We already had to cancel 3 trips this year because of COVID-19. We haven't been traveling anywhere since January. We were eagerly looking to organize a short family trip somewhere around Munich in a safe way. In the end, we found the perfect destination - Pertisau in the Austrian Alps.
Where to travel during the pandemic?
We live in Munich and the situation there is quite stable in the last weeks. Even though there are still some restrictions, almost everything already reopened. Some places, like offices and restaurants, still limit the number of people so that a distance of 1.5 m can be kept. Wearing a mask is mandatory everywhere indoors. Other European countries like Austria and Italy are also dealing well with the situation and the boarders opened again. So, we decided that it is now safe to organize a short family trip.
We were looking for a place in the Alps where we could enjoy the mountains and have fun with our (almost) 2 years old son Leo. He loves playing in the water, so we wanted a place with a nice pool. We also wanted to spend as much time as possible outdoors. In the end, we decided to go to Pertisau on the Achensee lake in the Austrian Alps.
Pertisau on the Achensee
Pertisau is a small village in the Austrian Alps close to the German border. It is a less than 2 hour drive from Munich and the trip through the Alps is very scenic (here you can read more about driving with a baby). It is located on the beautiful Achensee lake, surrounded by the Karwendel mountains. The city has a special atmosphere that feels a bit more Italian than Austrian with all the nice cafés along the lake shore.
Pertisau is popular with tourists so there is a good choice of hotels, but it is neither overcrowded nor overbuild. Almost all hotels have pools, large open areas and are very child-friendly. The city itself is also suitable for kids - there are several free playgrounds around the city. Most hotels also offer some private facilities for kids.
We visited Pertisau last year in June, when Leo was about 9 months old and knew that the city was child-friendly. Now that he is older, we discovered many new entertainment options and had a great time.
What to do in Pertisau?
There are many interesting things to do in Pertisau so you can easily spend much more than 4 days there. Here, I'll describe some things we did or wanted to do, but the list is surely not complete.
Walk along the lake - there is a nice promenade along the lake passing through the city center. The walk there is very pleasant with many options to stop for a coffee or ice cream. At the south end of the promenade there is an observation platform with nice views on the lake.
Go up the mountain with the lift - the Karwendel lift takes you at almost 1500 m at the Zwölferkopf. From there you have a beautiful view on the lake, the city and the surrounding mountains. There are several hiking routes starting there, which can get you back down to the city. If you want to relax, there is a nice place to eat with a big playground for the kids. If the weather is suitable, you can also observe the paragliders that take off from the meadow right next to the lift. And if you feel like it you can also do a tandem flight....
Jump on a boat trip - you can take the ferry and visit one of the other cities on the Achensee. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to do that, but plan to do it next time.
Visit one of the playgrounds - if you are travelling with a kid you should check out the nice playgrounds around the city. There is one next to the lake that also serves as a beach/café so you can also enjoy, while your little one plays. Check out this one as well.
Relax at the pool or in the SPA - there are many hotels and guest houses with pools and spa centers where you can relax. We stayed at a hotel call Das Rieser which is a bit expensive, but totally worth the money.
Visit the Vitalberg Erlebniszentrum - it is a café and museum dedicated to the so called Steinöl. This is oil extracted from the local shale deposits and is an important industry for the city.
Visit the Swarovski Crystal Worlds - this is a must-do if you are in the region. It is a modern and interesting place that shows off Swarovski crystals. It feels like a modern art museum and has an impressive garden. It is about 40 minutes by car from Pertisau and this is also where the actual Swarovski factory is. We visited this place last year and decided to skip it this time because of COVID-19.
Take your kids to see some animals - we wanted to visit the Gernalm and the Gramaialm so Leo can see the animals there - cows, pigs, ducks, goat etc. At the Gramaialm you could even pet the animals. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for that, so we had to leave this for the next time.
Go to Innsbruck - the city of Innsbruck is also close to Pertisau and is worth a day trip.
Travelling safely during the pandemic
Staying safe and healthy was an important priority . We avoided all kinds of public transport and only used our car or walked around Pertisau on foot. We went in July when the weather is warm, so we could stay outdoors almost all the time. We also avoided visiting museums or shops and instead took walks and went to the playgrounds.
Strangely, the hotels in Austria don't require wearing a mask. However, there were limitation of the number of people that can enter closed rooms, like for example the spa areas, the indoor pool or the fitness room. We spend most of the time outside in the nature anyways.
We will definitely visit Pertisau again!
We really enjoyed the time we spent in Pertisau and I think Leo had a lot of fun as well. We will definitely come back next year in the summer. There are also many opportunities to go skiing in the area, so a visit in the winter is interesting as well.
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