Villach, an Austrian town in the region of Carinthia, is a very popular tourist destination for active holidaymakers. The possibilities for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking and skiing in a spectacular natural setting are almost endless.
The town itself is certainly not the most attractive in Austria, but it is lively and well-equipped, so it is well suited as a base for exploring the surrounding area at all times of the year.
Villach is a lively tourist resort in all seasons of the year and there is no better time to visit.
A summer holiday in Villach is above all about greenery, walking, mountain biking and swimming in the lake. In winter, Villach is an ideal destination for skiing, bathing in a heated swimming pool with a view of the mountains or the lake and peeking at the Christmas markets, which are smaller than those in Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck but not without charm. Spring and autumn are two ideal seasons for hiking.
Keep in mind that Villach hosts the Carinthischen Sommer, one of Austria’s most prestigious music festivals, from mid-July to the end of August. The festival days are a peak season for tourism in Villach, so if you plan to come here during the festival, it is a good idea to book well in advance.
Are you passing through Villach and want to make a stop in the town or are you planning a holiday in the area? Here are the most interesting sights in and around the town centre.
The main attraction in the centre of Villach is the St. Jakob Church, an interesting late Gothic building that dominates the old part of town. Inside, you can admire frescoes, a richly decorated ceiling and a rococo altar; for a splendid panoramic view of the town, climb to the top of the bell tower.
The town museum is dedicated to local history, archaeology and medieval art, while the Relief Von Kärten museum, just outside the town, will show you a scale reproduction of the Carinthian region with all its tourist attractions.
Villach’s most original museum is the Villacher Fahrzeugmuseum where you can admire more than 250 vintage cars including the legendary Fiat Topolino and the BMW Isetta.
The bronze statue of the jester, which stands along the river, is the symbol of Villacher Fasching, the town carnival whose origins date back to the end of the 19th century and which is still much loved by the ‘locals’.
What draws tourists to Villach is certainly the beautiful natural scenery in which the town is embedded and the numerous opportunities for outdoor sports.
Just a few kilometres from the town centre are the two lakes of the Villach region, Lake Faaker and Lake Ossiacher, the former to the east and the latter to the northeast. They are ideal for an afternoon or an entire holiday of pure relaxation, sunbathing in one of the bathing establishments, renting a boat or taking a vigorous swim.
Against the backdrop of the Ossiacher See towers the magnificent Gerlitzen mountain, which reaches a height of 1900 metres; in winter it is a very popular ski resort.
For mountain bikers and hikers, we recommend Dobratsch, an area about 12 km from Villach with numerous hiking and biking trails; in winter, it is a popular destination for cross-country skiers.
The most popular attractions around Villach for children are Adler Flugschau and Affenberg, two parks dedicated to animals that are difficult to see in everyday life.
AdlerFlugschau is a care and breeding centre for birds of prey housed in the former castle of Burg Landskron, a hamlet to the north-east of the centre. Here your children can admire 20 different species of birds including griffon vultures, hawks, owls and golden eagles and watch a 40-minute show in which these magnificent specimens engage in hunting actions.
On the slopes of Landskron is Affenberg, the monkey mountain, where on the initiative of a private individual 150 Japanese macaques were brought in and now live free here. They are friendly and curious animals, so keep your rucksacks tightly closed or they might steal something from you!
The town of Villach is located along one of Europe’s most attractive cycle paths, the Drau cycle path (in German Drauradweg). This is a cycling route along the Drau River that starts at its source in Toblach in the province of Bolzano and ends in the town of Maribor in Slovenia.
More than 300 km long, the Drava cycle path crosses three countries (Italy, Austria, Slovenia): for cycling enthusiasts it is an experience not to be missed.
You arrive in Villach at the end of the 39 km fourth stage starting in Spittal, a fairly easy and well-marked section. The fifth stage starts in Villach and finishes in Ferlach after 51 km.
If you are not the sporty type, you can admire Carinthia’s beautiful mountain panorama from the comfort of your car: take the Villacher Alpenstrasse, one of the five most important mountain roads in Austria.
It is a beautiful 16.5-kilometre mountain road with seven hairpin bends, 116 curves and a maximum height of 1,200 metres, along which you can enjoy breathtakingly beautiful panoramic views of the town of Villach, Villach, the Julian Alps and the Karawanken. The road is open all year round; a ticket must be paid to drive it.
The route starts in the district of Villach-Möltschach and ends in Rosstratte, from where you can admire the Dobratsch peak.
The Villach region is well developed touristically, so there is a good choice of hotels and inns to suit all budgets.
You can choose to sleep in the centre of Villach, but many tourists prefer to move a little outside the town to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of the mountains, perhaps choosing a hotel with lake view rooms. There is also a good choice of hotels with a sauna and swimming pool.
To get to Villach from Vienna, allow three and a half hours by car. There is also good news for those who find travelling by train fascinating: Villach is on Austria’s main train routes, with direct trains from several cities including Vienna, Salzburg, Lienz and Klagenfurt.
What's the weather at Villach? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Villach for the next few days.