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Four Austrian national parks worth paying a visit

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
Four Austrian national parks worth paying a visit
Thayatal National Park in Austria (photo: Nationalpark Thayatal R. Podolski)

If you are looking for a place for skiing, hiking, climbing, or just taking a walk in stunning nature, Austria offers some spectacular national parks worth a visit no matter the time of the year. We are listing the four most beautiful national parks in the country.

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Hohe Tauern National Park

The Hohe Tauern is the largest national park in central Europe, covering an area of about 1,834 square kilometres. It is shared between three of Austria's regions – Tyrol, Carinthia, and Salzburg. Located in the high Tauern mountain range, it includes Austria's two highest mountains, Grossglockner and Grossvenediger. The park is divided into a core zone with a prohibition of agricultural use and an outer zone used for alpine farming and forestry.

Among silent, untouched valleys and large glaciers, the park is also home to a unique biodiversity with 15,000 animal and 3,500 plant species, representing more than one-third of all plant species documented in Austria. For mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians, the figure is around 50%.

Hohe Tauern is a popular destination for skiing, hiking, biking, climbing, or simply enjoying nature. Some of the most famous places to visit within the park include Krimmler waterfall, Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe viewpoint, and Grossglockner.

Several visitor centres offer guided tours and provide nature enthusiasts with information, including National Park Worlds Mittersill, Infocenter Innergschlöss, and National Park Centre Mallnitz.

 
 
 
 
 
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Gesäuse National Park

The Gesäuse National Park is situated in the Ennstal Alps in Styria and spreads over 12,000 hectares of land. It is home to numerous plant and animal species, including rare and endangered species, such as the Eurasian lynx and golden eagle. The park is characterized by rugged limestone peaks, pristine rivers and deep gorges. Popular sights within the park include the majestic peaks of Hochtor and Hochturm. Hochtor is the highest mountain, with an altitude of 2,369 meters.

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Visitors can explore the national park on foot, skis, bikes or by rafting on the river Enns. The park offers themed trails and hikes along marked paths. If you enjoy climbing, it is also a popular activity in the area, offering various climbing trails, such as the Rosskuppe trail.

If you plan to visit the park, The Johnsbach and Gstatterboden visitor centres can provide information, exhibits, and guided tours.

Andreas Hollinger. Gesäuse National Park.
 

Kalkalpen National Park

Kalkalpen is a national park within the Northern Limestone Alps mountain range, located in Upper Austria. The park is Austria's second-largest national park and is known for its diverse ecosystems, rich biodiversity, and ancient forests. In fact, the park preserves one of the largest areas of uninterrupted old-growth forest in the country.

The national park covers an area of approximately 209 square kilometres and is an oasis for plants and wildlife, including over 40 species of orchids and the Austrian spurge.

Visitors can enjoy the park's wide range of trails while hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or skiing. One of the most popular hiking trails is the Mühlbach Trail, which takes you through the Mühlbach valley and offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Thayatal National Park

Thayatal National Park is situated in the Waldviertel region of Lower Austria, along the Thaya River, which forms the border between Austria and the Czech Republic. The park is known for its beautiful river valley, rugged cliffs, and diverse ecosystems. It has a rich biodiversity with a variety of plant and animal species.

The park is well known for its birdlife and is a popular destination for birdwatching. Visitors can spot various species of birds, such as eagles and kingfishers.

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Thayatal is also a popular choice for all sorts of mountain sports, such as hiking, skiing, biking, and climbing. A popular hiking route is the Panoramaweg, which treats hikers to great views of the Thaya River, the rugged cliffs, and the diverse landscapes.

The national park has a visitor centre where tourists can obtain all the information needed. The centre also provides insights into the park's ecosystems, conservation efforts, and biodiversity.

D.Manhart. Thayatal National Park.

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