Capital of Carinthia
For summer vacations, Klagenfurt is ideally located on Lake Wörthersee, one of Europe’s largest and warmest Alpine lakes. The city’s Mediterranean climate is responsible for pleasant summer days, sunny winters, colourful autumns, and mild springs.
Klagenfurt is a city of leisure and culture in southern Austria. Located on the eastern bank of Lake Wörthersee, this small city is a gem whose cultural treasures and nearby mountains make it a wonderful destination for your trip. In Klagenfurt, you don’t have to decide between culture, adventure, or relaxation: you can have them all!
Klagenfurt Old Town
An 800-year-old town, Klagenfurt boasts one of Austria’s historic town centres and was thrice awarded the prestigious Europa Nostra Diploma for its lovingly restored arcaded Renaissance courtyards, which today accommodate modern boutiques, trendy bars, and authentic beer gardens.
Shaped by Italian architects, this "Renaissance Gem" has some must-see sites like the New Square (“Neuer Platz”), redesigned in 2008 by architect Boris Podrecca with the Lindwurm Fountain at its centre. The Lindwurm, a winged dragon that serves as the landmark of the city, was modelled on a legendary dragon said to have resided in a swamp here long ago. If you’re planning to discover Klagenfurt on foot, this is a great starting point.
Throughout the city, a large number of museums provide insight into Carinthia’s history and culture. These include the Museum of Modern Art, the Provincial Museum with its Roman findings (among them a life-sized bronze statue of a naked boy, called “The Youth from Magdalensberg”), the Wappensaal (heraldic hall), the Diocesan Museum and the Landhaus Gallery.
In Klagenfurt, there’s a spirit of friendly togetherness and a zest for life that could be attributed to the city's Mediterranean influence.
For example, at the Benedictine farmers’ market, farmers from all over the Carinthia province, the Italian Friuli region, and Slovenia gather to sell fresh produce and herbs. Take in the smell of home-baked bread, sample olives, or enjoy a glass of wine amidst the hustle and bustle of this vibrant market.
At night, dive into the world of Swan Lake in the Klagenfurt Stadttheater (City Theatre) or snatch up one of only 10 seats at Jugendstiltheater (Art Nouveau Theatre) for a show off the beaten track. Konzerthaus (Concert House) has classical and jazz concerts that will make for a lively evening.
In summer, enjoy a film under the stars at Open-Air Cinema in Burghof. Two Austrian writers of import – Robert Musil and Ingeborg Bachmann – were born in Klagenfurt. Today, the city becomes a literary hotspot each summer: The Festival of German-Language Literature takes place here, featuring live readings and the awarding of the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in German-language literature.
Klagenfurt has some great offerings for athletes.
Lake Wörthersee, or Lake Wörth, is the largest lake in Carinthia, and, due to climatic conditions, one of the warmest Alpine lakes. In summer, the water – of drinkable purity, by the way – reaches temperatures of 28°C (82°F). When the lake freezes, it becomes one the largest skating rinks in Austria.
Situated in a depression in the mid-Carinthian hill country, the lake is surrounded by a dreamy landscape of mountain peaks. The view extends all the way to the Karavanks Range to the South, and to the foothills of the forested Ossiacher Tauern mountain ridge in the North. There’s also a large bathing beach at Lake Wörthersee’s Eastern bay, an illuminated running trail, a demanding fitness course at Kreuzbergl mountain, a golf course, and ideal conditions for sailing. The very challenging Kärnten Ironman Austria race is considered a sporting highlight of the year.
Hiking enthusiasts will find a wide variety of options. Exploring the old town on foot offers a bit of Mediterranean lifestyle, especially in summer. City hiking paths take you to nearby recreational areas. More active hikers will enjoy the Karavanks, a mountain range to the South offering easy and challenging trails.
Bikers can choose from a great number of well-maintained bike paths. Active visitors will enjoy the varied bicycling routes, some suitable for racing cycles, others for e-bikes and mountain bikes. Riding along Lake Wörthersee, you can take an architectural journey through time, from Art Nouveau to English Country House style.
If you need to cool down after a long hike, just jump into crystal-clear Lake Wörthersee – but don’t worry, the lake never gets so cold as to be uncomfortable. Or you might just want to spend the day enjoying the sun in one of the many lidos around the lake.
In the evening, visit one of the hip beach bars or first-rate restaurants on the shores, and watch the sun set over the lake. A fruity cocktail in hand, you’ll listen to the waves pattering and watch the warm sun rays reflect in the water’s surface.