Things to Do in Austrian Alps - page 3
Innsbruck’s innovative zoo lies along the sunny slopes of the Hungerburg plateau to the north of the city and is the only zoo in the world to feature animals indigenous to the Tyrol region – so if you’re after lions and tigers, this is not the place for you –along with amazing Alpine views. It opened in 1962, the brainchild of Professor Hans Psenner, who toiled for much of his adult life to establish a zoo dedicated purely to Alpine animal life. The Tyrolean region has incredible diversity and the zoo’s animal head count reaches 2,000 from 150 different Alpine species, from ibex to brown bears and birds of prey such as Golden eagles and owls.
Affectionately known as the Austrian Lake District, Salzkammergut is one of Austria's premiere holiday destinations, featuring crystal clear lakes, picturesque hillsides, and quaint yet fantastic villages.
Those travelers with a penchant for athleticism best utilize these majestic grounds—with seemingly endless opportunities at every turn—including mountain biking or hiking on one of many trails (for all levels of endurance), swimming, skiing, the list doesn't end. There is even an opportunity for the adventurous traveler to soar 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) over the valley with an available paragliding site, the Krippenstein. Another worthwhile destination in the Lake District is the Dachsteinwelterbe Cave World at Obertraun, with three natural show caves, going as far as 3,200 feet (975 meters) deep, the three ice-caves are amongst the largest in the world and are considered to be one of Austria's most important natural sites.
A short stroll from the historic center of Salzburg, the lakeside palace of Schloss Leopoldskron is one of Austria’s most acclaimed works of architecture, built in 1736 by the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, Leopold Anton Freiherr von Firmian. The masterwork of architect Pater Bernhard Stuart, the Rococo-style palace is renowned for its elaborate stucco works, the handiwork of Johann Kleber, and a series of striking interior paintings, including Andreas Rensi’s Four Seasons in the Festsaal hall and Franz Anton Ebner’s Wedding of Atalante, which adorns the ceiling of the chapel.
Changing hands several times throughout its over 200-year history, Schloss Leopoldskron has amassed a fascinating history, once belonging to King Louis I of Bavaria, hosting the engagement ceremony of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria and Empress Sissi, and being purchased by Max Reinhardt, co-founder of the Salzburg Festival, who used the dramatic setting as a backdrop for the festival’s main events.
The world’s largest ice caves wend 19 miles (30 km) under the Tennengebirge Mountains in the Salzach district of the Austrian Alps; they were discovered in 1879 and a mystical subterranean underworld was unveiled to the world. Pick a clear, sunny day as your visit to Eisriesenwelt starts with a spectacular twisting drive up through the scenic Salzach Valley, followed by a 20-minute uphill hike and then a breath-taking cable-car ride over sheer mountainsides. Finally there’s a further 20-minute walk up to the caves, with superb Alpine views across mountains and lush valleys.
Led by professional guides, the cave tour penetrates half a mile (1 km) into the caves, following 700 steps up and 700 down on a prepared pathway with handrails. Once underground, the reward for the strenuous uphill trek is instant. This is a magical world of sparkling ice formations in a series of cathedral-like caverns full of stalagmites and stalactites eerily illuminated by magnesium lamps.
More Things to Do in Austrian Alps
Silent Night is arguably one of the world’s best-loved Christmas carols and its words were written in 1816 by a priest called Josef Mohr, who lived locally to Salzburg in the rural village of Oberndorf. Its sentimental but catchy tune was composed two years later by Franz Xaver Gruber and the carol was performed for the first time on Christmas Eve 1818 in the village’s St Nicholas Church. This church destroyed by heavy flooding at the end of the 19th century, only to be replaced by the white-washed, many-sided neo-Baroque Silent Night Chapel in 1937. Since then a whole local industry has grown up around the carol, which has been translated into more than 300 languages, and life in Oberndorf has changed forever.
Although a visit to this idyllic little village is a joy any time, and it has a small museum where there are copies of the original manuscript and score, Oberndorf really comes into its own at Christmas.
Allow at least three hours to explore Salzburg Zoo, opened in 1962 in a dramatic setting adjacent to the Schloss Hellbrunn estate. While not the biggest zoo in Europe, there’s still a lot to pack in: rare white rhinos, hippos and sleek antelopes in the African Savannah enclosure; great scavenging birds of prey, pink flamingos, brown bears, lynx kittens and mischievous monkeys.
There are more than 1,200 animals at the zoo, consisting of some 140 species, including endangered animals. The zoo covers 34.5 acres (14 hectares) and there has been considerable expansion and improvement in the standard of its facilities since 2006, with new enclosures built for wolves, alpacas and rheas, the completion of a petting zoo for kids and the opening of the South America House, featuring tapirs who recently had a baby. Other additions include a new lion house as well as cheetah and jaguar enclosures.
Things to do near Austrian Alps
- Things to do in Salzburg
- Things to do in Innsbruck
- Things to do in Graz
- Things to do in Upper Austria
- Things to do in Friuli-Venezia Giulia
- Things to do in Trentino-Alto Adige
- Things to do in Hallstatt
- Things to do in Bled
- Things to do in Linz
- Things to do in Passau
- Things to do in Veneto
- Things to do in Istria
- Things to do in Bavaria
- Things to do in Bohemia
- Things to do in Lower Austria