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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Winter in Gastein, Austria - What to do

* Horse sleigh ride             *Skiing/Winter sports             * Thermal Spa


1. Horse sleigh ride

On Christmas day, We met up with H's brother's family for an afternoon horse sleigh ride from my favorite hotel in the area, Gruener Baum.  It was the hotel where we had our wedding cocktail hour and traditional post-ceremony wedding game. Needless to say, I will always have a fond memory of this place.   H's brother booked the sleigh ride a long time ago since it is a popular holiday activity, and I can totally see why.  We all snuggled up together, wrapped in two layers of blankets, and another layer of some animal fur.  The ride took us through the Hohe Tauern National Park.  It was a crisp sunny day with clear air and barely any wind.  The horse trotting and sleigh bell ringing made a delightful rhythm for the gorgeous scenery right in from of our eyes.  It had been a while since the whole family got together.  We all had big grins on our faces talking about everything and nothing.  I knew this moment would go down as one of my favorite Chirstmas memory. 


  • You can find more information from Ski, mountains & spa Gastein, the Gastein vally's main tourism website or ask your hotel concierge for reservation. 
  • There are also horse carriage rides if you visit in the summer time. 
  • The ideal time for the ride would be early afternoon as you will be able to see the scenery during the sunlight and sunset. 

2. Skiing/Winter sports    

Surrounded by the Alps, Bad Gastein & Bad-Hofgastein are a great destination for winter sports. Many tourists poured in during the week between Christmas and New Year's. Most hotels only accept week long reservations.  I booked four hours of private sessions with an instructor to brush up on my rusty -barely beginner's skiing skills. Our friends took their three-year-old son to his first children skiing school.  It was really adorable to see all the little kids skiing.

Even if you don't ski or snowboard, it is also worth to get a lift ticket and get on the cable cars to enjoy the impressive mountain views.  There are also many mountain lodges within the ski area that you can ski in to get food and drinks.  The food served in these skiing areas were delicious!

3. Thermal spa

Thermal spa put Bad Gastein on the travel map as early as the 15th century.  It was once the popular destination attracting royals, and the "rich and famous".  The name "Bad" means Spa. The thermal spring water from the mountain contains radon.  Some people believe that the water has therapeutic effects to many illnesses. 

So, can you think of any better way to relax and rejuvenate after a long day of skiing other than soaking yourself in the therapeutic hot spring  pools? 

  • Alpentherme, Bad Hofgastein
  • Felsentherme, Bad Gastein
  • Remember to bring your own soap and shampoo. They are not provided in the showers.  


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