Graz: Arms, Arts & Armor

March 26, 2014 on 9:59 am | In Austria | Comments Off

Walking through endless rows of heavy halberds, needle sharp spears and iron armor plates in the world’s largest original armory, you can’t help but picture the mighty warriors of old sitting on their heavy war-horses in ornate armor, riding to defend their borders.
Armory Graz © Graz Tourismus
Graz on the map

When in Graz, don’t miss the Zeughaus (armory), which is the only original historic armory left in the world. Built back in 1642, it contains about 32,000 arms and military equipment dating from the late 15th to the early 18th century, enough weapons to equip an army of 5000 men. At the time the Zeughaus was built, Graz was the center of defense against frequent attacks from neighboring territories, forcing the Styrian lords to organize massive armies in a very short time. What makes the armory unique today is that all items are still organized and stored the way they were 400 years ago.

To truly appreciate the Zeughaus, we highly recommend you take a guided tour, during which you will learn about the regions’ history, discover how ammunition for the first gunpowder weapons was made and marvel at heavy, expensive, full body armor which rendered fighters unable to move if they fell off their horses. Once you’ve explored the Zeughaus, climb up the city mountain to see how the massive fortress contributed to make Graz the defensive bulwark of the region.

Hangar7 – an arts & culinary temple in Austria

March 26, 2014 on 9:59 am | In Austria, Dine Drink | Comments Off


Austria has always been at the forefront of architectural innovation — but Hangar-7 in Salzburg is jaw-dropping on another level, and defies categorization: a masterpiece of avant-garde design, a beacon for contemporary art, a culinary temple with a revolving chef residency and, yes, sprawling home to a fleet of glorious old aircraft. Founded by Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder and CEO of the Red Bull energy drink empire, the striking creation — picture a massive, transparent wing — has become a landmark destination for airplane lovers, art scene devotees, gourmets and architecture aficionados all at once.

Despite 1,200 tons of steel and 380 tons of special glass, the building radiates weightlessness and dynamism, themes that recur in the cutting-edge gallery, HangART-7, and inventive gourmet restaurant, Ikarus. New this year is that you can see the original wings with which Felix Baumgartner, the sky-jumper, has crossed the channel between Dover and Calais. Come experience this breathtaking creation, conveniently located at the Salzburg Airport, just outside the city.

The World’s largest Ice Caves are in Austria

March 26, 2014 on 9:58 am | In Adventure Travel, Austria, Europe | Comments Off

High above the village of Werfen, amid the magnificent mountain world of the Tennengebirge, we find the entrance to the world’s biggest explored labyrinth of ice caves with a length of almost 30 miles. There are various ways in which cave ice can form.

The World of Ice Giants, discovered in 1879, is a dynamic cave, meaning that the corridors and the crevices connect lower lying entrances to higher openings, hence making it possible for draughts of air to circulate – similar to the effect in a chimney. During spring, melt water seeps through the cracks in the rock and when it reaches the still cold and frozen lower areas of the caves it freezes and turns slowly into the wonderful ice formations visible inside the caves.

Before you head into the caves for your 1 ¼ hour tour, lamps are handed out to the visitors. The first stop is the Poselt Hall, with the magnificent Posselt Tower stalagmite. Marvel at the greatest area of ice growth, the Great Ice Embankment, a massive formation rising up to over 75 feet. Stalactites in Hymir’s Castle created the so called ice organ. For an even more stunning effect, the ice formations are sometimes highlighted with magnesium lighting.

The caves are open May to October and you will need to be dressed for the cold, even during summer months.

Buy a Peugeot Long-Term Rental, the Gas is On Auto Europe

March 26, 2014 on 9:40 am | In Austria, Belgium, Czech, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Paris, Road Trips, Switzerland | Comments Off

Auto Europe is offering big savings for long-term rentals, 21 days or longer, with their Buy Back Program featuring a large selection of factory new Peugeot models. The program is a practical way to save with a villa rental or extended stay in Europe.

In addition to low daily rates beginning at $29 a day, Auto Europe is offering to reimburse $50 towards your first tank of gas. Simply send us your receipt once you return home and we’ll refund you $50 USD. This offer for free gasoline is valid for all reservations now through April 30 for pick ups through Sept. 30, 2014.

All Peugeot models are equipped with air conditioning, power steering, radio, CD player (excluding 208 & 2008 models), electronic immobilizer, automatic locking and ABS brakes. Along with better fuel consumption, diesel fuel is generally less expensive in Europe so Peugeot has provided a large range of diesel models in fleet to choose from.

The benefits of a Peugeot Buy Back include rates that are tax free with non-deductible fully comprehensive insurance, the ability to travel into most former Eastern Bloc countries with no additional fees, unlimited mileage, 24-hour roadside assistance and delivery can be arranged at most major airports and cities throughout Europe.

In addition, minimum rental age is 18 with no maximum age limits. The factory new vehicles with zero mileage can be delivered to select cities throughout France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.

Sample rate shown is a daily rate based upon a 45-day lease of the four-door, four passenger Peugeot 208, manual transmission for deliveries in Paris. Delivery and collection fees may apply for locations outside France. Rate and offer subject to change and additional restrictions may apply.

Auto Europe services over 8,000 car rental locations in over 130 countries worldwide. In addition, through their tour division, they offer scheduled airfare to Europe with over thirty carriers and service 3, 4 & 5 star worldwide hotels. For additional information contact your local sales representative or Auto Europe at (800) 223-5555. Visit their web site at

Salzburg’s Cathedral District

March 25, 2014 on 11:09 am | In Austria | Comments Off

Salzburg, Austria

For many centuries, Salzburg was governed by mighty prince-archbishops who were the spiritual and worldly rulers of the city. Their influence on the city’s culture and economy knew no bounds. Today (that is, as of May 17, 2014) you can explore the former center of power of the prince-archbishops, the DomQuartier Salzburg, on a circular tour: For the first time in 200 years, the entire complex of Residence, Cathedral, and the Benedictine Monastery of St. Peter, is accessible to the public.

With the purchase of just one ticket, embark on a tour of discovery through the private and public spaces that served as visible testament to the prince-archbishop’s influence. The DomQuartier makes it possible to walk around the Cathedral Square at the “upper level” of the buildings surrounding it, and provides new and impressive vistas of the city and its surroundings.

The tour first takes you to the splendid state rooms of the Residence, which served as the worldly seat of power and was used for representational purposes. Fifteen ornate state rooms highlight the art and architecture from Renaissance to Baroque and Classicism. The adjacent Residence Gallery features paintings from the 16th to the 19th century. The tour then continues to the Cathedral Archway Terrace which affords beautiful views of the Baroque heart of the Old Town. After you pass the elaborately stuccoed rooms of the North Oratory, you’ll reach the organ gallery, which is without a doubt the best vantage point from which to see the interior of the Dom, Salzburg’s magnificent Early-Baroque Cathedral. The Cathedral Museum and the prince-archbishopric Cabinet of Art and Curiosities feature artefacts and art treasures spanning 1,300 years. Then you’ll reach the Long Corridor, which is the part that has been closed for 200 years and today displays religious paintings from the collection of the Archdiocese of St. Peter. The next stop is the museum of St. Peter, the oldest monastery in the German-speaking world. After a look at the famous Gothic choir of the Franciscan Church, the circular walking tour ends in the magnificent Carabinieri Hall of the Residence. Open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Graz’s Wine Region

March 25, 2014 on 11:03 am | In Austria, Dine Drink | Comments Off

Vineyards and castles dominate the landscape to the south and the west of Graz. An area rich in tradition, it is a favorite get-away for the people of Graz, who welcome any excuse for a culinary excursion into the wine region.
Vineyards in Southern Styria © Österreich Werbung / Peter Burgstaller
Graz on the map

Just half an hour’s drive from Graz, you’ll come across the rolling hills of the South Styrian Wine Region. For an authentic experience, stop at one of the many “Buschenschänke”. These rustic restaurants serve their own wines and home-made produce. Order the local specialty, a “Brettljause”, which is an assortment of cured meats, spreads, cheeses and pickles served on a wooden board, the “Brettl.”

In western Styria you should definitely try a glass of “Schilcher,” the famous dry rosé produced only in this area. Definitely stop by the Lipizzaner stud farm, Piber, where the horses of the Spanish Riding School are reared. Visitors can pet the young foals, which are born black and change color to white when they turn one year old. Several ancient castles are also well worth exploring. Herberstein castle is home to a wildlife park, and tamed falcons circle above the towering Riegersburg fortress.

Alpine Guru’s Best Kept Ski Secrets

March 24, 2014 on 11:54 am | In Austria, Europe, France, Germany, Italy, London, Norway, Skiing Snowboarding, Slovakia, Sweden, United Kingdom | Comments Off

Luxury ski accommodation specialist looks at the top unsung resorts to help skiers get the best out of what’s left of the season

Leading luxury ski accommodation provider, Alpine Guru, is spilling the beans on the best unsung ski resorts and chalets. These snow drenched destinations should be included on every skier’s bucket list. Make the most of the remainder of the ski season this year and ditch the umbrella, mac and wellies for skis, boots and snowsuit at one of these hidden snow-steeped gems.

Chalet Pecchio, Le Mirior

Chalet Pecchio is situated between some of the best ski resorts in the Alps, including Ste Foy, Val D’Isere, La Plagne and Tignes. The hamlet is the home of high altitude skiing, tucked away with stunning views over the Tarentaise Valley, which can be enjoyed from a wrap-around balcony. The chalet combines a traditional skiing experience with a contemporary interior. Skiing in the 21st century should begin here.

Prices start from €4,600 per week including catering, concierge service and a daily resort shuttle service.

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, San Cassiano

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge is one for those who value the traditional experience. Hidden away in South Tyrol, this renovated 16th century property once stood as a hunting lodge. San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge has been renovated to offer modern facilities such as underfloor heating, an entertainment ‘den’ and a garden whirlpool. Owners, Stefano and Giorgia, are experienced hosts who ensure a warm welcome. Tucked away in the jagged mountains, a classic skiing experience awaits.

From €2,400 per night, enjoy Giorgia’s home cooked dinners, afternoon tea, breakfast and daily cleaning.

Chalet Rotstocki, Grindelwald

Chalet Rotstocki combines a hotel-like service within the intimacy of a private residence. The newly-built chalet is perfectly positioned to take in beautiful views from the balconies and terraces, including that of the North face of the Eigar. Each apartment/floor can be rented individually, or larger groups can take up the whole chalet. Chalet Rotstocki offers great flexibility with use of the nearby Hotel Schweizerhof’s facilities, accessible on foot and via a private underground funicular.

Prices are from CHF 245 per person per night or CHF 3,920 for the whole chalet and include housekeeping, breakfast and taxes.

Chalet Gentiane, Grimentz

For a relaxed chalet just a stone’s throw from incredible skiing, try Chalet Gentiane in Grimentz. The property, spread over four floors, contains double height living and dining areas, with the main living space opening out onto a terrace with panoramic views. The chalet is located a few minutes’ walk from the centre of the village of Grimentz. Additionally, the pistes are just one kilometre away, with a free shuttle bus stopping close-by to the chalet. So with easy access to world class skiing combined with the privacy of a hidden retreat, Chalet Gentiane may very well remain one of skiing’s best kept secrets.

Prices are from CHF 3,215 per week during the winter season for a self-catered service with additional services available on request.

Le Rogneux, Commeire

If you’re looking for spectacular natural views whilst not on the slopes, Le Rogneux is the place to go. With incredible vistas from the south and east facing balconies, which boast large windows bringing the beautiful surroundings into the chalet, Le Rogneux is the essence of tranquillity. Located in the quiet village of Commeire, the chalet is a short drive from a number of ski resorts, with Verbier just twenty minutes away. For those looking for a mixture of skiing and exploring nature; look no further than Le Rogneux.

Prices start from CHF 6,300 per week during the winter season and services can be tailored to guests’ needs.

For more information or to book your Alpine holiday, visit, call 020 3004 8750 or email

About Alpine Guru

Alpine Guru works tirelessly to find its clients the perfect luxury ski chalet or hotel for their alpine getaway. Founded in 2011 by ski enthusiasts Oli Corkhill and Ant Cullen, Alpine Guru boasts an impressive collection of over 340 luxury chalets, apartments and hotels throughout the best ski resorts in Europe, Japan and North America; all on one easy to use website.

For more information visit:  or follow the team @alpineguru.

Bramble Ski has a new Austrian chalet

March 24, 2014 on 10:38 am | In Austria, London, Skiing Snowboarding, United Kingdom | Comments Off

New luxury ski-in ski-out chalet hailed as most exclusive private property in region

Bramble Ski, the exquisite collection of private chalet properties in Verbier, St Anton, Villars and Lech – is delighted to announce a brand new addition to its portfolio in the Austrian mountain village of Oberlech, the sleek überHaus chalet which sleeps up to 16 people.

Fast establishing itself as one of Lech’s most prestigious private chalets, überHaus is the second Bramble Ski property in Lech following the acquisition of the sixteenth century Chalet 1597 (sleeps 12) in 2013. Located right in the middle of the piste, and boasting phenomenal facilities such as an outdoor hot tub, sauna, Hammam and gym, a dedicated cinema room and even a pool table, adults and children alike will be blown away by überHaus’ boundless appeal and effortlessly elegant design.


With one of the highest snowfall records in the Alps, Lech has been for decades the preferred destination for wealthy ski fanatics. The resort continues to be the favourite choice for discerning travellers who enjoy the pretty landscape, quiet nature of the slopes, as well as lively après ski venues and phenomenal shopping opportunities. For fashionistas and novices alike, Bramble Ski can arrange a dedicated personal shopping experience at the resort’s world famous Strolz Department Store. One of the rare ski-in ski-out properties in the exclusive mountain village of Oberlech, überHaus is the second chalet managed by Bramble Ski in the area.


Sleeping ten adults and six children, überHaus offers a spacious master suite, two family suites, and a further two double bedrooms (all en-suite). The master suite and a further en-suite double bedroom are both located on the top floor of the chalet, offering stunning views of the magical snowscape below. The master suite boasts its own grand living area and dressing room as well as a beautiful, spacious bathroom with roll-top bath and a separate shower.

The two family suites and a further double bedroom – all en-suite – are easily accessible on the ground floor, with one of the family suites containing a double bedroom and a separate children’s room with two sets of bunks (sleeping four children). The second family suite offers a double en-suite bedroom and a children’s bunk in the alcove, which can be folded away on top to make a comfortable seating area.

The first floor of überHaus consists of living and dining areas, separated naturally by the warming fireplace in the middle and spilling out onto a large balcony to the front of the property. The kitchen can either be left open to the dining room or closed off by sliding doors, and is professionally equipped for use by both staff and guests depending on guests’ preference.


Sitting right in the middle of the piste, (with cushioned safety barriers to prevent skiers from skiing in to the building!) and immediate access to the slopes, guests enter Bramble Ski’s überHaus chalet after a long day of skiing and are immediately greeted by the warmth of the open fireplace blazing in the hallway and refreshing beverages.

The chalet’s relaxation area and spa is equipped with a glass bottomed outdoor hot tub overlooking the surrounding mountains, sauna, Hammam, fitness area, massage room, snooker room, bar, library, and a cinema. A grand open plan reception and dining area, with a table seating up to 16, is the ideal space for entertaining guests who can choose from a selection of fine wines from the chalet’s own cellar. Bramble Ski provides guests with a team of private staff including a chef, driver and housekeeping who provide the highest level of attention to detail whilst ensuring the utmost privacy and discretion.

Bramble Ski’s überHaus and Chalet 1597 are available on both a catered and self-catered basis. Whether guests require a highly trained chef at their disposal throughout the week or just for one special celebratory meal, Bramble Ski will provide the ultimate ski holiday dedicated to their every need.

Prices at überHaus start at £3,788 / €4,530 per night, with a minimum stay of 7 nights, for exclusive use in low season (on a catered basis, excluding food and drink). W:  T: +41(0) 22 534 97 74; E:

*Prices in Pounds Sterling correct to today’s exchange rate

Hohenwerfen Fortress in Austria

March 24, 2014 on 10:26 am | In Austria | Comments Off

Elevated by Alpine slopes and built with an unyielding stone façade, the 900-year-old Hohenwerfen fortress has undergone centuries of development to become one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in Europe. In addition to touring the interior of this historic structure, visit the impressive falconry displays at Austria’s first Falconry Museum. Concerts, theater performances and heritage evenings can also be enjoyed throughout the year at this “Castle of Adventure”.
Hohenwerfen Fortress © Hohenwerfen, SalzburgerLand
Hohenwerfen Fortress © Hohenwerfen, SalzburgerLand
Werfen on the map

Isolated high above the Salzachtal Valley near Salzburg, Hohenwerfen fortress has a history of protecting archbishops and archdukes from enemies as well as keeping prisoners locked up behind the impenetrable castle’s walls. These days, the stronghold’s doors are wide-open to visitors of all ages to explore the history of this “Castle of Adventure.” A guided tour takes you through the venerable fortress’ chapel, kitchens, battlements, and bell tower. Check out weapons from throughout the ages on display in the armory and arsenal, and inspect the residential rooms of former castle governors.

Every year, a wide variety of special events including concerts, theater performances, and folk heritage evenings take place at Hohenwerfen. Many consider the highlight of this lineup to be the daily demonstrations of falconry put on by the Provincial Falconer. To learn more about the history and skill of falconry, visit Austria’s first Falconry Museum along the Bird-of-Prey Path.
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Fortress Hohenwerfen
5450 Werfen
Telephone: +11 43 6468 7603


Rail Deals Add Nights and Days in Europe and Africa

March 24, 2014 on 9:06 am | In Adventure Travel, Africa, Austria, Belgium, Czech, Denmark, Europe, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lichtenstein, London, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Paris, Poland, Portugal, Rail Tours, Romania, Rome, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom | Comments Off

A couple of rail deals from abroad are catching the eyes of rail riders. Both Eurail and South Africa’s luxury Blue Train are adding value to the offering for those booking this spring. Eurail is adding value in the form of extra days in some of Europe’s most popular countries. The Mediterranean Deals from Eurail Pass add a free travel day to the Italian One Country Pass and one free travel day to the Regional Passes France-Italy, France-Spain and Italy-Spain. The offer is valid for any variations of these products purchased through April 30. Users will find extensive modern train networks in all three countries and flexible passes that allow for a selection of available travel days and dates, within a period of two months.

With France back in the Eurail Select Pass as of April 1, after a one year absence, the Eurail system now flows unbroken through most of Europe. The Eurail Select Pass re-launches as a Four-Country Pass only. Three, Four and Five Country Select Passes in its current format will still be available for sale until March 31, not including France. Starting on April 1, only Four Country Select Passes can be purchased, with France as one of the 26 Eurail countries to choose from.

There are four types of Eurail Pass exclusively for riders who live outside of Europe: 1) Eurail Global Pass valid in 24 member countries, 2) Eurail Select Pass, 3) Eurail Regional Pass and 4) Eurail One Country Pass. Travelers can also still benefit from the previously announced “Early Bird Promotion,” which offers non-European residents free travel days on Eurail Global Passes purchased by March 31.

For a listing of Authorized General Sales Agents visit

Extra Nights in South Africa

Africa’s luxury Blue Train is offering passengers an extra two hotel nights for travel in June this year. Passengers may use the two hotel nights either pre or post rail journey. The hotel selections in Pretoria include the Sheraton or the Castello di Monte, while the choices in Cape Town include the Taj or Westin, both set in ideal locations in the heart of the city. A hotel breakfast and train station transfer are also included. The promotion is valid for departures from Pretoria to Cape Town on June 2, 9 and 16 or from Cape Town to Pretoria on June 4, 11, and 18. For the remainder of 2014, all guests on other departures are entitled to one complimentary hotel night at these pre-selected hotels.

The Blue Train is an all-inclusive luxury rail cruise through the South African bush. It features such amenities as personal butler service, suites with en-suite bathroom featuring option of bathtub or shower, two lounges with full bar service on board, a boutique, Wi-Fi, gourmet cuisine and a beautiful selection of unlimited South African wines and cocktails. The Blue Train has regularly been voted “The World’s Leading Luxury Train.”

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