About this Austria walking region
Few European regions match the spectacular beauty of Carinthia (Kärnten). In addition to the dramatic Carinthian Alps (Central Alps/Hohe Tauern), Carinthia is home to the gently rounded and wonderfully wild Nockberge Mountains, and the rugged limestone summits of the Karawanken and Carnic Alps. Unlike the rest of Austria, however, it is the Carinthian lakes and not the mountains that attract the majority of tourists. For this reason you’ll find that parts of Alpine Carinthia have an almost isolated feel that results from their backwoods location and age-old ways of life.
Walking in Carinthia
All good things come to those who walk. Walking is a recreational pastime that Austrian’s themselves are passionate about, and it’s obvious why. The picturesque Nockberge Mountains lie in the north of Carinthia and are loved by walkers. It is believed that the name ‘Nocken’ derives from ‘Nocken’, the Austrian name for dumplings, and is in reference to the shape of its lovely ’rolling‘ hills. The Nockberge Mountains are somewhat low by Austrian standards, with average heights of around 2,200 metres (7,218 feet). This mountain range’s gem is the Nockberge National Park, which covers 186 sq km (72 sq miles), all of which is over 1,300 metres (4,265 feet) above sea level.
The Karawanken Mountains form the border between Slovenia (Julien Alps) and Austria and they offer some of the finest hiking and walking in the country. Consisting mainly of jagged limestone, the highest mountain in the Karawanken is Mt. Hochstuhl (2,237m/7,339ft). Further to the west lies the magnificent Carnic Alps, belonging to the Southern Limestone Alps, and covering Carinthia’s border with Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Udine in Northern Italy. With its imposing 2,780 metres (9,121 feet), Mt. Hohe Warte (Monte Coglians, in Italian) is the highest peak in the Carnic Alps.
Carinthia also shares an area of outstanding beauty – the National Park Hohe Tauern – with neighbouring East Tyrol and Salzburgerland. Wild, primeval countryside painstakingly cultivated by mountain farmers for centuries, and sweeping high-Alpine landscapes such as glaciers, rock faces and turf, these are the two faces of the national park. The Hohe Tauern region is the ‘roof’ of Austria – where the country’s highest mountains, including Mt. Groβglockner (3,798m/12,461ft) and more than 300 other peaks over 3,000 metres, (9,842 feet) tower into the sky.
Austria off the beaten path ● The ancient heartland of Carinthia, laden with historic remains ● Just north of Klagenfurt ● Friesach, one of Austria's best-preserved medieval towns ● Combine easy walking with magnificent cultural and historical experiences ● The lovely foothills of the Nockberge Mountains and the Gurktal Alps.
Both a well-developed summer and winter resort, this area is close to the Hohe Tauern and the Nockberge Mountains ● Traditional villages at 1,641 metres (5,384 feet) ● 200 kilometres (124 miles) of superbly maintained walking trails for all abilities ● Beautiful Pöllatal Valley, also known as ’The Valley of 1,000 Orchids‘.
In Austria’s sunny south, sharing the borders with Slovenia ● Seven tiny lakes, Europe’s warmest (up to 28°C), drinking water quality ● 180 kilometres (112 miles) of well-marked walking trails are waiting for you ● Authentic villages and the striking scenery of the Karawanken mountains ● Off-the-beaten-track.
Beautiful hillside villages and a tranquil 141 metre (463 feet) deep lake ● Elegant Millstatt town with its attractive lakeside promenade ● The Latschur mountains (Mt. Latschur - 2,236m/7,336ft) and the famous Millstätter Alpe (2,091m/6,860ft) ● 500 kilometres/311 miles of walking trails for all abilities.
Lake Weissensee Region
Crystal-clear lake (at 930m/3,051ft) in Carinthia’s sunny southwest ● 1,000 km (621 mi) of well-marked walking trails ● From easy rambles and fascinating themed walks, to challenging hikes. Authentic valleys: Gailtal, Gitschtal, Lesachtal. Explore the Carnic Alps and the Gailtal Alps ● Walk across the border into Italy!
The perfect spot for combining summer outdoor activities with a lazy sun-drenched holiday ● Warm waters just perfect for bathing ● Easy and moderate walking in pristine countryside ● Follow the ’Wörthersee Mandl’ on a wonderful 55 kilometres (34 miles) themed trail around the lake ● Klagenfurt is only a few minutes away.
For those seeking an easier walking experience ● Off-the-beaten-track! ● Gentle dome-shaped mountains ● Popular hiking destinations: Koralpe and Saualpe ● Highest peaks: Mt. Groβer Speikkogel (Koralpe; 2,140m/7,021ft) and Mt. Ladinger Spitze (Saualpe; 2,079m/6,821ft). ● Carinthia's biggest Benedictine Abbey: St. Paul.
Lieser & Malta Valley
Gateway to two national parks: Hohe Tauern and Nockberge ● The lovely 11th century village of Gmünd, with its walled old centre and romantic castle ● Good variety of walks and great for families too ● Ferdinand Porsche museum ● Malta Valley nestling beneath the 3,252 metre (10,669 feet) Mt. Ankogel.
NP Hohe Tauern Carinthia
Heiligenblut; the incredibly pretty village at the foot of Austria’s highest mountain, Mt. Großglockner (3,798m/12,461ft) ● Hohe Tauern National Park ● National park office with hiking info ● The Mölltal glacier, open nearly all year round for skiing ● Gothic pilgrimage church containing a relic of Christ’s Holy Blood.
The Nockberge Mountains
Moderate walking in picturesque surroundings and plenty of local character ● The gently-rounded Nockberge Mountains, with many peaks over 2,200 metres (7,218 feet), scores of well-marked walking paths at all altitudes ● Bad Kleinkirchheim; Austria’s first certified ‘Alpine Wellness Village’ ● National Park Nockberge.
The Valley of Roses
Where two cultures meet: Slovenia and Austria ● Rož in Slovene ● Magnificent setting between the Karavanke Mountains (Slovene) in the south and the Sattnitz Mountains in the north ● Well-liked hiking region with gentle Alpine pastures and hills ● One of Austria’s lesser known parts ● Truly authentic villages, hamlets and towns.
Upper Drau Valley
Lesser known, but beautiful, part of Alpine Austria along the River Drau ● Nirvana for walkers, climbers and cyclists ● Varied walking on 300 kilometres (186 miles) of well-marked trails at altitudes of up to 2,600 metres (8,530 feet) ● Austria’s highest rock face: Mt. Hochstadel North Face (1,300m/4,265ft).
Villach, Lakes Faaker & Ossiacher
Where Austria meets Italy and Slovenia ● Endless walking country ● Villach, bustling, attractive town and a good base to explore the area ● Mt. Dobratsch (2,167m/7,109ft) with its famous views ● Lake Ossiachersee; great for a family-orientated holiday ● Lake Faakersee, close to the Karawanken.
More great places to go walking in Austria:
Wachau Valley & Krems, Upper Austria, Steiermark (Styria), Salzkammergut, Salzburger Land,
Tyrol - Central Tyrol & Innsbruck, Tyrol - North-Eastern Tyrol, Tyrol - Western Tyrol, East Tyrol, Vorarlberg