Laufen und Wandern mit Seeblick
(c) Tine Steinthaler

The Kreuzbergl – hiking in the centre of Klagenfurt

In which city can you simply set off on your hike right on the main square? In Klagenfurt it’s easy, thanks to the Kreuzbergl! The local recreation area of the people of Klagenfurt is also a popular and varied hiking area. Read on to find out everything that waits to be discovered there, and which hiking trails really are worth recommending.

From the middle of the lively Klagenfurt city centre, it is just a few steps to the local recreation area filled with peace, nature and birdsong. If you walk from Neuer Platz with the Lindwurm fountain facing west (Radetzkystraße) and head slightly northwards so as not to end up immediately in the east bay of Lake Wörthersee, you will soon be walking uphill.

(c) Wolfgang Handler

An observatory as your reference point

The observatory with its striking dome can be seen from a long way off, and is a good reference point. Built in 1965 on a much older stone viewing tower, from up close it offers an interesting sight, and from its viewing platform a circular view of the whole of Klagenfurt. At certain times in the evening, guided star-gazing sessions are offered.  

Kreuzbergl church with stations of the cross

Another good orientation point to find your way up to the Kreuzbergl is the “Kreuzbergl church” at the end of Radetzkystraße, which can already be seen from the Stadttheater. The Calvary church, which was consecrated in 1742, is characterised above all by its imposing stations of the cross. It is the ideal start for a hike up to the Kreuzbergl.

A funny detail as an aside: the only cross on the Kreuzbergl (which actually means “little cross mountain”) can be found right here next to the church, along with a lovely city panorama for a souvenir photo or selfie. To date the “little mountain” remains deprived of a true summit cross .  

(c) Tine Steinthaler

Good spot for a rest: the Botanical Garden

But before you scale the stations on the cross to conquer the Kreuzbergl, it is well worth visiting Klagenfurt’s Botanical Garden, which is immediately next to the Kreuzbergl church. The Carinthian Botanical Garden was laid out in the city’s historic quarry — the source, by the way, of the famous “Kreuzbergl schist”, from a chunk of which the Lindwurm on Neuer Platz was carved among other things.

As a place where people could occupy themselves with flora, but also as an oasis of calm, which well-informed inhabitants of Klagenfurt like to use especially in the summer months to have a rest when they come back from a walk on the Kreuzbergl. So follow their example, and sit on one of the hidden little benches – ideally next to the little waterfall – to admire the varied flowers.

(c) Helge Bauer

A little mountain between the city and its natural surroundings

The Klagenfurt Kreuzbergl is distinguished in particular by the fact that it forms a smooth transition from the city to a sort of park landscape, and finally to the natural surroundings. On the western slope, for example around the two lower Kreuzbergl ponds, there are still wide paths, rest areas and children’s playgrounds, but from the third, or “upper” pond, it becomes noticeably more unspoiled, until at the central crossroads by the “Weißer Hirsch” you find yourself standing in the middle of the dense forest.

Easy to find your way

Anyway, it is always easy to find your way around. This is due on the one hand to the excellent signposting stating realistic times, and on the other hand to the fact that the region is really manageable. All the same, even experienced Kreuzbergl hikers repeatedly find a new little path and rediscover “their” Kreuzbergl time and again. Visually the changes of the seasons ensure this, as they bathe the mixed forest in different colours all the time.

A hiking treat from all sides

Every side of this long ridge has its own special character, and best of all: you never need to decide in advance which path to take, but can always make your mind up on a whim while hiking. Here are just a few reference points to help you find your way:

  • On the west slope of the Kreuzbergl (the city side) are the parks with the ponds, the Calvary site, the Botanical Garden and the Schweizerhaus as a port of call for food and accommodation with a view over the city
  • The south slope (the lake side) is characterised by dense woodland and a slow transition to the villa quarter of St. Martin. Here you will find the attractive Der Dermuth with its exclusive sun terrace, the popular restaurant and rooms with modern furnishings.
  • The east slope of the Kreuzbergl essentially consists of the Zillhöhe, and is the destination of most hikers on the Kreuzbergl. Several benches and a small pavilion invite you to enjoy the wonderful view of Lake Wörthersee here, and then descend to the east bay via the vineyards of the city’s wine growers. If you still want to hike further, you can reach the circular hiking trail around Lake Wörthersee or the Falkenberg from here.
  • To the north there is an extensive hiking region with the Falkenberg and the Schleppe Alm as far as Hallegg Castle with its pond landscape. In the north, in a wonderfully tucked-away location, the Waldwirt offers “hospitality amid the greenery”, while the Gasthaus Falkenberg offers all sorts of culinary delights in the historical ambience of Falkenberg Castle.
(c) Tine Steinthaler

The best hiking tours on the Kreuzbergl

If you prefer to have specific plans for your hike, the most important paths on the Kreuzbergl are marked on the current hiking map:

  1. How about the “classic” circular hike to the Zillhöhe and back? In around 8.5 kilometres and with a difference in altitude of 122 metres, you will experience the full variety of the Kreuzbergl. The starting point is the Kreuzbergl meadow by the middle pond.
  2. Or maybe you want to go to Lake Wörthersee? Then start in the middle of the city, and hike 9.2 kilometres with a difference in altitude of 148 metres via the Kreuzbergl to the east bay of Lake Wörthersee.
  3. The ascent from the east bay of Lake Wörthersee over the Zillhöhe to the Falkenberg and the Fliehburghöhe is somewhat more strenuous. But after the 6.5 kilometres and a difference in altitude of 237 metres, you will be rewarded with a cellar-chilled Schleppe beer right alongside the brewery at the Felsenkeller restaurant.
(c) Tine Steinthaler

The Kreuzbergl offers varied and wide-ranging hiking enjoyment. There is much to explore and experience. No matter which path you set out on, you are sure to have a lot to tell.

Insider tip: the workout stations above the Kreuzbergl ponds and on the children’s playground are ideal for checking your fitness. Or after the third attempt, simply stick with hiking.  

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