Klagenfurt is the capital of the state of Carinthia in Austria; it has a population of around 99,000 and is the sixth largest in the country.
Due to a more southerly location, Klagenfurt has cold winters but relatively warm summers and is in a prime position on the shores of the popular Lake Worthersee.
The city has a myriad of attractions and is a great place to use as a base to explore southern Austria and the absolutely jaw-dropping landscapes and mountain scenery that you can find there.
Lets explore the best things to do in Klagenfurt:
1. Lake Worthersee
One of the main reasons people visit the beautiful town of Klagenfurt is to take advantage of the immense Lake Worthersee that sits right next to Klagenfurt’s west side.
This large lake is a prime tourist destination in the region of Carinthia and has a wide range of activities and sights both on its shores and in the water.
Due to the relatively Mediterranean climate of the lake and surrounding region, it attracts a high amount of visitors who want to bathe in the warm waters or relax on the shores.
2. Hochosterwitz Castle
Located in the small village of Hochosterwitz which is a 20 minute drive to the north east of Klagenfurt, Hochosterwitz castle is a stunning piece of medieval architecture and is considered one of Austria’s finest examples remaining.
The castle perches high on-top of a dolomite rock over 600m above sea level and can be seen for miles around on a clear day.
Constructed around 860, Hochosterwitz has lasted for ages and has been involved in various rebellions and civil wars.
A walk through the 14 gates leading up to the castle is fascinating while you can enter parts of the actual building and see displays of armour, weapons and paintings.
3. Worthersee Stadium
Sporting stadiums are often huge structures that take the centre of attention in a city – The Worthersee stadium fits this mould and has a capacity of 32,000 and is used for various sporting events.
Its main use is as the home of the football team SK Austrian Klagenfurt and all their home matches are played here.
Guided tours of the stadium are available and you can see the changing rooms, VIP lounges and walk on the pitch.
During your stay I Klagenfurt it is also worthwhile seeing what games are on and buying a ticket – There is no better way to see the local culture and passion of a city when its populations comes together as spectators at a football match.
Klagenfurt is surrounded by beautiful lakes and woodland and the Rauschelesee lake has both.
While only small in comparison to its larger sisters Worthersee and Keutschacher, this lake is still a wonderful place to visit and offers swimming and fishing in its waters.
The lake is 15-20 minutes south west of Klagenfurt and is surrounded by stunning rural countryside and there are many walking paths to enjoy too.
This delightful miniature park is just 5 minutes from Lake Worthersee and has great transport links so is easy to reach.
Have you ever wanted to feel like a giant and tower over a small city? Well at Minimundus your dreams can come true! Set in the grounds of a lovely park, this miniature collection of buildings is simply amazing and has so much detail and quality.
The creation process of the 1:25 scale miniatures takes months and months and a huge amount of skill and patience.
There are over 40 different models including St Peter’s Basilica, The Tower of London, The White House and Sydney Opera House.
Minimundus is a fun place to visit for both adults and children and one of Klagenfurt’s top attractions.
This eye-popping structure is a 30 minute drive from Klagenfurt but is worth the effort to get there.
For something different to do, why not ascend the 100m of the tallest wooden viewing tower in the world? Pyramidenkogel provides a fantastic way to see the jaw-dropping scenery of the Austrian Alps and Lake Worthersee and as a side bonus you can even slide back down the tower when you are finished admiring the stunning scenery using the 120m long slide that lets you reach speeds of up to 25km/hour!
7. Worthersee Boat Cruise
The Worthersee Lake is huge, so what better way to explore it than to take a peaceful boat cruise? There are several different cruise operators based at various points around the lake so make sure you research where their collection point is before buying a ticket.
There are also different types of boat cruises ranging from a simple water ferry that takes you from one place to another, guided boat tours around certain areas of the lake with audio commentary etc, or even breakfast tours where a meal is included.
Whatever you choose, make sure you take advantage of the beautiful lake and have a sail!
8. The Pilgrimage Church of Maria Saal
Nestled in the market town of Maria Saal, this large Pilgrimage Church is an important religious destination in Carinthia.
This wonderful church dates back to 750 when a Bishop named Modestus dedicated the building to the virgin Mary.
The design has changed over the years and now has a Baroque style with its recognisable twin bell towers.
The interior is typical of the period and what you would expect from a religious building and there are several paintings and adornments to enjoy.
Near the church is the ancient Carinthian Ducal Throne where the Dukes of Carinthia once sat.
9. Neuer Platz
This pleasing square is a central location in Klagenfurt and was recently re-designed in 2008 to give a more modern feel.
Focal points of the square are the Dragon fountain which spurts water from its mouth, the emblem of Klagenfurt, a statue of Hercules and larger statue of the only female ruler of the Habsburg Empire, Maria Theresia.
The Town Hall stands proudly at one end of the square and there are also a range of different shops, restaurants and a tree-lined seating area.
10. Klagenfurt Cathedral
This fairly modern Cathedral (By Austrian standards anyway) was constructed in the 1500’s and has served as a cathedral for the Prince- Bishop of Gurk since 1787. It has a clean cut and plain exterior with white washed walls, green tiled roofs and a tall bell tower topped with an ornate green tiered dome.
The real treat is the interior however who’s decoration and detail is second to none.
The knave archways are full of intricate details and each archway contains a fresco above it, while the roof makes use of ornate plasterwork and more elaborate ceiling paintings.
Strandbad is Klagenfurt’s premier beach resort and sits to the west of the town right on the banks of Lake Worthersee.
For a small entry fee you can gain admission to this park and enjoy everything has to offer.
In the summer there is no better place In Klagenfurt to enjoy the stunning weather and relax.
The Strandbad is characterised by its three long piers that reach out into the calm waters of Lake Worthersee.
You can enjoy many different activities here including boating, cycling and paddle surfing, or just laze on the golden sands of the beach.
12. Klagenfurt Botanical Gardens
The state of Carinthia has it’s official flower; the Wulfenia Carinthiaca, this flower is present throughout the Klagenfurt Botanical Gardens.
The gardens are located on the outskirts of the Innere Stadt but are easy to get to on foot and are open all year round.
Inside the gardens your are treated to a range of different displays and features including a cascading waterfall, several wetland biotopes, and a brilliant Cactus collection.
The Gardens feature both plants from the Carinthia region, and also exotic species from around the globe.
13. Regional Museum of Carinthia
Also known as the Landesmuseum Kärnten, this engrossing museum is one of the finest in Carinthia and has a host of displays and artefacts about Klagenfurt and the surrounding region.
Displays inside the museum include a small scale model of Klagenfurt in the 1800’s, ceremonial swords of the Knights of St.
George, a Rhinoceros skull from the Ice Age and even Roman gravestones.
An extremely interesting place to visit, the Landesmuseum is a great way to learn about the history of Carinthia and see some unusual artefacts.
The parliament building in Klagenfurt is a fine structure and its two domineering towers and uniform architecture are an impressive sight.
The Southern Wing of the complex is fronted by an opulent garden complete with fountain and colourful flowerbeds, while there is also a restaurant serving traditional Austrian food at a reasonable price.
15. Viktring Abbey
This Abbey was originally Cistercian and was constructed way back in the 12th century by Monks, it has also been converted to a textile factory in the 1700’s after the rationalist reforms enforced by Emperor Joseph.
It is now a specialist school but you can still see the building and grounds.
The structure stands out with its long sweeping white-walled annexes and contrasting orange tiled roofs.
Next to the Abbey on one side is a quaint pond that gives superb reflections of the abbey and is a peaceful place to relax by.