Not really into the whole winter sports scene, but still daydreaming about a snowy getaway with your kids? We've got the lowdown on how Austria and Bavaria have so much to offer even beyond the top-tier ski resorts. Get ready to discover what a laid-back winter family vacation without skiing is all about.
Fun, Excitement, and Snow - Activities without Skiing for Kids and Parents
Family not necessarily in the mood for pizza, fries, and snowplow turns? There are ways aplenty to enjoy the snow beyond the well-groomed pistes. Here are our top 7 picks for a winter vacation with kids, minus the skiing:
1: Sled Runs: Sledding brings smiles to faces of all ages. Our favorite: The world's longest floodlit toboggan run, stretching 14 kilometers inside the Wildkogel Arena (approximately 20 km from Tauern Lodges Uttendorf). Discover essential tips for sledding and explore the (natural) toboggan runs around the ALPS RESORTS in this blog post.
2: Alpine Coasters: Let’s stick with the exhilarating alternatives to skiing for your winter getaway: Alpine coasters offer a thrilling ride down the mountain by means of a sled that runs along a track. These Alpine coasters are open year-round: Nocky Flitzer (Turracher Höhe), Maisi Flitzer (about 5 km from Tauernsuites Mitterwirt), and Flachau Lucky Flitzer (approximately 15 km from Tauernresidence Radstadt).
3: Winter Hiking: Hiking with kids is a memorable experience in winter, too: the landscape sparkles, and the snow crunches beneath your feet. In the deep snow, you can spot the tracks left behind by foxes and hares – and of course, there's always time for a snowball fight! Speaking of wildlife: Ranger-led wildlife feedings in locations such as Hohe Tauern National Park are certain to captivate you.
4: Ice Skating: Taking those first steps out onto the ice, making pirouettes, or speedskating head-to-head – ice skating captivates and fascinates. Whether indoors at the big Max Aicher Arena in Inzell or on the frozen-over Turracher See up on the Turracher Höhe. On Europe's largest natural ice surface – Lake Weissensee in Carinthia – you can glide lap after lap from mid-December to early March.
5: Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides: Bundled up nice and snug, you'll be drawn through the snowy winter countryside by a team of horses. Not just an outing for romantic couples, it's also a magical highlight away from the pistes for families with children on their winter vacation.
6: Snowball Fights and Igloo Building: When there's a good layer of snow outside, no kid can resist the call of the outdoors. Snowman families and igloos are waiting to be built, and snowball battles are ready to be won. Children are never more easily enticed into outdoor activities than when snow is involved. And the best part? You don't even need skis for this!
7: Hot Chocolate and Board Games: If you've booked your winter vacation with kids at an ALPS RESORT in Austria or Bavaria, you're in for an additional treat. Not only will you find ample space in your holiday apartment or house for your entire family's winter gear, but you can also whip up a steaming mug of hot chocolate whenever you like. When the wind is howling and the snow is falling outside, everyone gathers in the living room to enjoy a round or two of UNO. Or perhaps one of the AMIGO board games available in our accommodations at the Bergeralm Chalets, Bergresort Hauser Kaibling, Alpenchalets Biberwier and Carpe Solem Rauris. Further information
Family Paradises in the Alps - Winter Destinations for Everyone, Young and Old, with and without Skiing
These winter sports destinations in Austria offer more than just great (family) ski areas; they provide appealing alternatives for families amid the snowy winter landscapes:
Turracher Höhe, Styria/ Carinthia: Ice skating on the Turracher See, a winter stroll through the pine forests, a ride on the Nocky Flitzer – and plenty of room to spare in the holiday homes of ALPS RESORTS! Turracher Höhe, an idyllic alpine lake plateau on the border between Carinthia and Styria, rests at an elevation of around 1800 meters above sea level.
Nassfeld-Presseggersee, Carinthia: In the popular vacation region of Gailtal, Carinthia, 55 km of winter hiking trails, horse-drawn sleigh rides, llama trekking, the natural ice “rinks” of Weissensee and Presseggersee, and 5 illuminated toboggan runs all beckon. One of these toboggan runs is conveniently close to ALPS RESORTS "Chalets & Glamping Nassfeld" in Kötschach-Mauthen. These chalets at the forest's edge offer winter getaways embraced by Mother Nature – a special vacation experience for the entire family! Adjacent to the resort is the Aquarena, where everyone can splash and slide to their hearts’ content.
Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, Tyrol: Unforgettable winter vacation experiences await in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, including a ride on a snowcat, llama trekking, and igloo building. A manmade ice rink, climbing hall, and indoor pool at the recreation centre offer a delightful contrast to snowball fights and winter hikes. Check out Alpenchalets Biberwier
Familiendorf Uttendorf, Salzburger Land: The weekly program offered by the local tourist office is truly impressive: options range from wildlife watching and bouldering in the climbing hall, to fun-filled afternoons of sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Children ages 10 and above can even give ice climbing a shot! In the Hohe Tauern National Park holiday region, families are able to enjoy a diverse winter vacation even without skiing. Visit Tauern Lodges Uttendorf
Raurisertal, Salzburger Land: The Rauris valley, considered a hidden gem inside Hohe Tauern National Park, greets you with a true winter wonderland. Families can experience the joys of sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, winter hikes, and torchlight walks, conjuring up an authentic winter experience unlike any other. Moreover, this 30 kilometers-long valley within the National Park provides ample space for snowball battles and beautifully crafted snowman families. At the valley head, known as Kolm Saigurn (elevation approximately 1600 meters), and nestled at the foot of three-thousand-meter peaks, winter lingers a little longer than elsewhere. Visit Carpe Solem Rauris
Winter Delights Away from the Slopes - Why Skiing Isn't Always a Must
As you can see, the chilly season promises all kinds of fun without necessarily having to clamp on a pair of skis. The snow-covered landscapes offer a myriad of possibilities for non-skiers. Strap on snowshoes, grab a sled, discover the intricate beauty of a winter landscape, or simply watch snowflakes dance in the air. Kids can get up to an array of unforgettable snowy escapades. With proper planning, you and your children are sure to have an exciting winter vacation without skiing, and boredom is simply never a factor!
FAQs about Winter Vacations with Kids without Skiing
Snowball fights, making snow angels, molding the perfect snowball, and building snowmen and -women, of course – even the littlest youngsters are certain to have a blast. Short expeditions out into the snowy countryside are also enjoyable for small children.
Equipment such as ice skates, sleds, cross-country skiing gear, and snowshoes are often available for rent at local sports shops. It's best to plan your first activities ahead of time, then go ahead and inquire about equipment rental options at your winter vacation destination. Warm winter clothing, thermal underwear, hats, gloves, scarves, neck gaiters, thick socks, and, above all, sturdy footwear should definitely be in your suitcase. Don't forget ski and sun goggles, lip balm, cold and sun protection. Here you can find our packing list for your holiday apartment.
Choose a destination that offers a variety of activities for families during the winter, and pay attention to size when selecting accommodations. Holiday apartments and houses provide ample space and flexibility. Especially during a winter vacation with children – even without skiing – you tend to travel with a lot of luggage. Research possible activities and equipment rentals beforehand, and always check weather and road reports closely.
Photo materials © Weissensee / Nassfeld-Presseggersee, Rauris Tourist Office, Salzburger Land Tourism