22 May 2019
Silence and Schubert: The Rejuvenating Sounds of Austria
Look around you: how many people are plugged into their headphones right now? In a 24/7 world, our brains are constantly stimulated by the sounds of city life, with many of us using music to drown them out. Yet, occasionally, we all need a break from it all. And in this case, we mean for more than just five minutes.
Look around you: how many people are plugged into their headphones right now? Probably a fair few. Maybe you’re even one of them. In a 24/7 world, our brains are constantly stimulated by the sounds of city life, with many of us using music to drown them out. Yet, occasionally, we all need a break from it all. And in this case, we mean for more than just five minutes.
With an expanse of open countryside to disappear anonymously into, Austria is a prime choice for catching a little peace and quiet, boasting tranquil Alpine meadows and secret mountain paths. If you’re still hoping for a music fix, its numerous festivals and music halls have something to satisfy every taste.
So, from embracing the sounds of the natural world to making the most of an illustrious musical heritage, here are three ways to revive your mind using sound in Austria.
Embrace Nature’s Own Music
There can be few better ways to leave the sounds of civilisation behind than by making the most of Austria’s many incredible hiking opportunities. With only the gentle whistle of the breeze, the trickling of streams and your own footsteps to be heard, your mind will be able to wander as freely as your feet.
Melodious birdsong can be heard through Austria’s countryside – especially on sunrise hikes such as that at the beautiful Mohnenfluh Mountain in Austria’s westernmost province, Vorarlberg. However, for an experience like no other, pay a visit to Lake Neusiedl, in the Neusiedler See-Seewinkel National Park in Burgenland, close to Vienna, which is home to more than 300 species of bird. Here, you’ll be able to listen to the mighty cry Northern Lawping, as well as those of many more unusual varieties.
The Hills Are Alive
To say that the hills are alive with the sound of music is probably a cliché, but once a year it really does come true as the Schubertiade Festival takes place in Hohenems and Schwarzenberg, Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg. Celebrating the works of the famous Austrian composer, Franz Schubert, amid a backdrop of peaceful Alpine meadows, the phenomenal music is set off by the incredible setting.
For something a little more upbeat, try the International Jazz Festival in Saalfelden, in the state of SalzburgerLand. For four days every August, the city attracts the crème de la crème of jazz musicians from all over the world, as well as up-and-coming talents, who showcase their music in the middle of the mountains. Pack your dancing shoes and your hiking boots – how often can you say that?!
Or The Sound of Silence
If you happen to live in a big city (or you’re a parent), then there’s one sound that you’ve probably forgotten: silence. Think about it, even in the quietest, most still of moments in the comfort of your own home, you’re still liable to have your bubble burst by a noisy neighbour or a blaring siren.
Standing atop of an Austrian mountain is the antithesis of that. There’s no traffic, no music, and few other people. Find a spot and sit for a while, savouring this sound. The Lasörling High Trail, in East Tirol, is a particular highlight, traversing through forests and lined with high mountain huts in which to spend the night. Remember to put your phone on flight mode - you’re still going to want the camera – so that no one can interrupt you.
For maximum escapism, take advantage of Austria’s extensive collection of glittering lakes; rent a boat or SUP on the Heiterwanger Lake in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, paddle out to the middle, and soak up the spectacular surroundings.
Want to find out more about how to revive your senses in Austria? Visit the Austrian Tourist Board’s mindfulness guides here.