Exploring Gastein Valley with the family during winter.

9 adults (including 1 pregnant lady), 1 baby, 1 toddler + 1 dog. How (Where) do you accommodate all that? 😀 For our joint winter trip to Gastein Valley in the province of Salzburg, my family and I chose a centrally located holiday apartment with several separate units, the so-called Ferienhaus Schiwiese in Bad Hofgastein. I can definitely recommend it as your base for exploring the Gasteinertal alpine valley: The booking includes free daily admission to the Alpentherme Gastein Spa Centre, and this also on the days of arrival and departure. By contrast, the official local Gastein Card “only” gets you reduced admission fees to the spa.

Another bonus of the holiday apartment “Ferienhaus Schiwiese” is that you can ski directly over a short slope to the valley station of the Schlossalmbahn in Bad Hofgastein. Watching the skiers in my group with a little jealous sting, the kicking baby in my belly reminds me: “Come on, mummy. Let’s do something else!”

Blick aus dem Fenster unserer Ferienwohnung im Ferienhaus Schiwiese:

View over the Gastein Valley mountains from the third floor of our apartment building: Wow!

 

Auch schön: Gemütlicher Fußweg

Instead of skiing, my mum and I opt for a short walk to the Waldgasthof Angertal hut near Bad Hofgastein.

 

Angertal Ski Centre: Other than skiing, you can hike, choose a cross-country ski trail or take a sled (and toddler!) with you.

The snowfall that started early on the first morning of our stay prompted my mum to join my son Liam and me instead of spending a ski day of her own. From the Angertal Ski Centre, we follow a little trail towards the Waldgasthof hut, which is about 300 metres away along a nice winter walking trail. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is a “long walk” when you are but two years old (or highly pregnant 😉 ). Liam just loved looking at the “wild skiers” passing by, the rattling snow vehicles, the snowcats and other interesting figures (a short part of the path is also the end of a ski slope).

Auch ich bin mit meinem Babybauch froh über das gemächliche Tempo ..!

Very happy about stopping every two steps: The world is full of wonders ..!

 

"Bitte, Oma, was ist das?!" Hier gibt es so viel zu sehen für unseren kleinen Liam.

“Granny, what’s that?!” Liam just loves looking at everything exotic to him in the great white snow.

 

Mittagsrast im Waldgasthof.

Lunch at the lovely Waldgasthof hut, boasting typical Austrian mountain flair.

 

Sportgastein Ski Centre: Again, other than skiing, try the sweet vanilla sauce dumplings at the Valeriehaus hut!

High up in Sportgastein, a small ski resort “hidden” behind numerous tunnels and gorges at around 1600 metres above sea level, you will find truly wild winter scenery. The entrance to the Hohe Tauern National Park offers a view of seemingly untouched mountain landscapes. We manage a few steps along cross-country ski trails, winter walking paths, as well as the “Husky Trail” where dog sledding is offered. This time, it’s my dad who joins us, pulling Liam on his sled!

Was für ein Alpenpanorama in Sportgestein:

Beautiful alpine scenery in Sportgastein!

 

Wir bleiben rund ein Stunde an der frischen Luft: Wind und

We spend about an hour outside in the fresh snow: Sinking temperature and rising wind chill push us back to the huts …

 

... zum Buchteen-Essen in das schöne Valeriehaus, das ich Euch

… where these sweet dumplings (called “Buchteln”) make up for the cold outside. Definitely try!

 

Kötschachtal + Himmelwand Hut: Alpacas & horses along a lovely little hiking trail off Bad Gastein.

The short hike (about one and a half kilometres) from the car park on the Kötschachtal road to the Himmelwand hut in the quiet forest is just magic. A pure winter wonderland, as the snow continues to fall. The feeling intensifies as we leave the last houses behind and immerse ourselves in the silence of the quietly falling snow, the open valley floor and the forest. Every now and then, other people greet us along the way. Alpacas, too, continue to fascinate Liam!

Tip: If the path to the Himmelwand hut seems too short, you can walk past it much further into the valley and through the forest. Put the toddler on the sled, place the baby in the carrier, and take the dog on a leash: Off you go!

Die Qual der Wahl im Kötschachtal!

With as many clear signs, you cannot get lost in Kötschachtal!

 

Wunderschön: Blick ins Kötschachtal Richtung Himmelwandhütte. Der Name rührt von der gleichnamigen Felswand im Hintergrund, die vertikal Richtung Himmel zu führen scheint!

What a view of the valley floor winter hiking trail.

 

Diese lustigen Alpakas versüßen uns den Anblick

Loved our meet and greet with the local herd of Alpacas!

 

Ein wirklich schöner Familienausflug

It’s been a really great day for our growing family of three and a half.

 

Take a sleigh ride through Maierhofen, Dorfgastein & Luggau.

DO IT! I am deliberately writing this in capital letters, as our horse-drawn sleigh ride was such a wonderful highlight at the end of our family trip. Sleigh rides like these are offered several times throughout the Gastein Valley; we chose the Berger family for it, who charge € 15 per person for a one-hour sleigh ride. We were eight adults, plus my brother’s baby and Liam in the spacious, comfortable sleigh with blankets. It was wonderful. The panorama, all the snowfall from the day before, the midday sun and the white Gastein Valley … need I say anything else? 🙂

Big, strong Noriker pull our sledge, which were used for work before the era of agricultural machinery. Here we welcome the two ladies Rosalie and Lorena!

Big, strong Noriker horses pull our sleigh. These cold-blooded horses were once used for work before machines came along. Here, we welcome the two ladies Rosalie and Lorena!

 

Wenig später schon reißt die Wolkendecke auf und gibt den Blick frei auf das wunderschön verschneite Gasteinertal ...

A little later, the clouds break up and grant us these views of the Gastein Valley floor …

 

... ein herrliches Alpenpanorama, wohin man schaut!

… as well as beautiful mountain tops wherever we look!

 

Finally, if you are tempted to travel to Gastein Valley, I can also share some tips for the summer season: Foodie Travel Tips from Gastein Valley in Salzburg, Austria. Safe travels and enjoy your stay here!

 

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