My perfect day in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee.
From Klagenfurt, it is just a stone’s throw to Italy. And just like in our neighbouring country, in Carinthia you will also find an intimate love affair with the dark and delicious drink, coffee. Which is why it is best to start your perfect day in Klagenfurt with a relaxed walk through the city centre, where you can enjoy a large dose of caffeine in one of the numerous coffee houses there. Directly on the Neuer Platz square, and with a view of the Lindwurm, is the Café am Platz, known to the locals as “Platzl”. If a local asks you if you want to come with him “auf an Sprung ins Platzl” (a visit to the café), then you can answer with “Sicha!” (sure). Then it’s time to get to know the Carinthian capital better. On the theme of “All about dark alleys and secret signs”, from 10am you will find out how dark the Middle Ages were in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee. Or are you more interested in the Italian Renaissance? The townscape as we know it these days was deeply characterised by this period. On the “3 countries – 3 tastes” tour, you will not only get to know the streets, squares and courtyards of Klagenfurt, but afterwards also be rewarded with a chance to taste some delicacies from the Alps-Adriatic region at the Benediktinermarkt marketplace. After these “antipasti” it is time for a light lunch. The Landhaushof restaurant is in the centre of town. After a plate of Carinthian Käsnudeln (cheese-filled pasta pockets) or a malt beer goulash, you only have to cross the courtyard and go up the stone steps to visit the Coat of Arms Hall. In the baroque era, the 665 coats of arms of the Carinthian aristocratic families were painted here with great precision. Then it is time for the greatest attraction that Klagenfurt has to offer: Lake Wörthersee. From the city centre, it can be reached by car or bus in a matter of minutes, or even by bike. Simply borrow a bike from the next Nextbike station and ride with the wind in your hair and the sun in your face to the lake. It’s all about enjoying yourself there. Stroll through the eastern bay from the Villa Lido restaurant to beautiful Maria Loretto Castle. Sit on a bench and enjoy an ice-cream with a view of Lake Wörthersee. And, when the afternoon draws to a close, board the “Lorelei”. The three hour nostalgic boat trip will round off the day perfectly and you can get to know Lake Wörthersee from its historical side.
Did you know ...
- that the Eboard Museum on Florian-Gröger-Straße 20 is the largest keyboard museum in Europe? The original instruments of many famous musicians are exhibited here. For example, one of the plexiglass instruments by the keyboard pioneer George Duke.
- that the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize has been awarded by the city of Klagenfurt since 1976? Along with the Büchner Prize it is one of the most important awards in the German-speaking literature scene.
- that the huge flea market in Viktring, which takes place twice a year, is the largest flea market in Austria?
- that the models exhibited at Minimundus, the miniature world on Lake Wörthersee, are mostly made on a scale of 1:25? The Minimundus model builders only work with original building plans.
- that the Lindwurm Fountain on the Neuer Platz square is carved from one block of stone, just like Michelangelo’s David? The Lindwurm is not made of marble, though, but chlorite schist. It was completed in 1593 and weighs six tons.
- that Professor Ernst Fuchs worked on the southern chapel in the St. Egid parish church for 20 years before he was finished?
- that the practical Nextbikes offer an uncomplicated way of discovering Klagenfurt by bike?
- that Stadttheater Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt’s city theatre, was founded in 1737? In 1908, it was refurbished in the subtle style of the French Renaissance.
10 things that a city visitor in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee must see
1. The Neuer Platz square with the city’s landmark, the Lindwurm. Stroll across the Dr.-Arthur-Lemisch-Platz square to see the Wörthersee-Mandl, then on to the Alter Platz square, which is the core of the historical Old Town.
2. The Musil House. Memorial for, and museum about, Robert Musil, in which you can find out all about the life and works of the great writer from Klagenfurt (“The Man Without Qualities”).
3. The Ernst Fuchs Chapel. The great contemporary painter worked for 20 years on the artistic interior of the southern chapel of the St. Egid church. The large-scale oil paintings create a connection between the space and the painting.
4. Gustav Mahler’s Composing Cottage. Located in the eastern bay of Lake Wörthersee near Maiernigg, it was lived in by the great composer for several summers. Here, some of his greatest works were created. Easy to reach on a short walk through the forest.
5. The eastern bay of Lake Wörthersee. This is where Strandbad Klagenfurt is, the largest lakeside lido in Europe. Stroll along the shore between the Villa Lido restaurant and beautiful Maria Loretto Castle.
6. CSI Klagenfurt. Who dunnit? On the “10 crime scenes” guided city tour you don’t have to solve the crimes yourself, but it’s still not for the fainthearted. It is all about murderers, villains and crimes. Get to know the dark side of Klagenfurt.
7. Nostalgic bus. Get to know Klagenfurt and its surroundings on a tour in a vintage open-air bus.
8. Stadttheater Klagenfurt (city theatre). Enjoy one of the excellent productions performed by the ensemble. If you don’t have quite enough time for that, at least enjoy looking at the beautiful building, which is the starting point for the Cultural Mile.
9. Carinthian Museum of Modern Art. Works by contemporary national and international artists. Guided tours every Thursday at 6.30pm and every Sunday at 11am.
10. Minimundus. Around the world in 80 minutes. Marvel at the miniature editions of the most important buildings from around the world. All models are built according to their original plans.
Winter in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee is an incomparable time. When the busy days of summer have died down and quieter times are here, you have the opportunity of exploring the city’s beauty in peace. In November, when it gets light later and darker earlier, the streets of the city centre are lit by festive lights. Then the Christmas market on Neuer Platz once again invites you to begin your Christmas shopping. Candles, frankincense, woolly hats, kitschy angels and a red-cheeked St Nicholas bring the Christmas of times long past back to life. This quiet time is perfect for discovering the cultural side of Klagenfurt. Galleries such as the Kunsthaus: Kollitsch, the Stadtgalerie or the Carinthian Museum of Modern Art offer excellent exhibitions by classic and contemporary artists. A visit to the theatre is also wonderful. As well as the Stadttheater Klagenfurt, a visit to a performance in the theaterHalle11 is recommended. Here you can enjoy theatre on a smaller scale – there is only room for 80 visitors – and contemporary performances of all types. Also in the Jazzclub Kammerlichtspiele contemporary theatre performances are shown, as well as musical gems. There is no need to be afraid at the beginning of December, when the largest “Krampus” parade in Carinthia takes place. Many scary figures run along the Bahnhofstraße and Alter Platz, while visitors’ ears are filled with the noise of the bells that they wear on their hips. During the entire Advent period, the Silent Advent takes place all around Lake Wörthersee, purposefully remaining sedate. From Friday to Sunday, at various locations, musical performances by choirs and musicians take place. Then not so silently, it is time to welcome the new year. If New Year’s Eve is your favourite celebration, then you are in luck if you find yourself in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee at this time. Here you can celebrate twice. On 30th December, the Farmers’ New Year’s Eve celebration takes place on Neuer Platz. There is dancing, a real sow whose nose you can rub (for luck), mulled wine and punch and also a blacksmith showing off his work. On 31st December, it’s time for the second celebration – traditional and with fireworks, sparkling wine and salmon canapés. And the next day, in the new year, you can visit the eastern bay of Lake Wörthersee to enjoy the peace, which offers a unique backdrop in winter. “Is schon still uman See” (it’s already quiet around the lake) just like the title of a Carinthian song, but it is also beautiful.