While everyone else seems to be hitting the beaches this winter, why not embrace the dreamy winter weather with a picturesque holiday in the Alps? Known as the “Heart of the Austrian Alps,” Innsbruck, Austria is best known as an internationally acclaimed ski and snowboard destination and three-time host of the Winter Olympics. Recently named the Best European Winter Sport Destination of 2016, the city offers the unique combination of alpine, urban, and imperial characteristics perfect for every type of winter athlete, as well as a myriad of other unique visitor attractions perfect for anyone and everyone. Still not convinced to trade your sunglasses in for snow goggles? Let LuxeGetaways give you five of our favorite reasons to layer on the snow gear and wander out into the wintry white.
1. Olympia Ski World
This is Olympic terrain in the truest sense, tried and tested by world-class athletes. During Winter Olympic Games in 1964, 1976 and 2012, the world’s best skiers competed for Olympic medals at Axamer Lizum, Patscherkofel and the spectacular K-Park Kühtai. Including nine ski resorts and a total of 90 lifts and cable cars, winter sports enthusiasts are whisked up to the lofty heights surrounding Innsbruck. From the mountainous courses of Kühtai and the snowboarders’ favorite Nordkette Skylinepark to the more relaxed, family-friendly slopes of Muttereralmpark, Innsbruck’s Olympia Ski World is a winter sport dream come true. And with the Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck ski pass, guests hold the key to these nine top class ski areas and the added bonus of free ski bus service to reach the slopes of their choice in all comfort.
2. Midnight Tobogganing
It is hard to pinpoint what exactly makes tobogganing so popular. Is it the exhilarating descent into the valley? Or the romantic trek through a winter landscape glistening under the moonlight? While opinions may vary, tobogganing scores top marks all round for its great entertainment factor. Throughout the greater Innsbruck area, guests can choose from more than 56 miles of expertly groomed toboggan runs. Since a number of tracks are floodlit, winter visitors have the unique opportunity to swish down the mountain at night-time. The use of Innsbruck’s toboggan runs is absolutely free of charge: simply take a wonderful hike up the mountain and enjoy the scenic winter landscape. Make sure you don’t miss the once in a lifetime experience of zipping down into the snow-covered valley under the spotlight of thousands of stars. This is fantastic for “kids” of all ages…
3. Swarovski Crystal World
Created by the world-renowned Tyrolean crystal manufacturer in 1995, Swarovski Crystal World represents a glittering fantasy realm where artists of international reputation reveal their personal crystalline fables. In 2015, this extraordinary crystalline adventure was enhanced to mark the company’s 120th year of existence and the 20th anniversary of Swarovski Crystal Worlds. Visitors will be surprised, touched and perhaps even transformed as they meander through the newly redesigned Giant’s interior with fourteen Chambers of Wonder. Even young visitors can feel free to look AND touch with the addition of the strikingly innovative play tower that offers a unique, multi-dimensional play experience encouraging children to climb, swing, glide and slide. And be sure to catch the captivating show Timeless, the brainchild of museum designers HG Merz that pays a multifaceted tribute to the Swarovski company history from 1895 until today.
4. Innsbruck Alpine Zoo
Experience the unique fauna of the European Alpine region with a visit to the Alpine Zoo. As the highest of its kind and the only themed wildlife sanctuary worldwide, the Innsbruck Alpine Zoo is a truly unforgettable experience for children and grown-ups alike. With more than 2,000 animals and 150 species, visitors can be view the most complete populations of animals native to the European Alpine regions in their natural habitats. Guests can share the excitement of discovering the animal enclosures, aviaries, aquariums and open-air terrariums as well as the alpine animal park, where otters mesmerize onlookers with their agile aquatic antics and wolves howl in sync when nearby church-bells chime. The newest special attraction to the zoo, the redesigned ibex enclosure, allows visitors to stroll freely among the majestic beasts, without any obstructing barriers. The Alpine Zoo is open daily with special evening guided tours offering detailed insights into the lives of the animals.
5. Kühtai Igloo Village
The igloo village at Kühtai offers a different kind of winter holiday. Located within Austria’s highest ski resort at one and a quarter miles above sea level, fourteen igloos await adventure seekers and romantics beginning mid December. From their own little ‘ice castle,’ guests can take snowshoe hikes, hands-on lessons in igloo construction, or of course, hit the slopes. Igloo accommodations can sleep up to four people, with an insulated mattress covered with soft sheepskin rugs and a thermal sleeping bag. And for those looking to spend a truly romantic night in the snow, the cuddly package for two includes accommodation in a private igloo, cheese fondue, breakfast and a bottle of Prosecco. Interested in even more activities? Visitors can sign up for snowshoeing under the stars, a moonlit sled ride including a stop-off at a convivial mountain lodge or even participate in a six-hour igloo building workshop. At the igloo village, guests with a sense of adventure are guaranteed a truly unique holiday experience, rounded off by the Kühtai’s wealth of sports amenities.
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