Off we go to St Anton in Austria again but instead of seeking mountains covered in snow, this time I was ready to see them covered in cows and green grass. I adore Austria in the summer and it is quickly becoming my most favourite place to visit - quite a statement I know! But after last year in Seefeld I was dying to see what St Aton Alberg had to offer for a summertime trip.
Lots of people have asked me what is so good about going to Austria in the summer? That question tends to be asked as so many people automatically flock to beach destinations for the sunshine. I think the problem is lots of us only think of mountains with regard to snow, and if we do think of anything else regarding mountains it normally circulates around them for the Tour De France.
Not this time. Back with my This Girl Can/ Girls Can Do buddies after our snowy St Anton trip at the beginning of the year, we were ready for outdoors adventures in the mountains during summer... with a small pitstop in a dirndl thrown in there too.
I stalked the weather continuously for weeks in the run up, with results insisting it would be warm but with rain and thunder. Just to put this into perspective, I went last time in the summer with Thompson Lakes and Mountains and nearly burnt it was that warm! I couldn't help but think rain was just pure bad luck, but to my surprise it some how felt more tranquil this time round and somehow far more green than I remembered.
Staying in the classically styled 4* Schwarzer Adler hotel, myself teamed with Sian from Girl Outdoors, Sarah from Sequin This and Helen from the Manchester Evening News, were all back ready for action. Hiking, cycling, yoga and paragliding were all on the agenda... plus a spontaneous evening of Austrian traditions!
This Tylreon hotel goes as far back as 1570, and is without a doubt the perfect location for everything you could possibly need for an Austrian adventure. If tradition, (at it's finest) isn't enough it also has a fantastic spa for those aching legs after an afternoon hike. I actually had dinner here each night from the set menu and it was always beyond expectations - definitely worth a visit!
Embracing Tradition //
Something I bizarrely found possibly the most fun and not to mention giggleworthy, was in fact the night we all decided to wear dirndls for dinner. Just to clarify, a dirndl is a classic Austrian ensemble you can see in the photo above. Between the four of us dancing about, singing the Sound of Music soundtrack, and laughing hysterically at one of our party, (who had to lie down for assistance tin getting both in and out of one) it quite possibly was the best night I have had in a long time! Throw in some Gröstl and we truly had a Austrian themed affair! Who knew just putting on a dirndl on would provoke such a hysterical meltdown of laughter?! If you fancy getting your Austrian vibes on I'd suggest heading over for Oktoberfest Festival, as I've been told that truly is the best way to get your Tyrolean vibes on!
To be honest if you came to Austria and didn't go hiking I'd be stunned. Even for a beginner there are so many routes you can take to discover magnificent views along the way. If you're not overly confident and unsure if you'll get lost you can do guided walking tours. I do really enjoy a good hike and this time going past the beautiful Rosanna River, totally captured everything that is great about the mountains in summer. It's so pure you can just fill your bottle up and drink it there and then!
Alternatively if you didn't want a 'proper' hike, I took part in an evening torch light walk. Initially I had a mental image of head torches, but no this was a stick with a real flame on the top. Between humming the Game of Thrones theme tune continuously and trying to avoid making myself or anyone around catch fire, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening stroll after my 3 course meal at the hotel. If you'd like to find out more click here.
Normally if you asked me about cycling in the mountains I would tell you that it isn't for a beginner. You need strong legs and it isn't for an amateur would of been the words to leave my lips, but ask me about e-biking then that is a whole different story! You may or may not recall but when I visited Seefeld last summer I went e-biking, but this time I had far more hills and off road routes to contend with. Anyone can cycle as long as you have a basic level of fitness, and even if you're worried about it - simply cycle from one coffee shop to the next for a bit of strudel!
You can easily hire bikes from the local St Anton hire shop, but I would advise booking in advance. E-biking is becoming more and more popular especially when the sun is out, so best to book in when you know you're going.
It was a chilly crisp morning when we climbed the mountain to 1850m for our yoga class. I couldn't wait as I love nothing more, (and get the most out of a yoga session) when I have a tranquil and calming setting. I can fully focus the attention on my breath and the poses. That view was absolutely glorious, and somehow I felt that because it was a little misty it made it all the more zen!
Yoga happens weekly in St Anton during the summer and it is part of their summer program. However there is a specific yoga festival on the 1-4 September -it's its first year this year, and the price is 290 Euros to attend. Check out the Mountain Yoga Festival here.
High Rope Garden //
This was basically the same as the British Go Ape but you're next to a beautiful river, cows like to pass by and chances are there won't be a huge queue of people waiting in line behind you. Having done Go Ape this was a far more relaxing and stress-free experience, thus making it a far more enjoyable activity! If you like zip wires and using your balance techniques to get you about, then this certainly is one to try.
I remember talking a ridiculous amount when we sat going up the mountain in the chair lift. I had succumbed to my classic nerves ritual - chattering away in an attempt to avoid thinking about the fact I was about to run off a mountain. The girls and I were strapped to well trained paragliding instructor from H20 Adventure. After seeing Sian and Sarah leap into the air it was finally my turn, I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. When we lifted off the ground I felt such a whoosh of adrenaline like nothing I have ever felt before. Initially I was completely nervous and shaking from the massive build up, but a few seconds last I somehow managed to get my phone out mid flight to take pictures. I am such a blogger.
Simon (the instructor attached to me) was so chilled out and good fun, I couldn't of wished for a better flight buddy. I was told by the girls at one point I looked like I was about to land in the trees and looking back on film I was close, but I felt utterly amazing and as cheesy as it sounds just like a bird. Although when questioned how we need to land, i.e. what do my legs do, do I run? do I walk? Simon simply told me to concentrate on filming! The man knew me well...and I have lived to tell you the tale, but how I didn't drop my phone throughout the entire flight is beyond me! Fancy Paragliding? Find out more here.
St Anton in Summer //
I feel a very special bond with Austria ever since I first explored the mountains last year, but somehow this trip confirmed how amazing it truly is. If you love the outdoors, exploring, activities and adventure like me, then this is the best summer trip you can do. The tourist board have a complete summer program you can follow throughout your trip, you can do as many or as little of the activities as you wish. I think this is absolutely fantastic to offer and saves you having to really think too much about planning each of your days.
Hand on heart I'll be going back again and as bold a statement as it may seem, I actually prefer the mountains in the summer to the winter. Want to find out more about what St Anton does in the summer? Have a read of the official website, or send me a tweet and I'll be happy to help however I can.
Does this post inspire you to visit St Anton in the summer too?
Does this post inspire you to visit St Anton in the summer too?