Partner content: Visit Villach

A year-round destination that appeals to everyone from sports enthusiasts through to culture lovers

Friday, 31 May 2019,
By Visit Villach
Visit Villach
Visit Villach
Photograph by Visit Villach

A year-round destination that appeals to everyone from sports enthusiasts through to culture lovers, Villach is the perfect place to travel to for a memorable visit — somewhere that mixes the relaxed free-spiritedness of the Mediterranean with the energy and vigour of the Alpine lifestyle

Located in Carinthia, Austria’s southernmost state, and close to the border triangle of Austria, Italy and Slovenia is Villach — a beautiful city full of activities. Visitors can experience the spirit of the Alps-Adriatic region in a charming and historic Austrian city with a unique character.

Villach is the perfect destination for art-loving travellers: there are museums, art galleries, modern architecture, cultural gems and international design. Here, modern art meets old masters, fine arts vie with traditional folk culture, and historic venues host concerts and theatre productions.

Villach is a city that’s attracted plenty of praise. Twice a year, the city is buzzing with excitement around its popular festivals — the Villach Fair (Kirchtag) and Villach Carnival (Fasching). With 400,000 visitors annually, the Villach Fair is the largest traditional festival in Austria. Think of it as the Austrian version of Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest on a smaller scale. 

“Lei, lei!” is the traditional greeting at Villach Carnival. Villach is the stronghold of carnival celebrations in Austria, making it similar to Cologne’s status in Germany. Not to be missed is the grand parade with its colourful floats, groups from across Europe, and around 4,500 people dressed in fancy costumes. With so much to see, it’s no wonder tens of thousands of people line the streets and celebrate in the city centre all day long. 

Among the best places to relax outdoors is Villach’s nearest mountain, the Villacher Alpe. At 7,100ft above sea level, the mountain is also known as the Dobratsch and is located due west of Villach. The area has been protected as a nature park for decades to preserve it for posterity and, of course, visitors. It has lots of flora and fauna, beautiful scenery and vantage points for viewing, relaxing and enjoying the surroundings. The panoramic views from the peak showcase all of Carinthia — down to Italy, the Julian Alps, and Slovenia.

For those that make the climb to the top of the mountain, the view back towards the city reveals many lakes that characterise the geography of the Villach region. First, Lake Faak. Crystal clear and completely clean, it’s the luxury of swimming in drinking water. A little-known fact is that Lake Faak ranks among the warmest lakes in Austria. Second, Lake Ossiach: a natural shoreline with peaceful spots for relaxation, a magnificent mountain backdrop, stunning sunsets and top-quality water in shades of emerald green. Whether you’re looking for action on the lake or some relaxation, Lake Ossiach to the northeast of Villach has plenty to attract visitors — rest and culture, on the one hand, sports and events on the other. Both lakes are inviting locations for a range of activities as well as relaxation. 

Countless walks, hiking trails, and bike paths are a good way to discover the scenic countryside. Enjoy a hike on the Gerlitzen Alpe for a new perspective. Rising up on the north side of Lake Ossiach, this mountain is blessed with a mix of activities. This popular destination offers circular routes, traditional Alpine chalets, Nordic walking trails, mountain go-kart rides, a great base camp for paragliding, and start ramps for model aircraft.

There’s no question of hibernating in Villach during the winter — and certainly not during the Christmas season. However cold it may be, the city is bathed in warm light. During Advent, Villach is full of magic, sparkle and surprises. Imagine yourself ice skating in front of the town hall, warming your hands around a mug of mulled wine, or spending time in the cosy little cafes. During Advent, all of Villach turns into a world of festive sights and scents.

Even more impressive is a winter hike on the beautiful Dobratsch mountain. With a backdrop straight out of a nature documentary, vast swathes of mountains stretch out in front of you and steep slopes, rocky crags, mysterious animal tracks, and snow crunching underfoot await you. Carinthia’s oldest nature park has long focused solely on 

eco-tourism — and here it’s not just a buzzword, but a true commitment to sustainability. This is all because the Villacher Alpe has something valuable to preserve: unspoilt countryside with plenty of flora and fauna worth protecting. 

For those who enjoy sports, the Villach region hosts two skiing area: the Gerlitzen Alpe and the Dreiländereck. The Gerlitzen Alpe boasts 25 perfectly groomed ski runs for all skill levels totalling in 26 miles in length and around nine miles of natural ski routes. Known for its excellent reputation in the standard of its runs, the operators of the Gerlitzen Alpe have also applied for the Welcome Beginners seal of quality. At the Dreiländereck in nearby Arnoldstein, visitors will experience a unique skiing area on the borders between Austria, Italy, and Slovenia. Its small, family-friendly location in the Karawanken mountain range makes it easy to navigate with around 10 miles of runs. Since it’s ideal for families, learners, returners and recreational skiers, this skiing area is also full of personal touches and top customer service.

Enjoy interesting activities throughout the region for free or at significantly reduced prices with the new Erlebnis Card

T: +43 42 424 2000

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