• Austria's news in English

Six mind-blowing Austrian landmarks

The Local · 10 Aug 2015, 13:13

Published: 10 Aug 2015 13:13 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Green Lake, Tragöß, Styria

The Green Lake (Grüner See) is one of Austria’s most stunning natural features. Aptly named, its crystal-clear waters are a beautiful emerald green colour, and a still day creates perfect reflections of the surrounding mountains. But the Green Lake does not stand out for its beauty alone – this lake has a hidden feature below its waters. During winter, the lake is only around 1 or 2m deep, and is a popular route for alpine hikers. In the spring, the lake transforms as the winter snows in the surrounding Hochschwab Mountains melt and cause the basin below to fill with water, submerging the park at the bottom. From mid-May to June, the lake is around 12m deep and transforms into a unique place to go scuba diving. Divers can don their snorkels and flippers to swim amongst park benches and bridges, over trees and gravel paths. The crystal-clear water also creates stunning light reflections and rays underneath the water on a clear day. Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher is even a fan - calling it “the real life Atlantis” after a visit in 2014.

Highline179, Reutte, Tyrol

Photo: B.Zsolt/Wikimedia

The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge stretches from the Ehrenberg Ruins to Fort Claudia, at a vertigo-inducing 114.6m above the ground. Not for the faint hearted, the bridge was constructed in 2014 at a cost of almost €2 million. It is 406m long, 1.2m wide and can carry up to 500 people at any one time. Architect Armin Walch originally designed a 250m long bridge, but later revised his plans to build the longest suspension bridge in the world. The previous record was held by the Kokonoe Yume Bridge in Japan, which is 390m long.

Eisriesenwelt, Werfen, Salzburg

At more than 42km long, Eisriesenwelt is the largest ice cave in the world, and according to Austrian legend is supposed to be the entrance to hell. The name translates as World of the Ice Giants, and it is not difficult to see why. The cave is entirely natural, and was created over a very long time – the first cracks and fissures in the limestone formed around 100 million years ago! They developed over time into caves, cooled by air entering through cracks in the earth’s surface. Melted snow then entered the cave in the spring and would freeze over inside the cave, which has a temperature of below zero degrees, creating the spectacular ice formations that can still be seen today. The cave was first discovered in 1879, but its full extent was not realised until after World War One. Before its discovery, the cave was known only to locals, who refused to explore it as they believed it to be the entrance to hell! Today, you can take a guided tour of the cave lasting for 1 hour 15 minutes. This covers a fraction of the vast cave - the only bits that are covered in ice - and the ice sculptures are simply mind-blowing.

Die Wachauer Nase, St. Lorenz, Lower Austria

Photo: gelitin

The Giant Nose of Wachau is, unsurprisingly, a giant nose on the banks of the Danube. The four metre high art installation sits at the ferry stop of St. Lorenz, and is supposed to look as though a giant is lying under the ground with only his nose sticking out. People can walk through its giant nostrils, which fill up with mud when the Danube floods. When planning this project, the art collective gelitin sought local ‘nose models’ upon which to base the finished product. They invited all ‘Wachau noses’ to an event, at which they measured, photographed and took casts of the noses of many different locals before settling on a final design.

Starkenberger Beer Pools, Tarrenz, Tyrol

Photo: http://www.starkenberger.at/

Starkenberg Castle offers visitors a rather unique way of bathing – in seven 13 ft long pools full of warm beer (and a bit of water). The cellar of the 700-year-old castle is home to the spa-like baths which hold 84,000 litres of beer. The former fermentation rooms were modified by artist Wernfried Poschusta. You’re not allowed to drink from the pools (probably a wise idea), and must order one of the castle’s ten varieties in a glass if you just can’t get enough beer. Apparently sitting in the beer, which is rich in vitamins and calcium, is good for the skin and helps heal open wounds and psoriasis, and improves circulation.

Swarovski Crystal Worlds Park, Wattens, Tyrol

Image:Swarovski Kristallwelten

The successful Austrian crystal manufacturer Swarovski has become a byword for affordable luxury. And visiting the Swarovski Kristallwelten, part theme park, part museum, is like stepping inside an eccentric and very bling fairy tale. Its entrance is known as the Giant, a huge grass mound designed by multimedia artist André Heller that has the face of a man on its front, with a waterfall pouring out of his mouth. A series of “chambers of wonder” designed by artists include a mechanical theater in which dress shirts swoop by on suspended tracks and trousers are suspended from the ceiling in a disembodied circus and a room containing a 20-foot tall crystal Christmas tree created by Tord Boontje and Alexander McQueen. After Schönbrunn palace in Vienna, Kristallwelten is Austria’s second most popular tourist destination.

By Claire Caruth.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
ECJ puts brakes on deportation of Iraqi family
Photo: ORF

An Iraqi family threatened with deportation has been granted a brief reprieve after the European Court of Justice recommended they be allowed to stay in Austria for the time being.

Flats evacuated after man swallows explosive substance
A decontamination squad was ordered in. Photo: MA 68 Lichtbildstelle

A block of flats in Vienna had to be evacuated after a suicidal resident swallowed a highly toxic and explosive substance.

'Horror clown' threatens bus driver in Vienna's Donaustadt
Pennywise, the original scary clown from the movie It. Photo: Warner Bros

A man disguised as a ‘horror clown’ threatened a bus driver in Vienna’s Donaustadt district and vandalised the bus.

Man lived with body of murdered lover for weeks

A man has been arrested in Graz after police discovered the body of his girlfriend hidden in the shower cubicle of their rented apartment.

Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

The Local List
Five things you need to know about winter tyres
Photo: carmagazine.co.uk

It’s that time of year when temperatures start to plunge and drivers are advised to switch to winter tyres to avoid being caught out by snow and ice on the roads.

Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available