Posts Tagged ‘Austria tourist Visa’

Austria Travel: Food delights in sensational Salzburg

SALZBURG—Come for the classical music, stay for The Sound of Music. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the Sachertorte, either.

I just got back from three days in this consummately Gemütlichkeit city, my mission from The Star to check out how Opera Atelier’s Marshall Pynkoski and Jeanette Zingg did with their production of Lucio Sella at the 2013 Salzburg Festival.

The answer is: awesome!

Opulentus AustriaThat left me free to enjoy the rest of Salzburg, although if you’ve never been here during Festival season, it’s worth the trip for that alone, not just for the quality of the presentations, but for the sight of a whole city dressing up despite the heat (which reached as high as 38C!) in traditional Austrian costumes which make everyone look like Captain and Maria Von Trapp. (See photo above of the actual Von Trapp family in a trip to Salzburg a few years ago.)

Ah yes, the Von Trapps. I think most of us know Salzburg from the fact that it lovingly served as the setting for The Sound of Music, one of the most popular films ever.

In fact, I’d been here before for The Star, in 2008, with the 10 final candidates for the role of Maria in the Mirvish production of The Sound of Music, which provided fodder for the CBC series How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

But I’d made the serious strategic mistake of not bringing my wife, Pamela, on that trip, a woman of Teutonic heritage and a fierce devotion to raindrops on roses, schnitzel with noodles and all those Von Trapp-ish favourite things.

So this time, I promised to show her around in high style and, for advice, I turned to Bert Fink, the Senior Vice-President/Europe for Rodgers and Hammerstein. He had squired me around during my earlier stay and I counted on him to provide welcome advice.

He cut through the dozens of Sound of Music tours available and urged us to take the one offered by Panorama Tours (www.panoramatours.com ). We’re glad he did. It’s a full four-hour outing, where you get to visit most of the sites found in the film, as well as a glorious drive through the “mountains and lakes” scenery that Robert Wise used in his montage sequences.

Best of all was the visit to Mondsee, a simply beautiful lakeside town 30km from Salzburg where the actual wedding of the Captain and Maria was filmed in a magnificent Gothic cathedral. It’s also the home of the Cafe-Konditorei Braun, which has won numerous awards for its apple strudel and it’s easy to see why. Flaky crust, perfectly seasoned apples and a choice of vanilla sauce, vanilla ice cream or both. Guess which I picked?

Back in Salzburg, with pastry still on our mind, Pam and I discovered a true gem on a tiny side street in that incredible maze called “The Old Town.” It’s the Schatz Konditorei at Getreidegasse 3. It’s tiny and charming and could have come right of an Ernst Lubitsch film.

The staff are delightful, the coffee perfect and the sachertorte is worth a trip to Austria all on its own. Am I talking a lot about food? Sorry, but that’s how you roll in Salzburg. Even a classy evening of Mozart opera selection, perfectly performed by five musicians and two singers, was made even better by being accompanied by a three-course dinner served in St. Paul’s, an 8th century restaurant that can probably lay claim to being the oldest in the world. It’s definitely worth checking out!

There’s tons to see in this historic town and you’d be well advised to purchase a Salzburg Card, which offers you free access to all major sites and most public transportation. It’s a real bargain. And when it’s time to leave, treat yourself to one last dinner at the K&K Restaurants Am Waagplatz.

Downstairs is a casual bistro with a pleasant assortment of sausages and schnitzels (which, by the way, NOBODY in Salzburg would ever serve with noodles! Sorry, Oscar Hammerstein), but upstairs, on the top two floors, there’s an assortment of intimate dining rooms and a very ambitious menu that included rabbit, venison and other delights. Their woodland mushrooms in a cream sauce served over dumplings is with me still….in every sense of the word!

Source: http://www.thestar.com/life/travel/2013/08/06/austria_travel_food_delights_in_sensational_salzburg.html

Twenty reasons to visit Vienna

1. THE SPANISH RIDING SCHOOL

The cliched Vienna of stiff collars and imperial grandeur is symbolised perfectly by the Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School. In displays of skill and dexterity, the white horses prance around one of the Hofburg’s grand courtyards carrying their impeccably attired riders. There’s a reason the school has been going for more than 400 years; the show is hugely impressive. srs.at.

2. THE VIENNA BOYS’ CHOIR

Also within the Hofburg Palace complex is the Hofburgkapelle, home of the city’s other practically obligatory stately performance. This is where the Vienna Boys’ Choir gathers for Mass every Sunday morning. The choir’s status as an utterly reliable cash cow means the boys regularly reprise for concerts in bigger venues throughout the week, but for keeping-it-real choristry, 9.15am on a Sunday is the time to rock up. wienersaengerknaben.at.

3. CLASSICAL MUSIC

This is the city where Haydn, Mozart and Strauss (among others) made their names and fortunes. And you’ll not get too far in central Vienna without someone in a wig and a silly costume trying to hand you a flyer for some sort of classical-music concert. Many of these are fairly lame greatest hits affairs played by a small band of musicians and aimed at tourists. The real deal comes with the Vienna Philharmonic, unquestionably one of the greatest orchestras in the world. They play concerts and grand balls throughout the year in various venues. wienerphilharmoniker.at.

Vienna Tourism

Vienna Tourism

4. HAUS DER MUSIK

To get a better grip on Vienna’s musical heritage, the Haus der Musik is arguably the best spot in town. The top floor is devoted to the various geniuses who made Vienna the world’s centre of classical music, with each major composer given a section devoted to his life and works. The other floors are patchier. But the bit where you get to conduct a digital Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is great fun. hausdermusik.at.

5. SCHNITZEL AND TAFELSPITZ

Tick-box tourist law decrees that you have to eat schnitzel in Vienna, and while locals may roll their eyes at the mere mention of Figlmuller, the gut-bustingly gigantic schnitzels served at the long-standing visitor favourite make for marvellous photo ops. Anyone managing to leave room for a strudel for dessert deserves respect. For carnivores, Vienna’s other must-try dish is tafelspitz, a boiled beef dish served in a broth with lashings of horseradish. Plachutta does it best. figlmueller.at; plachutta.at.

6. STEPHANSDOM

Even for those who are bored rigid traipsing around Europe looking at churches, St Stephen’s Cathedral is an impressive sight. It’s an architectural hodge-podge, the spindly Gothic spires not exactly providing a perfect match for the colourful mosaic tiled roof or Romanesque western section. But this doesn’t really matter – it commands attention through its sheer size and presence. The amount of detail inside and general aura of grandeur should keep you happily absorbed for hours. stephanskirche.at.

7. THE RINGSTRASSE

Befitting the home city of the Habsburg empire that once stretched across much of Europe, Vienna is jam-packed with buildings designed to wow. Many are clustered around the Ringstrasse, the grand boulevard that Emperor Franz Josef I had built in 1857. It was showing off on a gargantuan scale – walk around and you’ll feel very small indeed. Highlights include the Flemish-Gothic town hall, the Renaissance-style university buildings, the neo-baroque Burgtheater, and the neo-classical parliament. It’s architecture 101, but supersized.

8. FRIEDENSREICH HUNDERTWASSER

If the pompous wedding cake-esque buildings of the Ringstrasse don’t do it for you, Hundertwasserhaus may be your required cup of tea. Austria’s equivalent of Gaudi, Friedensreich Hundertwasser was let loose on this municipal housing project, creating a surreal fantasy world of improbable bulges and garish colours. You can gawp from outside but you can’t go in. Equally odd (and wonderful) is Hundertwasser’s Fernwarme in the city’s north – it’s a rubbish incinerator that looks like it has been designed by Willy Wonka.

9. SCHLUMBERGER CELLARS

Near the Fernwarme is the headquarters of Austria’s premier winemaker, Schlumberger. The wine-tasting sessions are a decent introduction to Austria’s take on champagne, but it’s the maze-like underworld of vaulted cellars that are really fascinating. Book a tour and prepare for kilometres of eerie tunnels full of tens of thousands of bottles in storage waiting until they’re ready to drink. schlumberger.at.

10. WINE TAVERNS

The real heart of Austrian wine can be found in the idyllic heurigen, or wine taverns, on the green outskirts of the city. The tour buses head to the folksy Grinzing area, but the best bets for both the quality of wine and food and an authentic local feel are elsewhere. Heuriger Wieninger and Weinbau Gobel in the north-eastern 21st district are excellent, picturesque choices for a lazy Sunday afternoon in the sunshine. heuriger-wieninger.at; weinbaugoebel.at.

11. DONAUINSEL

Coming a close second in the grinning-like-a-contented-simpleton stakes is the Donauinsel, a 21-kilometre-long narrow island in the middle of the Danube River. It’s wonderful to just stroll aimlessly along, but should you wish for further entertainment, there are plenty of bars and restaurants to break the walk. Throw in beaches and swimming areas – plus canoe, bicycle or rollerblade hire – and it’s essentially a low-key holiday resort within the city. The ideal tonic for museum fatigue.

12. MUSEUMS QUARTIER

If a culture fix does appeal, the Museumsquartier is where traditional Vienna meets the mellow, modern city. The Leopold Museum focuses on 19th-century art, with a particularly strong representation from Egon Schiele, while the Kunsthalle offers 20th-century international works, and Mumok is firmly contemporary. But the area is most triumphant as a social space – the revamp unveiled in 2001 turned it into a hugely popular complex of bars, cafes, oddly shaped sun loungers and occasional DJ sets. mqw.at.

13. SHOPPING IN NEUBAU

Just behind the Museumsquartier is Neubau – the 7th District. And it’s a perfect illustration of how Vienna’s character gets more casual and inventive once you get beyond the Ringstrasse. Much of the city’s most interesting indie shopping can be found here. The Spittelberg area is home to Lena Hoschek’s kitschy feminine fashion – as loved by Katy Perry and Dita Von Teese – while Kirchengasse is the best street for cool but affordable streetwear. Neubaugasse has all sorts – from gorgeous stationery to handmade children’s toys. 7tm.at.

14. CHRISTMAS MARKETS

In late November and December, the ruddy of cheek and their chestnut-selling predators descend on Spittelberg for the most atmospheric of Vienna’s Christmas markets. The clue is in the plural – what sets Vienna’s festive chintz-flogging apart is that there are so many markets spread across the city. Others can be found at Karlsplatz, Maria-Theresien-Platz and outside Schonbrunn Palace.

15. SCHONBRUNN PALACE

The Habsburgs’ summer palace doesn’t really need the markets to bring in the crowds – it has long been Vienna’s star attraction. It’s well worth stumping up for the tour of the lavishly decorated state apartments. The Hall of Mirrors, stories of a child Mozart performing for the imperial family and the surprising Asian influences add to the regal atmosphere. But the giant expanse of gardens and parkland behind the Schonbrunn allows you to make a day of it. As a bonus, they’re home to the world’s oldest zoo, too. schoenbrunn.at.

16. THE GURTEL BARS

A different kind of wildlife can be found along the Gurtel – the ring road that separates the inner and outer districts. The arches of the train line running overhead have mostly been turned into bars, with the stretch between Westbahnhof and Nussdorferstrasse stations particularly boisterous. Kick off at long-standing favourite Chelsea then follow your thirst and dancing shoes from there. chelsea.co.at.

17. NASCHMARKT

The other major hub of gleeful drinkers can be found at the Naschmarkt, which is theoretically a food market but a lot of people seem much more interested in hanging around the stalls with a beer in hand. There are also plenty of good, affordable restaurants to be found in the vicinity. Right in the heart of the Naschmarkt itself sits Umar, where you point at your fish and they cook it for you in the restaurant. umarfisch.at.

18. THE PRATER

Vienna’s permanent fairground is equal parts quaint and gaudy. Some rides are genuine stomach-churners but they’re offset with a mini golf course, a carousel, a hall of mirrors and a ghost train. The Riesenrad – the big wheel turned into a film icon by The Third Man – is the symbol of Vienna. Views from the top are excellent, but the Prater’s real charm lies in the gorgeous waterside parkland to the south of the amusement park. praterservice.at.

19. THE ALDSTADT

Fancy languishing in a palace without the hefty price tag? Well, The Altstadt does a cracking job of offering highly individual rooms in a grand historic house, often for less than $150. The owner is an art collector who scatters his hoard throughout the premises, while free tea and cake is served at 4pm every day. And there’s an added bonus. It’s right opposite Spittelberg and therefore an easy stroll home from the bars and shops. altstadt.at.

20. PALAIS MOLLARD

Vienna does weird niche museums better than pretty much any city on earth. Museums of contraception and abortion, crime, art fakes and burials are all thrown in to the head-scratching mix. The Palais Mollard – part of the National Library – doubles up, however. It’s home to both the Esperanto Museum – tracing the development and history of the world’s premier made-up language – and the Globe Museum. The latter has hundreds of oddly fascinating, centuries-old globes exhibited. The fun lies in spotting the staggering inaccuracies in our ancestors’ view of the world. onb.ac.at.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/twenty-reasons-to-visit-vienna-20130718-2q5z2.html

Wettest spring since 1858

Spring this year has been one with the most rainfall since 1858. The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) came to this conclusion yesterday (Wed).

Austria ImmigrationMoreover, the last time with such few sunny hours was in 1991. The average temperature was only 0.4 degrees Celsius below the average.

However, there were big differences: the highest temperature (29.3 degrees Celsius) was registered on 26 April in Langenlois (Lower Austria) and the lowest temperatures was registered in Seefeld (Tyrol) on 16 March (-19.0 degrees Celsius).

There was 35 percent more precipitation Austrian wide than the average from 1981 to 2010. This is why spring 2013 is one of the seven springs with the most precipitation in the last 155 years.

The ZAMG registered most precipitation from East Tyrol to Carinthia to South Burgenland by 50 to 100 percent.

The temperature turned out to be nothing special: since 1767, this year was only in 171st place.

“If you go more into detail you realise the ‘weaknesses’ quickly. Spring in the past few years was significantly warmer. This has been the coolest spring since 2006. The combination of a lot of rain and less sunshine led to the impression that it was a very bad spring (…)”, said Alexander Orlik, climatologist of ZAMG.

Source: http://austriantimes.at/news/General_News/2013-05-30/48864/Wettest_spring_since_1858

Lithuania and Austria to introduce a new model of tourism in Azerbaijan

Baku, Fineko/abc.az. Presentation of European Union’s twinning-project ” Building of capacity of the Tourism Department of the Ministry of Culture & Tourism of Azerbaijan” has been held in Baku today.

Austria ImmigartionCulture & Tourism Minister Abulfaz Garayev says that after 11 years of successful development of tourism in the country, it is time to apply new models of the tourism industry for its integration into the world tourism.

“Twinning-project will be another step in the development of tourism,” Garayev said.

In turn, the EU ambassador to Azerbaijan Roland Kobia said that the project will eliminate the difference in the quality of tourism services in Azerbaijan and the EU.

“It will also provide additional value added to Azerbaijan,” Kobia said.

The Lithuanian State Department of Tourism and the Federal Agency for the Supply of Austria will implement a 15-month project with a budget of €900,000. The project consists of four components: the increase of Azerbaijan’s position on an index of competitive travel and tourism (the country is currently on the 78th place), provision of a more positive assessment of the tourism industry on the part of the Department of Tourism, attraction of new state and private investments, ensuring of the flow of tourists and tourism revenues.

Source: http://abc.az/eng/news/main/72655.html

Austria experiences warmest Christmas Eve in over 60 years

Austria experienced its warmest Christmas Eve on Monday since temperatures were first recorded in the country.

Opulentus AustriaThe town of Brand in Vorarlberg in the country’s far west recorded a record temperature of 17.7 degrees Celsius, beating the previous record of 16.5 degrees recorded in Weyer of Upper Austria in 2009, the local broadcaster ORF reported.

Gerhard Hohenwarter from the Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) said the mild air from the Atlantic along with warm winds descending from the mountains both contributed to the warmer-than-usual conditions.

“Since we have had a nationwide network of (weather) stations, so since the end of the Second World War, it has never been as hot on a 24 December as today,” he said.

So far the highest temperature record over the entire Christmas period in Austira was 18.4 degrees measured in Golling in Salzburg on December 25, 2009, the ZAMG said.

Source: http://www.nzweek.com/world/austria-experiences-warmest-christmas-eve-in-over-60-years-39378/

Avalanche app goes live in Austria

A new mobile telephone App that gives notification on where there are avalanche warnings has been unveiled for Austria as part of a general avalanche warning service.

Opulentus AustriaThe new service for smart phones gives a daily update on the latest situation in all of Austria’s regions including the current level of avalanche danger from 1-5.

It also offers weather information in the various ski regions and is updated every morning between 7.30 and 7.45.

The can be downloaded under App www.snowsafe.at and those without a smart phone can also get an SMS version and there is also the chance to dial a regular telephone information hotline using a standard landline.

The service will also be heard on the radio during extreme avalanche danger periods.

Source:

http://www.austriantimes.at/news/Travel/2012-12-10/45956/Avalanche_app_goes_live_in_Austria

Lower Austrian ski resorts set to open

The first ski regions in Lower Austria are to open their doors this weekend.

Opulentus AustriaToday (Friday) the Hochkar ski region as well as the Ötscher and Jauerling regions are opening for the start of the 2012/ 2013 season.

The cold temperatures have meant snow canons have been able to be put into operation and a number of lifts have opened.

Two chair lifts were planned to open at Hochkar today with the official opening to take place on December 15th.

Lackenhof and Ötscher have also opened a couple of their lifts for snow sport enthusiasts.

On Saturday the lifts in the St Corona resort are set to open.

Jauerling is also starting its night skiing this evening (Friday) for the season.

Semmering also plans to open on Saturday for day and night skiing.

On Monday Reichenau an der Rax is to open its lifts.

However, Annaberg has had to delay its opening for a week due to a lack of snow.

In general throughout Lower Austria there is a lack of natural snow, but the cold temperatures have allowed snow making facilities to be put into operation.

Source: http://www.austriantimes.at/news/Travel/2012-12-07/45915/Lower_Austrian_ski_resorts_set_to_open_

Officials inaugurate new concert house for Austria’s newest music festival

Officials in the Austrian town of Erl have inaugurated a futuristic concert house that will house the country’s newest music festival.

Opulentus austriaOfficials for Erl’s Winter Music Festival say the new house boasts the world’s largest orchestra pit at 160 square meters, or more than 1,700 square feet.

They say construction costs amounted to €36 million — nearly $46 million.

Built by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects in Vienna, the building — which has been described as resembling a stealth bomber or a UFO— was erected in 18 months.

Erl already has a summer music festival. But the new building will also be home to a winter festival that takes place for the first time from Dec. 26 through Jan. 6.

Organizers said Tuesday it was 90-percent sold out.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/officials-inaugurate-new-concert-house-for-austrias-newest-music-festival/2012/11/20/b0a7dada-3335-11e2-92f0-496af208bf23_story.html

416 m investment in skiing as pistes opens early

Austrian ski resorts have invested heavily in infrastructure for the coming winter season anticipating a tough market.

OPulentus AUstriaAccording to the Austrian Chamber of Commerce across the country invested some 415.9 million euros in improving the winter tourism facilities – with some ski resorts already opening this week after early snowfalls.

In Vorarlberg the early snow has given wings to the start of the winter tourism season. Arno Fricke, manager of Montafon Tourismus GmbH, said they had seen a sharp rise in enquiries and bookings since the early snow.

And under the title of “ski jewels” the cable car companies at Alpbachtal and Wildschönau have managed to set up a new connection that joins the 2 biggest resorts in Tyrol. It has taken 11 years of planning to realise the project.

And it’s not just the slopes themselves that have benefited but also the infrastructure around them such as the new 400 bed hotel in Werfenweng in Pongau.

In Upper Austria there is already an extensive network and the investment has been on improving the quality for example with the first 10 person lift in upper Austria at Hinterstoder.

In Lower Austria regional officials have been involved in bolstering the business of local ski resorts including involvement directly which for example is being discussed at the moment in Semmering.

Lower Austria has the big advantage that it is the nearest for ski lovers from the east of the country and indeed from neighbouring countries in the east. Anyone wishing to head from the Austrian border across the country to the west will need to add another 7 to 8 hours on to their journey time at the very least.

The areas economics minister Petra Bohuslav (ÖVP) said that the prices were also extremely attractive in Lower Austria.

In many areas the pistes are already open. In Sölden in the Otztal 16 ski lifts are now running – the first time ever that so many have been opened so early.

A spokesman for the resort said that a combination of the cold weather, modern artificial snow technology and more than 40 cm of new snow had made the early opening with so many lifts possible – and they would be celebrating the event with a glacier party on 3 November.

In Sulden the cold weather has allowed the artificial snow machines to work overtime with the first guests already starting to arrive. That is a good sign that it will be a good winter season as it means bookings are already starting to come in more intensively for the winter months.

On the Turracher Höhe the ski season opened yesterday on 31 October. Ski region boss Fritz Gambs from the Turracher Höhe cable car company said that it was good to finally be able to offer the skiing experience outside of traditional glacier skiing. There are expecting to be open 183 days until 1 May next year.

Source:

http://austriantimes.at/news/Business/2012-11-01/45160/416_m_investment_in_skiing_as_pistes_open_early

Psst! Austria’s Hidden Treasures are here!

Whether it’s outdoor adventure, a helping of culture, an indulgent escape, spending time with friends or family, mingling with the locals or simply good old-fashioned sightseeing you’re looking for, Austria will end your summer holiday search.

Opulentus AustriaTo anyone used to being in the Alps in winter, when the whole region is a snowy wonderland, visiting in summer can be quite an eye-opener, and nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in the area around Zell am See-Kaprun.

The villages themselves are picturesquely situated in low, broad valleys, ranged around a freshwater lake that, on most days, represents a picture-postcard view of hot summer idyll. Yet a few minutes on a cable-car whisks you upwards into a different climate, past the tree line to where only grasses and lichens survive, and finally, on the highest cable cars, into the high mountains, where permanent snowfields, glaciers and rocks abound.

Whatever you do during your visit, be sure to obtain a Zell am See-Kaprun Card which enables you to visit the most popular attractions in the region, and the different methods of  transport used to get there, for free.

High-Altitude Hi-Tech

This summer sees the opening of the ‘Peak World 3000′, at the very top of the Kitzsteinhorn, the summit that towers over the area.  Gipfelwelt is a highmountain adventure zone, with a dramatic suspended viewing platform, giant screen cinema, and a 360 metrelong ‘summit gallery’ that features hi-tech exhibits on themes like local mountain crystals, gold and silver, and the permafrost layer that holds the mountain together.  There’s also a slickly decorated panoramic restaurant. The star of the show is the view, and the name ‘summit world’ is no exaggeration.

Spot the Big Five

And this is the third great attraction of Zell am See-Kaprun: as well as its lakeside life and views, it is the gateway to the wonders of the Hohe Tauern. At each height level, you are effectively in a different biosphere. Lower down, look out for rhododendron and dwarf mountain pines; higher up its evergreens like spruce and fir. Blink and you’ll miss the wildlife: chamois, ibex, and earth toads are three species to cross off your list at lower altitudes. In fact, the Hohe Tauern even has an informal, safari-style ‘Big Five’ of creatures to spot: running from relatively common to ‘Oh my gosh do you know what I just saw?’, these are the chamois, ibex, griffon vulture, golden eagle and bearded vulture. But don’t forget the marmots, cute furry critters that often sit on rocks taking in the sun.

Source: http://www.austria.info