In the Silent Night provinces of Upper Austria, Tirol and SalzburgerLand, you can explore the history of the famed Christmas song all year around. But the journey is at its most authentic and romantic during winter time: That’s when the mountains are covered in white snow and the cold conjures gorgeous frost patterns onto the windows of the old houses harbouring the many Silent Night museums. And suddenly, it becomes quite easy to imagine Joseph Mohr rushing to the church in his long, black robe. Or how fine puffs of condensed breath formed right in front of people’s red, cold noses while singing “Silent Night” for the first time.
During winter, an exploration of the traces of the world’s most famous Christmas song can be combined with many other activities: Like, for example, with dashing descents via sled, amazing winter sports facilities, hitting the slopes or with a few hours spent relaxing in the region’s hot thermal baths. The offer in and around the Silent Night locations is massive and there is something for everyone.
The Achsensee region is considered among the best areas for cross-country skiing in Tirol, with a 200-kilometre-long network of trails.
- Classic cross-country trails and various other tracks link Maurach with Pertisau, Achenkirch and the snowy valleys of the Karwendel mountain region. Here, both novices and ambitious cross-country skiers alike will get their money’s worth.
- In total, there are four skiing areas in the Achsensee region with around 30 gondolas and lifts, ensuring relaxed fun on the slopes for the whole family.
- Those with a more easy-going disposition have 150 kilometres of cleared winter hiking trails at their disposal. Or why not join a trained guide for a romantic snowshoe hike?
- The Achensee region is part the quality-verified “Family Tirol Villages”.
3,400 kilometres of perfectly groomed slopes make the Zillertal valley an internationally recognised Eldorado for winter sports enthusiasts. Those who really want to have a ball better head straight for the Silent Night locations of Fügen and Hippach (Mayrhofen): Whether on or off the slopes, in the gorgeous ski huts or at the cool Après-Ski parties in the evening.
- In Mayrhofen, Actionberg Penken, with the Finkenberg, Rastkogel and Eggalm ski areas, is counted among the biggest and most versatile ski resorts in Austria. Particularly popular is the Harakiri Slope with an incline of 78% — Austria’s steepest slope experience. Snowboarders and freeskiers can check out the Penken Park, which has eight different areas and offers something for every skill level. The Genießerberg Ahorn ski area is ideally suitable for novices, beginners and families.
- In Fügen, the Spieljoch family ski resort is considered among the best “smaller” ski areas with up to 20 kilometres of slopes. The neighbouring Hochfügen-Hochzillertal ski area, on the other hand, has 89 kilometres of slopes. A visit to the Zillertal Erlebnistherme spa perfectly rounds off any day spent out in the snow.
- The Hintertuxer Glacier in the Zillertal valley is one of five glacier-based ski areas in Tirol. It’s Austria’s only all-year ski resort.
- The Zillertal valley also has something in store for those looking for a more mellow way to enjoy the winter: Whether sledding, snowshoe hiking or a romantic ride via horse carriage.
Steyr in Upper Austria is the gate to the incredibly beautiful Kalkalpen National Park, surrounded by the valleys of the Enns and Steyr rivers.
- The National Park gives nature aficionados the opportunity to explore the wintry wilderness of the forest. This includes the rutting season of the chamois during November when the fascinating creatures put their cocky dances on display.
- Unforgettable encounters with wild animals are also guaranteed by a hike to the red deer feeding station.
- A snowshoe hike in the snowy National Park makes for an especially exciting experience for the entire family: For even when nature appears to be deeply asleep, it must not necessarily be so. Even a small set of animal tracks in the snow is guaranteed to get everyone excited and ready to explore, whether old or young.
Peace and relaxation are promised by the Upper Innvertel region: Especially the Ibmer Moor, the biggest single moor in Austria, creates a mysterious and mystical atmosphere during the winter months.
- You will find plenty of opportunities for wintry walks and hikes around Franz Xaver Gruber’s birthplace of Hochburg-Ach.
- In the Innviertel region, much importance is placed on relaxation, tranquillity and recovery — and this includes the use of the area’s natural resources, such as the hot springs at the Therme Geinber, the various sauna treatments or a relaxing session inspired by the Arabian Nights.
- When it comes to pampering the body and helping the immune system up on its feet, a quick visit to Schärding am Inn is highly recommended. The Barmherzigen Brüder spa facility combines European naturopathy with the Eastern wisdoms Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- The colder months are also a great time to try out some specialities from the Innviertel region: Innviertel dumplings filled with bacon, greaves or meat, and served with Sauerkraut. Another classic winter treat are the Innviertel Surspeckknödel dumplings, filled with a special white bacon that is matured with salt in large containers or in wooden tubs, hence also known as “Kübelspeck” (tub bacon).
The Salzkammergut region is marked by a unique combination of mountains and lakes.
- There are countless opportunities during winter to take in the beauty and magic provided by this strip of land: Why not go on a winter walk around one of the Salzkammergut region’s lakes or embark on some a cross-country skiing? Hop onto a sled and make your way into the valley in a heartbeat; some of the courses are even open at night and are lit by floodlights. Or explore the region’s mountains with a pair of snowshoes: all the way up to the plateau of the Dachstein Glacier with an incredible view of Upper Austria’s tallest mountain. And then there is, of course, skiing: From Dachstein West, Upper Austria’s biggest ski resort around Gosau, to the more manageable family ski resorts Feuerkogel am Traunsee and Kasberg in Grünau in the Almtal valley. And those for whom skiing starts when the slope ends, meet in the Freesports Arena Dachstein Krippenstein in Obertraun.
- Upper Austria’s secret favourite winter sport actually takes place on frozen lakes: It’s time for ice-skating and curling.
- Finally, warm yourself up in one of the many thermal baths. The Bad Ischl thermal resort will get you ready for the next day in no time.
The Salzburger Lungau holiday region scores with ideal conditions for winter sports lovers and slope fanatics, only 100 kilometres south of the Mozart City of Salzburg. The Silent Night location of Mariapfarr is considered among Austria’s sunniest places.
- As a result of the region’s reliable snowfall, there is plenty of fun to be had at the Katschberg-Aineck, Grosseck-Speiereck und Fanningberg ski resorts, even during spring. With 150 kilometres of slopes in total, including deep-snow slopes, a variety of wide descents and a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountainscape, the region is a sight to behold. State-of-the-art lift facilities and cosy huts round off the trip.
- The Lungau region provides countless additional opportunities for fun in the clear air including ski tours, cross-country skiing or winter hiking. A ride in one of the many horse carriages or a stay at the rustic huts make for a particularly romantic experience.
The Silent Night location Wagrain is one of eight winter sports spots in Salzburger Sportwelt: Along with Flachau, Wagrain-Kleinarl, St. Johann-Alpendorf, Radstadt, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Eben and Filzmoos, they make up the heart of Ski amadé, Austria’s largest ski paradise with 760 kilometres of slopes, 270 state-of-the-art lift facilities, 25 ski and snowboarding schools and more than 120 ski huts.
- Next to guaranteed snowfall and strong expertise when it comes to the grooming of the tracks, Salzburger Sportwelt places particular emphasis on experience, security, service, comfort, family-friendliness and cuisine.
- Wagraini’s Grafenberg is an adventure mountain resort and an absolute must for the youngest winter sports fanatics. At the Grafenberg mountain, you will also find the new SOKO Fun Slope with around 30 elements.
- The Therme Amadé Spa in St. Johann im Pongau offers fun, recovery and relaxation all at the same time.
The two neighbouring towns of Hintersee and Faistenau in the Fuschlsee region have some of the most reliable snowfall in SalzburgerLand. Particularly, fans of Nordic walking will get their money’s worth here.
- The cross-country skiing village of Faistenau not far from the City of Salzburg offers 54 perfectly groomed trails in both classic and skating style. There is also a flood-lit trail as well as two artificial snow trails. There’s also room to experiment with biathlon.
- The Fuschlsee region provides a big selection of various winter sports activities, such as skiing, ski touring, curling, ice-skating and snow-shoe hiking.
- The 1st ski touring practice trail in Tiefbrunnau is aimed at ski touring novices who would like to hit the tracks for the first time, as well as at those who are already proficient in the sport and would like to verify or deepen their knowledge and skills. Guided tours are offered on selected dates.
- Those looking for some soothing warmth after hours spent out in the open can take a plunge into the wellness oases and day spas at the surrounding hotels or the Fuschlseebad spa and health club.
Located between the City of Salzburg and the Dachstein Mountains, the Tennengau district is not only the home of Marcel Hirscher, currently the world’s greatest skier, but also a true paradise for winter sports fanatics: 240 kilometres of slopes provide a perfect blend for families and winter sports athletes alike. The Tennengau district — whose capital is the Silent Night location Hallein — is a true eldorado for cross-country skiing and ski touring.
- The Dachstein West ski region with the towns of Annaberg, Rußbach and Gosau have been awarded numerous times for their family-friendly offers and facilities.
- Abtenau and St. Martin in the Lammertal valley, Gaissau Hintersee the ski area and the Zinken-Lifte ski resort Dürrnberg near Hallein are guaranteed to provide fun skiing times for both beginners and pros.
- The Aqua Salza spa in Golling soothes body, mind and soul. The combination of family-friendly swimming pool facilities with big water slides, a large sauna complex, a beauty world and a feel-good garden space make for a brilliant time off.
In the Salzburg Flachgau district and the City of Salzburg, natural and cultural exploration go together hand in hand during the winter months.
- With around 4,000 events per year, the Mozart City of Salzburg boasts an extensive and top-notch cultural programme. The internationally renowned Mozart Week — in 2019 under the artistic leadership of the globally celebrated tenor Rolando Villazón — takes place every January.
- There are twenty museums in the City of Salzburg: They contain Baroque art treasures, offer insight into scientific phenomena and put Salzburg’s various peculiarities on display. Each and every year, around 6.5 million visitors flock to the city to see the exhibitions and events. With an exhibition space of 15,000 m², the “DomQuartier Salzburg”, a true Baroque jewel, has been gracing Salzburg’s museum landscape since May 2014.
- Salzburg’s Old Town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997: From here, you can embark on a number of splendid winter walks — for example, via the Mönchsberg or Kapuzinerberg mountains, along the Salzach river or to Hellbrunn.