When it comes to curtains and blinds, the best strategy is to position them to look like everything is normal, but don’t allow the possibility for someone to examine what is inside. 

A house with turned on lights and a wet driveway
Turned on lights can create the illusion you are at home

Ask a friend, neighbor, or relative to check up on your home

If you have a backyard, you should tidy it up and mow it before leaving your home. This way, the grass will take longer to grow out and show that no one is actually there. Also, if you are traveling in your car, ask a friend or a neighbor to park theirs in your driveway. 

In addition, you can ask someone you trust to check the house from time to time and collect mail, packages, and newspapers. A single stray furniture catalog on your doorstep or a promotional flyer on your doorknob could be a sign that the property is vacant. If you are going away for more than a week, you should consider canceling your subscriptions for the time being. 

Lock all doors and windows

This might sound like unnecessary advice. But you would be surprised how many break-ins happen due to this kind of oversight. Be sure to double-check if all possible entrances are safely locked. The same goes for pet doors and mail slots. Burglars can make use of these kinds of openings to insert tools that can help them break into your house. Also, be sure to disconnect any doors that can be opened automatically. For example, you should turn off the electronic opener in your garage and place a padlock on the doors instead. 

A black US mail mailbox
A full mailbox can be an indicator that you are on vacation.

Remove all valuables from your home

If you have money, artwork, or jewelry that you cannot afford to lose, do not keep them inside your home. You should consider taking your valuables to a safe storage unit while you are traveling. This way, you will ensure the safety of the most important items as well as your peace of mind. Moreover, it is not only the promise of luxury items that might instigate a burglary. Even newer appliances might provoke someone to try to break into your home. So, if you have state-of-the-art technology such as TVs or sound systems, it might be a good idea to lock them up while you are away.

Be careful about your social media posts

During the holiday season, many homes are targeted by criminal organizations for weeks. So much so that they might even follow you on social media to see if you are traveling. In that sense, as much as it might be tempting to share photos and live videos of your holiday, it is better if you restrain yourself. 

Two people hugging each other while posting on social media
It is safer if you and your family members post vacation photos after the vacation ends.

Of course, we are not saying you must not indulge in sharing your experiences with your followers. But it is wiser if you postpone posting on your social media until you return from your vacation. You can also lock your profiles or switch to ‘Private’ for the time being if you cannot resist the urge to post. Also, if you decide to share a photo, make sure you remove the geotags. Just think about it. Abstinence from posting on social media is another way to protect your home while traveling. And – it is free and effortless. So, if you observe it from that perspective, you might be able to acknowledge how important it is. 

Reasons to visit New York over the holidays

Christmas in New York

‘New York’, you shout in disbelief. ‘I can go to New York any other time!’ Yes, that is true. New York City is not a mysterious, exclusive, or exotic place. However, let us tell you something – New York rarely looks better than it does now, during the holiday season. The Rockefeller Center glimmers and glitters, departments stores decorate their windows with ornaments worth traveling for, the streets are full of holiday lights, sights, sounds, etc. And, if you are lucky, it may even snow – and snow is something that makes Central Park mesmerizing and almost magical. But, if you are not persuaded yet, that is, if you are still looking for reasons to visit New York over the holidays, keep on reading. We prepared a list of reasons that will bring you to the Big Apple in the next couple of weeks.

The Big Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

Okay, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, a Norway spruce, is an all-American staple. This tree is what you have been seeing on New York City postcards for the last couple of decades. Every year, right before the holiday season starts, this tree (standing just a little over 70-ft high) is brought into the plaza and decorated with the most beautiful lights and ornaments. Moreover, the tree is positioned right next to the enormous ice rink where you can skate, drink hot chocolate or mulled wine, and enjoy the most beautiful Christmas sights. You can pretend to be in one of those classic American movies. So, do not question whether now is the best time to visit New York – it is! Christmas vibes will make you fall in love with the city as soon as you step your foot on its streets.

The ice-skating rink in New York
One reason to visit New York over the holidays is that it will bring out your inner child

Christmas Displays in Manhattan

People usually associate Manhattan with either hard work or with excessive luxury. Yes, you can find both here. But, that is not all you can see, so do not avoid checking out this New York City’s borough, especially now, during the holiday season. In Manhattan, you will find decorated department stores that do not resemble anything you have seen before. Bloomingdale’s, Barneys, Macy’s, Saks, etc., all look like separate cities. It is as though they compete every year to see who is going to be more Christmas-looking. And, the smaller stores, both those high-end and more affordable ones, do not disappoint either. You will want to walk inside just to see the decorations. Do that! That is why those decorations are there. We strongly advise you to check out some of the toy stores in Manhattan, too – that is where you will awaken your inner child.

NYC Entertainment

Most people who come to New York come to hustle. They come to see whether this city will make or break them. But, during the holiday season, from Halloween in October till Chinese New Year in February, people come for entertainment. It does not matter what kind of entertainment you are looking for, you will find it here. Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events, etc., are just some of the things you can do here.

What is more, you will not have to spend much. It will take you just a couple of bucks to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, to drink hot chocolate in the State Park, or to go stargazing on the High Line. Of course, if your pockets are deeper, there are plenty of options for that too!

Thus, do not worry about not being entertained in New York during the holiday season – that is simply not possible. It is not possible in any season here, to be honest. After all, New York did get the nickname “The city that never sleeps” for a reason. Trust us; once you come here, you will want to move here. Some people do – and that is why we have soo many people from different backgrounds here. If you want to move too, do it. You do not need much – just a room and a storage unit for your stuff. Consider temporary solutions for your items as you will be on the go all the time and try to soak up everything this city has to offer. 

Decorations, representing reasons to visit New York over the holidays.
There is not a city in the world that can treat you as well as New York.

Seasonal Food is a Reason to Visit New York Over the Holidays

When we say that New York is home to some of the most exceptional 5-star restaurants in the world, we mean it. You can find some of the best chefs and some of their best creations right here in the center of New York. But, be warned, some of these restaurants will cost you an arm and a leg. However, do not think that you have to break your budget to eat here. You can find some of the best food on the streets of New York! From Italian and French to Indian and Moroccan – delicacies will be all around you. And, all those delicacies will come with their own holiday spirit. You will see donuts with Christmas lights made of chocolate or even hotdogs wrapped in Christmas paper. But, let us give you a tip that will ensure safe travel – always eat where the crowd eats. There is a reason why empty stalls are empty!

A hotdog.
When in New York – eat where locals eat.

Amazing Lighting Displays all over New York

It is during the holiday season when New York starts to resemble a fairy tale. Those people who grew up watching Home Alone and other Christmas classics know what we are talking about. In December and January, every corner of New York will be decorated with lights – stores, trees, bushes, etc. People’s (local’s) houses will also be in full-Christmas spirit. Santa clauses, raindeers, and giant Christmas trees can be seen in almost all front yards. Just walking through the streets, main and those a bit off the beaten track, will give you the impression like you are in some kind of Santa’s village. New York City does this with every holiday! For instance, October is great for those Halloween Lovers, while November is one of the best months to visit New York if you enjoy Thanksgiving and all the parades. 

See, there are many reasons to visit New York over the holidays. It will undoubtedly give you a one-of-a-kind experience.