Trying to find a holiday destination that keeps all the family happy is no easy feat. The beach is too boring for dad; the little one gets seasick; mum hates tourist traps – and the larger the family, the longer the veto list.
But one country that has enough diversity to please everyone is Austria. A stunning short-haul summer break, it offers some of the most beautiful scenery, incredible food and wine, and welcoming hospitality of anywhere in Europe. With a broad array of family-friendly activities, museums and excursions, a great holiday is ensured for all travellers – young and old. Here are three options for your idyllic Austrian escape…
The Trattlerhof combines the modern comfort of a four-star hotel with traditional alpine charm and familial hospitality. The hotel is also home to 14 guest chalets, which enjoy the cosiness of a classic mountain cabin but wrapped up in a high-quality offering.
Located in the Carinthian Ski World Cup and spa region of Bad Kleinkirchheim, the Trattlerhof dates back 133 years, over which time five generations of the Forstnig family have played host here.
The hotel includes an indoor pool, hot whirlpool, saunas, steam room, aroma shower, floating couches and a grass area for sunbathing. To take your alpine wellness to the next level, visit the neighbouring Römerbad Thermal Spa and St Kathrein Thermal Spa.
Back at the hotel, there are five tennis courts, a brand new beach volleyball court, a riding stable with eight trained horses and a new pony farm. There’s also a 10,000sq m lido on Lake Millstätter See; golf courses in the vicinity of the hotel; and an excellent walking and cycling network on its doorstep.
There is a tradition of exceptional food and wine at the Trattlerhof, too. From regional delicacies such as kärntna laxn and traditional Carinthian cuisine to a gourmet menu, there is something for everyone’s taste. There’s also a new wine depot, where eminent winemakers will take you through their finest releases.
And don’t worry about overindulging – your stay here is even helping the planet. Since 2015, the hotel has achieved a positive CO2 footprint, and every guest is issued their personal CO2 certificate in recognition of having made their own personal contribution.
Gegendtaler Weg 1, 9546 Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria. +43 4240 8172; trattlerhof.at
Das Kronthaler is a unique design and spa hotel situated by Lake Achensee – the largest lake in Tyrol. Its self-styled motto reads “Once discovered, it draws you back again” – and as soon as you’ve seen the resort, it’s easy to see why. This alpine retreat is all about the great outdoors: there’s an adjacent forest and a lake for sailing and stand-up paddling; while the Karwendel Nature Park in the west and Rofan Mountains in the east offer 500km of hiking and mountain bike trails. Take it to the next level – literally – by reaching the summits via the Rofan or Karwendel cable cars, and then paraglide back down again.
For something a little calmer, spend the afternoon on the beautiful fairways of Golf Club Achensee. Back at the hotel, you can try yoga or pilates – or enjoy a range of well-being treatments at the hotel’s spa. At this 2,500sq m wellness facility, you can relax in the heated indoor and outdoor pool, enjoy the saunas, steam baths and relaxation rooms, or opt for a Finnish sauna, aroma steam bath, or bio sauna.
The hotel’s main restaurant boasts stunning panoramic views over the Achental – the perfect accompaniment to both buffet or fine dining. You can finish off your day in Bar Zeitlos 989, which mixes tasty cocktails and local wines with live music and a peerless 360-degree sound system.
Das Kronthaler is an unspoilt hideaway for the well-travelled connoisseurs and adventurous families alike.
Am Waldweg 105a, 6215 Achenkirch, Austria. +43 5246 6389; daskronthaler.com
Kinderhotels are a revelation for family vacationing – based around the idea of a worry-free and fun-filled experience, they are purpose built for family escapes. Based in picturesque Kleinwalsertal, Kinderhotel Alphotel is a shining example. Since its refurbishment, it meets the strict guidelines of a family hotel with five ‘crowns’.
Located at 1,200m altitude, away from the main road, it has breathtaking views across Hirschegg. The area is ideal for adventurers – both big and small – with canyoning, pony riding, water-skiing and mountain biking among the activities to keep you occupied.
The mountains in Kleinwalsertal provide a hiking route network of more than 150km in three climatic zones – offering everything from an easy walk to a multi-day climbing tour.
Back at base, there’s a Finnish sauna, salt-water steam grotto, thermium, and swimming pool to help you unwind.
When it comes to the little ones you can include them as much – or as little – as you like, as the hotel offers up to nine-and-a-half hours of child supervision per day.
The hotel, run by the same family for three generations, offers family apartments with up to three rooms. Inside, there’s naturally everything you could need for your family – right down to complimentary baby monitors, no detail has been overlooked.
Schlößleweg 6, 6992 Hirschegg, Austria. +43 5517 5449; alphotel.at/en/
For more info on Austria, visit austria.info/uk