Wörthersee — Carinthia's biggest lake and one of Austria's top tourist attractions in Summer
Carinthia is possibly the most autonomous state in Austria (with possible exception of Tyrol). Older than
Austria itself, it has always been fairly isolated from its surroundings by its geography. Carinthians are rooted and proud, but also have a reputation for being more warm-hearted than the rest of Austrians.
There are several explation where the name Carinthia comes from. One explanation says, it is derived from the celtic word Carant which means friend. Other explanations assume that the name comes from the celtic word karanto which means stone.
Cartinthia is a quite mountainous area sandwiched by the Alps in the north, and the Karawanken in the south. It shares a border with both Italy and Slovenia.
Villach is a railway-gateway to all parts of Austria, therefore it's easy to get to Kärnten from all major cities in Austria. Trains from Vienna and Graz arrive approximately every two hours.
Take the Südautobahn (A2/motorway) if your travelling from Styria or Vienna. If you are arriving from Salzburg take the Tauernautobahn (A10/motorway,liable to pay costs).
Driving by car is definetly the easiest way to get around. Be prepared that apart from the main routes mountain roads can especially tricky for those who are not used to driving on mountain roads. This is especially true in winter.
It might be tiring to get around using the federal bus network because the frequency of buses is low to non-existent on weekends.
Minimundus - Located in Klagenfurt this park offers a huge collection of miniature models of famous buildings from many countries in the world.
Landskron - Located a few kilometers from Villach. This old ruin has birds of prey.
Reptilienzoo Happ - Located in Klagenfurt. A small zoo offering a large and varied stock of reptiles and animals.
Burg Hochosterwitz - A scenic, more than 1000 years old castle located on the top of a hill. To get to the castle you have to make your way through 14 defensive gates.
Friesach - a city located in the north of Carinthia. It's also the oldest city in carinthia. Don't miss the spectaculum in summer, where the whole city is prepared to look like a real middle-ages city.
Kärnten is known for its ski resorts as well for its scenic lakes and mountains (hiking, climbing). If you are travelling in summer try out one of these lakes:
Wörthersee - Austria's biggest lake, a popular resort for German tourists and the location for various German and Austrian film and TV-series productions. Prices tend to be higher than elsewhere in Carinthia due to its importance to tourism.
Carinthian cuisine is closely related to Italian cuisine and therefore known for all types of noodles. Specialities are
Kletzennudel - sweet noodles filled with dried pears
Kasnudel - Noodles filled with a mixture of potatoes, curd cheese and fresh herbs (such as black spearmint) and served with hot butter. The exact recipe varys throughout Carinthia as every cook has his own special secret for preparing these noodles.
Glundner Kas - cooked cheese made of caraway, butter and mature curd cheese.
Reindling - a type of cake made of yeast dough filled with raisins, sugar and cinnamon. Baked mainly during the Easter holidays.
There is a well-known brewery in Hirt near Friesach which make fantastic beer. (Hirter Pils and Hirter Märzen) The city of Villach is home to the brewery of the "Villacher" brand of beer.
As the rest of Austria, Carinthia is a very safe place. The usual precautions when travelling is usually enough.
The Soca / Isonzo valley in Slovenia is about an hour's drive from Klagefurt and Villach over the Predil mountain pass. Its deep limestone gorges offer a spectacular scenery and its emerald-coloured rivers are famed for some of the best kayaking and white whater rafting in Europe. Since the Soca valley is actually easier to reach from Villach and Klagenfurt than Ljubliana (Slovenia's capital) it's well worth a day trip if you're hanging around Carinthia for longer. Head for the town Bovec, the touristic centre of the Soca valley.
If you are in Villach take a trip to Tarvis in Italy (it is about 30min by car) which is a popular place to eat and shop for Carinthians.
East Tyrol, the province neighbouring Carinthia to the West, is an alpinist's paradise. The capital Lienz can be conveniently be reached by train or car.