Experience Adventure in Carinthia, Austria

Visit Carinthia
(c) Nationalpark Hohe Tauern Kaernten, Franz Gerdl

Along each of the 43 stages of southern Europe’s Alpe Adria Trail lies a “Magic Place”. These are little natural gems where all of the elements come together in harmony and arrest your senses. Lakes, rivers, forests, mountains and waterfalls guide you from stage to stage so that the magic never ceases. In the near future, they will be recognised officially on maps of the trail so these wonderous sights will be right at your finger tips.

You must be thinking, ‘what kind of utopia has so many of these magic places?’ The answer is Carinthia, the southernmost state in Austria and the country’s best kept secret. Nestled in the southern Alps, it is awash with more than 200 lakes, sprawling forests and tumbling mountains that make for the perfect summer holiday. Here, you truly get the sense that the elements have come together, creating an atmosphere of calm and a landscape ripe with adventure. With direct flights from Stansted to the region’s main airport, Klagenfurt, it’s never been easier to claim your own little piece of magic and discover the beauty of Carinthia.

Lake WortherseePhoto: (c) Woerthersee Tourismus, Tine Steinthaler

Sparkling Lakes

With 200 lakes reaching temperatures of more than 25°C in summer, Carinthia is a water lover’s dream. Everything you choose to do in the state, on foot, on two wheels or in the sky, will be characterised by the nearest lake. This heightens the sense of wonder, as wildlife and fun flocks to the shores of these regional jewels.

The region’s capital, Klagenfurt, sits on the banks of its biggest lake, Wörthersee. As a hub of activity, there is almost no type of aquatic adventure you can’t have on this lake. Swimming, rowing, kayaking, and paddleboarding will make up a day’s fun, especially if you are bringing the whole family along.

It is also a great place to try out Schiffwandern; or ‘hiking with the ship’. This is simply a hike characterised by the crossing of a lake, where you take a boat trip to your start point, hike a little and then catch the boat to a different area to continue hiking. Once you’re done, the ship will deliver you gently back to your starting point across the length of the lake. There are plenty of options for schiffwandern around Wörthersee which you can discover at www.woerthersee.com.

We’d also highly recommend a canoe tour through the reed belt at Faaker See near the border with Slovenia. The natural waterways created through the reeds are otherworldly and gently drifting through them feels like a great exploration. Faaker See is equally ripe with water sports as the rest of the bathing lakes in the region, with yachting, rowing and windsurfing all at your fingertips as well.

Visit Carinthia
Photo: Franz Gerdl

Amazing Trails

All of these lakes, mountains and natural features make for some of the best walking on the planet. With a shining sun and fresh summer breezes, the trails on offer in Carinthia are hard to beat.

The crown jewel of walking in the region is the Austrian section of the Alpe Adria trail, a 750km trail that goes from Austria, through Slovenia and into Italy. There are 23 stages in Carinthia and taking on this pleasure walk will show you the tallest mountain in Austria, Grossglockner, the unique intersect of Austria, Slovenia and Italy’s borders, and the 24 “magic places”. Each stage takes around six hours and avoids the high mountains, meaning, although you need a certain level of fitness, it is a relatively accessible long-distance trail. It’s the best way to see the southern side of the Alps without battling any Alpine peaks.

There are plenty of shorter hikes in the state as well, taking you around national parks, through fossil and garnet filled lands, and around the lakes. The Carinthia ‘slow trails’ are designated trails to bask in the beauty of nature and liven all of your senses. There are twenty trails, each no more than 10km in distance with no more than 300m of altitude gain. Hohe Tauern National Park equally has amazing nature trails and the option to hike to the Pasterze Glacier, the awe-inspiring largest glacier in the eastern Alps.

Petzen Flow trail
Photo: Wolfgang Watzke

Thrilling Cycles

If biking is more your speed, then Carinthia has to be your destination of choice this summer. There is an amazing cycle culture equip with all of the mountain, trail and road routes you could ask for.

Flowrides are especially popular in the Alps. They’re downhill trails designed to minimise braking and pedalling so you can just cruise to the bottom. There are rides for all levels throughout the region but some of our multi-level favourites are in Weissensee and Bad Kleinkirchheim in the Nock Mountains, home to Europe’s longest flowride.

The Drau Cycle Path is the cycling equivalent to the Alpe Adria – a long distance trail that shows off the best of Carinthia. It is 510km over seven stages and runs along a railway down the stunning Drau River. The beauty is relentless as you are treated with countless swimming spots, historical monuments and southern charm.

Visit Carinthia
Photo: (c) Kaernten Information, Edward Groeger

What Are You Waiting For?

Ryan Air operates direct flights from Stansted to Carinthia’s main airport, Klagenfurt.

To plan your summer holiday in Austria’s best kept secret, Carinthia, head to www.visitcarinthia.at.