The Wörther See to the west of Klagenfurt is the largest of the Alpine lakes of Carinthia (16km/10mi long, 1-1.5km/0.75-1mile wide and up to 84m/276ft deep), and a popular one for water sports. It lies surrounded by wooded hills, with the Karawanken range rearing up to the south. The little towns and villages around the lake are easily accessible and are well equipped with tourist and leisure facilities.
The largest and busiest place on the Wörther See is Velden (440m/1,444ft; pop. 9,000), Carinthia's most fashionable resort; its villas and hotels encircle the western end of the lake. Near the jetty stands the Schloss (16th-17th C.), a Renaissance building with an Early Baroque doorway (1603). It was extended in 1920 and is now a hotel surrounded by a park. The two-story building has hexagonal towers at each corner, with domes and turrets. At the end of the 16th C. it was a favorite meeting place for the aristocracy. The Schubertpark and the promenade along the lake are ideal for walks. To the northeast of Velden, beyond the highway in the district of Göriach, rises the Karawankenblick (660m/2,165ft), a lookout point with a magnificent prospect over the lake to the rugged Karawanken range in the south. To the west there is a pleasant walk (one and a half hours) to the Grosser Sternberg (726m/2,382ft), crowned by a conspicuous pilgrimage church. One hour's walk north of Velden lies the little Forstsee (601m/1,972ft), a storage reservoir.
Rosegg Wildlife Park, Rosegg
4km/2.5mi to the southeast of Velden, on a bend of the Drau, is the summer resort of Rosegg (483m/1,585ft), with a Schloss belonging to the Princes of Liechenstein and a wildlife park (deer enclosure). The village is overlooked by the ruins of Burg Alt-Rosegg (569m/1,867ft).The wildlife park has 350 animals roaming in their natural habitat. English-language information boards also explain the local ecology.
The second largest place on the northern side of the Wörther See is the resort of Pörtschach (450m/1,476ft; pop. 2,700), part of which is charmingly situated on a peninsula dividing the bay into its western and eastern sections. In the center of a large park on the peninsula stands the Park Hotel, with a fine view of the lake and Maria Wörth. There are attractive promenades along the shores of the lake, decorated with flowers and with a music pavilion. In Pörtschach, too, there is a Schloss used as a hotel, the "Hotel Schloss Seefels". There is plenty here for the keen sportsman (e.g. the Werz tennis center).
3km/2mi to the northeast of Pörtschach lies Moosburg (503m/1,650ft), with a 16th C. Schloss and a ruined tower, all that remains of a castle in which the future Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia was born and in which he resided in 887-888.
Pörtschach pays tribute to Johannes Brahms every summer with various annual events. The season begins in mid-June with a five-day musical festival called "International Brahms Days." That is followed in late August with the week-long "International Johannes Brahms Competition for piano, violin and chamber music." The season closes in early September with another week-long event, the "Johannes Brahms Festival.Summer concerts are also held in July and August, featuring operetta music, piano recitals and much more.
The spa of Krumpendorf (474m/1,555ft; pop. 2,300), on the shore of the lake and surrounded by parks and gardens, has more of a village atmosphere. In 1986 Krumpendorf was chosen as the best-kept and the most environmentally caring village. There are plenty of facilities for water sports and it is also a good base from which to visit places of cultural interest in Carinthia. Every two years in summer the fire brigade bands meet here and the brigades also hold rallies here every three or five years. Places to visit in the region around Krumpendorf include Schloss Drasing with its large keep (1,570m/5,153ft), Schloss Hallegg (16th C.) with arcades and sgraffito paintings, and Burg Ratzenegg (14th C.).
Maria Worth, Austria
Halfway along the southern side of the Wörther See, obliquely across from Pörtschach, lies the resort of Maria Wörth (458m/1,503ft; pop. 2,000), with the communes of Dellach (golf courses) and Reifnitz. The old core of the village occupies a rocky peninsula. High up on the headland, surrounded on three sides by water, stands the Late Gothic parish church, a prominent landmark; note the fine Baroque interior, the Romanesque crypt and the 15th-16th C. high altar with a beautiful Late Gothic figure of the Virgin. In the churchyard there is a round charnel house of 1278. Close by stands the little 12th C. Rosenkranzkirche (Rosary Church) or Winter Church, with well preserved Romanesque frescos of the Apostles.
To the southeast of Maria Wörth lies another little summer resort, Keutschach (542m/1,778ft), noted for its Romanesque parish church and Baroque Schloss. Below the village to the south stretches the Keutschacher See (506m/1,660ft).
Pyramidenkogel Observation Tower
From Keutschach a mountain road to the west ascends the Pyramidenkogel (851m/2,792ft), with a fine view of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The summit can be reached from Maria Wörth in 1.5 hours.The tower stands 905 m above sea level.