Recently we have been taking a lot of whirlwind trips without much time to relax. I wanted our trip to Austria to be something the boys would enjoy doing. Something that mixed summer break fun with history and culture. Austria did not disappoint. If I could go back and do this trip over I would do everything exactly the same. I would do it again next week. An absolutely perfect trip spending quality time with my boys.
Where we stayed
Being Austria, I wanted to stay in the country and have views. Laschensky Dependance was the perfect hotel. It’s only a few miles from the airport but you would never know it as its set in the quiet countryside. A taxi to Salzburg is 15 minutes and costs around 15 euro, but you can also take a bus which will be cheaper (but take 45 minutes). There isn’t anything to do in the general area but the hotel offers free bikes for you to explore and we spent a lot of time walking around the village. Just behind the hotel there is a family farm with kittens, rabbits, goats and donkeys. We walked over a few times to say hello to the animals. No one spoke English there but didn’t seem to mind us poking around.
I highly recommend staying here with children but it would also be a great romantic trip. You could come to Austria and never leave this hotel. The pool, which was undersold on their website, is a natural spring with views of the mountains. the water feels amazing. There is a sprawling playground complete with a zipline, sand pit and slides where the kids can play while you order and wait for your food. They even have a kinder room with legos and other toys. The hotel is family run and they went above and beyond to make sure we had a great stay; always calling me a taxi or giving my boys ice cream and a band-aid when they got hurt. English isn’t as widely spoken in this area so be aware you wont have English menus or channels on tv. The only thing I regret is that my husband could not be on this trip to experience it with us.
This was a bucket list item; the entire reason I wanted to come to Austria. I had a hard time finding full day tours from Salzburg to Hallstatt so had to settle for a half day tour (which only gave us a few hours in the city)…not enough time. Please google image Hallstatt and you will see what I mean. It’s one of the most picturesque small cities in Europe. It’s so pretty the Chinese made an actual replica of the entire village.
The bus ride was about 1.5 hours through the lakes district and you make a couple stops to take photos. One of them being St. Gilgen which took my breath away. I had to wake the boys up from a nap to get them off the bus and take pictures with me. Some of the things these kids have slept through…
Once we arrived we headed straight for the sky walk. This is a do not miss activity if you are short on time. The cable car takes you 350 meters above the village where you have amazing views over Lake Hallstatt. There is also a nice, casual restaurant but I thought it better to use our short time eating in the village. Instead we opted for gelato after awkwardly asking strangers to take photos for me and the boys.
Once we got into the village we spent some time dipping our feet in the water, shopping and eating. I really wish we had more time here as its one of the cutest villages I’ve ever seen. It’s probably magical at Christmas time. The boys could have spent the entire day throwing rocks and splashing around. For lunch we found a great spot overlooking the lake. Austria is a very meat-and-potatoes kind of country and I’m here for it!
After the Hallstatt tour we were dropped off in the city center and spent a couple of hours walking around. I didn’t really have much of an agenda since we were doing the sound of music bike tour the following day. This trip really wasn’t about museums and looking at old buildings so I steered clear of those types of activities. I wanted to be outdoors, enjoy the weather and let the boys lead the way.
When planning a trip to Austria I knew it had to be a warm weather trip. Id always envisioned riding bikes as a family in the sunshine amongst the flowers and the hills. Corny, I know, but that was my dream. Even without my husband I was determined to make that happen. I booked a Sound of Music bike tour that takes you through the city and surrounding countryside showing you all the filming locations for the movie. It was about 8 miles total and advertised as kid friendly. So I booked a bike with a trailer for Carter and booked Kellan on his own bike. I prepped Kellan weeks in advance on how it would be a difficult day and he would be tired but I knew he could do it. He was very excited. Little boys love to show off how strong or brave they are.
When we arrived to the Fraulen Maria’s tour our guide, Leo, brought Kellan a bike…but it was too big for a 5-year-old. It was more suitable for an 8-year-old. Kellan is used to a small bike that has brakes in the pedals. This bike had brakes on the handlebars with gears- which his small hands could barely reach. He also couldn’t touch the ground from a seated position on the bike. I immediately knew this was going to be a problem (and so did Leo) but Kellan was not going to back down from this challenge. He practiced riding in circles and braking as the guide went over the events for the day.
Something else I didn’t realize was how we would be biking on very busy city streets, and up and down very steep hills. Hills that a fit adult couldn’t handle. I was so proud of my baby but after about 2 miles we had to call it for safety reasons and Kellan had to go into the trailer. This meant I was now pulling the equivalent of my body weight or more behind me on this bike. It was 90 degrees and this ended up being the workout of my life. After it was over I told my husband that climbing Mt. Fuji was easier. I had so many people on the tour offer to switch bikes with me so that I could have a break but I guess Kellan and I are too alike in that I was not going to back down from this challenge!
Other than being physically demanding, the tour was amazing. Leo was an incredible guide, one of the best we’ve ever had. He was extra corny and had speakers so we could all sing to the soundtrack as we biked. My dream came true! He was so sweet to the boys as was everyone in the tour group. There were a lot of Americans so it was great chatting with people from home. Some of the stops were quick but we did have several stops where we got a 15 minute rest while listening to the history and filming details. I can’t believe how well my kids did on this trip. Sometimes I question how they can be total terrors at home but put into unfamiliar situations; long travel days outside their routines, and they really shine. I couldn’t be more proud.
Stay tuned for my write up on our week in Cornwall!