1. Indulge in fine steak
Vegetarians, avert your eyes. The Steak Alm restaurant
at the Kirchleitn Hotel in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Carinthia, is a meat-eater's paradise. Serving up succulent cuts of quality beef, here you can choose from tender T-bones or juicy rumps, cooked precisely to your liking. Sides of chips and corn polish off the dishes perfectly. The restaurant couples this exquisite food with the alpine-inspired but modern interior design to create a cosy log-cabin retreat. Steak at Steak Alm restaurant (kirchleitn.com)
Kirchleitn Hotel is located amidst outstanding mountain scenery in the Carinthia province
, where you can enjoy the outdoors all year round. In winter, the slopes are covered in powdery snow and in summer the hiking trails open up, giving you unadulterated access to the sublime landscape.
2. Treat yourself to a gala dinner and Grappa
Splashing out on dinner and drinks on holiday is a must. Go the extra mile with a gala and Grappa experience
at the Kolmhof Hotel, in the ski village of Bad Kleinkirchheim-St. Oswald. This stylish establishment hosts a five-course gala dinner once a week, filled with Austrian and international specialties prepared with fresh ingredients, by expert chefs. Grappa and grapes (Shutterstock)
Any meal with that many courses calls for a little help with digestion, which is where the Grappa comes in. The Kolmhof Hotel prides itself on a varied collection of this potent drink, including decadent blends from Italy. If that’s not your thing, other liquors, wines, beers and soft drinks are available here in plentiful supply.
3. Discover Austrian wine
Although frequently overshadowed by the vineyards of nearby Italy, Austria shouldn’t be overlooked as a wine lover's destination. The Winemakers of the Mountain Festival
will be enough to convince you; with experts from across the country this is one of the best opportunities to learn about Austrian wine (and taste plenty of it too, of course). Winemakers of the Mountain Festival (trattlerhof.at)
Held at the Trattlerhof Hotel in Carinthia’s Bad Kleinkirchheim area
, these weekends include a packed schedule of tastings. Like any top wine event, food is also served throughout – skilfully paired with the wines on offer to create an all-encompassing gourmet extravaganza. This experience also connects you with other wine lovers to enrich your knowledge of the subject.
4. Stop by a dairy farm on a mountain stroll
Explore verdant pastures on a meander through the Kurzer Grund valley in Kitzbüheler Alpen
. This trail not only wends its way through the mountains – towering hills rise up around you for much of the journey – it also takes you past a dairy farm, where you can try one of Austria
’s most famous products: cheese. At the farm you can nibble on skilfully-prepared products that will nourish you for the continuing walk. Don’t forget to buy some cheese to take back home with you too. Austrian dairy cow (Shutterstock)
The suggested route is suitable for families and takes around three and a half hours, covering a distance of about five and a half kilometres. Although it follows a slight incline, the path is quite straightforward and even manageable with a pushchair.
5. Discover a Cheese Alm with spectacular views
With over 150 cattle roaming here in the summer, the Holzalm Cheese Alm
in the Wildschönau region of Tyrol
is one of the best places in the country to discover Austria’s cheese. Take the Markbachjoch cable car up the mountain and follow the trail at the top for just under 1.5km – a laid-back stroll appropriate for both adults and children. Holzalm Cheese Alm (wildschoenau.com)
Once you reach the farm, drink in the sweeping views of Hohe Salve and Kitzbühel mountains while tucking into a plethora of cheesy delights. If you happen to be here on a Tuesday, don’t miss the guided tour of the dairy held at 2pm (for a small admission fee). The Cheese Alm is open from mid-May to mid-October.
6. Feast on traditional fare
Dining at St Anton am Arlberg's Darmstädterhütte
is like coming home for supper. You'll be plied with dumplings, roast meats, oven-fresh bakes and all manner of sweet treats – just what you'll fancy after an invigorating day of walking. Darmstädter Hütte (stantonamarlberg.com)
Everything is home made, and the produce is as local as it gets: even the cheese, butter and milk comes from the farmer's 30 cows which graze on the Tritsch-Alm meadow a short walk away.
7. Look out over Lake Zell while dining
The highly-rated yet rustic Ebenbergalm restaurant
in Zell am See-Kaprun
is a top choice for quality food in the area. Set on the side of a mountain, one of the biggest perks of eating here is the spectacular views over the mountains and down to Lake Zell. The restaurant proudly serves cooked-to-perfection Austrian cuisine. Lake Zell (Shutterstock)
There are a couple of ways to reach Ebenbergalm. The hike from Ebenberg cable car will take you an hour or so, a great way to build up an appetite before eating here. Alternatively, the friendly folk at the restaurant will come to collect you from your hotel. Main image: Holzalm Cheese Alm (holzalm.com)