Imagine the fairytale village of Salzburg, Austria--where "The Sound of Music" was filmed--in winter! How about spending Christmas or New Year's there?
Check out this link to a slideshow of Salzburg at Christmas
Believe it or not, there are several hostels in Salzburg, including a couple "more-hotel-like" ones that are really quite lovely, but still inexpensive.
Salzburg--in the preAlps--never shuts down regardless of the season. It's cold and snowy in the winter, but frostily beautiful! If you are a skier, you might want to take the snow shuttle up into the mountains. Even if you don't want to ski, you can still ride the shuttle. There are other options, from tobogganing to snow-shoeing to just plain walking in the winter wonderland.
The "Original Sound of Music Tour" is available every day for $35.00/adult. It's a wonderful ride with breathtaking views of the landscape where the opening scenes were filmed, while you listen to the original Sound of Music soundtrack. An English-speaking guide shows you the highlights of the film and the historical and architectural landmarks in the city, as well as a part of the picturesque lake district. It takes about 4 hours.
There are other tours you can take, like a full-day excursion along the Salzach river valley past many of Austria's ski resorts. Near Schladming, location of the 1982 ski World Championships, the tour ascends to the "Steirische Ramsau" 1000 m above sea level at the base of one of the Alpine glacier massives--the Dachstein. In the village there's time for a stroll in the frosty fresh air and lunch in one of the local inns. Then you'll hear the jingle of sleighbells calling you to the sleighs, lined up across the field to take you on an amazing winter sleighride! A stop for refreshments is made along the way, and while the horses rest, you can try some Austrian specialties. The trip, approximately 8 hours long, is available December 26, 28, 30 and 31.
You can explore all the Salzburg hostels using the search panel on this site, but I've picked out my favorite for the money. It is Haus-Lindner, a beautiful country house at the edge of the city. Here's what the owner says about it:
Our building is located north, opposite the city on a sunny mountain slope. From our panorama terrace you will enjoy the view over Salzburg and the wonderful mountains. The rooms are stylish and very comfortable, partly with balcony. Our bathrooms only include shower facilities. The newly arranged breakfast room serves also as a TV/Sat room as well as a lounge. Excellent breakfast, too!
We have parking for your car in front of the building. If you book the Sound of Music Tour at House Lindner, you are treated to the movie. The tour bus stops every morning at the house.
The beds at Haus-Lindner start at $23.36. Taxes and breakfast are included. And how about that view! Pretty impressive, no?
Salzburg is also the "city of Mozart." Mozart Week is January 26 through February 4, 2007. It includes a performance of Mozart's own arrangement of Handel's Messiah and a behind-the-scenes exhibit of the life and times of Mozart.
Besides music and tours, Salzburg's "old city" is delightful and you simply won't have the time to visit all of its elegant palaces, Baroque churches, lively theaters and fascinating museums.