travel guide

The Provincial Capital of Carinthia

 Klagenfurt am Worthersee is the provincial capital of Carinthia and although around Klagenfurt there are many lakes the most important is the Worthersee, hemmed in by steeply rising, wooded mountains, and many nice resorts. Like much of Austria, Klagenfurt has cold winters but because of it its southerly location summers are relatively warm and most of the popular lakes lie in the suntrap Klagenfurt basin. The area around is noted for its constantly lovely and sometimes superb scenery, and for its many castles, its skiing, climbing, water sports, fishing, and hunting.  It is the perfect location to use as a base to explore southern Austria.
Worth a visit are the Hall of Arms, in the arcaded Landhaus, and the Cathedral, both of the 16th century.
Also visit the fine cathedral 45km. north of Klagenfurt at Gurk that is now a village but use to be once a bishop’s Seat. Begun in the I2th century, the cathedral is a treasure trove of beauty and interest. Some I0 miles away is Friesach, a walled and moated medieval town with many old buildings and much of historical interest. En route from Klagenfurt and worth seeing too, is St Veit which was once the capital of Carinthia and is now noted for its Rathaus, (City hall) with its fine facade and three tiered cloisters in the courtyard.
Not to be missed among the many castles around St Veit is Hochosterwitz, 5 m. away, a fairy-tale, fortified castle built on a conical rock and approached by a spiral path.

Hot sunshine and warm springs make many Carinthian lakes very popular for water sports. Worthersee, the largest lake, is one of these. Framed with hills, it is ringed by resorts that include popular Portschach, charming Maria Worth, and lively, rather fashionable Veldcu with its casino. Quieter but still popular is Millstattersee South East of Spittal, which has a more open situation. The main resorts are Millstatt and Seeboden. Ossiachersee, the third largest lake, which lies north-east of Villach, is bordered by steeply rising mountains. Its resorts mainly have small hotels and pensions.
Of the countless smaller lakes, the most popular is perhaps little Faakersee (south-east of Villach), with its island hotel, sun-worshippers scattered on beaches and in the background views of the distant Karawanken Mountains. South-west of Volkermarkt is tiny Klopeinersee, backed by trees, and claiming to have the warmest water of all.
One of the best of Austria’s many fine views is from the resort of Kenselhoe (Mt.  Kanselhoe is 1525metres above sea level), It is north-east of Villach and is reached by cable-car from Annenheim on Ossiachersee. But the finest of all are seen from the Grossglocknerstrasse, the wonderful mountain road that climbs northwards across the Tauern Mountains to the province of Salzburg. It starts from the picturepostcard village of Heiligenblut, whose tall-spired church contains some extraordinarily delicate wooden statues carved by local craftsmen. A road off the Grossglocknerstrasse near its summit leads to the Franz Josef Haus, a fine hotel directly beneath Grossglockner’s peak.