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Three reasons to visit Austria in 2015

As spring turns to summer, Europe’s mountains and valleys blossom with colourful flowers and culinary traditions, especially in Austria. If you want to try more than just strudel and schnitzel, this is 
a great time of year to visit the country’s picturesque hills and vales. Here’s where we suggest you start.

1. Feasting in the Bregenzerwald

Between May and July a range of chefs from across Vorarlberg’s Bregenz Forest host a series of small group, five-course feasts in a unique, scenic setting in the far west of the country. Each of the meals is based around different regional specialities – milk from hay-fed cows, suckling calf veal, cheese, herbs, lamb, fish or venison – and paired with carefully chosen wines or beers, and each is open to the public.

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2. The Wachau Valley

As well as wines, this picturesque valley (so picturesque, in fact, that it’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in the north-east of the country is known for its sweet, plump apricots. Often eaten on their own, or made into jam or liqueurs, they’re classically cooked as Wachauer marillenknödel, or apricot dumplings. The season starts in earnest at the end of this month and many of the region’s hotels and restaurants offer the dumplings as a dessert, as well as a variety of special Wachau apricot-themed menus.


3. Sölden 

Yes, it’s a ski resort – but Sölden is also a haven for summer hikers and bikers who want to explore the beautiful Ötztal Alps region. For an authentic lunch there’s no better place to eat than Gampe Thaya, a rustic mountain lodge serving traditional Tyrolean treats such as kässpatzlan (cheese pasta) and speckknödel (bacon dumplings), with kaiserschmarren for pudding – strips of sugared eggy pancakes with fresh jam on the side, served in giant pans. Bask in the sunshine on benches outside, and don’t forget to admire the collection of decorated milk pails on your way out.

This feature was published in June 2015


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