Panoramic hikes around the most beautiful lakes of Carinthia
© Udo Bernhard | Österreich Werbung
Before departing on your adventure, you enjoy a coffee on the lakeside terrace. Then, walking down a narrow hiking path, you follow the tree-lined shore. The clear water of the lake is always visible through the trees, until—suddenly—you're standing right by it. The trees have opened up and in front of you is an epic panorama as the lake stretches out before you. The clear water glistens peacefully in the sun, between the rocks you can see small, agile fish and on the other bank a picturesque mountain landscape stretches out over the lake.
Lakes and mountains are a special kind of attraction. Wide views, idyllic Alpine landscapes, clear water and the silence of the mountains are things all nature lovers are naturally drawn to. In Carinthia, six famous lakes lure you to extensive discovery hikes: Klopeiner See, Millstätter See, Pressegger See, Ossiacher See, Wörthersee and Weissensee. An unbelievable variety of landscapes awaits you on these hikes: Lake Wörthersee lies in the hilly Klagenfurt basin, Lake Weissensee is framed by lush green mountain slopes, Lake Pressegger See is part of a quiet moorland, around Lake Ossiacher See you will find idyllic villages and small towns and Lake Millstätter See lures you with its untouched forests on its southern shore. All five lakes are popular bathing lakes with first-class water quality. Thanks to the mild climate, they are among the warmest lakes in the entire Alps and invite you to swim from spring to autumn.
We have selected ten hikes on which you can explore the lakes and the surrounding mountain world. In addition to some sporty mountain treks, however, enjoyment is at the forefront of the great Carinthian lakes. The best way to discover the lakes and landscapes is on the slower, more relaxed trails. These are no more than ten kilometers long (6 miles) and push you up less than 300 meters (1,000 feet) in elevation gain. On comfortable paths, you hike through the Alpine idyll and leave your everyday stress behind you very quickly. Nowhere else can you immerse yourself better in the Carinthian mountain and lake landscape than on these trails. Whether it's a lake trek, a walk in the woods or a panoramic hike - just choose your favorite trail and let Carinthia's lakes enchant you.
With a height of 2,139 meters the Hochobir is the highest peak of the North Karavanke. On top of the summit of the mountain you have a fantastic view down to the Klagenfurt basin and the rocky peaks of the Karawanken. From the Eisenkappler hut, a well-maintained hiking trail leads you up to the Hochobir.The starting point of the tour is the Eisenkappler hut. The trail parking lot below the hut can be reached via a toll road. First, the trail meanders through a forest upwards. Immediately afterwards, you will reach the broad ridge that leads you to the summit of Hochbirs. The path rises evenly and it opens up to you again and again beautiful views down into the Vellachtal. In front of you you can now see the rocky summit of the Hochobir. A little later you are standing at the summit. Below you, the mighty Klagenfurt basin spreads out - an impressive panorama. Far away in the north you can see the peaks of the Salzkammergut Mountains. If you've had enough of the view, it's the same way back to the starting point of the tour.
The Kitzelberg is a wooded ridge on the west bank of Lake Klopeiner See. On top of the summit you will find a beautiful viewing platform - so you can enjoy a great view of Lake Klopein despite the tall trees. From St. Kanzian, a leisurely circular hike leads you up to the summit. The Slow Trail runs on comfortable forest roads and is thus suitable for the entire family.On the western shore of Lake Klopein your hike begins. You stroll along the Uferstraße until a road branches off to the right towards Kleinsee. You follow the road along the Schilfumstandenen small lake along and a little later you hit a forest road. The leads, gently rising, to the left up to the Kitzelberg. In wide bends, the forest path winds towards the summit. Once at the top you have a great view of Lake Klopein and Lake Turner. From the summit, follow the forest trail in the direction of Turnersee. You hike comfortably downhill and below the Kitzelberg back to Lake Klopein.
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With a length of more than 11 kilometers and a width of almost two kilometers, Lake Millstatt is the second largest lake in Carinthia. In order to experience the lake in all its dimensions, it is worthwhile to climb a little on the surrounding slopes. Above the lake you will get an idea of its size and of the picturesque landscape. On the Slow Trail above the town of Millstatt you can expect not only great views, but also quiet forest trails and two small, hidden lakes.From the car park Calvary you first walk through the village Kleindombra. At the edge of the forest you walk with a great view to the vantage point 'Waldbühne on the Luschan height'. Here you have a particularly great view of Lake Millstatt. Afterwards you follow the forest path through the peaceful forest to the hidden Zwergsee. After a rest on the wooden forest bed, you continue your walk. A little later you reach the small pond. From here, gently descend to the starting point of your hike.
The Mirnock is an isolated ridge on the eastern shore of Lake Millstätter See. According to a legend, the mountain once carried a round rocky outcrop, on which lived a giant. He fell in love with the daughter of a fisherman who lived on the Afritzer See. One night the giant abducted the daughter, but with a guile the fisherman was able to free the girl. Out of sheer anger, the giant hit the hilltop short and short. The rocks clattered down the mountain, but father and daughter escaped unscathed. Instead, the rocks divided the Afritzer See into two parts - the Afritzer See and the Brennsee. The Slow Trail takes you from the Sternenbalkon vantage point in a small round through the enchanted forests on the slopes of the Mirnock. Along the family-friendly hiking trail you will find information boards that will bring you closer to the story of the Mirnock giant.Your hike starts at the parking lot of the Alpengasthof Bergfried. Here it is worth a short detour to the Sternenbalkon. From the viewing terrace you have a picturesque view of Lake Millstatt and the surrounding mountain landscapes. Then you follow the forest path into the forest. Afterwards you will hike on alpine meadows. The path winds up in some bends and then leads you into the dense forest. Soon you will find another viewing platform near the Bergfried Hut. Afterwards, the trail leads you leisurely down through the forest to the starting point of your hike.
The Weissensee is picturesquely nestled between the mountains on the edge of the Gailtal Alps. The lake is located at an altitude of 930 meters and is thus the highest located large lake of Carinthia. Only a small part of its shore is built, the much larger part is under nature conservation. Many hiking trails lead along the shore of the lake, but the most exciting section is between the Ronacherfels on the north shore and the eastern shore of the Weissensee. Here is only a narrow trail under the towering mountains. This hiking section is only suitable for sure-footed and vertigo-free hikers. If that applies to you, you will love this trail.Your hike begins at the hiking car park near the Neusach jetty. From there, you saunter through the small village and then follow the quiet street to the east. Soon you will reach the Seecafé Ronacherfels. Take a little rest before the most exciting stretch of the trail begins. Up and down, the trail winds along the large and small stone wall and again and again, spectacular views of the Weissensee open up to you. When you reach the eastern shore, it is only a few meters to the end of your walk. Here you hike again on comfortable hiking trails, before you reach the jetty Dolomitenblick. Then take the excursion boat back to Neusach.
On the small lake Pressegger See in the Carinthian Gail Valley you can expect not only a picturesque landscape, but also great destinations for families. The cozy round trip around the lake can thus be perfectly combined with a visit to the outdoor pools, the adventure playground 'In the realm of the sea witch' or the first Carinthian adventure park. The hiking trails around the lake are well developed and fully family suitable.The round trip begins at the parking lot of the Strandbad Hermagor. Here is also the adventure playground. When enough has been climbed and ridden, follow the quiet street until a footpath branches off to the left. The path leads you through a wide moor landscape along the western shore of the lake. It goes over two bridges and on the south bank you will meet the beach Oswald. From the Uferweg you now have a particularly beautiful view of the lake, because on the opposite side ruggedly rise the slopes of the Gailtal Alps. Back to the northern shore you follow the trail through Carinthia's largest reed area. The stalks rustle softly in the wind here. On the north shore you walk on the sidewalk on the roadside in the direction of 1. Carinthian adventure park. Here you can easily spend the rest of the day. Splashing in the water, trying out all the play equipment and then eating in the sea tavern - perfect. Then it is only a few meters to the starting point of your hike.
Lake Ossiach is the third largest lake in Carinthia. The long, narrow lake is framed in the north by the steep slopes of the Gerlitzen Alpe and borders in the south on the mountains of the Ossiacher Tauern. While roads lead along the north and south shores, you can hike along the eastern shore in untouched nature. Here the Tiebelbach flows into the lake and forms a sprawling moor landscape. On the Slow Trail you can explore the Bleistätter Moor and enjoy the view of the lake from the observation towers. The trails are very well developed and are also suitable for families with small children and prams.Your hike begins at the stone house of the famous Austrian architect Günther Domenig. Once designed as a residential building, today it is used as a museum about the architect, who died in 2012. You follow the trail to the shore of the lake and into the lead meadow. Here live numerous species of birds, butterflies, bats and even beavers. So take some time to explore the special landscape. On the shore are two wooden observation towers, which are also perfect as a resting place. Once at the south bank, the hike will lead you away from the lakeshore and over wide fields. You cross the Tiebelbach and walk with a wonderful view back to the starting point of your hike.Tip: The stone house, the starting point of the hike, you can also easily travel by ship. The timetable can be found at ossiachersee-schifffahrt.atVariant: If you arrive on the southern shore of Lake Ossiach, you can also turn right here and continue along the shore to Ossiach Abbey. From here it goes with the excursion ship MS Ossiach back to the starting point of the tour.
On the edge of Villach, the Dobratsch rises to an altitude of 2,166 meters. The isolated mountain range forms the easternmost foothills of the Gailtal Alps and offers a particularly beautiful view of the surrounding landscape due to its special location. The summit area of the Dobratsch is today protected as part of a nature park and up here you can observe many rare animals. Especially chamois can be seen again and again. A panoramic round trip takes you from the hiking car park Rosstratte up to the summit of the Dobratsch. The way over the Jägersteig is in places rocky and therefore especially suitable for experienced hikers. The way back, however, runs on a well-developed gravel road. If the Jägersteig is too adventurous for you, you can simply hike on the dirt road to the summit.From the trail parking Rosstratte you first follow the dirt road over wide mountain meadows. At a sharp right turn the Jägersteig branches off to the left to the vantage point Gams- and Gipfelblick. From the platform you can enjoy a fantastic view before you continue on the Jägersteig. The rocky path is pure pleasure for experienced mountain hikers and winds its way over mountain meadows and steeply uphill along the edge of the forest. Arriving at the Dobratsch, in addition to the great panoramic view, a detour to the ancient mountain church and the state-of-the-art Dobratschhaus is worthwhile. The elegant DAV mountain lodge was opened in 2010 and supplies hungry hikers with food and drink. After a rest you walk on the dirt road back to the starting point of your hike.
With a length of 16.5 kilometers and a width of almost two kilometers, the Wörthersee is the largest lake in Carinthia. Due to its location in the Klagenfurt basin, it is also one of the warmest lakes in the Alps. As befits an alpine lake, you can tour the Wörthersee on a spectacular hike. The route is around 55 kilometers in total - only the sportiest hikers will try that in one day. All others choose their favorite section or take two or three days to complete the tour.Away from roads, the trail runs along the wooded bank slopes. In many places you can enjoy beautiful views of the sparkling waters of the Wörthersee and the gray peaks of the Karawanken. Along the way you will find small villages, hidden bathing lakes and peaceful resting places.You can start the loop around the Wörthersee at any point and of course in your desired direction. The jetties of the Wörthersee Schifffahrt are best suited as the starting and finishing point of your day trips. Just get started from the pier and then return from your waypoint with the excursion boat. So you can customize the hike to your liking.You can find more about Wörthersee shipping at woertherseeschifffahrt.atFrom 3 to 28 October, the Golden Wanderherbst will take place in the Wörthersee region. The program includes many guided hikes. The absolute highlight is the Wörthersee autumn hike on 26 October 2018. There are two route variants: 14 kilometers for pleasure hikers and the full circuit of 55 kilometers for enduring outdoor athletes.More information at wandern.woerthersee.com/goldener-woerthersee-wanderherbst and wandern.woerthersee.com/woerthersee-herbstwanderung
In its vast expanse, you can barely comprehend the Wörthersee from its shores in its entirety. Luckily, there are several viewpoints around the lake that offer a much better view just above the shore. This slow trail takes you from Velden on the western shore of the lake to the high cross viewpoint. You wander through the enchanted Roman canyon and visit the quiet Forstsee.Your hike begins at the famous Schlosshotel Velden, right next to the pier of the Wörthersee Schifffahrt. You follow the path for a while along the beach promenade and then stroll through the city to the filial church of St. John and Paul. The church dates back to the 13th century and is also known as the French Church. Directly after the Roman gorge begins. Along the stream, you ascend through a narrow, wooded valley to the Roman bridge. Here you turn right and follow a comfortable forest road up to Forstsee. It's best to bring your swimwear with you because small bays invite you to jump into the lake. You circle the lake and follow the slow trail into the forest. Soon you will find a branch that leads you directly to the high cross viewpoint. On the rock carcass you can enjoy the view before you make your way back to Velden.From 3 to 28 October, the Golden Wanderherbst will take place in the Wörthersee region. The program includes many guided hikes. The absolute highlight is the Wörthersee autumn hike on 26 October 2018. There are two route variants: 14 kilometers for pleasure hikers and the full circuit of 55 kilometers for enduring outdoor athletes.More information at wandern.woerthersee.com/goldener-woerthersee-wanderherbst and wandern.woerthersee.com/woerthersee-herbstwanderung