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Carinthia (German: Kärnten) is a state of Austria. It is especially known for its skiing areas, and its fantastic lakes.


  • 1 Klagenfurt — the capital of Carinthia with about 100,000 inhabitants
  • 2 Friesach — famous for its middle-age spectaculum in summer, home to a local beer brewery
  • 3 Heiligenblut
  • 4 Hermagor — main village of the Bezirk Hermagor-Presseggersee located in the Gail Valley with a population of approximately 1,600
  • 5 Spittal an der Drau — home to a renaissance castle where comedies are performed every summer, with Lake Millstatt nearby
  • 6 Steinfeld — picturesque Carinthian village
  • 7 Velden — popular summer holiday destination with VIPs and locations from German and Austrian TV and movies
  • 8 Villach — with 56,000 inhabitants the second-largest city in Carinthia.

Other destinations[edit]

Hochosterwitz Castle in the Sankt Veit an der Glan district of Sankt Georgen am Längsee municipality, 21 km northeast of Klagenfurt
Lake Stappitz in the Seebach Valley near Mallnitz, High Tauern National Park
  • 1 Gerlitzen — mountain skiing resort area close to Villach
  • 2 Millstättersee Millstätter See on Wikipedia — Lake Millstättersee (Millstätter See) the jewel of Carinthia, top for families and sportlovers
  • 3 Nassfeld — excellent for skiing, close to the Italian border
  • 4 Turrach Turracher Höhe Pass on Wikipedia — skiing resort area at the border with Styria
  • 5 Wörthersee — Lake Wörth, Carinthia's biggest lake and one of Austria's top tourist attractions in Summer
  • 6 High Tauern (German: Hohe Tauern) National Park - This is Austria's oldest and biggest national park. It spreads out over the three Austrian provinces of Tirol, Carinthia, and Salzburg. The mountainous terrain supports a wide variety of wildlife, and scenic lakes and waterfalls.


Carinthia is possibly the most autonomous state in Austria (with the possible exception of Tyrol). Older than Austria itself, it has always been fairly isolated from its surroundings by its geography. Carinthians are rooted and proud, but also have a reputation for being more warm-hearted than other Austrians.

There are several explanations of where the name Carinthia comes from. For example, it is said to be derived from the Celtic word carant, which means friend. Other explanations assume that the name comes from the Celtic word karanto, which means stone.

Carinthia is a very mountainous area sandwiched by the Alps in the north, and the Karawanken in the south. It shares a border with both Italy and Slovenia.

In addition to its natural beauty and ski resorts, Carinthia was sadly known as the home of the infamous far-right politician Jörg Haider, and for a long time his political campaigns had their biggest successes there. However, Carinthia has now become one of Europe's most "green" and socialist regions; Austria's left-wing parties perform very well here, and European institutions have praised the region for its eco-friendly practices.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Just across the border, the airport of Ljubljana has a much wider share of international connections. Instead of a connecting flight through Vienna, you could also take the train from there. Graz airport can be reached by car in a little more than an hour from the eastern parts of Carinthia. Meanwhile, Villach is close to Trieste Airport in Italy.

By train[edit]

Villach and Klagenfurt are railway-gateways to all parts of Austria, therefore it's easy to get to Kärnten from all major cities in Austria. Trains from Vienna and Graz arrive approximately every two hours to each city. Both cities also see a good amount of international traffic thanks to Nightjet trains to and from Italy, as well as ICE trains to Germany.

By car[edit]

Take the Südautobahn (A2/motorway) if your travelling from Styria or Vienna. If you are arriving from Salzburg take the Tauernautobahn (A10/motorway, liable to pay costs).

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

Driving by car is definitely the easiest way to get around. Be prepared that apart from the main routes mountain roads can especially tricky for those who are not used to driving on mountain roads. This is especially true in winter.

By train[edit]

The main railway hubs are located in Villach and Klagenfurt. The region is served by the S-Bahn Kärtern; though most major urban centers are served, frequency of service is irregular.

By bus[edit]

It might be tiring to get around using the federal bus network because the frequency of buses is low to non-existent on weekends.


  • Minimundus - Located in Klagenfurt this park offers a huge collection of miniature models of famous buildings from many countries in the world.
  • Landskron - Located a few kilometers from Villach. This old ruin has birds of prey.
  • Reptilienzoo Happ - Located in Klagenfurt. A small zoo offering a large and varied stock of reptiles and animals.
  • Burg Hochosterwitz - A scenic, more than 1000 years old castle located on the top of a hill. To get to the castle you have to make your way through 14 defensive gates.
  • Friesach - a city located in the north of Carinthia. It's also the oldest city in Carinthia. Don't miss the spectaculum in summer, where the whole city is prepared to look like a real middle-ages city.


Kärnten is known for its ski resorts as well for its scenic lakes and mountains (hiking, climbing). If you are travelling in summer try out one of these lakes:

Wolayer See, a small lake on the Austrian-Italian border.
  • Wörthersee - Austria's biggest lake, a popular resort for German tourists and the location for various German and Austrian film and TV-series productions. Prices tend to be higher than elsewhere in Carinthia due to its importance to tourism.
  • Faakersee - A small lake close to Villach.
  • Ossiachersee - located in the north-east of Villach.
  • Millstättersee - located in the east of Spittal an der Drau.
  • Weißensee - the highest-altitude swimming lake in the Alps (930m above sea level) with crystal clear water, beautifully situated in a fjord-like valley.

Skiing resorts include Nassfeld at the Italian border, Turrach at the border with Styria, Flachau and Katschberg both bordering Salzburg. Skiing is a bit cheaper than in Tirol and Vorarlberg.


Carinthian cuisine is closely related to Italian cuisine and therefore known for all types of noodles. Specialities are

  • Kletzennudel - sweet noodles filled with dried pears
  • Kasnudel - Noodles filled with a mixture of potatoes, curd cheese and fresh herbs (such as black spearmint) and served with hot butter. The exact recipe varies throughout Carinthia as every cook has his own special secret for preparing these noodles.
  • Glundner Kas - cooked cheese made of caraway, butter and mature curd cheese.
  • Reindling - a type of cake made of yeast dough filled with raisins, sugar and cinnamon. Baked mainly during the Easter holidays.


There is a well-known brewery in Hirt near Friesach which make fantastic beer. (Hirter Pils and Hirter Märzen) The city of Villach is home to the brewery of the "Villacher" brand of beer.


Stay safe[edit]

Like the rest of Austria, Carinthia is a very safe place. The usual precautions when travelling are usually enough.

Go next[edit]

  • The Soca / Isonzo valley in Slovenia is about an hour's drive from Klagefurt and Villach over the Predil mountain pass. Its deep limestone gorges offer a spectacular scenery and its emerald-coloured rivers are famed for some of the best kayaking and white water rafting in Europe. Since the Soca valley is actually easier to reach from Villach and Klagenfurt than Ljubliana (Slovenia's capital) it's well worth a day trip if you're hanging around Carinthia for longer. Head for the town Bovec, the touristic centre of the Soca valley.
  • If you are in Villach take a trip to Tarvisio in Italy (it is about 30min by car) which is a popular place to eat and shop for Carinthians.
  • East Tyrol, the province neighbouring Carinthia to the West, is an alpinist's paradise. The capital Lienz can be conveniently be reached by train or car.
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