Skiers will have plenty to enjoy in this area of Austria and there are also many options for those who aren’t seasoned on the slopes. Tobogganing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding are also popular activities to embark on. A popular choice for skiers of all abilities is the Kirchdorf resort, which contains a beginner’s ski school as well as more challenging slopes. For families, the resort at Lärchenhof is highly recommended.
Hiking is hugely popular in this region and there is a great variety of Alpine tracks – from the challenging, winding paths to the family-friendly forest ambles. There are over 20 kilometres of routes in the Kitzbüheler Alpen range and a cable car on hand if you’ve reached your personal peak. The most awe-inspiring views can be seen from the top of the Kitzbüheler Horn – be sure to pack your camera.
With temperatures climbing as high as 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months, taking a dip in cooling waters is an essential activity in St. Johann. Containing water so clear it could be mistaken for a swimming pool, it’s difficult to resist the temptation for a dip in Lake Kirchberg, located just outside the town.
Saunas are popular in Austria and are believed to have beneficial qualities, including an increase in blood flow and the encouragement of weight loss. There are numerous spas to choose from in St. Johann, most of which contain saunas as well as countless other wellness facilities. The Panorama Badewelt has an extensive spa area with facilities including a sauna, a solarium, an outdoor sauna, a stone sauna, a saltwater pool, an aroma bath, an infrared cabin and various swimming pools. The spa is best enjoyed in the wintertime when snowfall is almost guaranteed and the warmth of the pools clash wonderfully with the cold outdoors.
Tirolean cuisine is rich and hearty. Tiroler Gröstl, considered a must-try when visiting the area, is a local dish containing a fried egg over cheese dumplings, served in hearty beef broth. Sweet-toothed visitors should sample kiachl, a fried yeast dough pastry served with cranberry jam. There is a vast range of restaurants to choose from in St. Johann and one that is highly recommended is Rummlerhof, a quintessentially Austrian joint serving many local dishes such as the aforementioned. The vibrant farmers’ market, which is well worth a visit for foodies, takes place on the main square every Friday from 10 am until 5 pm.
This bizarre and intriguing site, located around 40 minutes outside of St. Johann, is an underground lair containing all things that shimmer and shine. Both a museum and a shop, this oddity was created in 1995 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Austrian-based company Swarovski. Unusual on the inside and on the outside, the glittering eyes of the giant glare out from the greenery and the underground chambers are a treasure chest of splendour.