Carinthia (Kärtnen), with Austria’s highest mountain,
the Grossglockner (3798m/12,457ft) to the west
and the Karawanken Mountains in the south, has
a mild climate. The famous lakes reach temperatures of 28°C
(82°F), and earned Carinthia the European Environment
Award for their superb water quality.
From the Wörther See to the Hohe Tauern
National Park (which extends into Tirol and Salzburg provinces),
Carinthia offers a wide variety of excursions even during the winter,
when the lakes become skating rinks and the ten ski resorts with
1000km (625-miles) of pistes open their doors to the public.
The Provincial capital lies on the western edge of the Wörthersee,
the largest lake in the region. The town is full of tradition, with
more than 50 restored baroque arcades now housing shops and cafes.
It is worth visiting the Dom (Cathedral), the museums
and at least some of the 23 castles which encircle the town, now
offering restaurants, cultural performances and even an animal sanctuary.
The Naturpark Kreuzbergl overlooking the town offers
trails, lakes and a way to see the Austrian hills without too much
Carinthia has a rich legacy of gothic and
renaissance churches, fortresses, palaces, and museums, history
is always close at hand. The Wörthersee has
many good beaches and attractive campsites.
The cathedrals, churches and monasteries of Gurk, Maria
Gail, Maria Saal and Viktring are popular,
as is the City Museum of Friesach. The hot spring
at Villach is known for its curative properties. The Hohe
Tauern National Park is one of the last large undisturbed
mountain environments in Europe. Also worth visiting for a leisurely
holiday are the towns of Heiligenblut, Millstatt, Obervellach,
Ossiach, St Veit an der Glan, Velden and Pörtschach.