The song “Silent Night” invites people on a wintry journey through Austria’s gorgeous Alpine regions. Explore the various Silent Night locations in Upper Austria, SalzburgerLand and Tyrol, and get a sense of the soothing Christmas song’s history, its creators and its important message. Additionally, countless museums, special exhibitions, churches and theme trails encourage you to engage with the local culture, which deeply moves people from all over the world and from all walks of life. But next to the local history, it is especially the personal stories that make such a journey so interesting and rewarding.
Discover something new in the land of “Silent Night”
Those who embark on such a journey will return home with countless impressions and memories. The song “Silent Night” also invites one to explore the beautiful natural landscape and to visit the many places where history was made. The Silent Night provinces of Upper Austria, SalzburgerLand and Tyrol can look back on a long, shared history and many traditions that are in common. And yet, there are many regional differences when it comes to language, customs and the past. As well as when it comes to the regional cuisines! We’ve planned this travel itinerary with many culinary spots along the way.
Travel at your own pace
The journey, during which you visit five Silent Night locations in three different provinces within three days, doesn’t need to take place in a rush: It covers around 200 to 250 kilometres by car, with many stopovers and culinary hotspots along the way. We’ve tested the routes and tours ourselves, but they are, of course, not set in stone: Combine or complement your own personal journey as you wish. All the important information for your travels are here. (Link)
Day 1 — Upper Austria
Hochburg-Ach in the Innviertel region
The composer of the song, Franz Xaver Gruber, was born in the small municipality of Hochburg-Ach in 1787. Here, a visit to Gruber Memorial House (“Grubahäusl”) is recommended. Guided tours through the lovingly furnished museum are available upon prior registration. From here, you can take the wonderful Franz Xaver Gruber Peace Path through the beautiful landscape of the Innviertel region. The walk past the flowery patches and sculptures by the artist Hubert Flörl takes around an hour. The artworks invite visitors to read, think and contemplate. The Gothic parish church with the Franz Xaver Gruber Memorial Organ is, without a doubt, also worth a visit.
Distance between Hochburg-Ach and Oberndorf near Salzburg: approx. 30 km
On this route, we recommend the Gut Wildshut brewery in St. Pantaleon — owned by the private Stiegl brewery in Salzburg: On offer are beer specialities made from organic ancient grains as well as various homemade delicacies.
Day 2 – SalzburgerLand
Oberndorf and the city of Salzburg
Oberndorf is where “Silent Night” was sung for the very first time before it conquered the rest of the world. In the Silent Night District, the Silent Night Chapel and the newly erected Silent Night Museum in the old vicarage tell the story of the creation of the Christmas song and its backstory. Afterwards, you might want to opt for a walk to the nearby-located Salzachdamm, the Europa Bridge and to Laufen in Bavaria. Here, the stories, told in exciting ways in the museums, become so much more life-like: The Salzach river degenerated from a crucial lifeline to a mere border river. The separation from the affluent mariner city of Laufen cost the inhabitants of Oberndorf both their homes as well as their livelihoods. On the same day, the journey continues to the city of Salzburg: Here you can choose between a guided city tour to the various Silent Night spots or a visit of the special exhibition (29 September 2018 – 3 February 2019) at the Salzburg Museum. Beginning on 24 November, a new play will debut at the Felsenreitschule theatre on the anniversary of “Silent Night”. Tickets can be ordered via the Salzburg State Theatre.
Distance between Oberndorf near Salzburg – City of Salzburg: approx. 20 km
The beautifully located guest house by the name of Schlössl in Nussdorf is certainly worth a quick detour. Right next to the little Baroque St. Pankraz Church, you will be served homemade, seasonal dishes in rustic parlours. Incidentally, the establishment already received its license to serve alcohol in 1876.
Day 3 – Tyrol
Fügen and Laimach-Hippach
Fügen is the hometown of the Rainer family of singers who founded the well-known Tyrolean national singing movement. In 1820, the Rainer siblings embarked on great journeys abroad and conducted many concert tours through Germany and Europe, popularising the folk songs from home. The concept of the Tyrolean national singers resulted from difficulty and hardship: During the winter months, farmer families from the Zillertal valley made an additional income as goods traders and then even as singers. In the second generation of the Rainer singers, it was especially Ludwig Rainer who contributed to the dissemination of “Silent Night”. Starting in 1839, he began touring the USA with three additional singers. The list of songs also included the now famous Christmas song. In Fügen, the Museum of Local History covers the dissemination of “Silent Night”. Another family of singers originated from the Silent Night location of Laimach-Hippach: the Strasser Siblings. Today, their birth house — the landmarked Strasser-Häusl — contains another museum.
Distance between the City of Salzburg and Fügen: approx. 158 km (via highway/Kleines Deutsches Eck), approx. 203 km (via Zell am See/Gerlospass)
Distance between Fügen and Laimach-Hippach: approx. 18 km
Half-way between Fügen and Laimach-Hippach, in Stumm, you will find the “Linde” country inn run by the Ebster family. The “Linde” has been around since 1506, the list of famous guests includes Andreas Hofer and Otto von Habsburg. Today, it welcomes visitors to enjoy award-winning local and gourmet cuisine.