Advertising: Contribution in cooperation with Österreich Werbung
I still have an account to be taken with Austria. Last year the night train, hotel and dinner in the 3-star Amador restaurant were already booked for a short trip over Easter. But for the well-known reasons, our trip to Vienna fell through. But now it is becoming apparent that there will be a reunion with Austria this year. Or rather, we are considering a ten-day “Tour d’Autriche” for mid-August.
While we are still in the planning mode for this, I have put together seven places and experiences from past trips to Austria that I have fond memories of as inspiration for the upcoming summer holidays.
1. Patscherkofel – pine schnapps with foresight
In the early summer of 2019 I explored the Innsbruck Trek for six days. The starting point for this flexible multi-day hike is the Alpine city of Innsbruck. And of course, a detour to Innsbruck’s local mountain – the Patscherkofel – should not be missing in the hiking program. At the end of 2017, the new Patscherkofelbahn went into operation, which brings you from the outskirts of Igls up to the panoramic mountain in no time at all. There are many hiking opportunities up here. The Zirbenweg towards Tulfes or the Jochleitensteig around the summit are particularly popular.
The stone pines are not only namesake for hiking trails with great views, but are also served in the summit room 300 meters above the mountain station of the Patscherkofelbahn (approx. 1 hour walk) in the form of homemade schnapps. In addition, you will be served a wonderful view of Innsbruck and the north chain opposite. What more do you want?
2. Mountain hut idyll on the Angerer Alm
For three decades, the Angerer Alm high above St. Johann in Tirol has not only been known for its wonderful view of the Wilder Kaiser, but also for its excellent cuisine and well-stocked wine cellar. In 1989 Annemarie Foidl took over the scepter on the Alm, which her parents had leased the years before, and began to set up a wine list. Today the President of the Austrian Sommelier Association, together with her daughter Katharina and her husband Gerald Weiss, take care of the culinary well-being of the alpine guests.
The harmonious symbiosis between tradition, history and excellent regional cuisine inspired me from the very first minute. And it would be almost a shame if you just stopped by here – although the Kaiserschmarrn served on the sun terrace is of course very tasty. The highlight here are the cute guest rooms (with shared bathrooms) and the rich mountain breakfast, which is an experience in itself.
3. Enjoyable alpine hikes in the Navistal
The Navistal is one of the lesser-known Tyrolean side valleys. This is exactly what makes this area so charming. The valley is part of the tourist region of the Wipptal, which runs from Innsbruck along the Sill to the south and crosses the main Alpine ridge at the Brenner. Almost halfway between Innsbruck and Brenner, the Navistal branches off to the east and forms an approximately 10-kilometer-long valley end.
Due to the numerous cultivated alpine pastures, the Navistal is also called the “valley of the alpine pastures” and is also a paradise for fans of pleasure hikes. A highlight is the Naviser Alm tour, which takes around five hours to walk through the original alpine culture landscape and passes a fabulous five alpine pastures / huts. And delicious, homemade products are served in all of these places. On the menu cards of the alpine pastures you will also find one or the other Austrian specialty that you will look for in vain elsewhere. My favorite are Maria Keuschniggs Buchteln on the Peeralm. The wonderfully fluffy yeast pastry is a competition for every Kaiserschmarrn.
4. Family paradise & biker mecca: out and about in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
The Tyrolean holiday region Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis has blossomed into one of the top destinations in the Alpine region, especially for families. Located not far from Landeck on a sun-drenched high plateau, the three mountain villages score with lots of sunshine, historical charm, a family-friendly infrastructure and lots of activities on the mountain. The destination is ideal for family holidays because everyone gets their money’s worth here: biking, hiking or fun and games in the adventure park – action is guaranteed. There is also a great range of accommodations for every taste. If you want to spend a relaxing wellness weekend, you are in good hands at the luxury hotel Cervosa. For those who prefer it casual, I can recommend the Das Marent boutique hotel. And the Löwe & Bär children’s hotels are popular with families with high demands.
Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is not only fondly remembered because of the great hotels, but primarily because of a bike day that was successful from A to Z. I’m not the most daring, but our guide Stefan from the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis bike school gave us such good guidance that after a few dry runs I actually went down the bike park and half a day later even dared to go on the varied single trails. Bike beginners are definitely in good hands here.
Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis can be reached from Zurich in around 4.5 to 5.5 hours by public transport and is therefore also suitable for a long weekend.
5. Pure nature in East Tyrol
The detour to East Tyrol requires a somewhat longer journey. The eastern part of the Austrian state is separated by Italian territory (South Tyrol) and Salzburg south of the high mountain range Hohen Tauern. The seclusion and originality is exactly what makes East Tyrol so attractive. The deceleration starts as soon as you arrive and at the latest when you check into the Gradonna Mountain Resort Châlets & Hotel at the foot of the Grossglockner, everything is all about relaxation.
From the Lienz Dolomites via the Hochpustertal to the Hohe Tauern National Park region and the Defereggental, there are countless excursion options for hikers and bikers in East Tyrol. A hike or a horse-drawn carriage excursion through the Gschlösstal – a side valley of the Tauern Valley (just under 45 minutes by car north of Gradonna Mountain Resort) is particularly appealing. From the Matreier Tauernhaus at the entrance to the valley, it takes just under two hours to walk to the end of the valley, where you are practically right in front of the impressive Grossvenediger glacier wall. For refreshment, we recommend a stop at the Venedigerhaus in the charming Innergschlöss alpine settlement. My tip: try the cheese spaetzle here.
6. Summer retreat at the Weissensee
If you ask me, the Weissensee is not only Carinthia’s highest, but also the most beautiful bathing lake. Seven years ago I spent a few days in the region and somehow this wonderful, natural lake, which exudes almost Caribbean flair on sunny days, but is also extremely attractive when covered in clouds, burned itself in my head. In 1995 the region was awarded the “European Prize for Tourism and Environment” and declared a nature park and is considered a pioneer in the field of sustainable tourism.
With two thirds of undeveloped bank areas, an extensive hiking and biking network and “motorless” water sports activities such as stand up paddling and surfing, the Weissensee is the ideal holiday destination for those who focus on enjoying nature. It goes without saying that there is a lot on offer here when it comes to culinary delights. My favorite: the vegetarian restaurant at the Strandhotel am Weissensee.
7. Detour to the pleasure capital Graz
It is considered the capital of pleasure in Austria, at the same time bears the title of Unesco City of Design and has a lively cultural scene. The second largest city in Austria – Graz – has some powerful arguments in store, why a detour to the southeasternmost corner of Austria is worthwhile. A big plus point here is the daily train connection that connects Zurich directly with Graz. And where is it best to enjoy yourself in the pleasure capital? On one of the numerous culinary tours. Or a leisurely stroll through the winding streets of the old town. Because one thing is clear: hectic is a foreign word in Graz.
Well, who’s mouth watering after this post? I am definitely looking forward to the next culinary excursion to Austria. You can find more tips and current travel information on the official website of Austria Tourism.