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Cozy Winter Activities in Salzburg and Vienna, Austria

Cozy Winter Activities in Salzburg and Vienna, AustriaCozy Winter Activities in Salzburg and Vienna, Austria

Instead of heading for a warm clime in winter, why not try experiencing winter at its best? A winter trip to Salzburg and Vienna, Austria, offers unparalleled winter beauty and cozy, cold-weather activities to warm the soul.

First Stop: Salzburg

Salzburg is a charming town nestled in the Austrian Alps. Its beauty when blanketed in snow is so breathtaking that it's hard to imagine why anyone would choose to visit Salzburg in any season other than winter.

While skiing and snowboarding in one of the many resorts outside town are obvious choices, those less athletically inclined or traveling on a budget can opt for free outdoor ice skating at Grossarltal Recreation Center or skate on the Residenzplatz in the center of town for a small fee. If you're a "Sound of Music" fan, enjoy skating on the artificial lake outside Leopoldskron Castle, used as the Von Trapp family home in the movie.

Thermal spas to the south of Salzburg are an ideal place to warm up. There are two in Bad Gastein: Felsentherme and Alpentherme.

Salzburg is the birthplace of the classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. While visitors can visit his home and hear his music year-round, a special celebration marks Mozart's winter birthday. Mozart Week takes place from late January to early February and features world-renowned conductors playing his music.

Onward to Vienna

Vienna is legendary for its coffeehouses, where patrons can sit for hours snuggled up in comfy chairs reading and drinking coffee. An afternoon in a coffeehouse can be a cultural immersion, a social occasion, and an inimitable people-watching opportunity, all for the price of a cup of coffee.

Cozy Winter Activities in Salzburg and Vienna, AustriaCozy Winter Activities in Salzburg and Vienna, Austria

Some well-known coffeehouses in Vienna include the Baroque Cafe Central, a coffeehouse once favored by Leon Trotsky that was a historic gathering place for intellectuals; Cafe Diglas near St. Stephansdom; Cafe Mozart, renowned for its association with Graham Greene and its appearance in his film "The Third Man"; Dommayer, across from Schaunbraunn Palace where "Waltz King" Johann Strauss once performed ; Hawleka, owned and operated by three generations of the Hawleka family since 1939; Konditorei Gerstner, whose pastries achieved the honor of an Imperial Warrant in 1873 and are served in such prestigious settings as the Opera House today; and Conditorei Sluka, operating near City Hall since 1891.

When you're ready to venture beyond the coffeehouses (though there's really no need), buy a ticket to one of Vienna's 300 famed winter balls and dance the night away in splendor.

The winter is also an ideal time to go to the Vienna State Opera, an experience no visitor to the city should miss, opera fan or not.

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