A winter holiday in Carinthia is ideal for active enthusiasts. It's not just about skiing, snowboarding, freeriding and ski touring - in Carinthia, you'll find a colourful variety of exciting possibilities for family members of all ages. The general conditions could not be better: a varied mountainous landscape with magnificent panoramic views interspersed with frozen lakes, boasting a mild winter climate and a particularly high number of sunny days.
And because Carinthia lies within the border triangle of Austria, Italy and Slovenia, the influence of the Alps-Adriatic region is also gastronomically noticeable.
Whether you are a beginner, a recent returner to the sport or a skiing expert, those who choose to ski in Carinthia will definitely get their money's worth. 31 diverse ski areas in Carinthia and Eastern Tyrol offer more than 800 kilometres of guaranteed snowy slopes. Depending on one's desires, mood and demands, choose between high alpine slopes amidst mighty three thousand metre peaks, wide, gentle hillsides for families, or mogul slopes and half-pipes, all ensuring unforgettable adventures in the snow. Not to be forgotten are the untouched hillside slopes, perfect for deep-snow enthusiasts. The TopSkiPass for Carinthia and Eastern Tyrol as well as other various regional ski passes and flat-rate passes serve as door-openers to wintery fun in the area. Because 2016 is a leap year, and February 29 is an exceptionally special day, several Carinthian ski resorts have special offers, such as free skiing and free spa entry for all birthday kids. Fancy discovering an old love anew? The returning-beginner courses in the local ski schools are highly recommended.
Many highlights of a winter holiday in Carinthia await off the slopes. While the leisure skiers romp about on the mountain, cross-country skiers explore the beautiful scenic routes and skaters the winter scenery on frozen, naturally ice-covered lakes. Lake Weissensee is credited as the largest natural ice surface in Europe. For those who wish to recharge their batteries and unwind, a wintery walk through a snow-covered landscape or a horse-drawn carriage ride might be just the thing. Among the most impressive experiences available include the "Night of the Stars" in Heiligenblut and the full moon hike with snowshoes on the Dobratsch. Speaking of snow shoes...
In the Lesachtal Valley, located between the Lienz Dolomites and the Carnic Alps, particularly beautiful routes await, making it a perfect destination for both romantics and nature enthusiasts alike. Those who want to feel like kids again while jetting towards the valley on a toboggan should definitely try the 8.4-kilometre long natural toboggan run at Dreiländereck. Need more excitement? The nock/art winter hiking trail and - for the very brave - the “Ski Before 9” group with Olympic champion Franz Klammer.
From snowsuit to swimsuit; that's the motto of the winter sports region of Bad Kleinkirchheim. From the sauna complex of the Römerbad Thermal Spa, endless winter fun lies only a few steps away. The Kärnten Therme in Villach is also captivating - the adventure area with its massive slides and the mermaid swim are especially popular with the younger visitors. Tip: the full-moon sauna. For those who wish to swim in the Carinthian lakes in winter, it's not only possible during the New Year's Swim in Velden am Wörthersee, but also in the heated outdoor pools within Lake Millstätter See, Lake Wörthersee and Lake Turracher See. And don't forget the Carinthian bathhouses at Millstatt and in Pörtschach, which make the experience of combining lakeside wellness activities and breath-taking scenic views possible even in the wintertime.
Aside from the regional customs, the regional cuisine is also given high priority in Carinthia. The region’s Alps-Adriatic cuisine combines fresh, regional ingredients, age-old cooking traditions and new interpretations into a tasty ensemble. As is fitting of a truly authentic cuisine, it is the different regions as well as seasonal fluxes that impact the varying spectrum of the regional cuisine. Without a doubt, visitors should try the Kärntner Käsnudel, Reindling, Kärntner Laxn, Gailtaler Speck and Zirbenschnaps. Carinthian winter delicacies include Ritschert (a stew made of barley, beans and cured meat) and/or specialties made with Glockner lamb and Nockalm cattle.
Numerous traditional events and festivals ensure that you won't miss out on getting to know the country and its people. The Carinthian Advent season offers many possibilities to join in the festive mood of the holy celebration. A very special atmosphere awaits at Lake Wörthersee, where one can find lake cruises, a floating advent wreath and traditional folk events. In Velden am Wörthersee, children are trained to be Christmas helpers, and in Pörtschach one can warm up next to open fires while listening to the songs of local choirs. At the Christmas markets in Villach and Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, crafts from Carinthia, culinary delicacies and exquisite concerts put a spell on the visitors. Kap 4613 at Lake Millstättersee offers an especially beautiful setting to reflect and leave the worries of everyday life behind. Special features of the traditional event calendar include, amongst others, the “Klöckler” in Gegendtal Valley, the sinking of a Christmas tree and the “Kirchleintragen” church parade in Bad Eisenkappel in February.