In winter, the Austrian slopes hum with skiers and boarders alike. So if ever the ski bug is going to bite you it will surely be at Semmering
Where’s the resort?
Semmering is just over a hundred kilometres or 60 minutes by car, taxi or bus south of Vienna International Airport.
Why should you go?
Combining a spa town, Viennese sophistication, a dramatic UNESCO-listed railway, and skiing and boarding for all levels of ability, Semmering ticks almost every box. The Alpine resort – built around its namesake pass – evolved at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when Vienna was a renowned centre for art, literature, hedonism and, the newest vogue in human sciences, psychoanalysis. Impeccably-connected, well-heeled Viennese socialites took the Semmering Railway, opened in 1854, down a line carved through sheer stone walls and crossing dizzying viaducts, to take in the romantic scenery, lounge at their villas and explore the slopes, whatever the season.
Zauberberg Semmering boasts 13km of slopes; a 2,880-person/hour cable car, 2,400 person/hour quad chair and a family-friendly “happy lift” to shuttle skiers as high as 1,350m. There are pistes for pure beginners, pleasure skiers, avid freeriders and snowboarders – ranging from the family slope to the FIS World Cup Panorama slopes. Snowboarders and freestyle skiers will get a full adrenaline fix at the Split-Park.
Check out the 3km sledge run, open day and night, and the 3km toboggan run. Six night slopes are freshly groomed every day for a 6pm opening. Finnish spa, indoor pool, steam bath and gym and a relaxation room with water beds – spread over three separate sites – allow skiers to strengthen or soothe their bodies between sessions.
What’s the après like?
The Zauberbar, by the valley entrance to the gondola lift, delivers good tunes, live DJs and an elegant setting for a mixed party crowd. Umbrella bar “Paraplü” is on the peak of Hirschenkogel and offers a cool vibe day and night.
Enjoy home-made pies and spare ribs, an open kitchen and fireplace – and tremendous views – at Liechtensteinhaus, at the top of the lift, beside the cable-car mountain station. Seewirthaus, at the foot of Hirschenkogel, is a historic wooden inn (built as a farmhouse in 1666) serving delicious homemade soups, local fish specialities and a range of pastas. The Café Vienna at the Hotel Panhans means you can get a taste for Viennese coffee house culture, taste a creamy “melange” (topped with frothy milk) or a Franziskaner (Franciscan Monk, which uses whipped cream), and sample the delights of Austrian pastries and cakes, just as you would in the capital.
Where to stay
The 95-room Sporthotel, just 500m away from the lifts, is a sleek, modern hotel in a stunning setting; all rooms have free Wi-Fi – aim for a north-side balcony room to get a view of Schneeberg, the highest mountain in Lower Austria. The in-house restaurant specialises in game and themes weeks or days around local ingredients, such as mushrooms and asparagus. The grand four-star 113-room Panhans, opened in 1888, is currently being refurbished; see the website for the latest.
Zauberberg Semmering stands out for its night runs, which make up Europe’s largest single after-dark skiing area – and so the skiing, and partying, never stops.
How to get there
Fly from London Stansted and Birmingham to Vienna, from 2h10m, with Eurowings.
Snow better place to ski
Whether you’re looking for beginner’s tuition, black-run thrills or après partying, Europe has some of the most beautiful ski resorts in the world.
Fly to Vienna, Salzburg, Stuttgart and Munich with Eurowings to enjoy glacier-draped peaks in high-altitude destinations.
For more information and to plan your winter break, visit eurowings.com