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8 reasons why you should visit Austria’s Klagenfurt this summer

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
8 reasons why you should visit Austria’s Klagenfurt this summer
View of Lake Wörthersee and Klagenfurt. Photo by Katie Archibald-Woodward on Unsplash

Swim in crystal-clear water, enjoy the mountains, eat Kasnudeln, and dance at the local festivals. Here is what you have to do while visiting Klagenfurt.

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The capital of the Carinthian region, Klagenfurt, is a great place to visit, especially during summer.

The city is not only beautiful and lively but is also located near Lake Wörthersee and many impressive mountains.

Here are eight things that you have to do while visiting.

Swim in the lakes in the area 

Klagenfurt's full name is actually Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, reflecting its location next to the beautiful, crystal-clear lake.

Wörthersee is one of Austria's most popular lakes. It is also known for being one of the country's warmest alpine lakes, with temperatures reaching up to 28°C. This offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, sailing, stand-up paddling and wakeboarding. 

The lake hosts many different Strandbäder (designated swimming area), where you pay a small fee to enter and can use all the facilities such as changing rooms and sunbeds.

Many places around the lake also offer opportunities for you to lay out your towel on grass or on docks completely for free.

Apart from Wörthersee, there are also other beautiful lakes around, reachable either by bike, car, or public transport. Some of the lakes that you should definitely not miss out on are Ossiacher See, Faaker See, and Millstätter See.

A man sits on his wakeboard on Lake Wörthersee. Photo by Maxi am Brunnen on Unsplash

The beautiful mountains 

Klagenfurt is a great place to be if you are a mountain lover. 

Some of the largest mountains in the area are the Karawanks, Nock Mountains, and Dobratsch.

The Karawanks are located south of Klagenfurt and form the natural border between Austria and Slovenia. Here, you will find many different hiking trails, including the long-distance Karawanken Trail, known for its spectacular views. You can also find climbing spots such as the Stol and Košuta peaks, offering routes for both beginners and experienced climbers.

The Nock Mountains are located northwest of Klagenfurt in Nockberge National Park. Here, you can enjoy well-marked trails, mountain lakes, and great views.

Dobratsch is a mountain peak and nature park near Villach, a smaller city close to Klagenfurt. Dobratsch Nature Park offers various hiking routes, including the popular Gipfelhaus trail to the summit.

If you want to go for a hike without leaving the city, you can enjoy the hilly area around Kreuzbergl, a hill located near the city centre of Klagenfurt. Here, well-maintained trails take you to smaller ponds, churches, and great viewing spots. 

READ MORE: Four Austrian national parks worth paying a visit

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Try Carinthian food 

Carinthian food is definitely something worth trying.

The most popular dish is probably Kärntner Kasnudeln, which are pasta dumplings filled with a mix of cheese, potatoes, and herbs like mint or chives. The dumplings are made with a special crimping technique that most Carinthians learn at an early age.

Ritschert is a popular stew made with barley, beans, and smoked pork or sausage. It is a comforting and filling dish, perfect for getting re-energised after a day spent outside in the mountains.

Another typical dish is Reindling, a sweet cake filled with cinnamon, sugar, and raisins, often served during Easter.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by @gregg3400

Enjoy the festivals 

Klagenfurt and its surroundings offer a lot of different festivals and events during the summer.

One of the most famous is the Carinthian Summer Music Festival, which attracts famous artists from around the world.

The performances take place all over the city and around the lake, where you can enjoy everything from classical music pieces to contemporary interpretations.

This year, the festival takes place from July 2nd to August 29th

Another highlight is the Altstadtzauber festival, where the historic city centre of Klagenfurt comes alive with music, dance, and local cuisine.

At this festival, you can enjoy traditional folk bands, live performances and some freshly grilled vegetables and meats.

The festival takes place from August 8th to 10th.  

Villach Kirchtag is a traditional festival held annually in Villach, which is half an hour away from Klagenfurt by train.

This year, the festival goes on from July 28th to August 4th and offers days filled with live music, artistic performances, amusement rides, and traditional local cuisine and beverages.

Here, people dress up in dirndl and lederhosen, drink local beers, and enjoy Carinthian food.

At the festival, you can meet both locals from the region and visitors from everywhere and together enjoy dancing on the street to different kinds of music all night long.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by 79. Villacher Kirchtag (@villacherkirchtag)

A paradise for outdoor sports 

Klagenfurt is an amazing place for those who love outdoor sports.

The lakes and mountains offer opportunities for hiking, biking, and climbing during the warmer months and for skiing during the colder months.

The region is known for its well-structured bike and hiking trails, which are well-marked and easy to follow. You can easily bike to different lakes in the area and also travel between Klagenfurt and Villach along the beautiful Drau River.

Cycling around Lake Wörthersee is one of the most popular activities in the area. The paths around the lake are wide and well-marked, and there are many designated picnic areas with tables and benches.

Outdoor climbing is also possible without going far from the city. Just by the lake, you will find Klettergarten Töschling, where you can enjoy many different routes suitable for all skill levels.

READ ALSO: The four best cycling routes in Austria

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Great places around 

Klagenfurt is located near the borders of Slovenia and Italy, which makes it a perfect place to be if you enjoy travelling to these countries as well.

Tarvisio is the closest larger Italian city and a great place to go if you want to enjoy Italian food and mountains. Many people from Klagenfurt travel to Tarvisio to buy Italian groceries or to enjoy a pizza. Nearby, you can also visit beautiful and famous lakes, such as Lake Fusine.

If you prefer to visit Slovenia and its stunning landscapes, a trip to Triglav National Park is highly recommended. Here, you will find tall mountains and great hiking and climbing opportunities.

If you prefer to stay in Austria and around Klagenfurt, places worth visiting include Pyramidenkogel, a wood tower that is one of the tallest wooden structures in the world. You can walk on a spiral staircase to its top and enjoy great views of the lake and surrounding area.

Another nearby attraction worth visiting is Hochosterwitz Castle. Located southeast of Klagenfurt on a steep hill, it is famous for its impressive medieval architecture and is considered one of Austria's most well-preserved castles.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Hochosterwitz Castle (@burghochosterwitz)

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The local market

Klagenfurt's local market is a must-visit, especially on Saturdays.

The market is called "Benediktinermarkt" and is located in the heart of the city. Here, locals and visitors gather to enjoy prosecco in the sun, some food and sometimes live music.

The market offers long rows of stalls where you can buy fresh products, regional specialities, and artisanal goods.

During the summer, the market alsoorganisese performances, live music, and DJ, and is a popular place for meeting up with friends.

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Relax at Lendkanal 

Lendkanal is a famous canal in Klagenfurt. When you go from the city centre to the lake, the most comfortable path for biking or walking runs alongside the canal.

During the warmer months, the canal is a popular place for gathering, enjoying cold drinks, and finding shade under the nearby trees. 

Popular cafes like Café Lendhafen and Café Hafenstadt offer outdoor terraces directly overlooking the canal. In summer, they also host events such as outdoor cinemas.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Robert Sauseng (@rs254)

READ MORE: Nine unmissable events in Austria in summer 2024

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