Although Klagenfurt cannot rival Vienna in terms of cultural hotspots in Austria, it is a quiet and beautiful city with gorgeous natural surroundings, and a great choice if wanting an alternative to the more famous landmarks. We explore the best things to do in Carinthia’s capital.
One of the most important historical landmarks in Klagenfurt, this country house (one of the largest in all of Austria) was built between 1574 and 1594 and is the seat of the Carinthian parliament. The interior is truly spectacular – decorated in elaborate frescoes and Renaissance architecture, making it a wonder to behold. Entry is just four euros, therefore it is a must- visit for history buffs.
The crystal clear waters of the lake | Courtesy of the Austrian Tourist Board
During the summer months in Austria, temperatures can crawl to as high as 4o degrees, meaning that glittering open waters can be extremely appealing. Carinthia’s largest lake, Wörthersee, is a honeypot for water sports fans, boaters and those who want a more casual dip. Piers and “beaches” can be found around the lake’s edges, making it a perfect destination to spend a summer’s day. There are also many hiking paths surrounding the lakes for those who want to explore the mountain peaks and lush greenery.
Not just a region boasting natural beauty, Klagenfurt is also home to an impressive contemporary art gallery. The Carinthian Museum of Modern Art houses an exciting collection featuring a huge range of distinguished regional and international artists, with a focus on works specifically from the province of Carinthia. Hans Bischoffshausen, Kiki Kogelnik, Maria Lassnig, Hermann Nitsch, Hans Staudacher are among the Austrian artists featured, and the “Burgkapelle” space is dedicated to showcasing upcoming artists.
Sampling local cuisine is always a must when visiting a new city, and foodies will love this local farmer’s market. Vast offerings of regional fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses, jams, and wine are all up for grabs and traditional Carinthian dishes can be sampled – including asparagus from the Lavant Valley and autumn game specialities from the local forests. Held on Thursday and Saturday mornings, be sure to get there early to avoid the crowds.
This vintage-style cafe is a great choice if looking for a pit stop between seeing the sights of Klagenfurt. Looking out to the Lend Canal, and coupled with a delightful internal courtyard, it makes for an ideal summer hangout. Gigs occasionally take place in the pavilion – be sure to check out their programme for upcoming events.
Established in 1958, the miniature world at Lake Wörthersee gathers all the world’s sights in one place – meaning you can visit all the continents in under a day. From the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and Taj Mahal to the Sydney Opera House, Minimundus contains 156 incredibly intricate and accurate models that were specially handcrafted for the park using materials such as materials such as marble, sandstone or lava basalt. A small railway track takes visitors around 26,000 m² of sights and a miniature space shuttle launches into the sky each hour.
The best place to get panoramic views of the entirety of Wörthersee and also glimpses of far off Italy and Slovenia, this incredible 100-metre high tower contains a “sky box” restaurant at the top serving regional specialities based on the Carinthian Alps-Adriatic cuisine, and a slide to take you back down to earth. Created using “16 stilts made of laminated timber, stabilised by 10 steel rings and with 80 diagonal struts which tower impressively upwards”, it is not only a wonderful viewing tower but also an incredible architectural triumph.
Containing hundreds of varieties of plants and flowers and with views of the surrounding mountains, this picturesque garden is located a stone’s throw away from the city centre. A fantastic place for a brief, relaxing walk or for sitting on one of the benches and admiring the greenery.
This fountain is one of Klagenfurt’s most famous landmarks and a focal point of the city. Created in the 1500s, the landmark contains a mythical “Lindwurm” carved from a single block, with its wings spread and water flowing from its open mouth. The fountain, which was constructed later on in the 1600s, is of late-Renaissance style and contains various statues of Greek Gods.
Take a break from sightseeing in the city and relax at the day spa of the Seepark Hotel. Facilities include an indoor pool, sauna, steam rooms, tepidarium, ice cave and a sun terrace and massages and special treatments are also available.