As if imitating the staggering peaks of the surrounding Eastern Alps, church spires soar out of the historic villages in the lush valleys of this lake-studded region.
Visit Carinthia’s medieval settlements and plan your exploration of the region’s dramatic peaks and valley-floor lakes. The Austrian province is unrivaled when it comes to spectacular lakes and pristine waterways. Discover a mountainous landscape punctuated by more than 200 glimmering lakes, which present fantastic opportunities for swimming and boating. As Austria’s sunny south turns into a winter paradise, Carinthia’s peaks and highlands become playgrounds for alpine adventure.
The region’s capital is the grand old city of Klagenfurt. Stroll through its Alter Platz (Old Square) to see a collection of Renaissance buildings. Visit other notable highlights, such as the 16th-century Lindworm Fountain and the Baroque Cathedral of Klagenfurt. The city lies on the shores of Wörthersee, Carinthia’s largest lake. The lake also has the noteworthy asset of being one of the Alps’ warmest lakes, due to the thermal springs that heat the enormous body of water to comfortable swimming temperatures.
Don’t be daunted by Carinthia’s staggering range of lakes and waterways; centuries of Carinthian lakeside leisure means the region’s best spots are easily accessible. Check out Millstätter See, Ossiacher See and Faaker See to explore local favorites.
Explore the riverside city of Villach or make your way into the province’s mountainous interior to find magnificent medieval towns. Friesach and Gmünd shelter this beautifully preserved medieval heritage within their ancient village walls. See the hilltop castle Hochosterwitz or check out grand palaces, such as Burg Griffen and Porcia Castle. Elsewhere in the verdant valleys, you’ll find the historic abbeys of St. Paul’s and Viktring. Make your way through the Zollfeld Plain to see the towering spire of Maria Saal Cathedral. Visit Heiligenblut to see the sky-piercing tower of St. Vincent Church rising up against a backdrop of Austria’s tallest mountain, the Glossglockner.
In winter, check out Carinthia’s excellent ski resorts. Nassfeld, Bad Kleinkirchheim and Flattach are popular destinations, while the Hohe Tauern and the Nock Mountains National Park present plenty of opportunities for mountaineering.
Reach Carinthia by flying into its major airport in Klagenfurt or make use of the large railway hub in Villach. The province is best explored by car, but ensure you take care when driving along the mountain roads.