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Looking for unique birthday experience for my 12 y/o on the way to Vienna, any ideas?

I am in the process of finalizing details for our family vacation to Austria in the summer of 2020. We will be spending 5 days in Vienna and 5 days in Tyrol (Lienz region) w/ a rental car, then have to drive back to Vienna for a flight back to London on the 13th. My daughter's 12th birthday is on the 12th and we planned on using that for a car day/1 night stop to get us closer to Vienna for our flight the next day. Ideally the stop would need to split the drive up instead of 5 hrs, to 2 hours or less to Vienna for our flight. Looking at the maps it looks like we can go through Salzburg (we've already been there on a previous trip and hit Halstaat then too), Graz in the South, or more in the central part (Leoden area?). But maps don't really do a good job for this, haha.

She is a very flexible kid (likes to hike, animals, sports, cities with pedestrian areas and shops, etc.) but does like to have new experiences. This will be the third time she's been in a different country for her birthday and she is excited about it.

RIght now about all I can find is the Lipizzaner farm in Piber, but that seems like it is only an hour or two at best then maybe staying in Graz or pushing on to Lake Neusiedl. But we'd like to avoid losing the whole day in the car. I see St. Gilgen recommended a bit on the northern Salzburg route, but would that be too similar to Halstaat (and further of a drive for our flight) ? Anything in the Leoben area?

Open to any and all suggestions for unique places, ideas, or attractions to investigate. Thanks!

Posted by
4142 posts

Absolutely without question - spend your day at the Zotter Chocolate Factory. Zotter is famous in Austria for its crazy flavor combinations. The owner has created a most magical place at the factory - it’s like Willy Wonka. You get to taste way too much chocolate, see how it is made. Plus there is a farm and zoo, an excellent restaurant, etc. We’ve been three times with our kids and it would be perfect for a memorable birthday. Trust me.

Stay in nearby Loipersdorf which is famous for its natural springs and water park. Also have a look at Riegersburg Fortress, an impressive castle built on an extinct volcano.

Posted by
23886 posts

Emily's idea is a great one. Notice that on her birthday upon presentation of ID she gets a special treat! Just be sure that your day of visit isn't a Sunday.

Posted by
4 posts

Her birthday is on a Sunday this year :( Dangit, that place looks amazing. Great recommendation though! If we stay in that area on the 12th and get an early start Monday (13th) it would give us something to do in the morning before heading off to the airport. (Flight leaves at 3pm. Either that or we may go there on our way from Vienna to Tyrol (Lienz region).

Open to other ideas as well!

Your help is very much appreciated!

Posted by
1291 posts

I second Emily regarding the Zotter chocolate experience. I would suggest to change your schedule. Go on Saturday to Zotter, then drive to Graz (about one hour) and stay there for two nights, and then drive from Graz directly to Vienna airport (2.5 hours).

Graz is a beautiful town, a lot to see.

Make sure to make an advance reservation for the Zotter tour.

Posted by
1 posts

Random response but in the U.S. we call that her 'Golden Birthday' because she is turning the age of her birth date.