Keyvisual maunzimadame, © Maunzimadame

Family fun in a winter wonderland

Sometimes it's nice to experience the small things in life together: the ski resorts of St. Corona and Mönichkirchen are perfect for experiencing unforgettable days in the snow.

When people think of the Alps, they usually think of the tall, craggy mountains in western Austria. Only very few of us think of the Viennese Alps. I have to admit that, until two weeks ago, we had no idea ourselves, although we don't actually live that far away…  Read more..

We, that's Madame, Monsieur, Mr. and me, a chaotic little gang who love discovering the world, whether it's far away or right in front of our house door. And this weekend is right in front of this very door. To be precise, into Wechsel country. A good hour away from our base in Graz, visits to Kirchschlag, St. Corona am Wechsel and Mönichkirchen are on the agenda. We're excited, full of energy and can't wait to see everything that awaits us.

Winter walks in Kirchschlag.

Our first stop finds us in the sweet little town of Kirchschlag in the Bucklige Welt. Winter walks is our motto for the day. And this winter walk also has an actual goal: the castle ruins of Kirschlag. Some very impressive ruins, with roots going back as far as the 12th century. You can get there with half-an-hour's walk from the town centre. Madame and Monsieur are also impressed by the ruins, which inspired them to play princess and knight.

By the way: the best place to get supplies for your walk is the, a local shop in the town centre, which doesn't just have regional delicacies and small souvenirs from the Bucklige Welt; you can also find specially selected sundries from all over the world there. Even we feel rich, after a snack, mind you. Likewise Madame and Monsieur – both of them are immediately allowed to call a colouring book about the Bucklige Welt their own.

If you'd rather have something to eat after your walk, the Hotel Post Hönigwirt is highly recommended. There's a particular emphasis on inn culture here. As well as Austrian culinary classics, there are also all kinds of new interpretations and a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Absolutely delicious.

The Ofnerhof – a holiday on a farm.

In the evening, we have to say goodbye to Kirchschlag. We still have a little bit further to go. And it's off to St. Corona, to the farm of the Ofner family.

As soon as you walk in, you feel a great warmth. We immediately feel welcome and at home. Our room - or rather, our apartment - is huge and lovingly kitted out with two bedrooms. The beds are so comfy that we decide to get in and stay there. The exploration of the farm will just have to wait until tomorrow morning.

After a plentiful breakfast with several homemade organic products from the farm, we go straight to the animals. Birgit, the owner, shows us the cows in their stall, leads us to the chickens and explains what you need to remember when feeding the goats and rabbits. Madame and Monsieur are in heaven, because they don't just get to look, they're allowed to join in themselves. Good times.

But the real highlight of the farm is tucked away one floor above the stall: a 'Spielestadl' - or an indoor climbing paradise - where children can go wild to their hearts' content, while the Mr and I can lie on the deckchairs nearby and let our minds drift.

Skiing and tobogganing in St. Corona.

But that'll have to wait for another day, as we're worn out. We need a bit more energy for skiing. Because only a couple of minutes away from the Ofnerhof, there's the St. Corona am Wechsel Experience Arena. A real skiing paradise for families. There's a slope each for every ability level, with its own lift or magic carpet. If you want to, you can book a ski course, or - like Monsieur - take a private class to freshen up your skills, or even just to learn how to stand on skis.

You don't need to worry about bringing your own skis and shoes. You can easily borrow them from the in-house ski rental. Here's a little tip: always reserve your equipment online, because it tends to go very quickly!

You don't need to bring your own food either; you can go to the Wexl Lounge for a pleasant food stop. There's a wide selection of regional dishes here - and the obligatory skiers' yeast dumplings are also on the menu.

The lift card also grants access to one very special highlight: the tobogganing field. You can hire various toboggans, bobsleds or any other sliding equipment that you fancy here, and whizz down the field. It's a real pleasure. Just one thing: you'll have to make the upward journey yourself!

If you don't fancy climbing the mountain, there's also an opportunity in St. Corona to take the toboggan express. Here, a platter lift will easily take you up with your toboggan, all you need to do is ride back down. What fun! Please note: you'll have to wear a helmet here! Although it goes without saying where tobogganing's concerned. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can even do it under floodlights.

For dinner - skiing really works up an appetite - we have a recommendation: the Molzbachhof. Ten minutes' drive away from St. Corona, it has everything that makes a gourmet's heart beat faster. Of particular note: the cooking is regional and mainly seasonal. And very good it is too. My highlight: sweet potato gnocchi with cooked savoy cabbage on a celery purée – it's so good that I'd say it's one of the best meals I've ever had.

Ski and swing fun in Mönichkirchen.

On Sunday, it's time to say goodbye to the Ofnerhof and St. Corona am Wechsel. There's one more place for us to go to on the agenda: Mönichkirchen. Likewise, the Mönichkirchen-Mariensee ski circuit.

A great family ski resort, where the emphasis isn't just on skiing fun (there's a ski movie track where you can film your own courses), but there’s fun away from the slopes as well. As we ride the chairlift from the central station, we notice a large number of snowshoe walkers and when we arrived at the top on the alm, there's a fantastic playground.

You don't have to bring your own skis here either. In the valley, there's a newly built rental station where you can rent everything you need. Ideally, you should make your reservations online here as well - because put it this way: it really does save a lot of time!

If you'd rather chill out on the mountain, there's something for you here too: on the swing route, there's plenty of swings and swing beds even in winter, where you can let your inner child out to play with the beautiful view. Lovely.

For your rest stop, the Berggasthof Mönichkirchner Schwaig is highly recommended, the sun terrace is not only protected from the wind and really lovely, but the meals are great and if you're lucky, you can watch the family of donkeys who live here on the alm.

Yes, and before we know it, this wonderful weekend is over. We make one more short pit stop at the Wechselland Bakery on our way back to Graz. And not just with fresh bread, but also with many happy memories, high spirits and a plan to come back soon.

Hi, it's me...

I'm Lisa, 32 years young, and I come from Graz (Austria). I'm the mum of a wonderful daughter and a great son. I work in a technical office and go by the name of DJane on the side, while Dad also works independently as a DJ and has other side projects going on. It means that our daily lives aren't exactly easy, but they are exciting. In spite of this, we try as much as we can to divide our time between our daily challenges, Madame, Monsieur, work and hobbies. You can read about the ups and downs of our lives, and how not everything goes to plan, on my blog Madame M. - Stories From a Mum's Daily Life.

5 questions for Lisa alias maunzimadame

For me, #winterlove means ... ... walking through the snowed-in winter landscape for hours, having a snowball fight with the kids, building snowmen and then snuggling up with a cup of cocoa, warming up again on the sofa.
I never would have dreamed that you could do that in Lower Austria I never would have thought that there were so many different options besides classics like skiing and tobogganing, such as snowshoe walks, floodlight tobogganing and so on.
This is a MUST for me every winter Stepping barefoot into the snow just once.
My winter motivation song Goran Bregovic – Bella Ciao
What warms my heart in the winter The kids' eyes lighting up after the first snowfall of the year.