Go Away at Christmastime and Save, Even in Austria

Horse carraige in Innsbruck Austria. photo by Sonja Stark. Where to go on Christmas is a question many people ask about this time of the year.

Surprisingly, even though it’s a time that many people want to be home with family, others take this opportunity to get a great deal on a vacation. Sonja Stark chose Innsbruck Austria for a Christmas getaway a few years ago. She visited a holiday comparison site and landed a great deal that made even expensive Austria affordable. Here is part of her story.

Aimless Strolling through Story Town

Tucked inside the Inn valley, shouldered by snow-capped mountains and colorful baroque churches, sits the charming Capital city of Innsbruck, Austria. The medieval Old Town section, with its pastel-painted, wedding cake-like buildings and labyrinth of alleyways invites aimless strolling for hours.

Like other European towns, Innsbruck in December is awash with busy Christmas markets that have operated for centuries as festive meeting places for selling homemade crafts and ornaments.

Gifts like wooden figurines, glass balls, straw stars, cookie tins and painted toys are popular among visitors.

The shopping hoopla is closely watched overhead by life-size oddities along Fairytale Lane, characters like: Snow White, Cinderella, Pinocchio, and Hansel and Gretel. They perch like birds on windowsills, peeking down onto children enjoying roasted chestnuts and warm pretzels.

A favorite meeting place for families is in front of the privileged three-story balcony, aptly named The Golden Roof, because of its 2657 fire-gilded copper tiles, built in 1500 by Archduke Friedrich IV as a gift for Emperor Maximilian I. During my first visit here in 1980, I was a tiny 10 year old, but to this day I remember that sparkling Golden Roof like it was yesterday.