Picture yourself standing in the middle of Hohe Tauern National Park on a crystal clear day, surrounded by some of Austria’s most magnificent mountains. It is by far the largest of Austria's seven national parks as well as the largest nature reserve in the Alps. Among them, the majestic Grossglockner, one of the Alps’ tallest mountains, towers over the Tauern mountain range at 12,461 feet.
Start your discovery tour at the National Park Center in Mittersill and find amazing ways of experiencing this beautiful Alpine mountain setting. Don’t miss the Eagle's Flight Panorama, a 3-D computer animation that will give you a bird’s eye view of the mountains, or check out the Avalanche-Waterfall Dome, and the World of Glaciers. If you are feeling sportive, embark on a day hike with a National Park Ranger who can help provide fascinating glimpses into local wildlife and the Alpine flora and fauna, point out aromatic herbs, or spin some interesting tales. Thirty different hikes ranging from easy to difficult are available in the summer, and the National Park Center is open daily. Get ready to witness the result of centuries-old conservation efforts that have successfully preserved cultural sites dating back to the middle ages and even Roman times.
As you hike, swim, or bike in Hohe Tauern National Park, a meditative self-reflection sets in all by itself. Finding a beautiful spot in the early morning and watching the day slowly creep into the world is sometimes all it takes to learn something new about yourself.
Sit down on a rock for a few moments, look down at the lake, and just listen. In Hohe Tauern you can actually hear the silence, especially in the early in the morning. You slowly start to notice other sounds you usually wouldn’t - like the wind, sweeping through the Swiss pines, a bird chirping on the other side of the lake, how the brook rushes over the stones, the bees’ buzz and the soft ringing of bells wafts up from the valley. The land gently breathes in and out again: this is silence.
It’s said that some parts of Austria are best approached with one’s ears because they are visually so overpowering. If that’s the case, then Hohe Tauern National Park is definitely one of them. There are not many other spots in the Alps where the interplay of geology and time has led to such grandeur. And there are definitely not many places that so completely bewitch their visitors from the very first moment.
Of course, you could describe Hohe Tauern National Park in terms of facts alone: 695 square miles spread over Carinthia, Tirol, and SalzburgerLand. At the centre towers the Grossglockner, Austria’s tallest mountain, to the west the Venediger group, in the east sits Hochschober mountain. 226 of Hohe Tauern’s peaks are over 9,800 feet high. But even the most impressive facts can’t communicate the national park’s spectacular scenery: You need to see the snow-capped summits, sweeping Alpine pastures, and clear mountain lakes for yourself.
Hohe Tauern National Park is full of such places – places that possess an almost magical aura that open your eyes to the beauty of the world. You can find them in the breathtaking Weißsee glacier area, and on the Pasterze with its ice fields, from which a breath of cold air blows even on hot summer days. You can find them in the Leitenkammer gorge, through which water rushes down to the valley - and on a bench up in the mountain pastures with a view of the Alpine ibexes. The Krimml waterfalls have a roaring energy that makes you feel the power of nature.
It’s true, the mountains here radiate a special magic. They let us breathe deeply again and to forget the chaos and stress of our everyday lives. The mountains help you understand the earth, its history - and maybe even our own place in it.