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    • Meadow with Almrausch in the region Nockberge

      Meadow with Almrausch in the region Nockberge

      Austrian National Tourist Office / Michael Stabentheiner

    Bucket List: 8 Hide-Aways in Austria to Recharge Your Batteries

    Where will you go when all of this is over? How about hugging Europe's oldest oak tree or sitting on an underwater bench? These 8 places in Austria will help you relax and recharge.

    1. The Blue Spring (Tirol)

    Follow us to the Kufsteinerland region in Tirol to the Blue Spring. Nestled in a small basin, it is Tirol's biggest source of drinking water.

    Intriguingly, the spring changes colour based on different lighting conditions and reflections: The surrounding trees and meadows and the algae-covered ground sometimes have it appear in shades of green. Other times, in the places where there are no algae, the water shines in a bright turquoise.

    Imagine you're spending a warm spring afternoon there, underneath the chestnut trees, beeches, lime trees, and birches, and listen to the patter of the water.

    2. The Green Lake (Styria)

    When the snow melts in late April, the Green Lake fills up with crystal-clear spring water. Within a short period of time, hiking paths and meadows, even benches, a bridge, and a tree are submerged in water, temporarily creating a strange but fascinating underwater landscape. When the water recedes in early summer, a turquoise lake forms.

    3. Europe's Oldest Oak Tree (Styria)

    1,000 years old and still standing strong: Located in the small spa town of Bad Blumau in Styria, Europe's oldest oak tree has been dubbed the thick "Oachn" ("oak" in the regional dialect). With a circumference of 8.75 metres, its trunk is so wide you'll need at least three friends to hug this tree.

    4. Mount Mirnock (Carinthia)

    How did the gently rounded Nockberge mountains in Austria's south get their shape? A myth surrounding Mount Mirnock tells of a mighty giant who, many years ago, lived in a rock cave and caused mayhem in the mountains, supposedly causing a summit to collapse. Only a rounded crest remained.

    In reality, the appearance of the plant-covered Nockberge mountains is most likely due to a huge rocky mass pushing its way to the surface more than 300 million years ago, exposing crystalline rock such as slate and gneiss and meadows developing on the fertile grounds. The landscape here is soft and gentle, without bizarre ridges or steep slopes. Just a single light-coloured rock strip, belonging to the much younger Kalkalpen mountains, cuts through the Nockberge mountains from north to south.

    5. Rocking Stones (Lower Austria)

    Near the town of Groß Gerungs in Lower Austria's Waldviertel region, you'll find the Kierlingstein rocking stone in the middle of the woods: a six-metre-long granite block featuring a deep indentation. The water collected there is said to have healing powers and even grants beauty.

    6. The Krimml Waterfalls (SalzburgerLand)

    Located within the Hohe Tauern National Park, the Krimml Waterfalls are the highest falls in Austria.

    Let's take a mental trip to the waterfalls: Can you feel the fine mist as you walk up to this imposing natural wonder? Almost imperceptibly, it pervades the air ever more intensely and covers your skin. The moist air is cool and clean, smells like pine needles. A thunderous roar can be seen, heard - and felt.

    Tip: Hear the waterfalls roar in this video.

    7. Tschengla Stone Circles (Vorarlberg)

    Austria's miniature Stonehenge: On the Tschengla high plateau on Bürserberg mountain in Vorarlberg, you'll find four stone circles and a network consisting of 2,000 megaliths. Today, we can only speculate as to their meaning: Presumably, they were used as an observatory in the Stone Age or served as a place of worship for our ancestors. Scientists assume that people came here to recharge and even heal.

    8. Maria Laach Hiking Trail (Lower Austria)

    The Maria Laach "Kraftwanderweg" trail runs through the idyllic Jauerling nature park, ending at a Gothic pilgrimage church. Many supposedly mystical places can be found in Austria's largest province, Lower Austria, making for an experience close to nature and history: the mystical meeting place of druids in Yspertal valley, the Groß Gerungs power arena, and the Celtic village in Schwarzenbach.

    Interested? Learn more here.

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