I am naturally sceptical about Holiday companies, the efficacy of their brochures and the swingeing premiums they put on their holidays which single-travellers have little choice but to pay. Despite not being innocent of any of aforementioned I will always bang-the-drum for Inghams Lakes & Mountains, who I believe to be the leaders in the L & M field and who leave the competition in their wake. I would endorse Inghams as through my personal experiences they excel over their rivals in the following areas:
- Brochure and website design
- Choice of hotels, multi-centre tours and resorts
- Superior resort-representatives
- L & M and Winter Sports represent their core-business, therefore concentrating their efforts almost fully in these areas, unlike their main rival. Therefore, a specialist in the field.
I was prompted to write this post after perusing Inghams’ 2014 brochure which reinforced their high-standards and expertise in this specialist niche of travel. Having been tipped-off about their multi-centre “The Austria Explorer” fourteen night, four-centre holiday in the Tyrol, I was greatly impressed with the obvious knowledge of the individual who drew-up the itinerary and chose the resorts and accommodation. A multi-centre holiday taking in Seefeld, Obergurgl, Alpbach and Pertisau(on Lake Achensee) is outstanding, with ample time in all four resorts to get a great deal out of each.
I have never previously considered escorted tours, cruises or multi/twin-centre holidays, always assuming they cater for the older and less mobile, perhaps with some justification. On though a tour like this there is some very serious walking to be done, not in the least in Obergurgl where you don’t go to shop until you drop or lounge about on hotel terraces. This is hardcore walking-country but if you are unfortunate with the weather in the Oetztal, you are only a few days away from your next destination, in this case being the lower-altitude Alpbach, which punches way above it’s weight when it comes to hiking. The Gratlspitze, Schatzberg and Grosser Beil are formidable day treks, to name but three. The beauty of this multi-resort tour is that you can find your hiking-legs in Seefeld; at 4000 feet above sea-level you don’t feel like you’re that high up when the peaks that frame the resort seem untouchable and distant. If you must though go shopping, at least you can get it out of the way before you head deep into the mountains but Seefeld, nearby Leutasch and even Mittenwald, just half an hour away, offer great easy and intermediate walking.
The tour finishes in Pertisau, on the cerulean-gem that is Lake Achen(Achensee). Despite the lakeside aspect there are surprisingly good and challenging hikes to be found here; should you though wish to book-end your stay in Austria with rest and relaxation in Seefeld and Pertisau, thus preparing for and then resting from your exertions in Obergurgl and Alpbach, this expedition is definitely for you.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the accommodation used during this tour. Inghams give the traveller two options: classic and superior; the latter offers lodgings in all four resorts that are four-star or more, with the Seespitz in Seefeld having the dubious distinction of being rated a four and a half. A half-star? Answers, on a postcard, please. Otherwise, hotels used include the Olympia and Bellevue in Obergurgl and the terrific Alpbacherhof. Should you choose either the classic or superior option I think you will be satisfied but as ever it will be down to your budget, what with there being a significant differential in price between the two, especially when, you’ve guessed it, the supplements per-person have been factored in.
Credit though where it is due. This tour looks to be a fantastic addition to Inghams’ programme, giving both seasoned travellers to Austria and first-timers a diverse itinerary and great opportunities to undertake hikes of varying difficulty, all the while safe in the knowledge that you’ll have a comfortable and welcoming bolt-hole to return to in the evening. Whether this is a new addition to Inghams’ L & M brochure or if any companies elsewhere run a similar tour, I couldn’t say. However, I feel the seemingly unique nature of it coupled with the expertise and experience they bring to the table wouldn’t, on this occasion, tempt me to look any further than Inghams. Well done.