Austria: Dachstein Salzkammergut & Five Fingers
In the middle of Austria lies Dachstein-Hallstatt area listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its stunning alpine scenery. The area is not that easy to get to as it takes circuitous roads away from major highways and up and down the mountain ranges. Once in Hallstatt near the Hallstätter See lake, a cable car takes you up to the top in two sections – an absolutely surreal and thrilling ride to the top of Dachstein Salzkammergut. On the top – you get a total panorama of the mountains and alpine scenery including large glaciers (an uncommon sight in the Northern Alps). The lake and towns lie deep down below thousands of feet of vertical drop. A 40min hike takes you to Five Fingers – a viewing platform consisting of 5 metal parts sticking over the abyss like a hand. Nature at its purest and wildest – such a relief after all the German towns and fortified villages.