15 Best Things to Do in Villach (Austria)

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Villach has roots spanning back to the Neolithic period and also traces of Roman influence with remains being unearthed of many Roman Artefacts.

It has since been an important town in the state of Carinthia and is the seventh largest city in Austria.

Located in Southern Austria, Villach is only a short drive from the borders of both Slovenia and Italy and is surrounded by encapsulating countryside, sparkling lakes and beautiful Alpine mountain ranges; all of this makes it an idyllic destination with a great variety of outdoor activities connected with the natural world.

Lets explore the best things to do in Villach:

1. Villacher Alpenstrasse

Villacher AlpenstrasseSource: flickr
Villacher Alpenstrasse

This eminent alpine road stretches for over 16km and boasts some of the most fantastic scenery in Southern Austria.

The road is a toll road and tickets are available at the starting point in Villach – As of 2016, the price for a single car day trip is 16.00 Euro.

The scenery and landscapes you can experience during this amazing drive make the cost worthwhile.

There is also a viewing platform to stop at and see the fantastic mountain countryside surrounding Villach and many parking points so you can stop and take advantage of the hiking trails in the region.

2. Landskron Castle

Landskron CastleSource: flickr
Landskron Castle

Just on the northern edge of Villach is the outstanding castle of Landskron which is surrounded by beautiful woodlands and high up in an elevated position over 800m above sea level.

The castle first appears in history records in the 800’s but appeared to become more prominent in the 14th century when Landskron was purchased by the Habsburg rulers.

The castle is in amazing condition for its age and you can enjoy walking around the walls and grounds, and also take in the fabulous views across to Lake Ossiach.

There is also a restaurant and café within the main structure and toilet facilities.

There is also a display of falcons and birds but that is described in a later point.

3. Naturpark Dobratsch

Naturpark DobratschSource: flickr
Naturpark Dobratsch

The Dobratsch Nature Park is located on the Villach Alpine Road and offers a variety of activities and sights to engage in, all set in the wonderful surroundings of the alpine mountains.

You can explore forests, rivers, mountain pastures and the different habitats this landscape has created for alpine animals.

Furthermore there are several information displays about the geology and birdlife of the Dobratsch and there is over 120 types of birds, 1000+ species of butterfly and even caves holding bats and creepy crawlies.

The Dobratsch is a nature-lover’s paradise, and generally a great place to explore the outdoors.

4. Lake Faak

Lake FaakSource: flickr
Lake Faak

One of the four main lakes listed in this article, Lake Faak has an area of 2.2km and is the fifth largest in the state of Carinthia.

The lakes water is a brilliant shade of turquoise and is well known for how clear it is, making it popular with swimmers.

If you enjoy fishing then you can look forward to catching Whitefish, Carp, Pike, Wels and Zander among other types.

The annual European Bike Week is also held at Lake Faak and is an extremely interesting event to spectate at.

5. Villach Main Square

Hauptplatz VillachSource: flickr
Hauptplatz Villach

The river Drave which runs centrally through Villach is right next to the beautiful main square and is a great place to walk along.

The Main Square itself is called the Hauptplatz and is located roughly 10 minutes’ walk from the train station.

With a long stretch of pedestrianised surface, the square is a fine place to explore get into the heart of Villach.

Old architecture is in abundance with buildings like the picturesque Alte post, and the trinity column stands proud as the squares centrepiece.

6. Lake Silbersee

Lake SilberseeSource: flickr
Lake Silbersee

Another of the many lakes in the greater Villach area, Lake Silbersee is actually an artificial lake that was constructed in the 1970’s during the construction of the Sud Autobahn.

The maximum depth of the lake is only 7m and the surface area covers only 21 acres, this makes it an ideal body of water for swimming and bathing in.

Owing to its smaller size than the other Lakes near Villach, in the winter months Silbersee freezes over and is an extremely popular place for ice-skating.

7. Lake Aichwaldsee

AichwaldseeSource: wikimedia

This quiet and inviting lake lies close to the much larger Lake Faak but has just as much to offer.

In contrast to the clear turquoise waters of Lake Faak, the waters of Aichwaldsee are quite murky and dark but the quality of the water is still first rate.

What makes this small lake so attractive is the surrounding conservation area which is truly stunning and features many forests, walking paths and greenery.

8. Villacher Fahrzeugmuseum

Villacher FahrzeugmuseumSource: flickr
Villacher Fahrzeugmuseum

Just outside the town of Villach, this enchanting museum brings you something different than the standard displays of artefacts and historical items – Instead you are treated to an impeccable showroom full of old iconic cars, motorbikes and appliances from the 50s, 60s and 70s!

The collection is in mint condition and all the vehicles and appliances look fabulous; the cars include a BMW Bubble car, a Fiat 850 and even a Trabi which has been dubbed one of the worst cars ever built by some! Spread over two floors, the museum is a real gem and it is a perfect place to visit for any car enthusiast.

9. Kärnten Therme Water Park

Kärnten Therme Water ParkSource: region-villach
Kärnten Therme Water Park

Located in the smaller district of Warmbad-Villach, this extensive water park draws many visitors and is an extremely fun place to spend the day.

The park has both indoor and outdoor sections and features water slides, a crazy river where you use floats, a stylish sports pool for lane swimming and competitions, a spa and lounge area to relax in after your exercises and a kids area.

The modern and eye-catching architecture also give the Kärnten Water Park an appealing and inviting atmosphere to compliment to array of activities available.

10. Stadtpfarrturm (Villach St. Jakob)

Stadtpfarrturm VillachSource: villach
Stadtpfarrturm Villach

This Roman Catholic Church which is located on the main square in Villach has seen many different design variations since its earliest recorded construction in the 1100’s.

Surviving various fires and damaging incidents during its history, the church boasts the tallest bell tower in Carinthia and has a Romanesque style.

The interior is extremely ornate and has a patterned pink/white ceiling and some great paintings and an opulent altar.

One of the main draws is the view from the top of the bell tower – You can ascend the many stairs in the tower and be rewarded with 360 degree views of Villach and the mountain countryside.

11. Lake Ossiach

Lake OssiachSource: flickr
Lake Ossiach

This is the largest of the lakes surrounding Villach and also the third largest in the state of Carinthia with a surface area of 10.38km.

The lake features several quiet natural shorelines to relax on, the magnificent backdrop of alpine mountains, a host of water sports to try your hand at and combines the best of the Mediterranean and alpine climates.

As one of the premier tourist destinations in the region, the lake has a wide variety of eateries, hotels and establishments scattered among the five main towns that border its waters.

12. Museum of the City of Villach

City Museum VillachSource: wikimedia
City Museum Villach

Dating back to the 1800’s this is one of the largest (and oldest) municipal museums in Austria and has a very large collection of both prehistoric artefacts and regional displays of Carinthia.

One of the main highlights of the museum is the battlements of the old town walls that have been reconstructed, and the extensive rare coin collection.

13. Falconry display at Landskron Castle

Landskron Castle FalconSource: flickr
Landskron Castle Falcon

Aside from the fabulous views and building you can see at Landskron Castle, there is a selection of birds of prey on display and also a falconry show to watch.

The show is in German, so unless you can speak the language don’t expect to learn a great deal, however the actual physical acts with the birds are fantastic and more than make up for this.

Watch the Falcons, Owls and Eagles catch their food in mid-air and perform feats of aerobatics all under the watchful eye of their trainers.

One thing to note is that parking fills up quickly so ensure you research the show times beforehand and plan in advance.

14. Maibachl hot spring

Maibachl Hot SpringSource: flickr
Maibachl Hot Spring

This natural phenomenon does not happen all the time and is dependent on the weather conditions and climate in the area – Generally this hot pool will appear in the spring months but has been known to last all year.

When the conditions are right, the underground reservoir overflows and pushes the water upwards to form the Maibachl.

Imagine immersing yourself in the warm waters and feeling the warmth rush through your body and wash away your aches and pains – The clear calm waters of the Maibachl are simply sublime and you should definitely make the effort to see if the pool is there during your visit.

15. Kanzianiberg rock climbing

Climbing the KanzianibergSource: flickr
Climbing the Kanzianiberg

Ever have the urge to simply climb up a rock face and see what’s waiting for you at the top? Or do you love adrenaline fuelled sports where you pit yourself against nature using your own strength and wits? If so then the natural Kanzianiberg rock face will be right up your street.

This is Carinthia’s largest and most popular natural rock-climbing area and features a staggering amount of different routes and crags to try your hand at.

The routes cater for all levels of experience and there are experts to give you guidance and coaching on this 60m high marvel of nature.

15 Best Things to Do in Villach (Austria):

  • Villacher Alpenstrasse
  • Landskron Castle
  • Naturpark Dobratsch
  • Lake Faak
  • Villach Main Square
  • Lake Silbersee
  • Lake Aichwaldsee
  • Villacher Fahrzeugmuseum
  • Kärnten Therme Water Park
  • Stadtpfarrturm (Villach St. Jakob)
  • Lake Ossiach
  • Museum of the City of Villach
  • Falconry display at Landskron Castle
  • Maibachl hot spring
  • Kanzianiberg rock climbing