Five tips for a great holiday in Austria with the kids
A mountain holiday in Austria with young children: good idea, or asking for trouble? Colleague Marieke spent two weeks camping in Tyrol, Austria, with her husband and son of almost six. She was a bit apprehensive to start with. Wouldn’t the countryside be too boring? Would there be other children to play with at the campsite? And would hiking in the mountains not be too tiring? Their holiday was a great success! Wondering how to plan a child-friendly holiday in Austria? Marieke shares her tips with us.
Tip 1: Use the cable cars
We stayed at a campsite between Söll and Hopfgarten, close to the Brixental valley, the Kitzbüheler Alps and the Hohe Salve region. There are cable cars and mountain railways everywhere. The first thing we did was buy a pass that gave us access to all the cable cars in the region. It cost about 250 euros for three people for two weeks. A lot of money, but it easily paid off because we could make unlimited trips up and down.
From the mountain stations you can walk around and take the same cable car back down, walk up to the next cable car station, or walk down to the next cable car station. It’s all up to you. It just depends if you feel like ascending or descending. The nice thing about a holiday in Austria is that everything is well organized and cared for. There are good information signs about walking routes, everything is well marked, and you always have places where you can buy some food and find some neat toilets. And the children are thought of everywhere!
Tip 2: Water playgrounds, tobogganing and go-carting
There is plenty to do for children in the popular mountain areas. Around the restaurants there are often naturally landscaped playgrounds, trampolines or water playgrounds. We loved being able to enjoy a cool drink while our son was playing and splashing. There are also short walking routes with all kinds of climbing apparatus. That way we could combine walking and playing for a good few kilometres.
There are also special activities near the mountain stations. At St. Johann in Tirol we tobogganed down with a mountain cart from a middle station. And there is an exciting summer toboggan run close to the middle station of the Wiedersbergerhornbahn in Alpbach
Tip 3: To the summit!
Maybe you think that a mountain top can only be reached after a climb of many hours along steep drops . But it’s not that bad at all. You can also climb up to a beautiful 360 degree view with short legs, and a small backpack. And without too much danger. How cool is it to tell your classmates back home that you hiked to the summit of an Austrian mountain! We climbed to the highest point of the Hohe Salve together. From Söll we took the Gondola to Hexenwasser. Approximately fifty metres away you can get into a chairlift (Keat Lift), and from the end of the chairlift you can walk to the top of the mountain in about fifty minutes. From there, we walked back to the chairlift. It was a very nice walk!
From Hohe Salve you can also take the gondola down to Hexenwasser. There is a large theme park there with a water playground, a barefoot trail of about three kilometres and all kinds of other fun playgrounds. Would you like to know which summits are accessible to young children? Then take a look at leaflets, websites and signs in the mountain areas. Or ask your neighbours at the campsite for tips.
Tip 4: Gorges, castles and lakes
In addition to the high peaks, mountainous areas also offer deep gorges. Our son loved our walk through the Wolfssklamm Gorge. This is an ideal outing for a hot day. Between steep and cool cliffs, a wooden path runs along splashing waterfalls.
A really adventurous walk! Our visit to a real knight’s castle was also a nice change. Then we had a great swim in the Hintersteiner Lake. There was a nice beach and the water was crystal clear!
Tip 5: Things to do in bad weather
This summer we had fantastic weather in Tyrol! The first week it was even over thirty degrees. The second week it was around 23 degrees, a good temperature to go out. But not every day in the mountains can have perfect weather. So make sure you have some bad weather ideas up your sleeve.
We really enjoyed our trip to the old silver mine Schwaz. We also enjoyed an afternoon of bowling. Or you could find an indoor pool or indoor playground nearby. Another tip for rainy weather: get in the car and descend to a lower city or lake. You might find that the weather there is a lot better.
At the campsite
We stayed at a campsite without entertainment, but we didn’t really miss it. Most families were out between 10:00 and 16:00, and then people started coming back again. The children would play together and we could sit back and relax or start cooking. We thought it was ideal! We were a bit afraid beforehand that there would be no other children at the campsite in Austria, but there were lots of families. If you aren’t sure whether your destination is suitable for a family holiday, then enquire in advance at the campsite you have in mind.
Discounts, passes and guest cards
A final tip: take advantage of the discounts on trips, excursions and public transport that you can get in Austria with certain passes. For example, you can often get a discount on a mountain pass with the guest card of your accommodation, or you can travel for free by bus and train.
Camping holiday in Austria
Would you like more tips about Austria? Then read these five great tips by Joyce.
Do you have any tips for a great holiday in Austria? Let us know!