03 May 2006

Holiday homes in Austria

If, like Julie Andrews, you prefer to combine mountains with melody and believe that a good day's hill-walking comes second only to a night at the opera, then consider a holiday home in Austria. In Salzburgerland, the mountainous district that surrounds Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, you can walk, fish, ski or go horseriding, and then return to the heart of the historic cobbled city before the curtain goes up on Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

"There are lots of pluses for a family," says Deborah Ansel, who with her husband, Rob, is about to buy here. The couple from Buntingford, Herts, together with their sons George, 13, and Joe, seven, are considering buying, for £215,000, a large one-bedroom apartment in Zum Baren, a new development an hour and a quarter from Salzburg. "It will sleep four and we will use the pool, the golf course and do lots of walking," says Deborah. "We're not buying it just for the skiing. And of course we can get to know Salzburg."

Since joining the EU in 1995, this small and slightly old-fashioned country of eight million inhabitants has been gradually lifting its property restrictions and it is now possible for foreigners to buy into some of its beautiful countryside and chocolate-box towns. Zum Baren is one of the first luxury resorts aimed at non-residents. Built by the upmarket developer La Perla, it is near the village of Maria Alm in the Hochkonigs Winterreich mountain network. Here, the very lovely hills and trails are untouristy and remarkably quiet compared to more fashionable mountain resorts such as nearby Kitzbuhel and Saalbach.

Full report here.

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