Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, usually known as just Klagenfurt is the capital of the federal state of Carinthia in Austria. It is in the lower middle of Austria, almost the same distance from Innsbruck in the west as it is from Vienna in the northeast. Klagenfurt is a popular vacation spot, with mountains both to the south and north, numerous parks and a series of 23 stately homes and castles on its outskirts.
Hochosterwitz Castle (map). One of the most impressive medieval castles in Austria, dating back to the 9th century, is 20 km outside of town. This rock castle stands on a dolomite rock towering 175 m above everything else, and is considered a landmark for the entire Carinthia state.
In summer, the city is home to the Altstadtzauber (The Magic of the Old City) festival.
Lindwurm, Neuer Platz (map). The lindworm is the town’s landmark. According to a legend, an evil dragon infested the region where Klagenfurt is located today. The duke of Karnburg promised land to those who would catch and kill the dragon. Eventually a group of menials achieved the killing of the dragon by a trick. (In Old Slovene, cviljovec is a place haunted by such a wailing female ghost or cvilya)
Minimundus (map) open from April to October. This park offers a huge collection of miniature models of famous buildings from many countries in the world.
The centre of the city (around Alter Platz, map) offers a large variety of boutiques, book shops and perfumeries. Stalls serve traditional Austrian cuisine in the indoor part of Klagenfurt’s market.
Most sights of interest can be easily reached by foot. Klagenfurt offers an extensive bus network. The main bus hub is at Heiligengeistplatz (map) in the centre of the city.
The Soca/Isonzo valley (map) in Slovenia is about an hour and a half’s drive from Klagefurt over the Predil mountain pass (map). Its deep limestone gorges offer a spectacular scenery and its emerald-coloured rivers are famed for some of the best kayaking and white water 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 (map), the touristic centre of the Soca valley.
On the preceding evening of 5 December, Krampus Night or Krampusnacht, the wicked hairy devil appears on the streets. World Bodypainting Festival, the most famous body painting festival in the world, held at the Norbert Artner park in July.