Austria’s awe-inspiring scenery lends itself perfectly to some quality R&R...
1. Immerse yourself in thermal baths
A couple of different thermal baths are just a short hop away from the Kitchleitn Hotel
in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Carinthia, offering a luxurious way to relax in the Alps. Step into Römerbad Thermal Spa for a decadent experience: Roman-style spas, beauty and massage services, and steam baths galore. This spa offers a true alpine experience – jaw-dropping mountain views can be enjoyed from its pool on the upper levels. St. Kathrein Thermal Spa (badkleinkirchheim.at)
Alternatively, head to St. Kathrein Thermal Spa, which has more of a family vibe with its wild water pool and whirlpool. With Finnish saunas and cleansing mud baths, adults without children will also find plenty of ways to relax. The outdoor areas at both of these spas offer ample opportunity to relax on patios in the sunshine during summer.
2. Take a revitalising wellness break
Treat your mind and body to a healthy trip at the Eschenof Hotel
in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Carinthia. Their tagline of ‘alpine slowness’ says it all: massages, aromatherapy treatments, body wraps, luxury saunas, couple’s sessions, thermal baths, and more. You’ll feel relaxed just reading their list of services. The hotel’s wholesome restaurant menu allows you to eat right during your stay, serving up sustainable, organic, regional produce wherever possible. Eschenof Hotel (eschenhof.at)
When you do fancy a stroll, take some time out around Eschenhof’s 5 Elements-Senses walk. This pretty garden on the hotel grounds provides a calming outdoor space in which to unwind, and from here you can catch glimpses of the surrounding mountain scenery. Also don’t miss the roof terrace, where you can lie back and soak up some rays on a sun lounger.
3. Swim and sunbathe at Lake Millstätter See
Not only does the Kolmhof Hotel
in Carinthia have a heated outdoor swimming pool on-site, this establishment also boasts its own private beach. Around 15 minutes’ drive from the hotel, the sandy shores at Lake Millstätter See offer a respite from more adrenaline-fuelled activities up in the mountains. The spacious bathing area is made up of lawn and beach so you’re sure to find a comfortable spot. Take a dip in the clear water lake to cool down in the summer heat. Lake Millstätter See (Shutterstock)
If you grow tired of lazing around in the sunshine, the hotel also runs activities. Get involved with some water sports or morning gymnastics, or keep the kids happy with fun group games that are run by the staff.
4. Amble around a nature park
A picturesque haven west of the town of Brixlegg, Matzen Park
makes for a peaceful day out in Alpbachtal, Tyrol
. The park is centred around the spectacular Matzen Castle, a towering structure perched next to the River Inn. Gardens surround the castle and British travellers will feel at home here: the landscaping was modelled on the concept of an English garden, with lily and carp ponds, colourful flowers and tree-lined avenues. Matzen Castle (Shutterstock)
The Gut Matzen Café & Restaurant, at the foot of the castle, is a good place to stop off for lunch or a quick refreshments break. Take in the views along the river from their outside seating area. An open-air stage is set up in the park during the summer months, playing host to an event called Matzener Sommer – a programme of concerts and readings.
5. Explore rural life in a tiny hamlet
It only has 160 inhabitants, but what the hamlet of Thierbach in Wildschönau
lacks in size it more than makes up for in charm and history. Consisting of just a church, school, a few farms and a couple of guesthouses, Thierbach’s beauty lies in its remote nature. Here you’re surrounded by mountains, and a stay in Thierbach immerses you in rustic Austrian life. Thierbach (wildschoenau.com; H. Schmid)
One of the hotels in Thierbach has links to the Tirolean freedom fighters of the Napoleonic wars. During your stop-off here, make sure you pay a visit to the Lehenlahn Silver Mine for an overview of the area’s mining heritage.
6. Pamper yourself at a mountain spa retreat
A piece of paradise in Carinthia
, the lovely Badehaus Millstätter See
is a health spa and wellness centre offering a wide range of treatments designed to help you take it easy. Few settings seems more apt for relaxation than the silent, soaring Nockberge Mountains surrounding this establishment, and the shimmering Lake Millstatt at its feet. Kärnten Badehaus Millstätter See (badehaus-millstaettersee.at)
Indulge in a hot stone massage or honey alpine body wrap. Take a dip in the pure waters of the lake or dive into the centre’s infinity pool, from which you can look out across the undulating scenery. Loungers are placed all over the retreat, and the restaurant completes the experience – just the place for a glass of wine after a long day of spoiling yourself. Main image: Badehaus Millstätter See (badehaus-millstaettersee.at)