Although my parents’ house in Carinthia is only a 2,5 hour drive away from Salzburg, sometimes it still feels like as if it’s on a different continent. Whenever I’m driving through Katschberg tunnel on my way to Carinthia, my heart instantly feels a little bit lighter, and my mood a little brighter. Coming out of that tunnel there’s a sign which indicates you’ve reached Carinthia and it says: Welcome to Carinthia – the joy of living. To me, this marketing slogan perfectly describes the feeling I have every time I’m returning.
When I was a teenager, I remember I couldn’t wait to get away from this place. It sometimes just felt way too small and limited. Isn’t it crazy how we desperately wait to leave home, and then find ourselves missing it once we finally escaped? After not living “at home” for seven years, I have come to the conclusion that some sort of home sickness is unavoidable. There are some comforts home offers that can never be replaced, no matter how hard you try. To me personally, this comfort is mostly composed of memories, feelings and smells, but also long hot baths, dryers and a fridge that’s always full.
Carinthia is the place where I’ve spent most of my childhood – except for some years in London and Frankfurt. It’s the place I went to school most of my life, the place where we got our first dog, the place where I had my first boyfriend, my first kiss, where I learned how to drive a car, where I have spent ALL of my Christmases, and where most of my family lives. It’s a place that holds some of my most precious childhood memories and a place that will forever have a safe spot in my heart.
During one of the last weekends we spent at my parent’s house, I took the chance and gave Patrick a little tour through Carinthia. I took him to some of my favorite spots and showed him all the places that I love so much in Carinthia. I thought, why not also share those spots with you. In case you’re thinking about escaping for a weekend and letting your soul relax in on of the most beautiful areas I know…
Where to go.
Since we did not have too much time last time we’ve been in Carinthia, I was only able to pick one spot to take Patrick to. Of course there are so many cool places you can go, and so many activities to do, but if I had to name that one spot you HAVE TO VISIT when you’re in the area, my choice will forever be:
The observation tower “Pyramidenkogel”
From early childhood on I remember going there with my parents whenever we had guests visiting. The tower, which is made of wood and steel, is a piece of art. It’s been reconstructed just recently and with a height of 100 meters, it’s the tallest observation tower in the world. It also has a 66 meters long slide for the way down, which is a lot of fun, too. The view up there is just breathtaking and you can see the beauty of the whole area. Especially the turquoise water of the Wörthersee is magnificent.
Where to eat.
There are countless options around beautiful Wörthersee where you can have lovely lunch and dinner. You could seriously spend more than a week there and go to a different restaurant every day. However, over the years I’ve found myself going back to these spots on a regular basis:
Lakside located in Reifnitz is a mix between an outdoor lounge and a restaurant directly located on the water. On weekends my friends and me would go there by boat and spend the whole day there, just sipping on ice cold drinks and enjoying life. If you’re ever in the area, this spot is a must-do!
Werzer’s Badehaus is another one of my go-to places in summer. With the most marvelous view over the lake, they offer delicious food and drinks, and you can sit there for hours. It’s also a super popular spot to watch the sunset.
In case you’re looking for a place to have dinner for a special occasion, or just because you’re feeling a bit fancy, Porto Bello located in Pörtschach is the place to go. The à la carte restaurant belongs to Hotel Seelfels, which is where two of my best friends just recently had their civil wedding ceremony. This place is beyond magical – not just because of my emotional memories of the wedding – but simply because it looks like a fairytale castle. Candle light dinner right at the lake – do I need to say more?
There’s no place like 151. This bistro / bar / restaurant is a little gem hidden a bit off Wörthersee. With its funky interior and romantic outdoor lounge under trees decorated with fairy lights, this place could easily be somewhere in Ibiza. It’s a place that young and old people love, and a great location for parties and celebrations.
This is my go to place whenever I’m in Klagenfurt and I fell like a breeze of fresh air. Villa Lido is located on the eastern end of Wörthersee and super quickly accessible from the motorway. They serve delicious Pizza, Carpaccio – and most importantly: Aperol Spritz. (this mention is for you, bestie.)
Where to sleep.
My parents’ house is a 30 minutes drive away from Wörthersee, so obviously we always sleep at home every time we’re in the area. However, there are lots of fantastic hotels and bed & breakfasts around.
My recommendation if you’d like to stay at a classic “Wörthersee Villa” located directly at the lake in Pörtschach. Totally romantic. Totally worth the visit!
My parents and I lived near Velden for about four years when I was a little girl. The small village was a hotspot in the 1950s when stars like Omar Sharif and Ingrid Bergmann strolled around in town. There still is some kind of magic left from those golden days, and Velden is definitely worth a visit when you’re in the area. If you’d like to stay in Velden, Seeschlössl is a super cute place to stay at. They also offer excellent brunch, just saying!
Speaking of Velden, I can not NOT mention the Schlosshotel. It’s been a backdrop for numerous film productions since the 1950s, and the main setting for the TV series “Ein Schloss am Wörthersee”, which I remember watching with my dad when I was a little girl. We mostly watched it because I was fascinated to see a place I knew in real life on TV – but we had the best time doing so! Today, the luxurious palace is a hotel with elegant rooms and suites overlooking the lake. I’ve never actually stayed there, but I did spend a day in their spa and it’s simply fantastic. In case you’re looking for a luxurious place to relax and indulge, this is your address.
In case you’re looking for more information about Carinthia and all the places, spots and attractions worth seeing there, check out this website or drop me a line. I’m always happy to help!
“One never reaches home,’ she said. ‘But where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time.” – Hermann Hesse
As I grow older, I learn to understand the importance of home and what the term home actually means. The idea of having this home is luxury to me. Knowing that there is this one place I can go back to no matter what happens in my life is such a blessing. Besides their love, it’s the greatest gift my parents have ever given me. The older I get, the more I also realize that home is not a place as such. It’s a feeling. It’s memories. It’s certain smells. And mostly it’s the people who are around.
Home is where I wake up to the aroma of coffee that my mom brews everyday in the morning.
Home is where my family’s two little dogs start barking way too early in the morning and wake me up.
Home is when I hear my dad cleaning the car with the pressure washer.
Home is sitting down together for coffee at my parents’ garden, overlooking the lush green lawn and trees and sharing thoughts about life.
Home is where there is an unlimited supply of the best drinking water out of the tap.
Home is where my mom, dad and me are all in the kitchen together to cook lunch on Sunday.
Home is walking around the house with my pajama all day long, and no one will say a thing.
Home is where I can take as many hot baths I want to filled with my mom’s delicious liquid soaps and aroma therapy oils, and no one will judge.
Home is dancing to random music in the living room. Just because the music is good and there’s enough space to jump around.
Home is a warm hug from my mom – any time of the day.
Home is sleeping with all windows wide open at night in absolute silence.
Home is where I’m driving up that mountain with all windows down and the music on full blast, inhaling the fresh air in the forest and feeling so alive.
Home is taking my shoes off and feeling the lush green grass under my feet.
Home is filled with the most beautiful memories.
No matter how many places I’ve visited in my life, no matter how many fancy hotels I’ve stayed in and no matter how many more beautiful places I have not seen yet are still out there – home will always be my favourite place in the world.
*in friendly collaboration with Visit Carinthia