Every summer, city dwellers flock to the countryside for a summer retreat… and I’m looking especially forward to it this summer. After spending most of the summer of 2018 in Russia due to my contract at the World Cup, I am delighted to be able to spend this summer in Austria. Creating and developing new ideas is easier on the mountain and at the lake than at my desk. Fresh air and lush landscapes somehow clear my head, giving me time to reflect on other perspectives and ideas. This is my plan for summer 2019. I’ll be exploring some of Austria’s new top spots, and will be testing out whether being constantly accessible through iPads and Smartphones is a curse or a blessing.

On foot or by bike…I’ll be trading the city heat for cool mountain air. My favorite places to do this are Salzkammergut, the Schladminger Tauern or the Bregenz Forest. After an active day on the mountain, a jump in the lake is the perfect refreshment. My insider tips are the Hintersee near Fuschl, the Duisitzkarsee near Schladming and the Thiersee near Kufstein. One highlight this year is that I’ll be fulfilling a long-term dream of mine, climbing the Grossglockner and ascending the pass to the Fischer Törl with a road bike.

If I run out of time and cannot visit the more refreshing areas of the Alps, I’ll hit my favorite spots around Vienna. The Neusiedlersee can be found in the south, along with many good wineries and cellar alleys inviting to you to stop and indulge. My favorites include the cellar alley in Purbach, the Breitenbrunn bathing beach—where guests can be spoiled at the Hollerkoch pop-up bar—and the Seejungfrau restaurant in Jois. After a relaxing day on the bike or sailboat, there are many opportunities in the Neusiedlersee region to enjoy a nice glass of wine, watch the sunset behind the Leitha Mountains and get lost in your thoughts. North of Vienna, about one and a half hours by bike,or 30 minutes by car, are the Stadtflucht Bergmühle and refuge. Founded as a cooking and leisure club in the countryside, it’s not far from Vienna, but far enough from the city to offer guests a relaxing, countryside retreat. Here, there’s more than enough time to enjoy… eating, drinking, chatting, lying in the sun, pedal boating, and simply doing nothing at all.

Before kicking off the fall with the viennacontemporary air fair, I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces at the Alpbach economic talks again, before paying a visit to the FAQ Festival in the Bregenz Forest. Culinary delights, inspiring discussions and the pure experience of Vorarlberg nature await me there. Come along with me on summer vacation through social media, especially Instagram! Where are you heading this summer? I’d love to hear about your personal favorites.