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Washout for our Hallstatt trip -- help me let this go with your tips and tough love

So we've planned and saved for over a year for a summery, alpine vacation full of hiking, mountain biking, roddelbahn-ing and generally enjoying the outdoors with my husband, two sons (15 and 11), mother, brother and his SO. I'm crushed. We will arrive in Hallstatt on Tuesday August 6 and will be staying four days. We'll also be in Munich and Salzburg -- looks like mostly a washout there too.

Has anyone here had a washout experience in Hallstatt? What did you do and what do you recommend?

Also: I usually take Rick's advice to heart and don't worry much about the weather (we just adjust with umbrellas and such), but this is different since the bulk of our activities are outdoors. This is also my family's first experience abroad. Since controlling the weather isn't an option, help me change my perspective with some tough love. I need it!

Posted by
6142 posts

Maybe you can change your itinerary and see Vienna instead of Hallstatt. There will be more things to do indoors. Or just ignore the rain and proceed to have a good time anyway.

Posted by
6 posts

We've already paid a non-refundable fee for our rental house so changing locations is not an option, unfortunately.

Posted by
6142 posts

August 6 is one week away, so don't mourn something that has yet to pass. The weather predictions can change on a dime and are not super accurate that far out. I would not be crushed this early, but also don't drive yourself crazy by checking the weather every day (it will drive your emotions up and down). Get mentally prepared for the worst outcome and then check the day before your trip, and then just soldier on whatever the case and enjoy your time. At least you have 4 days of possibilities instead of only one. People live in the Pacific Northwest and they bike and do all sorts of outdoor stuff, rain or no rain. The issue is letting go of the image of "the perfect vacation".

Posted by
372 posts

You never know about the weather! It could be lovely. Or perhaps not a wash out, ;but just just uneven...some rain, some clouds, some sun. You never know!

There's the salt mines. People on our tour said they really enjoyed it. And when we've been in the Alps and had poor or average weather, we were prepared with good rain gear* and still got out to enjoy it!

*Good rain coat and shoes..umbrellas not so good for hiking/outdoor adventures.

Posted by
315 posts

Full rain gear, including hat, jacket, pants and waterproof hiking shoes. Hike shorter distances. Avoid dirt travels by bike due to placing ruts in the trail. There may be days with drizzle versus a pour.

Posted by
6 posts

breathing in, and out

These replies are gold. I will be playing them on repeat in my mind and taking them to heart. Thank you all very much!

Posted by
9407 posts

We go to the Alp and Dolomites every year and every year the weather looks -- online -- like it is going to be dicey. Every year it is better than the forecasts. Rain forecast at XX% does not guarantee it will rain nor that it will rain all day. Get out early (like 8:00 am) when the day dawns clear as clouds and storms are usually afternoon occurrences. No sleeping in! You can nap during afternoon rain, if it comes.

Posted by
3283 posts

A long range forecast will show a day with rain that may only have a potential for an hour of rain, or mist, and may end up with no rain at all. In the mountains, odds are better to have rain in the mid afternoon so get early starts. I usually will plan good weather and bad weather activities and while i always have a list of planned activities, unless I have to purchase tickets in advance, I don't slot in the activities by day/time. That way I can get up, look out the window, get a forecast and go on with my day. I like to wear a visor under my rain hood to keep the rain off my face and glasses and sometimes (often) eliminates the need for umbrellas. I have rain pants that fold into a very small pouch. Sometimes I'll wear a tunic length top and capri length leggings so I can easily pull on rain pants. I carry plastic bags to keep things dry or to store wet gear.

I have wonderful pictures of places that we visited in the rain. It was lightly misting when we visited what turned out to be my most favorite small town in France, Locranon. It made for stunning photos. More recently we stopped in the Badlands for a day on the way west. It rained the whole day. The photos with green grass, water droplets on branches, rushing water, etc., are fabulous. We were cold and wet so we then stopped in Wall, South Dakota (definitely not ever on my list of places to go!) and enjoyed the kitsch and 5 cent coffee before proceeding on our day (and dryer weather)

Some great family memories have been made while hiding from rain. Sometimes under a tree on a hike (be mindful of lightening) or playing a card game or chatting at a brewery or casual cafe that we found on the fly to get out of the rain. I often will carry a deck of cards or small card game for that reason.

Posted by
1523 posts

No controlling the weather, you are right about that. You can only change your attitude. What’s the saying? Yes, prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. If all else fails, say to yourself, I’m in Austria!!

Posted by
1082 posts

We were just hiking in England where rain is almost a certainty. We actually did not have rain the days we hiked but it had been raining. And we met other people who had been hiking in the rain.

We had hiking boots which I think is critical. We also had hiking pants which are made from a lighter weight material and thus dry more easily. We wore them in Cambridge when the forecast was for rain. Much better for drying out than regular pants. I actually had two pairs and neither looked like hiking pants. You also must have a rain coat. An umbrella won’t be very useful. And take extra socks. We didn’t have these but saw other hikers with gators that protect the bottom of your pants from mud.

And when you get there, look at hourly forecast not chance for whole day. I live in Florida and this time of year there is almost a 100% chance it will rain about 3 pm but rest of day can be quite nice (if warm and humid). Maybe pick what looks like worst day and go to mines. We went many years ago and enjoyed it.

My son more recently went to Hallstatt on a day rain was forecasted. He said it kept the crowds down and it didn’t rain until 2 pm.

Posted by
6030 posts

Most weather predictions, especially these days, for a week (or longer) away are estimates. They are not set in stone. And who's calling it a washout? If the forecast calls for rain, or % chance of rain that does not necessarily mean an all day washout rain. It can mean that you should be prepared for possible rain but it could just as easily be a partly cloudy day, or a drizzle for a couple of hours. Hopefully temps will be warm enough to enjoy, even in a little rain - bring rain gear to be prepared. I've never been to Hallstatt so can't help with optional things to do. Be optimistic, go determined to have a good time regardless of the weather. I hope you have a great trip.

Posted by
924 posts

Tough Love here. At least you get to go on your trip. Unlike our Trail of Lippizaners tour in 2017 when the travel agent stole the participants’ money.
I really don’t understand what your issue is. The heat? When we were in Italy in May it was the coldest rainiest May since 1958. We dealt with it and had a fantastic trip. We just had to adjust our expectations and occasionally our plans.
I wish I could be more sympathetic but I can’t.
Drink lots of water, each of you always carry at least one bottle. Wear light weight, icefil clothes and a broad brim hat. Use lots of sun screen. Adjust times to early morning, late afternoon to be outside if you can. It’s 108* in Phoenix today. Life doesn’t stop because it’s hot.

Posted by
6 posts

I'm repeating myself, I know, but I sincerely thank you all. My family was giving me niceties (bless them) but what I knew I needed was some optimistic yet informed ideas on how to move forward.

horsewoofie: I meant it when I said I wanted tough love, so thank you! I will provide some context though: it was not the heat, but the rain that was bumming me out. I'd actually welcome some hot weather since we'd planned on a lot of swimming as well. But I'm just changing your tips to fit wet instead of hot weather and will take them to heart with the rest of the comments. I am also sad to hear about your canceled plans. I hope you get to go back and have your trip eventually.

Posted by
663 posts

There are indoor activities, you're not that far from Salzburg or even Graz. But the weather can change three times a day in those mountains. And the next valley over can be totally different. Go outside; it's rain; it won't hurt you.

Posted by
517 posts

Well if this helps - I was just reflecting on times when I have been rained on overseas and the first three memories I thought of brought great big smiles to my face. 1) we hiked in Switzerland. It started cool and chilly. Then we got a spit of rain, then it got really rainy. By the time we got to the end of the hike- we went straight into a restaurant and we hunkered down and ate great food, great beer and enjoyed each others company. I remember feeling so warm and cozy there up in the mountains with great views. 2) We were in Baden-Baden and it was absolutely pouring down all day. As a result we went to the museum in town that just happened to be doing a temp exhibit of Marc Chagall that was really tremendous. I don't know we would have gone had we not been chased in by the rain. After that - we sprinted to a nearby hole in the wall pub and spent the afternoon chatting with the regulars. They were so much fun and you could tell they wanted to practice their english. One guy was so memorable because he asked why we even came to Baden-Baden - he said its where sick people come to die. Young people like us need to be in Paris! (we hadn't been yet) and said we absolutely MUST got to the Pere Lachaise Cemetary while there. Super nice and fun guy. 3) When we did finally make it to Paris - we were poured on rain during our walking tour of Montmartre. We ran into a Irish pub because it was the closest and waited out the rain. It forced a nice afternoon break onto us that we enjoyed each other's company and had a ton of laughs just being a husband and wife in love in Paris.

Posted by
924 posts

Sarah,
Since I didn’t plan for rain and cold in Italy in May, here’s a few hints I learned. Take clothes that will layer. I wore long sleeve sun shirts, then a cashmere cardigan, then a light weight fleece lined jacket that I had sprayed with water proofing. I also sprayed water proofing on my hat, backpack and purse. I finally found a decent hooded rain poncho in Sorrento half way through the tour because the cheap plastic ones are useless. Take an extra sweater. Since I wore mine daily there wasn’t time for it to dry so I couldn’t wash it—yuck! Take two pairs of shoes so you can wear one while the other dries.
Most important of all, go with the flow. Relax, doing a rain dance won’t change the weather. Be flexible. Find alternative things to do but it’s doubtful that it’ll rain constantly.
Use Rick’s “no grumps allowed” policy. Toss out your “poor me” attitude so it doesn’t ruin your vacation. Keep a positive attitude and don’t allow anyone else to have a negative attitude. You will have a great trip. You will enjoy it if you allow yourself to.

Posted by
2662 posts

Maybe. despite all the RS advice, you don't pack light. Take an extra suitcase with some spare rain gear and shoes. Yes, you may need to make adjustments due to the weather, but how you respond to it - positively or negatively - is up to each individual. I expect you are the prime planner and feel responsible for everyone to have a great time - well, guess what.....you aren't perfect and you can't control the weather - or, whether people have a good time or not.

People travel South in the winter. They look at the weather channel and every day has rain forecast. They are crushed. Then they go and it might rain a minute or an hour a day, or only one day or not at all. Wasted energy fussing about something they can't control.
Mountains are another region where anything or nothing can happen......and people still go about their business and activities regardless of what Mother Nature provides.
So, please, drop the Perfect Mom role. Don't apologize or moan if you wake up to rain and don't take on the entire responsibility of planning alternatives. In fact I might be inclined to assign every person with a location to look at what to do on rainy days. Consider it travel training for the rest of your group.

Posted by
3220 posts

My last tour in Europe was to Italy. It rained every day - for about 5 minutes every evening when we were having dinner. Just because it is going to rain on any day doesn't mean it will rain all day or be enough to have any impact on your planned activities.

Posted by
5817 posts

Ignore all weather forecasts until 2 days before and even then take them with a pinch of salt.
Rain can mean many things. It is very rare for a day to be a complete wash out.
Just because it's raining it doesn't mean it's cold. What's stopping you going swimming in the rain? You're getting wet anyway.
Don't do everything as a group . With family that is how arguments start.
Don't expect gratitude for any of your efforts from a 15 and 11 year old. Also dont expect a change in their behaviour just because they are on holiday.

You are allowed to do nothing on a holiday. If you do have a wash out day, hunker down and enjoy it. I have holidayed alot with a friend and the day we laugh about the most is the day we " gave in " in Berlin. We were tired and after dragging ourselves to get breakfast we looked at each other and just said "No". Berlin could wait. We spent the day bingeing awful German snacks, watching trashy TV. It is a great holiday memory.

Just relax, the trip is planned and booked. You can't control the weather. You can't control family so just roll with it.

Posted by
172 posts

I was in Hallstatt the last two days. It rained both days. My mom and I still had a great time.

The Hallstatt/Salzburg/Salzgammergut area gets approximately 200 days of rain a year. It comes and it goes. The weather you are going to get is fairly normal, at least per the locals we talked to.

On our arrival day, we went up via the funicular and did the salt mine tour. It was drizzling but the view was still beautiful at the look out and quite eery with the clouds swirling around.

The next day, we went to Dachstein despite a steady rain. It meant we skipped the hike to Five Fingers (not due to the rain but the fog was so thick up top that there would have been no point paying to go up to the second level). But we still did the ice caves (I highly recommend them) and still hiked around the lower area, which was gorgeous. We wandered Hallstatt with the help of our trusty umbrellas later and by the time the late afternoon rolled around, it’d stopped raining and we were able to go on a tour of the lake.

And Salzburg is an incredibly walkable city, rain or shine. Don’t worry about the weather there while in the city. Use whatever day is predicted to be best weather to go to Berchtesgaden, if it was on your itinerary.

My point in all this is that if you let the rain stop you, it’s your own damn fault. (I say this kindly, I promise). Don’t let it! Rearrange some plans if needed but otherwise, bring rain appropriate gear, and have at it!

Posted by
367 posts

I know you want tough love but just to say the BBC forecast for Hallstatt doesn't look too bad. Typical mountain weather for Austria, a rumble of thunder here and there and what I would describe as warm temperatures. When we went to Austria a few summers ago it was 14 degrees our first day with fresh snow on the mountains. By the end of the week it was 28 (sorry only work on Celsius). I do t begrudge the rain. Austria wouldn't be Austria without the green and verdant mountains! I do t like the parched scorched Earth of the Med.
I'm also busy tracking the weather for next week in Sweden and have come to the conclusion that they just use a default average for anything more than two days out!

Posted by
763 posts

Hi. I liked the last post so I took a look at Accuweather, my local go-to. They are predicting the following for the 4 days you have noted: Aug 6, passing morning shower, 78 hi; Aug 7, occasional morning rain, 72 hi; Aug 8, a little morning rain, 72 hi; Aug 9, a little morning rain, 74 hi. A little sun is indicated for the 6th, with mostly cloudy the rest of the time. I just finished my 93+ degree Philly commute and would happily go with mostly cloudy. Go with the flow. There seems to be enough going on in the area to keep you active if that is what you want. I wouldn't rule out a quick plunge in the lake or maybe hiring a boat if the afternoons are just overcast.

And if lack of sun reduces the visiting bus tours or truncates them - great! Wishing you fun.

Posted by
2407 posts

So you are not even there yet and you're crushed due to the maybe weather? Suck it up. (That's the tough love part.) Visualize what you want, but accept graciously what you are given. You won't enjoy traveling if you have an idea of perfect and won't accept anything different than your vision. Many times, your vision is less enjoyable than reality willingly accepted.

Posted by
5284 posts

Washout ?? My first trip to Hawaii we arrived late afternoon and the next morning a hurricane arrived -- power and phones were out for 5 days, so the condo manager brought candles and we (4 adults and a pair of 2-year-olds) managed on cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches until a nearby hotel got its generator going and opened its kitchen.

Turned out to be one of the best vacations ever!

Posted by
6 posts

Love all of these replies! My spirits continue to be lifted.

New yet related question: one of our itinerary items is taking the bus to the sommerroddelbahn near St. Wolfgangsee. Assuming we get a dry day to do this, do you all have any advice or tips for that activity?

Posted by
578 posts

more Hallstatt overcrowding -
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/nothing-to-see-here-popular-european-destinations-want-fewer-tourists/2019/08/07/5d2060f4-ac95-11e9-9411-a608f9d0c2d3_story.html

Sepp Krumböck, who runs a boat rental outfit, recalls the morning he realized that a camera-equipped drone was hovering next to his bedroom window.
Other residents tell stories of tourists who let themselves into private timber-framed homes to have a look around or use the toilet.
“It’s a catastrophe,” Lobisser said. “Many visitors seriously think this is a theme park.”

Posted by
23380 posts

So the time has come and gone - how did everything go?

Posted by
1280 posts

Hallstatt's copy in China has encited even more tourists from Asia to come and see the original.

Posted by
6 posts

I think it was one part luck and one part having the right attitude, but things went amazingly well!

You all were right about changing forecasts. The chances for rain diminished somewhat or all together. And when it did rain (only about 3 times during the whole trip) we made the most of it. While at Dachstein mountain, we made a last-minute decision to do the ice cave first before going to the top of the mountain. This decision allowed us to wait out the rain/clouds and we were delivered a crystal-clear view as a reward when we made it to the top. The rain forecast on another day was 100% wrong and we were able to go to the Sommerrodelbahn after all. Success!

The other time was on our "lazy day" in Hallstatt. We cracked open some wine and enjoyed watching the clouds roll over the tops of the alps. It later cleared up and we enjoyed a moody, cloudy evening.

The last time was in Munich. It rained on and off in the morning and midday, but it wasn't too bad. We again made the most of it (even rode bikes in the rain) so it wasn't a mood killer, but I definitely would have rather spent the day swimming in the Isar. The day prior in Munich, we thoroughly enjoyed the English Garden and watching the wave surfers and swimmers. If it hadn't have rained I would have joined the swimmers, but I've added it to my "next time" list and I'm happy :)

Thanks again for all the advice! The trip was really perfect. Also, I'm on Instagram as @saysayphoto if anyone wants to see some of the photos.

Posted by
4073 posts

Alpine weather is impossible to predict. A rainy forecast means it may rain for a few minutes that day, but sunny for the rest of the day. Never a need to panic.

Posted by
7628 posts

Thanks for coming back to let us know how it went! Sounds like you had a fun trip.