If you’re looking for something special for someone hard to shop for, this Austrian gift guide might just be for you. For centuries Austria, and especially its capital of Vienna, has been a center of culture and politics. It’s the birthplace of Mozart and Klimt, not to mention where plenty of delicious sweets were first concocted. Whether you’re looking to wow someone special with something refined or create a sense of nostalgia recalling a trip that once was, check out this made in and inspired by Austrian gift guide!
Although pop singer Falco died more than two decades ago, his legacy lives on in today’s Austrian pop music scene. Bands like Wanda and Bilderbuch capture the late musician’s confident swagger, not to mention they serve up incredibly memorable tunes sung in a mix of the Austrian-German dialect. Many will know Falco for the worldwide hit “Rock Me Amadeus.” But who was Falco? This month, let’s explore the pop rock music of Austrian singer Falco and practice the German language.
With its location in the heart of Bavaria, Munich makes the perfect home base for exploring southern Germany and nearby Austria. And there really is so much to explore. Whether you’re looking for towns rich with history, adventures in the mountains and beautiful nature, visiting castles, there is something to appeal to everyone! With great transportation connections and lots of interesting sites within an hour to three hours by train, it’s a no brainer. Here are my picks of the best day trips from Munich!
Austria‘s Kufstein Fortress (or Festung Kufstein) in the country’s western state of Tyrol stands mightily on a hill overlooking the surrounding valley. Only about an hour south of Munich and just over the border into Austria, Kufstein is home to a historic fortress worth touring that houses a museum, prison, and the world’s largest free-standing organ — that you can hear daily! What’s more, the town it calls home has a charming old city that will steal the heart of any tourist with its colorful buildings and narrow cobblestone streets.
Each month I try to highlight a Must See. Usually this means a city, location or museum that I have on my own travel bucket-list. This month I want to do things a little different. Visiting a true European Christmas Market is undeniably on my Must See list. But there’s so many! To select just one would be too difficult and not fair to all of the other wonderful ones. So instead this month’s Must See pulls together five Christmas Markets to put on your own Must See list.
There is a German language music revolution happening but it isn’t in Germany. Just south of the border in Austria, the pop bands performing music in the German language just keep coming. Graz based Granada are one of the newer bands in the Austrian music scene. The five-piece have only just released their self-titled debut album. Get in on the ground floor, so to speak. This month’s featured German language music recommendation is Granada!
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, it might be difficult to convince the Austrian lake town of Hallstatt. A Chinese mining company built an exact copy of the town in Guangdong. But you really can’t blame the Chinese. Many consider the village to be the most beautiful town in the world. It’s easy to see why Hallstatt, Austria is this month’s featured location on My Must See List.
Paris has temporary ferris wheels like the Roue de Paris and the Big Wheel on Place de la Concorde. The English capital has the London Eye, a fancy wheel that serves more as a moving observation tower than as a ride in an amusement park. But before either of these major cities had their ferris wheels, Vienna had theirs. The Austrian capital’s Wiener Riesenrad, or Viennese ferris wheel, stands as the star attraction of the Wurstelprater, a permanent amusement park that is a part of the Wiener Prater park. In fact, you will be very familiar with this particular ferris wheel if you’ve seen the 1949 film The Third Man with Orson Welles, as it serves as a particularly important location.
The ferris wheel is one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions. The Wurstelprater is a combination of history, whimsy and fun. The Wiener Riesenrad and the rest of the amusement attractions at Wurstelprater are this month’s addition to My Must See List.
An altar inside the Salzburger Dom in Salzburg, Austria.
The plan was to go to Salzburg, Austria and see the sights. Unfortunately, it was a bit overcast and a bit rainy but we were up for whatever our friends thought was worth seeing. During the car ride, they kept telling us, with a chuckle, we were going to visit a very “interesting” castle. It’s very “funny,” they said. Uh, OK. What weren’t they telling us? The castle in question was Schloss Hellbrunn. And, boy, was it “interesting.”