europe
Austria

Think of Austria as a big dessert, with a sweet touch, Gemütlich-ness.


Vienna
Boat ride on the Danube - A boat ride on the Danube is fun for everyone in the family. The most beautiful stretch is the Wachau Valley, between Krems and Melk, where you'll pass by castles and abbeys along the river, and the town of Durnstein, where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned. To really see the scenery, bike along the river (there's a good bike path), and the scenery is spectacular. Here's the boat schedule.
Salt mines (Salzwelten) - "White gold," salt, has been mined in Austria for thousands of years. Salt was a valuable commodity and source of wealth to this area. Today the salt mines have been beautifully restored and have lots of fun things for families. Mine tours are for kids 4 years and up.
Salzwelten Salzburg - Located just outside of Salzburg (which literally means "salt castle"), Salzwelten Salzburg is a must see. On the mine tour, you'll glide in a wooden "raft" across an underground salt lake, slide down a miner's slide, ride in a miner's train and visit a reconstructed open-air Celtic settlement to find out how the miners lived and worked. There's also special family activites and events.
Salzwelten Hallstatt - Saltzwelten Hallstatt is the oldest salt mine in the world. For 7,000 years salt has been mined here, and continues to the present day (brine is transported in a pipeline to a processing plant).
On the tour, you'll hear about the "Man in Salt," (discovered in 1734, a man, his clothes and tools perfectly preseved in the salt), ride to an underground lake, and slide on a really long wooden slide, over 200 feet long (this is totally fun for kids).
To get to the mine from the village of Hallstatt (located on the edge of Lake Hallstattersee), take a short funicular ride up to the entrance, which is guarded by a tower, Rudolfsturm. From the tower, there are great views of the village and lake below.
If you want to hike back to Hallstatt village, take the Soleleitungsweg, a walking path that follows the pipeline down to the lake (takes more than an hour to get down).
Salzwelten Altaussee - At Salzwelten Altaussee, the tour takes you inside the massive Sandling salt mountain. Ride on a mining train deep inside, where you'll see rock salt formations and rock layers. This salt mine was also used in World War II by the Nazis to store art works, and you'll tour those "art galleries," with reproductions of art kept safe during the war. Slides take you from one level to the other. In July and Aug., there are special guided tours for kids (slide more than once).

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