Just like last year, I am spending this summer working in the most beautiful places in Austria. This year, which is so full of extraordinary challenges, I appreciate the local hospitality, the warmth of the people and the stunning natural landscape with its peaks, lakes and wine regions even more. In the upcoming blog articles, I’ll give you a glimpse into my summer getaway and will share my secrets on some hospitality gems, excellent gourmet experiences and special service moments throughout Austria.

Our trip through Austria begins in the westernmost state where countless hidden treasures await you, all of which can be easily reached from the area around Lake Constance. What has brought me back to this piece of countryside for many years is the FAQ Festival in the Bregenz Forest. Inspiring personalities, conversations on philosophy, business, art, handicrafts, media and many other topics, good food, great music and this year’s five-year anniversary celebration convinced me to come back yet again in 2020 and to expand my horizons. A few miles away from the exciting festival, I enjoy one of the numerous, wonderful hotels in the Bregenz Forest, which is among my favorite regions in Austria. I feel particularly at home in the family-run Hotel Gretina in Bezau. It has everything I expect from a great hotel; it’s authentic, cozy and friendly and an excellent value for money. Also in Bezau, but high up on the mountain, I like to stop at the Jagdgasthaus Egender. Here, they’ve got everything you need to power down for a while: a shoddy cellular network, the stunning mountains, pure nature and (above all) the best cheese spaetzle in all of Austria. In the neighboring municipality of Bizau, it is worth stopping by Edith’s. This elegant boutique has everything ladies love: colorful dishes, home goods in Scandi-style and loads of pretty doodads. If I’m looking to treat myself to something special, I can do so at the Gasthof Krone in Hittisau or the Boutique Hotel Bären in Mellau. You should definitely stop by Hotel Bären for an excellent coffee. When it’s too hot in the valley, I recommend visiting the Arlberg for a cool summer experience. For your accommodation, you can go visit Patrick and Benjamin in the friendly Hotel Arlberg. Equipped with fresh raw-milk butter and spicy mountain cheese from the Alps, you’ll certainly leave the area full of enthusiasm after spending some memorable moments in the state.

When it comes to food, I’m already looking forward to the grand opening of the year. In the spring, Theresa Feurstein opened the Weiss restaurant in Bregenz along with Milena Broger (known from many of her positions, including at Klösterle and Schulhus in Zug). Known for the highest quality and a focus on regional specialties, they’ve created a real hotspot for hospitality here. By the way, warm meals are served here until midnight: the perfect place for a delicious beef tartare with a hay emulsion as a midnight snack.

There are also plenty of places worth recommending on the Tyrolean side of the Arlberg. James Baron (#26 on the list of Austria’s 50 best chefs) serves alpine creative food at Hotel Tannenhof in St. Anton. I already had the pleasure of getting to know his extraordinary cuisine at several events. It’s definitely worth a trip for culinary & hospitality fans.

When I meet up with friends in Innsbruck, a cozy evening at the Buzihütte above Innsbruck has been a fixed destination for many years since my years in Tyrol. The rustic atmosphere and the sun terrace with a grandiose view are my personal highlights, along with the delicious dumpling menu. From the Inn valley, I always try to get in at least a short detour to the Achensee. This is my personal power spot and a starting point for hikes in my top 10. After my memorable and instructive time at the FH Kufstein, I like to spend a few days back there. I recently discovered the Juffing Hotel & Spa in Hinterthiersee. The incredibly warm and personal management style of Sonja Juffinger-Konzett makes it the ideal place for me to relax and disconnect. Very close by, Thiersee invites visitors to enjoy the water and the Pendling mountain offers an incredible view of the entire region, the Inn Valley and the Kaiser Mountains.

In East Tyrol, I like to return to Hotel Dolomitenhof in Tristach, known far beyond Lienz’s borders for its Tyrolean hospitality. My friends from university, Thomas and his wife Romana, run the small country hotel with a lot of love and dedication. It is the ideal starting point for a hike in the Hohe Tauern national park, where you can discover unique flora and fauna and stumble upon quaint huts perfect for a leisurely stopover.

For me, South Tyrol still belongs to Austria a little bit. But especially when it comes to hospitality in combination with design, the South Tyroleans are one step ahead of us in many respects. I’m happy to look across the border when it comes to that. From Hotel Miramonti to many small and cozy accommodations… there is inspiration and something new to discover around every corner.

If you end up in the city of Salzburg, you should start the day with what is probably the best coffee in town at 220 GRAD. This year you can take a trip to Hellbrunn Zoo to stroll and be amazed. The young rhino, in particular, is a sweet highlight for young and old. If the mountains are calling, you should stop by the Rauchenbühelhütte run by my fellow classmate Florian on the Gaisberg mountain, 10 minutes away from Salzburg. The excursion into the countryside already pays off on the drive up: here you have the best view of the city. The highlight of the hut is the immaculate roast pork – really special! The Zwölferhorn mountain is a great recommendation for all mountain lovers this summer. Since the railway is being restored, only locals and true mountaineers make their way up to the mountain. It is especially worthwhile if you start early in the morning, then stop at the Lärchenhütte after conquering the summit. An incredible selection of homemade breakfast specialties awaits you there. From porridge to cheese from mountain farmers and home-baked crispbread, everything an athlete’s heart desires is here. You are up for a jump into the lake? While the Fuschlsee and Wolfgangsee lakes are popular, locals are particularly fond of the Hintersee. I discovered it this winter and would like to come back in the summer. The lake, tucked away in an idyllic area around a side valley, turns out to be quieter and less crowded with tourists. A real insider tip!

Further south, Salzburg’s warmth takes top priority at the Verwöhnhotel Sonnhof in St. Veit im Pongau. In particular, the in-house, award-winning restaurant “Vitus Cooking” combines refined creations with unique stories about rivers and forests, creating long-lasting memories. But you can also go to Bad Gastein and get to know the “original location” of this summer resort a bit better. There are many great accommodations here, such as the small design boutique hotel Waldhaus Rudolfshöhe. Sissi and her entourage once spent mild summer nights in this spa town and the imperial flair can still be felt today.

My personal highlight: last year I rode my bike up the Großglockner mountain from the Salzburg side. That definitely brought me to my limit. But what a feeling! I can’t put it into words. Incredibly rewarding and in some ways liberating too. Soon I’ll be climbing the summit on foot… Follow along with me on Instagram!