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    • Winter hiking in Kappl
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    Give the Couch a Break: Ideas for Winter Away From the Slopes

    It's grey and cold outside, but luckily the couch is warm and comfy? Well, yes … but! We have some ideas for outdoor activities away from the slopes.

    Exercising outdoors is not just good for the body, but also for the soul – whether it's curling, ice skating or a stroll across the Christmas market. Here are some suggestions for a balanced winter.

    1. Little Adventures in the Snow

    The sun is shining, the world is white, the temperature is below zero, and you have rosy cheeks from the cold: dreamy weather of the colder kind. To enjoy the snow, you can – but by no means have to – try these three sporty activities. They lift the spirits even on smaller hills or in flat regions and the couch remains within reach.

    •                     Sledding at Annaberg in Lower Austria
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    •                     Cross-country skiing at Lake Achensee
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    •                     Snowshoe hiking
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    • Tobogganing

      ... brings back memories for many of us, even if the childhood hills may not seem as impressive today. But regardless of whether it's on the short, local track or the 1 km Ziegenalm toboggan run: tobogganing is fun and creates lasting memories for the next generation, too.

      Tobogganing
    • Cross-Country Skiing

      ... may still play second fiddle in Austria, but it's first choice when it comes to enjoying the landscape. The more placid pace makes cross-country skiing an experience for the whole family, both the young and the elderly. Cross-country trails can be found in most provinces. If there is enough snow, you can even go cross-country skiing at the Vienna Prater!

      Cross-country skiing
    • Snowshoeing

      ... allows us to make good progress even in powder snow, and it is also particularly well suited for the impatient: no waiting for groomed slopes or cross-country trails, simply put on your snowshoes and off you go! Just be sure to check the weather conditions when snowshoeing in the mountains, e.g. SalzburgerLand.

      Snowshoeing

    2. Next Level: Winter Fun With Animals

    Throwing snowballs and watching how much fun your dog has catching and trying to chew them up is a winter classic.

    Those who don't have a dog and would like to experience something special should definitely give dog sledding a go. The unbridled energy and joy of the animals is an experience like no other during winter in Austria. There are husky farms from the Waldviertel to Vorarlberg. Tip from the pros: If you really want to get to know the dogs, book a multi-day tour, which not only gives you the opportunity to drive the sled, but also to help feed and harness the dogs. Fab!!

    Warning: It can be heartbreaking to go home without a husky at the end of the tour, but, unfortunately, they are not suited to spending (too) much time on the couch with us.

    More about dog sledding

    3. Fun Without Snow

    Most of us hope for a "real winter" with plenty of snow, but we don't always get what we want. That's no reason to remain on the couch! Winter has plenty to offer without snow, too.

    •                     Lake Piburger See in Ötztal
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    •                     Curling in the Murau region
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    •                     Winterwandern Mieminger Plateau
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    • Ice Skating

      ... the winter classic is possible in many places. From the Wiener Eistraum to natural ice such as on Lake Piburger See in Tirol, and from big arenas in the city to little ice rinks in the small towns – there is plenty of choice!

      More about ice skating in Vienna
    • Curling

      ... is not just an option for those who feel more comfortable without skates or like to measure themselves against others. The lanes are usually connected to an ice rink or tavern, so you can celebrate your victory with a drink afterwards. 

      Learn more about curling
    • A Winter Hike

      ... allows us to really experience the "quiet time". Even without snow, you can feel the tranquillity of nature in forests and fields, letting you forget about the stress of everyday life. There are hiking routes in all parts of Austria, but even just a short walk can help clear the head.

      More about winter hiking in Austria

    4. Exercise and Enjoyment: A Perfect Combination

    Strolling across a Christmas market with a hot chocolate or punch, looking for Christmas presents, sampling delights from across Austria, and enjoying a mulled wine with friends is an instant mood booster!

    The large number of Christmas markets in Austria means you can find your personal favourites, and it's also worth taking a look at the local calendar of events. Christmas markets are held in many little villages, too – and that's exactly where you will find the handmade one-offs and homemade specialities. Often the location is an additional highlight, such as at the Loamgrui Christmas market in the Weinviertel’s Unterstinkenbrunn municipality, where an evening walk through the narrow passages of Kellergasse is a festive experience in itself.

    5. Explore the Thermal Spas

    Relaxing in the warm water at the spa, enjoying an infusion in the sauna – is that cheating or does it count as "exercise outdoors"?

    For us it most certainly does, as you have to leave the couch to get there!

    And to be honest: what better way to forget about the dark winter than a feel-good wellness weekend?

    What could be nicer than coming home after a day in the fresh, cold air and putting your feet up? Make yourself a hot chocolate and there you have it – well-deserved!

    Because, as our grandparents already knew: there is moderation in all things. Our activity suggestions should by no means be a source of stress; there’s more than enough of that in everyday life.

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