About this Austria walking region
Few European regions match the spectacular beauty of Carinthia (Kärnten). In addition to the dramatic Carinthian Alps (Central Alps/Hohe Tauern), Carinthia is home to the gently rounded and wonderfully wild Nockberge Mountains, and the rugged limestone summits of the Karawanken and Carnic Alps. Unlike the rest of Austria, however, it is the Carinthian lakes and not the mountains that attract the majority of tourists. For this reason you’ll find that parts of Alpine Carinthia have an almost isolated feel that results from their backwoods location and age-old ways of life.
Walking in Carinthia
All good things come to those who walk. Walking is a recreational pastime that Austrian’s themselves are passionate about, and it’s obvious why. The picturesque Nockberge Mountains lie in the north of Carinthia and are loved by walkers. It is believed that the name ‘Nocken’ derives from ‘Nocken’, the Austrian name for dumplings, and is in reference to the shape of its lovely ’rolling‘ hills. The Nockberge Mountains are somewhat low by Austrian standards, with average heights of around 2,200 metres (7,218 feet). This mountain range’s gem is the Nockberge National Park, which covers 186 sq km (72 sq miles), all of which is over 1,300 metres (4,265 feet) above sea level.
The Karawanken Mountains form the border between Slovenia (Julien Alps) and Austria and they offer some of the finest hiking and walking in the country. Consisting mainly of jagged limestone, the highest mountain in the Karawanken is Mt. Hochstuhl (2,237m/7,339ft). Further to the west lies the magnificent Carnic Alps, belonging to the Southern Limestone Alps, and covering Carinthia’s border with Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Udine in Northern Italy. With its imposing 2,780 metres (9,121 feet), Mt. Hohe Warte (Monte Coglians, in Italian) is the highest peak in the Carnic Alps.
Carinthia also shares an area of outstanding beauty – the National Park Hohe Tauern – with neighbouring East Tyrol and Salzburgerland. Wild, primeval countryside painstakingly cultivated by mountain farmers for centuries, and sweeping high-Alpine landscapes such as glaciers, rock faces and turf, these are the two faces of the national park. The Hohe Tauern region is the ‘roof’ of Austria – where the country’s highest mountains, including Mt. Groβglockner (3,798m/12,461ft) and more than 300 other peaks over 3,000 metres, (9,842 feet) tower into the sky.