Carinthia

Carinthia, Austria’s southernmost state, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, historic towns, and activities for every season. From its majestic Alpine peaks to serene lakes, Carinthia offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. This guide will walk you through must-visit cities, top attractions, transportation options, and a 7-day itinerary to make the most of your visit to this enchanting region.

Cities to Visit

Klagenfurt

The capital of Carinthia, Klagenfurt, is a vibrant city with around 100,000 inhabitants. It’s known for its historical center, the beautiful Lake Wörth (Wörthersee), and attractions like Minimundus, a park featuring miniature models of famous buildings from around the world.

Villach

With 56,000 inhabitants, Villach is the second-largest city in Carinthia. It’s a gateway to the region’s ski resorts and natural attractions, offering a mix of cultural and outdoor activities.

Spittal an der Drau

This charming town is home to a Renaissance castle where comedies are performed every summer. It’s also near Lake Millstatt, ideal for water sports and family activities.

Velden

A popular summer destination, Velden attracts VIPs and is often featured in German and Austrian TV shows. It’s known for its lively atmosphere and beautiful lake views.

Friesach

The oldest town in Carinthia, Friesach, is famous for its medieval spectaculum in summer. It’s a picturesque town with a rich history and a local beer brewery worth visiting.

Top Attractions

Hochosterwitz Castle

Located in the Sankt Veit an der Glan district, this over 1,000-year-old castle offers breathtaking views and a historical journey through its 14 defensive gates.

Lake Wörthersee

Carinthia’s largest lake, Wörthersee, is a prime spot for swimming, boating, and enjoying the scenic beauty. It’s surrounded by picturesque towns and offers various water sports.

High Tauern National Park

Austria’s oldest and largest national park, High Tauern, spans three provinces, including Carinthia. It’s perfect for hiking, wildlife watching, and enjoying alpine scenery.

Gerlitzen

A mountain skiing resort near Villach, Gerlitzen is ideal for winter sports enthusiasts. It offers excellent slopes and stunning views.

Transportation

Getting In

  • By Plane: Klagenfurt Airport (KLU) offers limited flights, mainly to Vienna, Cologne/Bonn, and Hamburg. Nearby airports in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Graz offer more international connections.
  • By Train: Villach and Klagenfurt are major railway hubs with regular connections from Vienna, Graz, and international destinations.
  • By Car: Major highways like the Südautobahn (A2) and Tauernautobahn (A10) connect Carinthia with other parts of Austria.

Getting Around

  • By Car: The most convenient way to explore Carinthia. Mountain roads can be challenging, especially in winter.
  • By Train: Regional trains connect major towns, but service frequency varies.
  • By Bus: Bus services are available but can be infrequent, especially on weekends.

Accommodation

  • Hotel Schloss Seefels, Pörtschach: A luxury hotel offering stunning lake views and top-notch amenities.
  • Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden, Velden: A historic castle hotel known for its elegance and superb service.
  • Werzer’s Hotel Resort Pörtschach: Ideal for families and located right on the shores of Lake Wörthersee.

Weather

Carinthia enjoys a warm climate influenced by the Adriatic and Mediterranean, making it a great destination year-round. Summers (June-August) are warm, perfect for lake activities, while winters (December-February) offer excellent skiing opportunities.

7-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Klagenfurt

  • Check-in at your hotel.
  • Explore the old town and visit Minimundus.
  • Dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Klagenfurt and Lake Wörthersee

  • Morning visit to Lake Wörthersee.
  • Afternoon boat trip on the lake.
  • Evening stroll in Europa Park.

Day 3: Villach

  • Travel to Villach.
  • Explore the town and visit the Landskron Castle.
  • Enjoy local cuisine at a traditional tavern.

Day 4: Spittal an der Drau

  • Visit the Renaissance castle.
  • Spend the afternoon at Lake Millstatt.
  • Return to your accommodation.

Day 5: Hochosterwitz Castle

  • Full-day excursion to Hochosterwitz Castle.
  • Explore the castle and surrounding areas.
  • Return to your accommodation.

Day 6: Hiking in High Tauern National Park

  • Day trip to High Tauern National Park.
  • Enjoy hiking and wildlife watching.
  • Return to your accommodation.

Day 7: Departure

  • Relaxing morning at your hotel.
  • Final shopping and sightseeing.
  • Departure.

Tips for Tourists

  • Language: German is the official language, but English is widely understood.
  • Currency: Euro (€).
  • Driving: Be cautious on mountain roads, especially in winter.
  • Health: Carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you’re an EU resident.
  • Local Cuisine: Try Carinthian specialties like Kasnudel (filled noodles) and Reindling (a type of cake).

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