The beautiful, fairytale-like country of Austria is a perfect honeymoon destination. From cozy mountain chalets in the Austrian Alps to romantic castles from past eras, there are many options for accommodations, and winter sports enthusiasts, music lovers, and wine aficionados will find much to love in this small European nation.
The Austria Honeymoon: Exercise!
Of course, if you’re into skiing, you can’t beat the Austrian ski resorts, where skiers of all skill levels will find the slopes irresistible. Consider booking a ski package that includes lodging and lift tickets to get the most for your money. Also, look for local deals such as the Innsbruck Card, which provides admission to the most popular local sites (like Swarovski Crystal Worlds, the new Bergisel SkiJump tower, and the Alpine Zoo) and includes transport on lifts and cable cars as well as use of the “sightseer” bus. One-, two-, and three-day passes are available. In addition to skiing, look into other Alpine activities such as ice skating, a romantic ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, glacier hiking, trekking, and ice climbing.
Biking is a great way to explore Austria, and the tourism bureau can arrange a host of biking tours – some including lodging along the way – that will appeal to cyclists of all skill and endurance levels. There are also several tours for motorcyclists. The Austria Classic Tour features 10 day-trips that vary between 150 and 300 miles, taking you through the magnificent countryside from mountain passes to city streets. Accommodations are available at biker hotels – hotels that cater to motorcyclists – along the route.
No matter what your interest, there is probably a tour available to satisfy your quest for knowledge. Specialized tours focus on wine, cheese, textiles, apples, palaces, and castles – to name only a few. Start a fascinating walking, biking, train, culinary, or wine-tasting tour in Vienna, or take the Mozart tour that shows you the places where the composer lived and worked.
In addition to touring, you may wish to take in one of the country’s festivals, which include the Vienna Music Film Festival (summer), where films featuring classical music are shown outside the Vienna City Hall; the Danube Island Festival (summer), where young people from around the globe gather for a weekend of live performances on more than a dozen stages; and the famed Salzburg Festival (August-September), a grand offering of music, opera and theater.
Plan to do some sightseeing in Vienna, which has a plethora of architectural and historic sites, notably St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the medieval Hofburg, the Vienna Opera House, and the palaces of Belvedere and Schönbrunn. Don’t miss the MuseumsQuartier Wien, a large complex that houses more than 50 museums and studios dedicated to the cultural arts. Music lovers will appreciate the many opportunities available to listen to music by Viennese composers. In addition to the city’s various music festivals, concerts are held almost every night in some part of the city. You may also wish to visit Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, where you can take a “Sound of Music” tour (the movie was filmed here), explore the largest ice caves in the world or tour the underground salt mines while dressed in miners’ gear.
Your Austria honeymoon will also appeal to the nature lover in you. It has six national parks, nearly 60 nature preserves, and almost two dozen public gardens for you to explore. Especially notable are the Baroque gardens at Schloss Hellbrunn and the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna, which has sections devoted to medicinal plants, conifers and the flora of Austria.
Austria Honeymoon: Romance
Finally, consider a romantic cruise on the Danube River. You can get aboard the ship in Vienna, then travel to other cities such as Melk, Grein, Linz, and Durnstein over a period of days. Especially charming is the week-long Christmas Markets River Cruise that takes you from Vienna to Nuremberg, Germany, with stops along the way that allow you to indulge in the season’s decorations, music, food, beverages (mulled wine is available almost everywhere), and shopping.