Villach is the second-largest city of Carinthia and a railway gateway to most parts of Austria as well as the Italian border. Its carnival is famously broadcast on public television throughout Austria. It's quite old, with roots back in Roman times (when the city was called Santicum). The city was heavily bombed in World War II, destroying many parts of the city.
Villach is a railway hub for Austria, so trains converge from most other big cities including Vienna, Graz, Klagenfurt, Salzburg, Linz, Innsbruck and Bregenz. There are also direct connections to Munich, Zurich, Venice, Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade. Several sleeper trains stop in Villach. In 2021 services were disrupted by work on the Karawanks railway tunnel south of Villach, but this has completed.
Optima Express runs a car-train between Villach and Edirne in western Turkey two or three times a week April-November, taking 33 hours. Departure days vary. This train enables motorists to take their own cars to Turkey while avoiding the tricky, tiring roads through the Balkans, and it's also open for passengers without cars. It's one of the cheaper ways to retrace the old Orient Express in the modern day.
- 1 Villach Hauptbahnhof. This is the central station and motorail terminal. Local trains also stop at Villach Seebach and St Ruprech east, and Westbahnhof and Warmbad south.
If you are coming from north, take the A10 Tauernautobahn. If you are coming from east (Graz,Vienna) take the A2 Südautobahn. If you are planning to go from Slovenia, take the A11 Karawankenautobahn. If you are arriving from Italy also take the A2 Südautobahn. The motorway around Villach has two exits at Faakersee which takes you to the centre of the city and Ossiachersee which takes you to the north of the city.
Villach has no domestic or international airport. If you are travelling by plane you have to go to Klagenfurt (40 km away) which has an airport.
It's a quite small town, so it is easy to get around on foot. Taxis can be found near the railway station and in the centre of the city near Hauptplatz. Federal buses go to the surrounding area from the local Busbahnhof (busterminal, a few minutes away from the railway station). Local busline no.10 (operated by a company called Kowatsch) goes around the historic city centre. Getting around by car can be tiring since parking space is rare during weekdays and traffic jams at business hours are very common. During weekdays parking fees are charged in most areas around the centre of the city.
- 1 Museum der Stadt Villach, Widmanngasse 38.. if you are interested in the history of the town go there. The museum has a nice expo on minerals, mining and all kinds of Villacher History. Nice to visit for some background info on the town of Villach. Time to visit approx. 1 hour.
- 2 Landskron Castle. the remains of the old fortress of Landskron are on the top of a hill, 676 m high. A great part of the castle was destroyed by a fire in the 19th century, but some parts are still there and a few halls can be visited. There is also a restaurant, and every Tuesday evening there is a special "medieval" dinner served by waiters dressed in period costumes. The view from the castle is wonderful. From here you can see Villach and the valley of the river Drau with its lakes, and the Slovenian Alps on the other side of the valley.
- Villacher Fahrzeygmuseum. Has antiquities which are worth seeing.
- Falconry in Landskron Castle. A section of the castle is now the home of several birds of prey. They can be seen in their cages, but even better is to see them fly, which is possible two or three times a day, according to the season and to the weather. The demonstrations last about 40 minutes, and the explanation on the birds and their behavior is in German only, but even those who cannot understand a word can enjoy watching eagles, hawks, kites, and owls fly just above their heads.
- The bell tower of St. Jakob. The church of St Jakob (the parish church of Villach) has an impressive bell tower, 94 metres high. It is the tallest in Carinthia and its present appearance and height dates back to 1847. Visitors can climb the 239 steps to the top and enjoy the wonderful view.
- Krimmler Waterfall. On the border of Salzburg and Tirol is the Krimmler Waterfall, the largest of Austria. A magnificent roundtrip is to first take the Gross-Glockner Hochalpenstraße (pass) that brings you as well along the highest mountain of the country. From here towards the Zillertal and over the Gerloss-pass to the waterfall. Then back to Kärnten. As a daytrip only with your own transportation.
- Thermen Resort. The heated pools of Villach. Here, there are slides, vortex pools, and hot tubs for you to enjoy. Or, you can relax on the chairs outside of the pool. There is a restaurant inside and a spa for a little extra cost. The regular entrance was 7.90 Euro and is good for 3 hours.
- Museum of Doll Art. Collectors and doll lovers of dolls will be overwhelmed by this museum. They show porcellan, vinyl and wooden dolls made by famous artists. Some of these dolls are manufactured in the own studio. In the basement premises they exhibit all different kinds of craftswork like glass objects, pottery, flowers and certainly a great variety of special dolls. Vassacher Straße 65.
- Villacher Alpenstraße. This almost 20 km alpine road takes you up to Dobratsch mountain and ends on 1.732 m. Who wants to visit the top still has a bit of climbing to do! The top of Mount Dobratsch is at 2.167 m high.
- 1 Kremlhoftheater Villach. Claiming to be the smallest theater in the world, it seats 8 people and has a stage measuring 1.30 m (4.3 ft) by 1.30 m (4.3 ft) Free, donations welcome.
- Maibacherl. Located in Warmbad near Villach. A hot spring, which only appears in springtime. The water is hot enough for bathing and is very popular with the locals. Entry is free. Buses and trains operate from the main station to Warmbad on a regular base. The hot springs were already known to the ancient Romans. Take bus No.1 from main station to Warmbad and get off in Warmbad. From there it's only a 10min walk to the hot springs.
- Villach. Surrounded by a number of mountains including the Dobratsch which offer many possibilities for hiking.
- Cross Country Skiing. Cross-country skiing is possible on Dobratsch and all major ski resorts around Villach.
- Ice-Skating. Ice-skating is possible on Faakersee, Ossiachersee and Vassacher See though this depends heavily on the weather in winter whether lakes are frozen or not.
- Villacher Kirchtag. Every year (usually the first week in august) the city celebrates Villacher Kirchtag with a big amusement park. The city can get very crowded in this week with as many as 50,000 visitors, especially from Italy.
- Jazz Over Villach. A jazz festival in the middle of July located on Gernottenhöhe in Judendorf.
- Kanzianiberg. One of the best natural climbing walls in Austria. There are hundreds of colour-coded climbing routes at all levels, and on sunny days the vista is stunning. The maximum height difference is approx. 60 m. Kanzianiberg can be accessed by bus or bicycle (30 min from Villach) or car (15 min).
- Alpe Adria Golf. One of the best 19 hole golf places in the area with stunning views from every hole. Located in Finkenstein, a merely 10 minute drive from Villach.
- Faakersee. Said to be the lake featuring the cleanest water (drink water quality) in Europe. Tranquille area without those disturbing motorboats. There are some free beaches, but the better ones have to be paid for (usually no more than 4 euro). All beaches are nicely laid out with large grass fields. Getting to the Faakersee in the village of Faak is about 10 minutes away from Villach.
If you want to go shopping stick to the Hauptplatz and the centre area of the city. A bit outside of Villach (along Mariagailerstrasse) you will find an area with many shopping malls. These malls are far apart, so it's better to go by car or bus there. Buses to Mariagailerstrasse go from the local Busbahnhof ( a bus terminal ) which is located a few minutes away from the central railway station. In 2007 a huge shopping centre (atrio) was opened. It has about 80 shops!
- Cafe Paragraf, ☏ . Peraustr.18, - has cheap menus around €5,50 from 11.30 to 14.00 o`clock. Outdoor restaurant area!
- Brauhof Villach, Bahnhofsstraße 8, ☏ . has traditional Carinthian food and is run by the local brewery. Try the Kasnudln or the Bierführerbrot (dark bread piled with cold meats, cheese and radish).
- Trastevere, Widmanngasse 30, ☏ . lovely interior, italian-style kitchen renowned for the fish. Great tomato soup and lasagna.
- Kaufmann & Kaufmann, Dietrichsteingasse 5, ☏ . Italian-style kitchen, it is recommended to book in advance.
- Gasthof "Genottenhöhe", email@example.com. Genottehöhe Straße 40, Tel.379 18 - serves traditional Carinthia food and is located on a hill in Judendorf.
- Pizza place Dobner, Dobrovastraße 3 - Villach, ☏ . just outside the innercity has arguably the best pizza's in Carinthia (but also other Italian food). Very crowded place, so make sure to make a reservation in advance. In the summer they also open the terraces with fantastic panorama.
- Die Lange Mauer, Sankt Martinerstraße 19. great Chinese restaurant, wonderful selection of traditional Chinese drinks and unique desserts.
If you want to go out in the evening go for Hauptplatz and the numerous small avenues that start there. You'll find various small pubs and cafes such as
- Brauhof Villach, Bahnhofsstraße 8, ☏ . has traditional Carinthian food and is run by the local brewery (behind the restaurant) and has a selection of very good beers. Highly recommended.
- Turmstüberl, Anton Tuder Straße 2, ☏ . a small, atmospheric pub where the locals go. If you are travelling in a group you should book a table in advance.
- Tostenwirt, Lederergasse 25. a nice place if you want to try the locally brewed Malzbier. (a special blend of beer). They serve meals as well.
- Soho Bar, Freihausgasse 13. a cosy cocktail bar with a large amount of available cocktails.
- Lücke'. an athmospheric pub
- Stern, Kaiser Josef Platz 5. a nice cocktail bar and restaurant
- Flaschl, Seilergasse 1. a lively pub
- Parkcafe, Moritschstraße 2. stylish cafe.
- Koloini Konditorei, Ossiacher Zeile 72.
- Stern, Kaiser-Josef-Platz 5 -.
- Herr Vincent Kaffeehaus & Verkaufsshop, 8. Mai Platz 3. best coffee in town, to be enjoyed in a heartwarming bohemic atmosphere
Villach, like most Austrian cities, is safe to wander around. There will be occasional drunk people during festivities, but police visibility is evident. It is advisable to take precautionary measures when traveling, similarly to traveling to other European cities.
Villach has a large variety of both low and high-budget hotels. Some addresses are:
- Jugendherberge Villach - A youth hostel is available in Villach-St. Martin, Dinzlweg 34. Tel.56368,  Single beds are available for €17, a double costs €42.The centre of the city can be easily reached on foot.(about 10min walk)
- Pension Egger St. Martinerstrasse 19 Tel. 56338 Just opposite to the Youth Hostel (about 10min walk to the city centre). Single rooms start at €18. (breakfast included)
- Pension next to the cafe pub opposite the big Orange hotel on the main street, you have to go through into the car park which is hidden out the back through an alleyway with a green door out the front. A nice old lady runs the place - single room around €24, double with separate bathroom €30, double with ensuite 40€
- [formerly dead link] Camping with a K. Several camping ground options and very cheap: €5 per person; €18 for 2 people, a car, and a tent; €2 per tent; and 70¢ per dog.
- Hotel Goldenes Lamm - Hauptplatz 1, Tel. 24105 - nice hotel, above Wienerwald Restaurant. Doubles start at €57 (breakfast included). Lower prices apply before and after high season
- Romantik Hotel Post - Hauptplatz 26, Tel.26101 - pretty scenic, old hotel (built in the 16th century) in the centre of the city. This is one of the best (and therefor upper-price) hotels in Villach. Doubles are available from €80 to €140. Single beds are available from €70 to €90.
There is a tourist information centre at Rathausplatz 1 which will assist you with finding accommodation.
Local area code is 4242.
Cafeteria nikolai Nikolaigasse 16 (about 10min away from central square), Tel. 22511, an internet cafe which serves food and drinks.
- If you want to get out, try Faaker See, a beautiful lake a few kilometres outside of Villach. Faaker See is one of the warmest lakes in Austria with water temperatures around 27 degrees during summer. Faaker See can be reached by bus or train. Trains go to Faak am See (the ride takes about 20min) from the main station (during weekdays there is a train every two hours), a lido is only 10min away from the local train station.
- Schütt located in the south of mountain Dobratsch, an area with huge stone rocks, which are parts of Dobratsch itself after an earthquake back in the 14th century caused half of the mountain to fall into the surrounding area.
- Gerlitzen is a mountain and small ski resort located half an hour from Villach. The skiing is nothing special but Gerlitzen offers some of the best vistas in Austria. On clear days almost the whole of Carinthia can be seen from this mountain top. You can either drive up (take care in winter) or take the cable car. From the parking space/cable car station it's a hour's walk to the summit. The cable car station at the mountain's base at Annenheim can be reached by bus or train, though connections are poor.
- Burgruine Finkenstein the scenic remains of a castle built in the 12th century. Has great views. Today it is used as location for musical events.
- The Soca/Isonzo valley in Slovenia is about an hour's drive from Villach over the Predil mountain pass via Italy. 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 Ljubljana (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.
|Routes through Villach|
|Udine ← becomes ← ←||W E||→ Velden → Klagenfurt|
|Becomes ← Salzburg ←||N S||→ END|
|END ←||N S||→ becomes → → Radovljica|