Tscheppa gorge, Ferlach
When lazy little holidaymakers suddenly turn into enthusiastic hikers, there are generally good reasons for this. And things are no different at Tscheppa gorge in Carinthia’s Karawanken mountains. Daring visitors cannot resist trying out its high rope course and rushing waterfalls.
The ravine extends for almost two kilometers, from the entrance at „Goldenes Brünnl“ to the junction between the Bodenbach and the Loiblbach rivers. The gorge was worn away by the force of water over millions of years, and the path through it is lined by attractions such as the Tschauko waterfall, the rock gateway and the Devil’s Bridge, all set off by unique vegetation.
If you plan to take this route, you should be steady on your feet – after all, you’ll be dealing with ladders, uphill paths and swaying walkways! But do not fear: The route is perfectly suited to families, and even children will have no problem coping with it. You can choose between three different paths, each with a bus stop at the end of them so you can take the bus back to your starting point. Anyone with reduced mobility can also board the Tscheppa gorge bus for the central observation point, which gives a view of several waterfalls at once.
Despite all these exciting experiences, the ravine still has plenty more to offer. Right at the beginning of the Tscheppa gorge you can also find Carinthia’s first high rope course. With its seven different routes and 77 elements, it invites visitors to climb, clamber, hover in the air and stare in amazement. One truly spectacular attraction: Austria’s largest ‚flying-fox‘ zip line: a cable slide 300 meters in length and up to 42 meters in height. Tightly secured, you can speed down into the valley while enjoying a bird’s eye view of the landscape.
Breathtaking perspectives, interesting facts and a natural experience that is out of this world – all this can be found on the Krippenstein at the World Heritage site of Dachstein-Hallstatt. The Krippenstein cable car will whisk you to an altitude of 2100 meters above sea level in matter of minutes.
The first thing you’ll see when getting out at the top is ice that never melts! Gleaming brilliant white, the Hallstatt glacier, the largest glacier in the Northern Limestone Alps, stretches away to Dachstein. The Welterbe-Spirale viewing platform is just a few minutes‘ walk away from the upper station of the mountain. Steps wend their way up to a ’ship‘ made of aluminium, where visitors will find information panels about Unesco World Heritage sites all over the world. But the most thrilling view is of Lake Hallstatt, which spreads out like a fjord, shimmering dark blue far below.
7000 years of cultural history come together here. Before pressing on with your journey, you can take a break on the recliners below the mountain peak. A bit of rest will do you good as the next destination – the 5fingers – is not for the faint-hearted. Here five individual observation ‚jetties‘ extend like fingers over a 400-metre drop, offering a dizzying view of this World Heritage site. New perspectives also open up with the WeltNATURerbe view above the Krippenstein Lodge.
Here visitors not only have a perfect view of the nearby Dachstein, but also learn interesting facts about the world of the glaciers. And if you have time to spare, you can stroll along the family-friendly Heilbronner Rundwanderweg, a circular nature trail, taking in the bizarre karst formations and alpine meadows full of herbal plants and admiring how the chamois nimbly scale the heights. One activity that is very popular – particularly among photographers and early birds – is to take a trip on the Krippenstein cable car at dawn. Getting up first thing is really worth it, as the morning light in the high mountains is unforgettable.
Nationalpark-Zentrum Schloss Orth
A slow but intensive means to discover Austria is on foot. Placing your feet one in front of the other in regular cadence allows ordering thoughts and rhythmically filling your lungs with fresh air. Whether gentle strolls or ambitious mountain tours – the journey is the reward.
In the rolling forest zone of Austria, for instance, there are quiet out-of-the-way trails to listen to the sounds of nature and as evening falls to watch the fog slowly settle over the mysterious rock formations. Walking along the flat shores of the Neusiedler lake, on the other hand, you can experience a marvelous water world and haven for fowl. The Alps make it possible to escape the civilized world: far away from motorways and supermarkets the walkers rely on their own endurance and the power of their own muscles. Standing at the summit – no matter how high or how low – that the walker has just scaled, and peering down at the world from which they have ascended provides an indescribable feeling of freedom and inner peace. Unforgettable, an overnight stay in a mountain cabin in which the simple food tastes twice as good due to the vigorous exercise and where the stars in the night sky shine brighter than anywhere else. Hikers are left, too, with the gratifying feeling of leaving nature behind exactly as they have found it.
Those in the know who want to be at one with nature will chose the Villgraten Valley in the Tyrol: far away from the bustle of all everyday tourist attractions a world awaits travelers where they can hike or ski without the technology of cable cars or T-bar tows. Houses from ages ago and huts on high mountain pastures that are manned in the summer summon the traveler to a very special experience: a contemplative journey into the past.
“Slow Travelers” yearning for pleasures to remember will find the many and varied Austrian organic enterprises to their liking. Whether organic farm, organically oriented bio-guesthouses or even the elegant bio-hotel: they all focus on offers of a setting at one with the seasons, nature and the specific region. Guests are invited to have a personal holiday experimenting, tasting and appreciating. Once again these are places where the tourist learns that traveling means stopping to contemplate.
Advanced “slow travelers” thrive on serenity and the joy of doing nothing. Whether in the orchard of a Styrian organic farmer, on the shore of a Carinthian lake or in the shadow of the mountains of Tyrol the goal is to take time for new encounters. Most of Austrian tourist enterprises are run by families which makes it easy for the guest to make first acquaintances leading to conversations, stories and memories that enable a different understanding of the holiday destination, that make it more meaningful and intensive.
Incidentally: those who can forfeit speed and instead chose to arrive by bus, train or boat are not only doing the environment a service but will find the transition from daily routine to vacation and back again easier to manage. The slowly changing landscape, the chat with the new acquaintance in the seat across from you, or the first encounter with a foreign language are welcome occasions to close the door to daily routine and begin to happily anticipate the holiday about to begin. On the return journey you can once again watch the now familiar landscape or the passing of the mountains while rejoicing in that feeling of unfettered freedom you had at the summit of the mountain while preserving the memory.
The combination of protective walls and exhibition rooms makes the Galtüralpinarium and its architecture unique in Europe today.
A stone circle lit from inside in the entrance hall and a glass facade with alabaster stones symbolise the simultaneously fascinating and threatening forces of nature. The mountain village and ski region of Galtür experienced this close up in 1999. The community lost people, homes and hopes due to an avalanche. All the more remarkable is its regeneration. The 345m long and up to 19m high avalanche wall not only integrates art and culture, but impresses with modern interior design and the exterior architecture adapted to the townscape and nature. The use of the alpine signal colors of yellow and black, blue glass cullet as symbols of glaciers in the bar of the „Frozen Water“ cafe and a bouldering wall form additional mountain reference points. The „LIFE ON THE MOUNTAIN – Snow Fascination – Avalanche Myth“ exhibition shows the mountains as a challenge to the people, but also as a rootstock for myths and fairy tales, as a point of restoring peace and strength.
Winter vacation in Austria with Kids
Planning a ski holiday with your sister and her son sounds easier than it is. Since there are so many children-friendly options for holiday making in Austria it is very difficult to decide. The order of the day is sorting, sorting, sorting. And immersing yourself in a bright and happy universe…
“You do it!“ says my sister and she really means it. As a single parent she has her hands full with every imaginable task. So there is no choice but to relegate oneself to one’s fate and to start studying the options. A task that is not undertaken without a hidden agenda. After all, if little Bastian is happy and, moreover kept busy, the adults will have adequate time and peace of mind to make it a holiday suited to them as well.
The task is anything but easy, especially if one doesn’t have one’s mind made up for a particular winter sports region. Children friendly facilities such as pistes and lifts designed for children, and children’s courses or special meals for the juniors can be found almost everywhere. After a while, though, one offer seems especially interesting: in the ‚Children’s Ski World‘ at Weissensee in Carinthia there is a so- called measuring bear named Meterix who manages a unique discount program. The smaller the guest, the lower the cost. Sounds good you think, and you read on. There’s a character named Bobo who accompanies the little ones on their first skiing attempts and makes learning fun. There is also a mini club, known as kiddie club, where Bastian can play to his heart’s content while mommy and auntie enjoy an espresso in the winter sun or race down the slopes on their own skis.
So far so good – but that doesn’t last very long until the next attractive offer changes your thinking: On the Riesneralm there is the “First Austrian Children’s Ski Teeter-totter” plus the longest lift conveyer belt on which the young skiers easily, safely and comfortably can make it to the top. Then there’s a magic carpet, a bumpy train, adventure parcours… I can just hear my nephew screaming with delight.
Austria has even developed its own seal of approval to designate optimal children’s supervision during the winter holidays: “Welcome Beginners” guarantees among others “a freely accessible children’s playground, full-time day care with or without skiing and a theme dominated children’s nursery with mascot.” So far 15 ski regions have been granted this seal of approval, among them the Winter Sports Region Kasberg and the Hochficht in Upper Austria, the Winterreich at Hochkönig and the Rauris Hochalmbahnen in the province of Salzburg or the Kreischberg and the Stuhleck in Styria. “Fifteen?” I ask myself. That makes exactly fourteen too many for me to make a decision. And then in an instant the next highly promising alternative pops up: in the Tannheim Valley there is a Sioux village, two magic warming igloos, a giant tube slide, and a snow park encompassing an area of ten thousand square metres with animals all stemming from the stone age. And on the Kreischberg there is the chance to plunge into the “Dinoworld” or into “Yabaa Dabba Doo-Land.”
Before completely retreating into my own childhood, it’s time to go and get a fresh cup of coffee and attempt to achieve a somewhat better perspective. Then, full of renewed vigour, the holiday destination emerges that will delight young and old alike: “McDumboland” in Fieberbrunn/Pillerseetal. This is a place where little Bastian will not only benefit from the “newest pedagogical and technical advances in skiing instruction that make learning to ski truly children’s play” – he will also be occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while occupied with so many activities that he will fall into bed happy and exhausted while the grown-ups are able to spend time in the sauna or at the bar. Children aerobics, sailing down the slopes dressed as an Indian, a big children’s olympics with all sorts of agility contests and a final picnic on the McDumbo mountain with the mascot of the same name… What more could the little rascal ask for?
I’ve almost made a decision when my sister rings me. I mustn’t forget that she wants to keep a close eye on Basti at all times during his adventures on the slopes – he can be at times very unpredictable. After mulling over the principle of “allowing children to discover their own world” my eyes suddenly discover “Berta’s Children’s land” in Fiss-Ladis in Tyrol. Do I see right? They have their own special children’s television! In other words, while the adults are enjoying their second dessert, the playful antics of Basti and his cohorts are transmitted directly to two large television screens in the family restaurant. And while mothers keep a close watch on their children the rest of the guests can revel in the panoramic sweep of the mountains through the surrounding huge windowpanes.
The decision is made. At least for the moment. It will probably change soon. There is no telling if Bastian might not fall in love with “Lars the Polar Bear” in the Au-Schoppenberg in Vorarlberg. Or my sister opts for an especially appealing wellness facility. All of which demonstrates that, in fact, it is impossible to make a bad choice – no matter what the outcome. All of Austria’s children friendly winter destinations are best prepared for spending a successful holiday with you and your children.
Welcome Beginners (among others.)
Harvest time in the biosphere park in the Großes Walsertal valley
The Großes Walsertal in Vorarlberg carries the impressive sounding name “UNESCO Biosphere Park.” “Utilizing nature without damaging it” is the credo of the region.
The inhabitants of the valley are especially proud of their provost convent St. Gerold. The convent has a guesthouse offering accommodations for 60 vacationers. The convent also caters to the needy with the “Oasis 2000” project that finances their holidays. The provost convent aspires to be a place to meet and communicate and therefore has no television. Horses are important the convent: there is hippo therapy, healing equestrian instruction as well as conventional horseback riding. Workshops and seminars are organized around several themes such as dance, Zen Buddhism, the Feldenkrais method, and fasting. The neighboring Marul, the village in which all farmers have converted to organic farming, is worth a visit.
Niederweiden and Eckartsau Palace
The graceful and uncomplicated architecture of the Niederweiden Palace provides a charming contrast to the overpowering estate of the Hof Palace.
For a proper gastronomy for the eminent guests the architect Fischer von Erlach designed an annexe with a kitchen specializing in game. Two open ovens are large enough to prepare a whole deer on a spit. Sideboards of brick served as plate and platter warmers and the food itself was kept hot with the help of a segmented warm water bath. There are also exhaust chimneys functioning just as modern exhaust hoods do. 15 to 35 persons can dine as true royalty accompanied by flickering candles.
The Eckartsau Palace and the Emperor’s Trail for a guided hike through the Danube Marshlands National Park.
First marvel at the grand chambers of the Baroque Eckartsau Palace, the residence of Austria’s last emperor before he departed into exile. The exhibition “From Royal Hunting Grounds to National Park” at the information stand of the palace traces the historical development of the area. Then you can take the guided tour along the Emperor’s Trail. The activity lasts approximately four hours and requires at least ten participants.
Bergisel ski jump
Known to many above all from the Four-Hills Tournament, the futuristic ski jump on the Bergisel has become a new landmark of Innsbruck.
Designed by star architect Zaha Hadid in 2001, the revamped Bergisel-Schanze is an architectural sensation. The structure sweeps round to end with a section housing the café, viewing terrace and starting ramp. If you are feeling energetic, you can climb the 455 steps up the main tower. However, a much easier option is to take the cable car and visitor lift to the top. Here you will find the café and restaurant as well as a panoramic viewing platform with a 360° view of Tyrol’s mountain scenery. Since its opening, the ski jump has proved to be one of the most popular visitor attractions in Tyrol. Open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
A festival begins every year with a giant party in the town hall square that combines cultural events of the highest quality with socially relevant content and objectives.
Vienna is one of the world’s leading cultural metropolises. In the 60 years of its existence, the Wiener Festwochen (Viennese Festival Week) has secured an important place as innovative festivals with international cooperation.
Events are performed in various places throughout the city cross all sectors – opera, theater, concerts, performances and installations – whether in the Museumsquartier, one of the ten largest cultural complexes in the world, at the ‚Theater an der Wien‘, the Musikverein, the Playhouse or in the markets and squares of the city. Classic, contemporary or classic modern music in operas and concerts, legendary theater marathons and the Vienna Boys Choir in the Church building are part of the programme, just like the annual „Into the City” series, whose aim is to address different communities in Vienna and integrate them into the cultural activities of the city.
The German writer Carl Zuckmayer mentioned it in his memoires, and he is only one of the countless celebrities to have downed a round (or more) at the Augustiner Braustübl.
This brewery dating back to the 17th century is not only the largest beer drinking establishment in Austria – the various snugs and vaulted halls are spread out over 5,000 square meters and the giant garden can seat 1,500 thirsty souls –, it is also one of the most special. The beer is made “by hand” in accordance with age-old brewing principles and then filled into wooden kegs especially for the Bräustübl, from which it is then drawn on tap. Typical regional snacks are available in the ‘Schmankerlgang’, an old vaulted arcade.
There is one quite interesting fact about the Bräustübl: it is allowed to bring your own food! But of course you have to buy the beer there!
Contact: Augustiner Braustübl Lindhofstraße 7 5020 Salzburg