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Discovering Austria : Lake Ossiach in Carinthia / Kärnten
The article topic Austrian Lifestyle, Austrian Resorts News, Property Purchase in Austria
4 Jun 2018
Less commercial than the neighbouring Wörthersee, Lake Ossiach has remained relatively off-the-radar for international visitors. But this spectacular area nestled in the idyllic setting between the crystal-clear lake and imposing mountain peaks of the Gerlitzen range makes for a wonderful base for summer and winter holidays alike and provides access to some epic outdoor adventures. Here we bring you a shortlist of top things to do:
1. The Gerlitzen mountain
The Gerlitzen ski resort is clearly the major winter attraction in the area. With over 40km of perfectly maintained pistes, 15 lifts and further 15km of ski routes, the area is a real winter wonderland for fans of winter sports. The Gerlitzen (or the ‘fire mountain’ in Slovenian) may remind you of the Italian ski centre Kronplatz as the cable cars whisk you all up to a single point from which you can then ski down the mountain in all directions.
The mountain is equally fun in summer when the Kanzelbahn remains open for lovers of hiking, paragliding or those who simply want to enjoy the scenic ride up to the peak.
2. Boat tour on lake Ossiach
A great way to explore the lake area is taking a boat tour on the lake. You can either book a spot on the public boat and hop on and off to discover the towns and attractions on the shore (the full tour takes about 2.5 hours) or hire a private boat and cruise at your leisure.
3. Water sports, swimming and sunbathing on the shores of lake Ossiach
In summer, the pure water in the emerald-green lake can reach up to 26º and there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking, diving, rowing, swimming and sunbathing. But be aware that many beaches belong to private houses and hotels. You can try the St. Andrä Gemeindebad which you can access for free.
4. Bike tour around the lake
Cyclists will love the circular 26km long path leading around the lake through its quaint waterside villages and offering some stunning panoramas, especially a sunset. The beautiful Ossiach Abbey lies at roughly half-point of the route and makes for a pleasant pitstop.
5. Landskron Castle & Ossiach Abbey
Your trip to the Lake Ossiach area will not be complete without a brief stop at these two landmarks. The Ossiach Abbey, a former benedictine monastery, lies at a fantastic setting facing the lake and is one of the venues of the "Carinthian Summer” music festival. The Landskron Castle is a ruin today, but interestingly has become the centre for falconry with fascinating birds of prey shows taking place several times per day. For something different in the area, you can also stop by the nearby macaque monkeys enclosure where about 140 Japanese macaques live and you can learn more about these species joining a guided tour.
6. The Kletterwald Tree Top Park
If you are with kids or simply like climbing, you should definitely visit this fun attraction offering six different parcours as well as a 90-meter Flying Fox zipline. Needless to say, climbing in the the heights offers some spectacular vistas over the scenic surroundings.
7. The Carinthian Summer Music Festival
This music festival that combines classic and modern performances and takes place in a variety of venues around the region has been an integral part of the Austrian music culture for 40 years. The “Water Music” show taking place directly on the lake is the highlight of the event with hundreds of local choirs and bands performing as a part of a movable sound installation on the lake.
8. Al fresco dining above the lake
For some gastronomic pleasures, there is nothing better than an al fresco lunch or dinner on the shores of the lake enjoying the spectacular views. Try out some local specialties and finish off with some digestive schnapps at one of these venues that all have a desirable setting directly on the lake: Gasthaus Stofflwirt in Bodensdorf, Restaurant Cafe Allegro in the Ossiach Abbey or Strangasthof Seewirt in Ossiach.
9. An excursion to Villach
Finally, just a 15 minutes drive away, it would be a shame not to pay a visit to this picturesque and lively town on the Drau river, the second largest town in Carinthia. Close to the Italian border, Villach has a vibrant atmosphere that combines old and new and will surely grow on you with its colourful farmers markets, historic centre and modern architecture. The 95-meter high tower of the parish church of St. Jakob is accessible to visitors and offers sweeping panoramic views of the town and its surroundings. For even more dramatic views of Villach, drive up the 17-km long Villach Alpine Road to the Dobratsch peak.
Given its year-round appeal and still relatively little familiarity among foreign visitors, the Ossiach lake area has a fantastic potential and buying a property in this outdoor paradise makes for a sound investment, so do not forget to check out our properties on sale including stunning newly built apartments on the shores of the lake!
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