Even though Austria’s region of Katschberg offers some of the best skiing options (so I have been told), don’t worry if that is not your thing. Being a hub for active and fun holidays, you will not find yourself bored here. And attractions such as Malta High Alpine Road and Nockalm Alpine Road right next to the beautiful Millstatt lake are all within easy reach. But if you would rather try and hit the slopes, you have 70 kilometers of pistes to go through.
You’ll find Malta valley 35 kilometers away from the slopes. If you have kids then your first stop will be at the entrance already. A lovely amusement park – Water Games Park Fallbach is draped over a hill with an amazing waterfall in the background. Kids will have a blast playing with all the water. As you will see once you start the 14,4 kilometers of stunning High Alpine Road, the abundance of water doesn’t stop here.
Due to so many waterfalls Malta is also called the “valley of cascading waters”.
Reigning supreme all the way up to the Austria’s highest concrete dam. Built in 1979 it boasts a breathtaking and literally knee shaking airwalk offering views like you’ve never seen before. If you can enjoy them and not be chasing your kids around – like we had to.
2) Nockalm Alpine Road
You can already guess a pattern here. Austria is full of stunning Alpine Roads that wind their way through some of the most amazing places. Nature at its best. Nockalm, just a short, 20 minute ride from Katschberg is just another in the line of pearls. The road takes you from Ebene Reichenau to Innerkrems. 35 kilometers and climbing up to 2042 meters, before it starts its descend, the numbers are impressive, but with its 52 bends it is not for the faint hearted. The Nocky Mountain Biosphere Reserve is home to an amazing landscape, lake and an excellent walking path around it explains all the nature’s wonders, forests, thrilling views and supposedly marmots – we have yet to catch a sight of those. But we did see plenty of cows.
3) Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Opened in 1935, it is the highest mountain pass road in Austria. And due to many superlatives, most having to do with beautiful surroundings, this one beats them all. The name it bears, meaning a big bell, comes after the highest mountain in the country, Grossglockner and you have great views of it while you try to master hairpin turns, switchbacks and curves to reach the stunning 2,504 meters of altitude. And it’s not a problem when you are going up, we had a near disaster on our hands, when our breaks couldn’t keep up with the job on the descend. Luckily it all went well.
This is a truly picture perfect town, where everything works in its favor: historic buildings, a pristine lake and a mountain setting. Don’t miss the walk around the town up to the church with a macabre bone-house. Kept in this charnel house are 1200 human skulls. Though you and the kids will probably enjoy the oldest salt mine in the world, the Salzwelten more. Especially since it gives you a chance to explore it.
Find more quaint European towns to explore.
5) Or you could just learn to ski
Though not a huge fan of any particular Winter sport, Katschberg did make me doubt myself. Maybe I should give skiing a chance. At least to see what all the fuss is about. And if it doesn’t work I’ll just go back to the hotel conveniently located next to the slopes and do something I am really good at – soaking in the hot tub.