Carinthia in Austria is not only known for its almost Mediterranean climate and the proximity to Italy and Slovenia, but also because of the impressive and fascinating nature with many excursion destinations. Between turquoise-blue mountain lakes and the striking mountains, you can perfectly relax here on the edge of the Carnic Alps, take a vacation and get to know – and maybe even love – the regional cuisine and slow-food mentality.
Carinthia sights – 10 tips for mountains and lakes
City trip to Klagenfurt and Lake Worthersee
Its own beach promenade, the narrow winding streets of the old town and the beautiful climate give – Austria's southernmost state capital – almost a Mediterranean flair. This city is perfect for a weekend to recharge your batteries and combine a city trip with nature.
In the historic old town and the city center you can relax with a glass of regional wine from Carinthia or an espresso in the sun in town. With up to 2200 hours of sunshine a year, Klagenfurt is one of the sunniest places in Carinthia. This is also noticeable in the mentality of the inhabitants – I have rarely met such nice and relaxed people.
Restaurant tip: Probably the best Tafelspitz in Carinthia or even all of Austria can be found in the imperial Tafelspitz for about 21€, which comes with many different side dishes (creamed spinach, roasted apples, apple horseradish, chive sauce, fresh bread horseradish) and a heavenly beef soup with vegetables.
A side trip to the caribbean lake Weissensee
Is this already the Caribbean or still the Weissensee in Carinthia? Attention, here can quickly arise confusion, because the idyllic captivates not only with its unique color, but also with the many hiking opportunities around the lake.
A good way to get to know the area is a boat trip on Lake Weissensee. On the sun deck of the ships of the you can relax and enjoy the nature and the turquoise blue water at many destinations.
Here and there you can see canoeists and SUP paddlers, while others relax with a fishing rod in a rowboat in the middle of the lake and wait for the fish to finally bite. After all, there are 20 different species of fish in Lake Weissensee.
In the summer you can enjoy a refreshing swim here because the water temperatures often do not drop below 25 degrees in summer. Also the many resorts with wellness invite to linger. The Weissensee in Carinthia is therefore also perfect for a summer adventure (also for the whole family)! Lake Ossiach is also not far away and is another beautiful destination in Carinthia.
Hiking and skiing in Nassfeld at the Italian border
Here on the border with Italy and Slovenia, culinary delights are also very important. The visitor of Nassfeld can expect a successful mixture of Carinthian and Italian cuisine.
As part of the first we enjoyment here quite capitalized. Because in Carinthia you can not only eat well and enjoy, but also experience firsthand how unique dishes are created, cheese is made and bread is baked.
Slow Food Region – Pleasure between Alpe and Adria
Handicraft production methods with a lot of love and the necessary time that different products need, are here in Carinthia the be-all and end-all. It is not without reason that the world's first Slow Food Travel Region is located here, between Lesach, Gail and Gitsch valleys and Lake Weissensee.
Here you can get to know the taste and origin of food with all your senses. During a cooking course you can try your hand and feel where the passion of the producers for the products here comes from. Besides, one gets also still good tips for at home.
Down-to-earth feast – Frigga cooking on the mountain pasture
On the Nassfeld there are many gastronomic offers. But none is probably more hearty, authentic and above all delicious than At 1600 meters above sea level, the hospitality of the Plattner family welcomes every visitor immediately.
If you want to get a little hands-on, you can dive into the world of Slow Food and Frigga cooking here. Frigga comes from Friuli and in Italian it is called frico – baked. The origin lies in the craft of the lumberjacks, who often spent a whole week in the mountains and had to feed themselves.
Here the lumberjacks had to resort to non-perishable products. Bacon, cheese, apples, onions, bread and polenta flour were the main staples. At that time the prepared Frigga was a "poor man's food". Today Frigga is on everyone's lips, in the border regions around Slovenia, Italy and of course also Austria.
A Carinthian Holzkneckt Frigga consists of Gailtaler bacon, which is crispy fried over an open fire. It is accompanied by potatoes and onions. Cooked over the fire, plenty of alpine cheese is added at the end and the dish is fried until crispy brown. At the end the frigga is served with polenta or cheese. Delicious!
Book the Slow Food Experience: A mini cooking class and frigga preparation on the mountain pasture can be booked.
Gailtaler Speck and own products from the castle Lerchenhof
Gailtaler bacon. This is the stuff that many dreams are made of here in the Alpe-Adria region. This is patented, EU-protected bacon that has a red color and snow-white fat. Original Gailtaler Speck may only be produced in the Gailtal and has a mildly salty smoked and meaty flavor that is slightly spicy.
The original Gailtaler Speck is marked with quality assurance seals. The green seal is given exclusively to bacon produced in family farms.
For many years in the hearty bacon rarities and of course the Gailtaler bacon is produced.
In the Lerchenhof butchery, master butcher Hans Georg Fercher ensures special quality. Fresh meat for the Hotel & Restaurant in the castle as well as sausage and long-life products are produced here with special love and from master hands.
Since the Lerchehof has been actively farmed for hundreds of years, wheat, corn and barley come directly from the farm. Also herbs from the herb garden and apples from the own apple trees are processed in the castle Lerchenhof. All delicacies can be tasted at breakfast in the hotel or during a visit to the first and only zero-kilometer restaurant – 90% of the food here comes from the Gail Valley & Gitsch Valley.
Book the slow food experience: Those who want to delve deeper into bacon production with tasting can book the right experience.
How goat cheese is made? A visit to the organic farm Echt Krab
Here in the orchards around the , the many goats mow the natural ground of the area very carefully and precisely. The mixture of juicy grass and the fallen pears and apples makes the milk of the animals particularly tasty. Finally, the organic farm produces a wide variety of dairy products. From cream cheese to yogurt to creamy camembert.
After a shared tour of the pastures and farm, everyone gets a hand at milking during this Slow Food experience. The fresh milk is then processed in the own show dairy to seasonal specialties such as cream yogurt or cream cheese balls. In the own Hoflanden then also many other products are tasted!
Book the Slow Food experience: Make your own cheese for once, that's possible at the Echt Krab organic farm in Hermagor. The experience can be booked.
Dishes with handmade products – The Barenwirt in Hermagor
In the small manageable city center of Hermagor at the Presseggersee in the lower Gailtal is the restaurant . The Barenwirt is known far beyond the city limits for its culinary diversity and strong focus on regional and handmade products. In addition to a classic inn menu, there is also a changing menu that will delight you.
Manuel Ressi runs the restaurant Barenwirt together with his wife Claudia and offers regional and fresh cuisine as well as a very special slow food experience. Here at the Barenwirt you can learn that. How to preserve summer in a jar and fresh fruits, fruits and mushrooms all year round.
Book the slow food experience: Preserving is not an art but still the best way to eat your own fruits and vegetables throughout the year. The experience can be booked.
Overnight tip: Romantic overnight stay in the castle
This rightly calls itself a culinary hotel and a place for real connoisseurs. Finally, the previously presented Gailtaler Speck and other specialties are produced here by hand. In the castle, which was built in 1848, you can not only dine in a stately way, but also live in an equally stately way.
After a first-class breakfast, Lerchenhof Castle is the perfect starting point for tours in the surrounding area. Maybe even with a convertible? At Lerchenhof Castle it is possible to make convertible tours on the most beautiful convertible and classic car routes in Carinthia, Friuli and Slovenia. Wellness for the soul!
The other car sharing – with the e-car through the region
FReD "Prima furs Klima" is the innovative e-car sharing concept launched in 2017 in the Gailtal, Lesachtal, Gitschtal and Weissensee valleys. Due to the very well accessible locations, the car sharing vehicles can be easily combined with public transport such as bus and train.
With this you can easily find out the location of the vehicles, with the input of payment data and driver's license you can also rent the car very quickly. The billing is done by hours or days. Up to 160 kilometers range have the nimble runabouts that are a sustainable alternative to the normal car.
Carinthia sights: Do you have any questions?
All travel tips and sights, I have compiled after a short trip to Carinthia. If you have any questions, I will be happy to help you in the comments.
Here you can find more travel tips for destinations in Austria:
This post was made in collaboration with kaernten.at. My opinion is, as always, not influenced by this. I only report on things that I can really recommend from the bottom of my heart.