Hardly a winter sports region has as much to offer as Villach: ski areas on Gerlitzen Alpe and Dreiländereck, perfect conditions for ski touring and cross-country skiing in the Dobratsch nature park and a nice city and a thermal spa resort.
The largest ski area in the Villach Region is Gerlitzen Alpe with no less than 15 ski lifts. The best way to explore the mountain is to follow the signs for the Stella Ronda, a combination of lifts and downhill runs that covers most of the ski area. If you want to, you can register your time for the Stella Ronda and take part in the Snow Challenge. A local celebrity will also do the circuit and the registered time closest to it at the end of the season will win. There are great prizes up for grabs, including a car. Snow machines ensure reliable snow cover on all the slopes. In addition, cooling towers chill the water so that they can start making snow as early as possible. Gerlitzen Alpe has also an excellent reputation for the standard of its runs, which led the operators to apply for the Welcome Beginners seal of quality. Experts from the Cable Car Association then checked whether the ski area is actually suitable for beginners and returners to the sport. Gerlitzen Alpe was Carinthia’s only ski area to meet the stringent audit requirements. (www.gerlitzen.com)
If you stand at the summit of Dreiländereck, you will be in Austria, Italy and Slovenia at the same time. The cross is located exactly on the border between the three countries. To get up to the summit cross and 17 kilometres of runs, you can take the Jet chairlift. Protected by a bubble shield, the ride only takes eight minutes. (www.3laendereck.at)
It is now over a year since the KärntenTherme leisure centre opened its doors in Warmbad Villach. In the Fun zone (total water area covering 1,140 sq m), the kids and thrill-seeking young at heart are in their element. Attractions include the Crazy River with uphill section, two enclosed slides and wavy wide slide. Not forgetting the 25 metre training pool, thermal hot tub and outdoor leisure pool. Those who go to the new thermal baths less for fun and more for exercise will feel at home in the gym (700 sq m). The new Spa zone (2,000 sq m) has saunas, hammam, special ladies’ area, inviting relaxation rooms and a separate thermal water pool. (www.kaerntentherme.com)
Dobratsch nature park: Up until a few years ago you could ski here, but it has now been turned into a nature park that is more famous for eco-tourism. The Villach Alpine Road takes you as far as the Rosstratte car park at 1,732 metres above sea level. From there you can easily reach the summit of Dobratsch on foot at an altitude of 2,166 metres. The footpath is not very steep and you are rewarded at the end with breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains. Right under the summit cross there is a new restaurant, which was built a few years ago according to the latest passive house guidelines. If you want to explore the nature park away from the winter trails, you should hire snowshoes. The more energetic may prefer to head for car park 6 on the road beside the alpine rock garden where the 5.4 km cross-country ski trail starts. Children are well catered for at Rosstratte. There is a winter playground for them there with a tobogganing hill. And also ski tourers of all abilities are now to be seen on the mountain. (www.naturparkdobratsch.info)
Villach – Renaissance-style town: The many Renaissance-style buildings in the historic centre of Villach help to give it a Mediterranean atmosphere. When visiting the Christmas markets, a stroll through the back streets where the typical cafés and bars are often tucked away is also a must. If you prefer a roof over your head when browsing, you can head for the ATRIO shopping centre a few kilometres south of the town centre. It covers an area of 28,000 sq m with over 80 shops, cafés and restaurants and 2,000 parking spaces catering for even the largest crowds.
Summer: The beauty of the countryside, crystal-clear lakes and majestic mountains make every moment gleam in the bright holiday sunshine. Castles, museums and many excursion destinations promise many exciting adventures. And in the valley or on the mountain – those looking for revival in sport will love it here. In the midst of marvelous nature, hiking, golf or simply enjoying yourself is at the very top of the agenda.
Information and booking:
Region Villach Tourismus GmbH
Töbringer Straße 1 • 9523 Villach-Landskron, Österreich
Tel.: +43 / (0)4242 / 42000 – 56 • Fax DW: 42