WINTER in Austria is beautiful.
As we drive through the magnificent Allgau Alps region in the country’s south-west, fresh white snow blankets majestic peaks, which sparkle like huge diamonds in the afternoon sunshine.
Against a backdrop of brilliant blue sky, the effect is breathtaking. I am unable to take in the beauty that surrounds me for the narrow, snow-covered road snaking around the edge of the mountain demands my attention.
The road thankfully widens as we enter the quaint village of Tannheimer Tal, and without fear of plunging off the side of the mountain, I am finally able to take in my surroundings.
The village, nestled in the heart of the Tannheimer Valley is walled with ski fields which host a myriad of runs. As we watch, skiers and snowboarders weave tracks continuously through the freshly fallen, powder white snow. Traditional Austrian chalets dot the landscape. Wooden shutters frame windows adorned with bright red bows and fairy lights in obvious celebration of the festive season. From chimneys perched upon snow-capped rooftops, smoke lingers in the frosty air. The effect is homely and inviting.
Against the side of one chalet a brightly coloured sign announcing ‘Zimmer Frei’ (rooms available) grabs my attention. As we have no accommodation booked for the night, we decide to stay.
Later, as we dine on freshly crumbed schnitzel while sipping a superb local Austrian wine, I am joined by Isolde, the owner of Alpengastof Zur Post, and she tells me the guesthouse has been in her family for over 400 years.
The cosy dining room, with its carved wooden chairs and red chequered tablecloths oozes charm. Family photos dating back to the early 1900’s cover the walls, add to the feeling of homeliness and warmth. After dinner, we head upstairs where thick doonas lie invitingly across pine beds. From shuttered windows, the view is simply magical as moonlight showers the Alps and adjoining ski fields.
This region is the perfect place to base yourself for an Austrian winter holiday, as it is guaranteed to excite skiers and snowboarders, both novice and expert. Non-skiers can also delight in winter activities on horse-drawn carriage rides, ice-skating, and moonlight toboggan rides.
King Ludwig’s castle of Neuschwanstein along the famous Romantic Road is only a short 20 minute drive and the fabled city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen an hour away. But the beauty of this area can not only be found in the magnificent mountains, snow fields and crystal clear lakes, its beauty is also found in its people. They are friendly, hospitable and brimming with warmth, making your holiday in Austria a truly uplifting and invigorating experience.
Travel info websites
Alpengastof Zur Post Guesthouse