Why crabs love travelling in Austria

Oh, Austria. Not a moment goes by that we don’t pine for your snow-mantled peaks and wooded valleys, your sky-blue lakes and cow-spotted meadows. We’re immovable in our conviction that Austria is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. Travelling in Austria only serves to show that the locals know it, too. Forever dressing quaint chalets in blooms of bougainvillea, tending perfectly manicured gardens, or waxing lyrical about the gorgeous Alpine mountains that surround them, it’s clear there’s a deep-set love for nature in the people here. And that’s not even mentioning Vienna, a city of vintage cafes and Baroque grandeur that’ll have you gasping at every turn. Love it.

Places we love crabbing in while travelling in Austria

We’ve lost count how many times we’ve been travelling in Austria. First was that city hop to Vienna, exploring the Wienerwald and taking in the sights. Then there were the interrail stops. Then there were then ski trips. We hope they keep coming because we know just how many awesome Austria places to visit there are on the menu…

The gateway and first impression of the country for most folk travelling in Austria will be the capital: Vienna. Don’t miss it. Spreading out in rings of parks and palaces from the Danube, it’s a city brimming with culture and class. We love heading down to the Museum Quarter in the evening to crack Stiegl beers with the students and make ourselves feel extra clever. Getting lost in the Old Town is as pleasurable as getting lost in the Old Town sounds. And then there’s the Wienerwald. It’s one of the best attractions in Vienna for nature lovers – a spreading forest of dense pine trees that opens to meadows and lookouts over the city itself!

Just west of Vienna, pretty much any way you go, rise the mountains. There’s really nothing like hopping on one of the comfy Austrian trains into the Alps from the capital. You can watch the lowlands start to crumple into hills and then crash upwards with the Salzburger Alps. It’s awesome stuff, especially if you’ve got a cold Stiegl handy.

Travelling in Austria
The view from our room in Solden – pretty awesome, eh? | © Crabs Move Sideways

For us, there are two towns in the mountains that deserve a special mention: Mayrhofen and Solden. They are squarely aimed at skiers or summertime hikers, so you might not get too excited if you’re a city slicker. Mayrhofen was actually our first winter destination in Austria. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Something like 600+ kilometres of piste and the excellent glacier of Hintertux make it one of the top-draw ski resorts in Europe. The year after we went to Solden with high expectations. A duo of glaciers form a sort of high-altitude bowl there, and Obergurgl is just a ride up the valley – it was one of the best weeks we’ve ever had skiing and travelling in Austria.


Being a crabby digital nomad in Austria

Travelling in Austria as a digital nomad is downright awesome. Thanks to some excellent infrastructure, you can easily get around and stay connected. Even the most far-flung mountain towns should only take a couple of hours to get to from Vienna.

Internet wise, you’re in good hands. Everywhere we’ve stayed have come with speedy connections, while we also grabbed a roaming card for €12 from a store in Mayrhofen (we’ll be honest – it was so we could watch the rugby, no do work) and that worked a treat.

Then there’s the world-famous cafe culture of Austria. People here love a great brew. It’s been a tradition since the days of Freud and Trotsky in Vienna, to have long philosophical chats over a hand-roasted cappuccino. We see no reason why you can’t swap that for a long session at the laptop in one of the top cafes for working in Vienna.

On top of all that, life as a digital nomad in Austria is just plain good. Yes, things are a tad pricy but this ain’t Switzerland. And you can dust off a half-day of working to leave yourself with beautiful mountain peaks and snowy ski fields to explore. The air’s fresh, things aren’t ever busy if you find yourself the right pocket of the mountains, and there are loads of great AirBnB that offer hefty monthly discounts. (Click here to get £21 off your first stay!).

Crabbiest travel experiences in Austria

Skiing, skiing and more skiing is what’s usually at the top of the list for us whenever we go travelling in Austria. There’s shed loads of places to pick. We can wholeheartedly recommend Mayrhofen in the Zillertal Valley and Solden in the Oztal Valley. They both come with combined ski paases that open up 100s of kilometres of mountain, offering something if you’re pro (like me) or a beginner (like Asia).

Travelling in Austria
Us on a hike in the Zillertal Valley between skiing sessions. It’s March. | © Crabs Move Sideways

Hiking in the Austrian Alps is an adventure you’re not likely to forget in a hurry. These are hailed as some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, and quite rightly so. Destinations like Hallstatt and Salzburg have been the fodder of Instagram feeds since Instagram began. But don’t let that deter you, they are truly amazing and we find that the Alps have a way of making every destination they have seem lonely and empty – no matter how many coaches of day trippers pull up.

Museums in Vienna are some if the best in Europe. (We try not to use wet superlatives like ‘best’ lightly, mind you.) This was the epicentre of the powerful and art-loving Habsburg Empire. That still shows in places like the Hofburg. Other must-sees in Vienna are more offbeat. There’s the Freud Museum and the underground Roman Museum. We loved both.

Crabbiest Austria things to see

The Alps are a must. You can see the highest point in Austria not too far from Vienna. It soars to over 4,000 meters with the Grossglockner. Other parts of the mountains don’t have to crank up such heights to be amazing. Take the Salzburgerland, where wisps of lake water hide between fir-clad peaks. Or go to Zell am See, which always looks wonderful beneath the high glacier of Kaprun.

In Vienna, there are loads of must-sees. Alexanderplatz is the heart of the town and sports one beautiful cathedral. That can get a little touristy with its clip-clopping horse and carts though, so we prefer heading to the beer bars along the Danube Canal.

All the crabby admin for Austria

Austria is part of the EU. That makes it easy for any other EU citizens to travel, work and settle here. (Brexit was a shit idea). It’s also in the Schengen Area, which means you shouldn’t even need to flash your passport to cross the border once you’re within that zone. (There have been some reports of ad hoc passport checks on Austria’s southern border due to the refugee crisis, but we’ve not found them to be true). US and Australian citizens will need to bag their 90-day Schengen visa to enter Austria.

Best time to visit Austria for crabs

The best time to visit Austria is the winter, between December and March. Okay, we’ll admit we’re being bias – we love to ski. If you’re the same, then these are the months you’ll find the best snow in the Austrian resorts. Skiing in late March is a great option if you want to balance a little sun with the snow – in Mayrhofen we were tanning ourselves with prosecco at base level and wrapped up in thermals in -10 degrees up top. Spring is simply awesome, too, though. Throughout April and May, the hiking paths open and the meadows come into bloom. It’s one of the most beautiful times to explore the Alps. For the most sun and chances to swim in the highland lakes, summer is a good bet. Between June and August, it’s pretty darn hot, with regular daytime mercury hitting the high 20s or even 30s.

Austria Places to Visit: 10 Best

We go from the Baroque spires of Vienna to the snow-covered Tyrol in search of the most beautiful Austria Places to Visit.

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Austria Places to Visit: 10 Best

We go from the Baroque spires of Vienna to the snow-covered Tyrol in search of the most beautiful Austria Places to Visit.

Read More

Likes0 Comments10 Minutes

Travelling in Austria