Imagine a quaint alpine village, quietly passing the warm months between the ski seasons that bring an invasion of skiiers to the Tyrolean Mountain Region every winter.Now, the valley is flush with rich green grass, the lakes are shimmering with glacial melt water and the snow bare mountain peaks are bathed in sunshine. If you are getting that peaceful zen vibe, the town of St. Johann in Tyrol, Austria is going to throw you a wonderful and most delicious curve ball every September. Well it's not a curve ball, it's a dumpling… lots of dumplings, in fact an entire festival dedicated to one thing; celebrating the tasty Tyrolean Knödel!
When I say this town goes all out to put on their annual Dumpling Festival, I mean they go all out.The entire town gets into it, each restaurant putting their tables in the street front and the attaching them to the neighboring tables of restaurant next door.This turns the entire town into one endless outdoor restaurant and what they call "the world's longest dining table." This table winds and bends nearly 500 meters along the town's main street, creating the most incredible social atmosphere making everybody feel welcome at the table and party.
I'll be honest, until the Dumpling Festival, I have to admit, I was not a fan of dumplings.I've always thought of them as a throw away side dish, like when when your waiter asks you; "would you like your meal with a side of dumplings," you know those gummy blobs made of dried bread cubes, egg, flower, onions formed into a ball - done. But clearly, I was wrong…Dumplings, shall we say have been given a face lift or in this case a "taste lift" by the good people of St. Johann. Here they are made love, pride PLUS bacon, ham, all kinds of cheese, spinach, sauces and that's just the savory side of the menu. There is a whole other world of sweet dumplings to temp you with ingredients like chocolate, vanilla, plum or cinnamon apple…..you really can't go wrong.What a party for our taste buds that was! The trick of it is getting a taste of everything while avoiding the dumpling carb coma.The secret weapon here is to share each dish with your significant other by getting two forks and digging in!
The next day, we headed for Salzburg to cap off our alpine excursion with a little dip into pop culture nostalgia. We started the morning with a visit to the castle Hellbrunn Place and castle Leopoldskron – both well-known through the Trapp-Family and their Sound of Music series. What a sight for sore eyes! Growing up in Europe and living here for the most part of my live, I have been exposed to the beauty of European castles all my life, still those two palaces, one a summer residence of Kings and Bishop's with the beautiful water games displayed from the wells in the park, the other famous for the surrounding lake Leopoldskroner Weiher (Unesco world heritage site) - were a must see experience. In Salzburg, we followed the foot steps of famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from visiting his birth house to eating the delicious little round chocolates with the center filling called "Mozart-Kugeln." We hiked up to the castle Hohensalzburg and enjoyed a picturesque ride in a Fiaker, a Austrian horse carriage through town.
Back home I could not wait to tell everybody about our culinary as well as sightseeing adventure and the best part – didn't even gain a pound as I was able to walk it all off right there in Austria! This trip inspired our upcoming tour Austrian Dumpling Festival. The booking deadline is at the end of July so if you're interested in joining us on this epic alpine foodie adventure, be sure to book ASAP!
We'd love to hear your thoughts about this or other tour experiences you'd like to see offered in the RTT Tour program, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page!
RTT Tour Director
Jana has worked for RTTtravel for over a decade, first as a floor agent before she became a dedicated member of the tour department. Her position as Tour Director at has offered her the perfect platform to channel her passion and genuine enthusiasm for all things travel into creating some of the most popular military tour programs in Europe. "I love taking one of my travel experience, turning into a tour, taking the tour out for the first time and seeing our customers experience something wonderful and new." Get to know Jana and learn all about traveling in Europe by listening to AFN radio in the KMC @ 105.1 every Tuesday morning at 07:00.