The Salzburg town of Werfenweng contributes to looking after the environment in a very unique way: guests can take a break from their car. Holiday makers are encouraged to arrive by train with a pick-up service awaiting them at the station. Those arriving by car can leave it parked in Werfenweng, whereby the keys are stored in the safe at the tourist office for the duration of the stay. For 5 Euro you then get a pre-paid mobile phone and SAMO advantage pass that take care of all mobility issues: ELOIS, the electromobile, can be summoned for taxi services day and night with the electricity coming from environmentally friendly solar energy. Werfenweng has at least 40 establishments that offer a holiday from your car.
This environmentally friendly transport concept is offered in 22 Alpine towns across Europe, and there is a long-distance hiking trail which links all so-called Alpine Pearls in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany and Slovenia.
When you are in Kleinwalsertal, you can leave your car untouched and the stress at home. No searching for parking spaces and less traffic on the roads, the Walserbus transports you quickly and reliably throughout the valley. Better still, use of the Walserbus is free when combined with the Allgäu Walser Guest Card, so you save money whilst doing your bit for the environment.
Find out more about Kleinwalsertal and the Walserbus at: www.kleinwalsertal.com
It's not just the villages and townships that offer low-impact travel options in Austria. Many of the big cities are converting their public transport to clean fuels. Graz in Styria is leading the way, the first city in the world to have converted its entire municipal bus fleet to bio-diesel. Environmentally conscious visitors to Salzburg have it easy in a city where the volume of waste sent to landfill has been reduced from almost 100 per cent to just 15 per cent in the last 15 years. The same is true in Vienna which aims to reduce the figure to two per cent and where concerts, festivals and other public events now serve drinks in reusable glasses and cups. In fact, everyday environmental standards are so high across Austria that a break there could redefine the meaning of ecotourism altogether to become the term used to describe a holiday where visitors have an opportunity to find out what life could be like in a world where sustainability is the norm.