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Nassfeld in Carinthia

Car-free holidays in Carinthia

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Traffic jam on the freeway – eight hours later your eyes are tired and teary, and the environment always cries a little too. The alternative: start your holiday in Carinthia in southern Austria by train. I, Jakob from Good Travel, took the train to Carinthia and experienced a lot in the four days without a car. And I think it works very well! There are numerous public mobility offers on site that will take you to the most beautiful mountain and lake landscapes in Carinthia.

By train to Carinthia

Happy Carinthia! – From Berlin by train

Berlin – Munich. Munich – Salzburg. Salzburg-Villach. Change trains three times, quickly, and a day's journey later you're in the mountains. On the way, the tracks lead through idyllic mountain regions and increase the anticipation.

What's noticeable here is that there is space: the view of the passing landscape is far-reaching, the mountains are high, and your legs have room to stretch out.

With the connection Berlin-Munich-Salzburg-Villach (alternatively with the direct train from Munich) the train journey takes just under 8 1/2 hours. By car it takes 9 hours - not counting traffic jams and breaks. Thanks DB and ÖBB

However, our train was late, so we missed the connecting train in Salzburg. We arrived later but managed to find time for lunch and a walk to Mirabell Palace use. We were also able to marvel at the imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress from afar. Soon it was back to the train station. A little later we are in Villach.

Despite the delay, we probably wouldn't have arrived earlier by car. And the butt is also less tense.

Hello home! Harry's Home in Villach was our nocturnal retreat and we felt very comfortable. Courteous service, comfortable mattresses, noise-insulated rooms and a sumptuous breakfast. Gladly again with Harry!

The proximity to the train station was also practical – ideal for our excursion program.

Mirabell Castle

Starting point in Villach - kissing point Austria, Italy and Slovenia

The focal point of Villach: Small and fine and a great home base for day trips. The small town in the center of Carinthia is an ideal starting point and offers good connections in all directions. From here you can get to Nassfeld by train or bus within an hour or to Klagenfurt in 30 minutes for a bike tour around Lake Wörthersee.

Maria from the Region of Villach gave us a little city tour - the charming promenade and evening walks along the Drau. We arrive and feel good. But the mountain landscape stretches far and smiles at us - that's what we're here for. The evening ends in the well-known Villach Brauhof, while we are already dreaming of the next day's excursion.

Villach in Carinthia
Villach brewery
Villach Brewery

Good to know: The Erlebnis-CARD is included with all accommodation bookings in the Villach region. Not only can you use great offers such as the Kärnten Therme, the mushroom museum and numerous specials for young people, but you can also use the S-Bahn for free.

Here we go!

Experience Carinthia - Caribbean in the mountains

Before the experience report again a Carinthia compact. The conversations with our "Local Heroes" (thanks Nina, Vanessa, Gerald, Jörg, Maria and Eva!) have shown - the region has a lot to offer. The Weissensee, crystal clear and emerald green, is the highest bathing lake in Carinthia at 930 meters and offers a Caribbean feeling in the middle of the mountains. The Klopeiner See is the warmest bathing lake in Austria Grossglockner At 3798 meters it is the highest mountain in Austria, and it hikes from the glacier to the sea via the Alpe-Adria-Trail. Carinthia borders Italy and Slovenia and is four hours by train from Venice. The cultures mix in the cooking pot, the Italian risotto kisses the Carinthian bacon, and the Kaasnoodles have a Slovenian character. Good!

Due to its southern location, Carinthia is warmer than other mountain regions in Europe. You can comfortably swim, cycle and hike here until October.

Here is a small experience report, travel impulse, a “preliminary taste” as the saying goes.

The Weissensee in Carinthia

Hiking in the sun Am Nassfeld

wet field was our daily goal for the second day and not wet at all. We had bright sun all day and the most pleasant temperatures due to the altitude. Nina from Kärnten Werbe accompanied us and reported enthusiastically about her homeland.

We took the S-Bahn and bus to Tröpolach and then continued on foot to the Sommerbergbahn. Past a small yard with a turning machine. Aha – there’s cheese and fresh milk! In Berlin, you only get sweets from the vending machine at the train station. We need to try this!

Hiking in Carinthia

Maria, the owner, caught us in the act. “Is everything still there”? Yes, everything there. “But come in for a moment and I’ll give you a piece of goat cheese to take with you.” Nina, Welf and I each receive a thick slice in our hands.

The cheese tastes good and the goat's milk from the machine was phenomenally fresh.

Equipped with provisions we take the summer mountain railway up to the Madritsche (1909 m). The air rushes through our curls and around our ears, we take a deep breath. In the background we hear children playing by the water. The Aquatrail not only offers beautiful views, but also child-friendly hiking with all kinds of water and hiking playgrounds along the way. We had fun too.

For example, on the toboggan run from the Madritsche down to the Tressdorfer Alm. This is great fun for young and old and offers like these make it easy for families to keep children happy.

Summer mountain railway up to the Madritsche
Family-friendly hiking

There is also an alpine swing. After all the activities we got hungry, so we went to eat. 

"Alm-to-Table Dining" on the Tressdorfer Alm. We ordered a "Brettljause" with specialties from the region. The cheese in different stages of maturity complemented the bread and the lard pie. Everything regional – and delicious!

Regional food in Carinthia

Picnic baskets are planned for autumn, which should enable culinary breaks in the middle of nature, scattered along hiking trails.

Despite the well-developed public transport network, there is still some need for expansion in terms of car-free mobility on site. A car sharing service fills this gap. You can book electric cars for a day and discover more remote regions.

We are after our hike We drove to Lake Presseger with the car sharing service. The cooling off was very welcome and the bathing water was still pleasantly warm.

BICYCLE TOUR on Wörthersee AND Carinthian lakes

Speaking of the lake. A bike tour around Lake Wörthersee was on the agenda for the third day. Our bikes were conveniently delivered to the hotel and later picked up there again. So we could go straight to the train station after breakfast in the morning and then on to Klagenfurt, our starting point.

Our guide was Jörg. After running a glazier's shop for a long time, he now only does what he likes - which includes cycling in particular.

The Wörthersee is, how should I put it: turquoise? And crystal clear. You don't find lakes like this very often. It's better to keep your mouth shut when jumping in, says Jörg, otherwise you'll still have a fish in your mouth. If you choke, that's not too bad either. The water is of drinking water quality. Like almost all of the more than 200 bathing lakes in the Carinthian region.

Bike tour in Carinthia

Vanessa talks about her hometown Klagenfurt. Ice cream at Morle is tradition, after which you sit on the stone bridge and enjoy being. We drive past, continue for lunch with a lake view.

Unfortunately, the Loretto Restaurant is closed, but we still eat deliciously and with a great view.

Break at the Wörthersee

A boat tour was planned, with the bicycles across Lake Wörthersee to Velden. But it's just so nice to cycle, so we spontaneously decide to take the land route along the lake shore.

The day flows past the film-historical city of Velden. The Wörthersee gives way to the Drau, and soon we'll be back in Villach. Phew, barely escaped the storm.

A highlight awaits in the evening.

Slow Food in the Stiftsschmiede on Lake Ossiach

Definitely recommendable: A dinner in the Stiftsschmiede on Lake Ossiach. The fish restaurant run by Gerhard and his family is characterized by excellent regional and seasonal products and, above all, freshly caught fish from Lake Wörthersee. We took the train station shuttle directly from the train station to our evening appointment.

Pen forge at the Ossiacher See

Gerhard has converted the old forge into a small kitchen where cooking has been done over the fire for 10 years. The head chef is now his son Florian, Gerhard serves, jokes and personally pours the wine for the guests. He talks about char marinated in lemon juice or trout straight from Lake Wörthersee. Everything is seasonal, regional, fresh every day. Gerhard tells us about his friend Herald, who grows the vegetables in his garden and often doesn't receive the bill until six months later. The radishes are crisp and fresh. A red “Veltliner” is followed by the “Cuvet”, then the “Kärntner Burgunder”.

Dessert melts in your mouth in front of the fireplace while the approaching night envelops the lake and mountain backdrop. When the temperatures are cooler, you can sit in the old forge room and watch the cooking and serving. You can also stay overnight here. Five comfortably furnished rooms invite you to dream while the crickets chirp through the night. We are already looking forward to the next fish in the Stiftsschmiede!

Eating fish at the Wörthersee

Carinthia in autumn, winter or spring – Pfiati and see you next time

We liked Carinthia in summer – the monastery forge, the fresh air, the stories of Nina, Gerhard and Vanessa. We have developed a taste for Carinthia in autumn, winter and spring. Winter in particular arouses enthusiasm for being car-free again.

Gerald, our guide for the hiking day, reports that Nassfeld is known as "snow hole“ and benefits from a microclimate. This brings snow security in the ski area (the largest in Carinthia) due to frequent Adriatic lows from the beginning of December to mid-April. So it happens that seven to eight meters of snow fall in one winter. Everything that comes onto the slopes naturally saves the use of technical snow. Here, too, you can feed yourself from the numerous reservoirs, which are fun to hike on the Aquatrail in the summer.

Nassfeld in winter

Carinthia dreams of the mobility of the future

Car-free in Carinthia. Of course there are the well-known problems with the train, delays, overcrowded trains, missed connections. It's better. And ÖBB is leading the way.

The ÖBB local and long-distance connections were on time. So I was able to jump to the Slow Trail on the Bleistädter Moor and to cool off in Lake Ossiach before I left. 

We asked Vanessa and Nina how they want the future of mobility in Carinthia. They want a well-functioning and structured mobility system for all of Carinthia, such as an app that allows guests to get from A to B within the state safely and quickly, and preferably free of charge.

The train station shuttle, which takes you from the train station to your destination, works – but still needs to get used to the application. Above all, the gap in the "last mile service" must be closed.

The really remote lakes are not yet accessible to the lakeshore by public transport. Alternative mobility services such as e-car sharing can help here FReD.

For us, it's going back home, back to Berlin. The mountains pass by and give way to the city backdrop. I'm drawn straight back to the lake, out of the city. A little piece of Carinthia in your luggage.

Car-free on the road

Text: Jakob Wolski © Photos: Jakob Wolski, Welf, Carinthia Advertising / Ulli Cecerle-Uitz, Martin Lugger

Jakob works as a freelance author and cooperation strategist for Good Travel. Moved by his studies in anthropology, Jakob is particularly interested in the social and cultural aspects of sustainable travel and would like to encourage destinations and companies to rethink sustainable tourism in the long term. When Jakob is not working for Good Travel, he is on theater stages or working on social interaction games.