LETTING YOU IN ON OUR LITTLE AUSTRIAN SECRET ✕ FILZMOOS
Introducing you to the real life winter wonderland that the world is yet to discover.
When we arrived in Filzmoos, the lovely host at our guest house asked us "Why Filzmoos?"
Choosing to come to this small Austrian village, she said, was like throwing a dart at a map and deciding to go wherever it landed.
I told her that my research for a winter wonderland getaway just so happened to unearth this tiny little town, but Heidi, if you're reading this and were to ask me again, now I can tell you exactly what my answer would be.
As someone who had only ever experienced snow before on the tops of New Zealand's Southern Alps, I wanted our first taste of winter in Europe to be a true taste of winter in Europe. The kind of snow-covered, mountain-lined, picture-perfect, small-ski-village, winter-wonderland kind of winter.
I've got Instagram & Pinterest to thank for setting my clearly realistic expectations...But the town of Filzmoos to thank for surpassing them.
Filzmoos was a town straight out of a postcard - a cluster of traditional Austrian-style houses, covered in fresh snow and enveloped by Christmas-tree covered mountains. Yet despite this, there were very few tourists who would be writing home about it. The town seemed like a local's secret, where even during peak season it felt like we had the slopes all to ourselves, and other than when the obliging locals had to switch to English for us, we rarely heard a familiar word uttered (Thank god for those years I spent learning German at school!).
At one end of town was our cosy guest house, and at the other (only 10 minutes away), the ski slopes. And they were slopes like I'd never seen nor skied before: ones that started with a breathtaking chairlift ride up overlooking the alps, branched off to endless different runs through the trees that blanketed the mountain sides, and ended right in the middle of the village (and with a pub at the bottom for a compulsory aprés ski beverage).
Getting around was either by wading through the fresh snow (that in places was up to our thighs), hopping on the free ski bus that took us door-to-slope, or trotting along by horse and cart. And for those wanting to explore beyond the town's edge, a car or bus ride will take you to Austria's highest mountain peak that towers nearby (see its unbelievable vista here) or your hiking boots can escort you on some of the most beautiful walking trails in the area.
And on those days where you don't want to go anywhere, we found that there was nothing better than lying in bed watching the snowflakes fall outside of our window.
So next winter, it's not a question of Why Filzmoos. It's a question of why would we go anywhere else.
(And after all Heidi, we did promise little 18-month-old Henry that we would go skiing with him!).
↓ SCROLL DOWN FOR my FIlzmoos must-do's & TIPS ↓
While this homely guest house may be on the edge of town, there's something quite nice about leaving the middle of the village to retire for the night and about waking up to a view of nothing between you and the mountains but fresh snow. Mornings also couldn't start any better than with one of Margaret's home-cooked breakfasts! Rooms and fully-equipped apartments available.
If you don't speak a word of Deutsch, ask for Heidi when calling!
Our favourite restaurant for somewhere with a cosy, romantic and traditional Austrian feel and exquisite Austrian dishes.
Our pick of pubs that sits at the foot of the Papageno ski slope. Great for a winter warmer after a day on the skis and, as we found out, a bit of Euro music and table-top dancing on New Year's Eve.
We never made it here but heard from the locals that it was a good time.
No matter your skiing ability, make sure you hit the breathtaking slopes at least once. A pass gives you access to all nearby Ski Amadé slopes that wind their way down both sides of the Filzmoos township.
Even if you're not one for skiing, catch the chairlift/gondola to the top of the mountain. You'll be greeted with the most incredible views over Filzmoos, a number of picturesque walks to follow, and a pub to keep warm in.
If I could recommend only one thing, this would be it: An unforgettable half-day or day trip to Der Dachstein, Austria's highest mountain peak (10km away from Filzmoos).
Wish we'd done
Exploring the surrounding area by foot is on our agenda for next time - Filzmoos marks the start of some of the best hikes and walking trails in the area.
To be whisked through the town by horse and cart. The best way to travel through a winter wonderland.
If flying: The closest airport to Filzmoos is Salzburg, which is an easy two-hour trip away via a train and two local buses.
Once in Filzmoos, the easiest way to get around is via the (free) ski bus that runs regularly and drops off/picks up from town, at all the chairlifts, and near to all accommodation.
If you want to explore the local area, a car is useful; however, the snow can make driving difficult - be careful!
If you're heading there over a busy period like New Year's, remember that it's a small town. If there's a restaurant you particularly want to try, book it. If you know you'll need a taxi, book in advance. Otherwise be happy to go with the flow!
You will always be able to find someone that speaks at least a little English, but it is a local town so it's always nice (and respectful) to know a few German greeting and words.