Carinthia – the Austrian Riviera
The federal state of Carinthia lies in the southern part of Austria, between the Grossglockner mountain range and the Karavanken and Tauern mountain ranges. The capital of Carinthia is Klagenfurt, known above all for its romantic old town.Carinthia is an amazing lake land of Austria – not for nothing is considered the “Austrian Riviera”.
In the southern part of Austria, between the Grossglockner mountain range and the Karawanken and Tauern mountain ranges lies the federal state of Carinthia. The capital of Carinthia is Klagenfurt, known above all for its romantic old town.Carinthia is an amazing lake land of Austria – not for nothing is considered the “Austrian Riviera”. The sun shines over Carinthia for about 2,000 hours a year, and the crystal clear waters of its thousands of lakes, warm mineral springs and first-class service make it so appealing to lovers of a comfortable stay.Each Carinthian lake has its own unique flavor.
Woerthersee is the largest and most picturesque lake. The temperature of the water heats up to 28 C. At the disposal of visitors a whole range of different proposals: from a first-class hotel to a quiet private boarding house, from a yacht trip to play golf and tennis. Nightlife at the resort is rich with discos and bars, and the gamblers can try their luck at the casino in Felden.
Nestled in the western bay of the lake, amongst the forested spurs of the Alps, Felden is one of the most luxurious places in Carinthia.
The hotel and its famous guests – the Duke of Windsor, the former Empress Soraya and Hollywood star Kirk Douglas – used to be the symbol of the elegant resort. Now Felden Castle is the residence of multimillionaire Gunther Sachs. “Yes, Wörthersee is a virgin land, melodies hang in the air here, so one must beware of crushing one of them,” said Johannes Brahms, who came here for many years to write music. The composer’s little house and the annual Brahms Music Weeks are reminders of that time.
Felden hosts the South Carinthian Villarcher Fasching from July 1 to August 31, with carnivals, concerts, and street parties. The casinos, expensive restaurants, concert halls and boutiques alternate with more democratic cafes, stores and youth discos. The resort attracts tourists from all over the world and is a favorite meeting place for celebrities.
About half an hour from Woerthersee, to the north of the capital city of Klagenfurt, lies the fairytale castle of Hochosterwitz. Its beauty made it the model for the fairy tale castle in the Hollywood cartoon “Sindarella”.
Milstätter See is Carinthia’s second largest bathing lake. It is famous for its picturesque shores. And although it is deeper than Wörthersee, its water temperature is very stable. The climate on its northern shore is the most favorable, so there are well-known spas – Seeboden, Millstatt and Debrun. The natural richness and the historic heritage of the old towns around the lake is a great opportunity for cultural and leisure activities.
Ossiher See, Carinthia’s third largest lake (11 km long and 1.6 km wide), is located in the heart of Carinthia. The water in the lake warms up to 25C in summer.
The lake is ideal for family vacations. Here you can not only splash in the warm water, but also, if you wish, engage in any kind of water sports. Ossiacher See is famous for its fish stocks, which makes it attractive to amateur anglers. A varied cultural program, held as part of the Carinthian Summer Festival, will also not allow you to get bored.
South-east of Fillach is Lake Faakörsee. The region has a reputation as the “cleanest alpine region” and with its unique landscapes the lake is well known throughout Europe. The resorts of Egg, Drobollach and Faak are nestled on its northern shore. In Drobollach there is a hotel, which welcomes only families with children – a kind of hotel-kindergarten. For car enthusiasts there is a spacious camping site.
The lake is situated halfway between Vienna and Venice, which opens up a great opportunity for excursion routes. The region is ideal for numerous walks, mountain climbing, rock climbing, biking and horseback riding.
A bike ride along the banks of the river Drau can be impressive. The many private castles on the “Rosenthal Castle Road” hold plenty of surprises, such as the wax museum and wildlife park at Rosegg Castle or the art gallery at Ebenau Castle.
From the Fackersee and Ossiher See lake region it is also not far to Bad Kleinkirchheim, a popular center for recreation and leisure activities.
The warmest bathing lake in Austria is Klopainersee, and its water is so clear that you can drink it. A large number of promenades and welcoming cafes make the lake a popular vacation spot. Lovers of outdoor activities are waiting for a great opportunity to surf, horseback riding, tennis or golf. And a walk to Lake Tournsee – a refuge for birds, to the ancient home of the Celts on Mount Hemmarberg, an “expedition” to the caves Obir, the attraction “Tarzan” – jumping from the highest railway bridge in Europe – will make your vacation unforgettable.
Austria’s beach resorts – Carinthia Lakes
Tourism is one of the most important sources of income for Austria, in 2018 the country was visited by 30.8 million foreign tourists, which is 3.5 times more than the population of the whole Austria. Austria is primarily associated with alpine skiing and alpine slopes. In the second place with the palaces of Vienna and the beautiful castles. But few people know that in the heart of Europe, where there is no sea, there are beach resorts.
These resorts in Austria at the lakes of Carinthia, which are considered among the cleanest in Europe. There are several lakes, and each is considered to have its own unique color. The lakes are fed by mountain springs, and therefore associated with water purity and unique colors.
Every year in May, when the beach season opens on the lakes of Carinthia, the mayor of Klagenfurt takes a boat out to the middle of Lake Wörthersee and publicly drinks the water from the lake, thus proving that the water in the lakes has retained its purity. This ritual officially opens the beach season.
Most Russian tourists go to the beach exclusively by the sea, so in this review we will tell you what advantages and disadvantages the Austrian Riviera has over beach seaside resorts.
The first thing that confuses fans of waves and loungers at the word “lake” is the temperature of the water. Most tourists believe that the water in the lake is in any case colder than in the sea and it will be cold to swim. In our case this is not true, for example, Lake Wörthersee heats up to +27 degrees in the summer. Such steamy water can not boast the resorts of the Aegean Sea and, moreover, the Black Sea. The water is heated to such a temperature in July and August at the resorts of Tunisia and Turkey.
The water in the lakes is very clean, which, as we have already written, every year confirms the mayor of Klagenfurt, the capital of the region. We took this photo exactly on Lake Wörthersee, it shows that the water is clear, the feet of the ducks can be seen perfectly.
Different lakes in Carinthia are at different heights from sea level and are heated to different temperatures, some bodies of water are warmer, some colder. Klopeiner See is the warmest though small lake with average maximum temperature of 28 degrees, and the coldest of the large lakes is called Weissensee at the height of more than 1,000 meters above sea level and is heated only to 24 degrees.
The main advantage of lakes in Carinthia is a unique opportunity to be both in a beach resort and in the mountains at the same time. There is a very beautiful nature of the middle of Europe.
The second important factor for many tourists is the air temperature, which in summer usually does not rise above +26 degrees. For those readers who are fans of the heat, of course, we recommend the Emirates or Egypt. But for those who do not like the heat, and want to swim in warm water very much, the Austrian Riviera is the best place.
Lovers of beautiful tan in Carinthia should be very careful, remember that you are in the mountains, you can get a tan here very quickly and “burn” too.
The next part of our story will focus on recreation on the lakes. On the water you can do sailing or windsurfing, the wind is almost always blowing. In some lakes snorkeling (scuba diving) is possible, but not in all. Restrictions are imposed due to the fact that the local authorities believe that at the bottom of the lakes can still be found unexploded munitions from World War II. Of course, the prices for all these activities in Austria are much higher than in the popular seaside resorts.
From active recreation on land are common here hiking in the mountains, trips on bicycles. In the mountains there are caves, the most famous of which is located near Lake Klopainer See, it is called Obir (Obir Stalactite Caves), the temperature in the caves in the summer falls to +8 degrees. In the lakes allowed fishing, there are many kinds of fish, and you can rent gear.
A very popular attraction when visiting the lakes of Carinthia is paragliding.
At the top you will be taken to the elevators, the same ones that are used in winter for skiers. If you are an experienced paraglider, of course, you can bring your own equipment and jump alone. Regular hikers without experience can only jump with an instructor, as shown in the photo below. Note the couple on the orange parachute.
And, of course, there are beautiful views of the Austrian Alps. Climbing the mountains is interesting in any case, and it doesn’t matter whether you decide to take a parachute flight or not. Many people are afraid, and the fear comes in two forms. The first is a fear of heights, the second is a fear of the price. A flight with an instructor costs about 120 EUR and don’t be surprised because Austria is one of the richest countries in Europe and the prices are reasonable.
The area is rich and historical attractions, there are several medieval castles. In Klagenfurt itself there is a very interesting park of miniatures, where you can see all the most famous buildings in the world, it is called Minimundus, read our review about this place.
To the west of the city of Klagenfurt there is a place called Varmbad Villach, where there are healing hot springs. To summarize everything we told in the second half of our article, there is no shortage of entertainment and excursions in the lakes of Carinthia.
Along with all the advantages of vacationing on the Austrian Riviera, it is worth telling about the disadvantages. Austria is one of the richest countries in Europe, if you count the income per capita. And, of course, that the prices are high.
If you want to spend time near a clear lake water, you probably have to go to a public beach. Of course, there are hotels with its own strip of beach, but the rest in such hotels is the most expensive. To enter a public beach, you have to pay 3 EUR before 15:00, from 15:00 to 18:00 this pleasure will cost 2 EUR. After 6 pm, however, swimming will be free, which is used by our tourists.
A good dinner will cost you 25-30 EUR, which is comparable with the ones in Moscow restaurants. The prices for all the entertainment and sightseeing tours are also very good.
As a result, we can say that if you like heat and the temperature of +30 is required for your vacation, the Carinthian lakes are not for you. But if you like moderate temperatures, clean mountain air and crystal water, then you will spend an unforgettable vacation here. But, keep in mind the prices and calculate your financial capabilities.
– We said that holidays in Austria are expensive. How expensive, read our articles “How much money to take to Austria” and “Prices of products in Austrian stores;
– When calculating the price of the trip, do not forget about the tourist tax. See our article “Tourist tax in Austria” for details;
– If you’re going to Carinthia, be sure to try the local Gailtaler Almkise cheese, which is considered one of the best in Austria. Read about it in our article “Austrian Cheeses”.
Read our interesting and useful articles about Austria for tourists ( list of articles below).