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Put on the map in the 1965 film ‘Sound of Music’ – everyone wanted to know where those lush alpine pastures were, and wanted a slice of the pure, mountain life. It was, of course Salzburger Land, also known as the province of Salzburg, which fans down from capital city Salzburg in Austria.
Visiting this area, you’re most likely to start in the city of Salzburg itself- one of Europe’s most alluring capitals - not least because it’s the birthplace of one Amadeus Mozart, but because of its deeply embedded culture spanning music, art, opera and Baroque architecture, as seen in the romantic, cobbled streets of the Old Town. Rightly proud of its multi-layered history, today Salzburg celebrates its heritage with festivals such as the Salzburg Festival; contemporary arts get a look in too with striking architecture at the Salzburg Building Academy and artists such as James Turrell who have contributed to the city’s Modern Art Walk.
Moving away from the city, south of Salzburg, the city gives way to rolling countryside, archetypal alpine scenes, with wildflower valleys, scattered mountain villages, cows grazing, church spires pointing and lakes shimmering. Unsurprisingly Salzburgians and visitors alike make the most of their verdant Eden, spending time in the hills -walking, hiking, biking or indulging in the authentic culinary pastime of refuelling in mountain huts.
Not to be missed is the dramatic Liechtenstein gorge, over 300-metres deep and accessed by a twirling, steel ‘helix’ staircase – the perfect contemporary fusing of architecture and nature. Another natural wonder is the pretty lakeside resort of Lake Zell Am See, backed by mountains and edged by pebbly beaches. Natural lovers will also be drawn to Austria's highest waterfall in Krimml or the giant ice caves in Dachstein which enthral visitors with its huge subterranean glaciers, stalactites and light and sound shows.
Winter changes the scene completely not just with the annual snows that transform the landscapes into a winter wonderland, but also the productive ski available here. Popular ski resorts include Mayrhofen, Zillertal and Arlberg but even smaller villages and towns such as St Johann are serviced by gondolas and cable cars and are linked into the vast Ski Amade ski region – one of the largest in Europe.
Welcome to Salzburger Land – come winter or summer, it’s a breath of fresh air.
A lair of nature wrapped by the mountains and forests with perhaps one of the best nature-inspired spas in Austria, all overlooking the Leogang Rockies. This design hotel hugs smooth modern interiors that brush up to loveliness of the Alps, complete with its own lake.read more