• Hiking with Ilamas at Katschberg mountain

    Why Animal Encounters Enrich Holidays

    Animals are balm for the soul. Shared adventures and playful activity do not just brighten the everyday, but also your holiday. Nina Zasche tells us why walking with a donkey was the slowest, yet most exhilarating hike she has ever been on. Plus: 4 animal experiences in Austria.

    The relationship between man and beast is unique, because animals do not judge. Appearance, social status, and state of health are irrelevant to them. All that matters is character, your physical contact, and body language. Those who give love and joy receive the same – often in greater amounts – in return. And because animals are able to replace human closeness, feelings of loneliness can give way to the wonderful feeling of togetherness.

    Health Benefits of Animals

    An animal enlivens everyday life. From loving cuddles to high-spirited games or necessary training, there’s never a dull moment when it comes to animals. What’s more: various scientific articles and books reach the conclusion that touching or just being near animals can release the "happy" hormone endorphin. In Menschen brauchen Tiere (“people need animals”), Ulbrich and Otterstedt name even further positive effects on the body. Contact with an animal can be soothing and comforting when you are stressed or worried. It can also alleviate headaches, tiredness, or digestive problems.

    Children already benefit from the positive effects of having a pet when they are young, says Andrea Förster in her book Tiere als Therapie - Mythos oder Wahrheit (“animals as therapy – myth or truth”). In addition, pets are said to enhance self-confidence and empathy, as well as teach children to take on responsibility from a young age. Animals also give people the important feeling of being needed and understood. Those who grew up with animals like I have often take a special affection for them into adulthood.

    Hiking with dog on Giggler Spitze

    Animals as Therapy

    Animals, such as dogs or horses in particular, encourage their owners to become more active. Being active outdoors increases fitness levels and strengthens the immune system. In addition, the connection and harmony with a horse when riding gives a sense of liberation as you are carried through the landscape. Being around animals (horses and dolphins in particular) has proven to be very successful as a therapeutic measure in many cases, increasingly in psychosomatics and the treatment of borderline, personality, and eating disorders.

    Llama and Alpaca Hikes in Austria

    Holiday animal encounters are not just proving ever more popular with children. Austria provides wonderful opportunities across various locations to forget the daily grind in this way and recharge your batteries. Be it a llama expedition through the picturesque Mühlviertel region or leading a fluffy alpaca through the idyllic Waldviertel region, exercise and fun come together here.

    Hiking with Donkeys

    Donkey hiking is even more relaxing, such as through the unique landscape of South Styria. The donkey is in charge of the pace, and that is often very slow. Never before have I laughed so much, practiced patience or taken so much time to really appreciate my surroundings on a hike.

    Visitors can dive into the world of bison, donkeys, and chickens on inspiring organic farms and in romantic nature parks across Austria. Riding high on a horse or setting out on an adventure with huskies promises an equally unique travel experience that will bring you closer to nature and remain with you forever.

    4 Animal Experiences in Austria

    • Visit "Husky Toni" and his dogs and ride a dogsled
    • Marmot, Tyrol
    • Lamatrekking at the Montafon / Montafon
    • wolf in the Alpenzoo Innsbruck
    Influencer Nina Zasche



    Nina Zasche is a travel blogger and journalist. When she is not on assignments around the world, she makes use of her proximity to the mountains in her chosen home of Munich for microadventures amidst nature.

    Animal Experiences in Austria