Appreciating the Subtlety of Austria

Greetings from Estonia!

I could not resist the urge to get moving once September hit and thus I’ve come out to spend a few weeks taking in the autumn beauty of Estonia.

As the most well-known tourist destinations in Europe get busier and busier, one must venture a bit further afield to find a more relaxed pace and that feeling of experiencing a country as the locals do, something that is basically impossible in a sea of other travellers.

The top destinations in Europe are of course in demand for good reason, and not every ‘secondary’ (in the sense of not top of mind) country has enough to offer to justify a full trip.

The key is to find the ones that do have that subtle underrated-ness, which is partly why I’m exploring here in Estonia and fully why I’m pleased to release a trip this week to one of those places, Austria, next May.

My career in hospitality and travel began in Austria, and as such it’s very near and dear to my heart. And while I suspect many of our members have passed through Vienna or Salzburg on previous trips through Europe, most of us have not spent much time in the ‘real’ Austria outside her cities.

Apart from going to school there and living in Austria later in life, I spent several weeks a few summers ago travelling through each region of Austria investigating the roots of Austrian hospitality for my book; I know the country very well and can assure you the gems are very much to be found beyond the city limits of her famous (and still very interesting!) cities.

For this trip, we’ll spend two nights at the beginning in Vienna, enough to familiarize (or re-familiarize) ourselves with it before spending the rest of the trip exploring the heartlands of the country to get to know the flavour of Austria firsthand.

Our first stop will be to spend a few nights in Styria, the breadbasket of Austria south of Vienna. This region is a culinary star, with outstanding local produce of wines, cheese, and chocolate, all of which we will avail ourselves of while here. We’ll also explore some Austria’s excellent spa and wellness traditions in Styria.

We’ll then spend a few nights in the Austrian Lake District, including in the postcard-perfect town of Hallstatt and from where we can settle in and explore the serene landscapes of the Salzkammergut and Lake Wolfgang.

We’ll then cap it off with a few nights in the ski capital of Innsbruck in the Austrian Alps, possibly still snow-capped when we arrive. Here we’ll do some Tyrolean feasting, take a funicular 2,300m into the Alps for a view over Innsbruck, and more.

I’m aware that many or most of the places we’ll visit on this program you may have never heard of, but that’s what makes Austria one of those underrated, subtle, ‘secondary’ sort of countries with more going on than meets the eye. If you haven’t made plans for May and are thinking about a visit to Europe, do consider joining us – you can find the full itinerary in your newsletter.

I’m getting long-winded here so just a few other quick notes – this week I’m also pleased to release a second 2024 departure of our Tuscany & San Marino Sojourn program, this one happening in October. You can find the full itinerary in your newsletter and if the April departure is more to your liking, you can find that in our Trip List PDF.

We’ve got a whole bunch of webinars upcoming and more trips in the pipeline, with 2025 trips soon to come for the planners among us 🙂 Stay tuned for more and do get in touch should you have any questions or comments.


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