Places to Visit »Austrian Castles

Riegersburg and  Kapfenstein, Guest Written by Astrid

One of the many day trip options in Austria is going to see it’s castles, we were staying in Styria and decided to visit the more well known castle Riegersburg.

The fortress is built on volcanic rock and parts date back to the 1200s. It’s about a 20 minute hike up to the castle and as you get higher the view gets more beautiful, on clear days you can see as far as Hungary. The scenery alone is worth a visit! Once you’ve trekked up through the many entrance ways and moats you are rewarded with a beer garden (thankfully almost every tourist destination in Austria will reward you with beer and wine) where you can enjoy a cold Gosser or wine spritzer!

Riegersburg has a great witch “Hexen” exhibit where you can learn about the witch hunts of the 1600’s and check out some awesomely designed exhibits. The most interesting witch who’s story is on display is the Rose witch, who was burned and decapitated bc she was able to grow roses year round and during a particularly harsh winter.

After the witch exhibit you enter Riegersburg proper where there are some predictable but still breathtakingly opulent living quarters and banquet halls. My favorite display was a Knights feast of nobles stuffing themselves with food and wine, only to vomit after on the “vomiting bridge”.

If after this display of gluttony you start to feel hungry you can take a 15 minute drive to have lunch at castle Kapfenstein.

Kapfenstein is an old castle again with beautiful views, an amazing restaurant and vineyards that surround it. The family that runs the restaurant also owns the vineyard so the wines are not only affordable but really delicious. We had great weather so got to sit on the terrace and enjoy a lovely rose and lunch of new-austrian fare with a focus on seasonal and organic (yep everyone’s doing it). The chef is also a believer in making vegetarian dishes as relevant on the menu as the hearty meat fare (Marcus had Ox)!

Plus we saw a salamander scurry by during our meal, a memorable day…


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Posted on July 27, 2011

Desserts »Cafe Sabarsky

Cafe Sabarsky

Why do I mention it now?

Because we just enjoyed a relaxing wine filled lunch here (it's a perfect
stop off after a museum day) and were again blown away by the scrumptious desserts. I can't recommend the Milchrahmstrudel: quark cheese strudel with vanilla sauce enough!

Here's what I said back on 4/24/06:

Located in the Neue Galerie which is now hosting a Klee show, this scrumptious Viennese cafe has some tantalizing dessert choices. Doug and I opted for a white chocolate mousse torte with citrus fruit. It was dense, decadent, and perfectly balanced, no flavor was too overbearing.

A perfect spot for a quick dessert and coffee during a museum day. Tip – if the line is long, the downstairs cafe has the same menu and not as many people know about it.

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Posted on June 15, 2009

Places to Visit »Swarovski Kristalweltan

Swarovski KristalweltanMike and Shaun recently returned from their big European vacation, we were looking at their beautiful photos the other night and I just could not get over the Swarovski museum. Shaun graciously agreed to blog about his experiences:

OK, so Stermer and I recently went on a trip to Munich, Innsbruck and Venice and instead of writing on the typical beer halls of Munich or the Canals and decay of Venice, I'm writing a little on the city of Innsbruck and what might be the strangest tourist attraction I've ever been too.

Innsbruck is a small college town nestled high up in the alps in a region known as Tyrol and Innsbruck is it's capital. ?nnsbruck known for hosting the winter Olympic games in 1964 & 1976 and more famously as the helm of the Swarovski Crystal Empire. ?ince the Olympics have not come back to the Innsbruck area in quite some time the city had to turn to other resources to bring in Tourists and what was decided upon was building a museum to the Swarovski Crystal called Swarovski Kristallwelten.
I had heard about this place on the Samantha Brown show Passport to Europe on the Travel Channel and one look at it on her show and I had to go! ?irst off, the museum is about 20 minutes north of the City of Innsbruck set aside a hillside…The entrance is a head with water spitting out of it's mouth. ?s soon as you enter, you realize you are in a very special place, something that would never happen anywhere but Austria. ?he first room has a giant horse with a crystal saddle and bridle. ?nd room is this completely Beetlejuice robot sound installation, the 3rd room is right out of Superman. ?t goes on from room to room with sound installations done by Brian Eno, with art installations by Alexander McQueen, Tord Boontje, Andre Heller, Susanne Schmogner, Chris Levine, etc, then empties out into the largest Swarovski store on the planet where you can by everything from loose crystals to giant crystal parrots for thousands of Euros. ?ll in all it's quote magical and if you find yourself in the Tyrol area of Austria it is worth the stop.

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Posted on June 8, 2009