Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Villach
Villach View slideshowVillach, the second largest town in Carinthia, lies near the frontiers with Italy and Yugoslavia in the wide basin of the Drau, which is joined here by the Gail.
The Villacher Alpe to the west and the Karawanken chain to the south, together with the Julian Alps to the rear, form a magnificent mountain backdrop. As the center of this mountain region, the town attracts many visitors on their way to the Carinthian lakes or into Yugoslavia, and the thermal springs draw many people to this popular spa. There was already a bridge and fortified camp here in Roman times, under the name of Bilachinum. In 1007 the town passed into the control of the Bishops of Bamberg; in 1060 it appeared in documents as a market, and in 1240 was named as a town. Maria Theresa purchased it from the bishops in 1759, and it then became part of Austria. Villach is now the most important traffic junction in the Eastern Alps.
Parish Church of St Jacob
The Parish Church of St Jacob, on a terrace above the end of the Villach Main Square, is a three-aisled Gothic hall church (14th C.) with a narrow choir and a tower 95m/312ft high (view), linked with the church only by an arched gateway. The splendid Baroque canopied altar (1740) has a large Gothic crucifix (1502); in the choir can be seen a huge fresco of St Christopher (c. 1740); there is also a stone pulpit of 1555. The baptistry contains a Gothic font and choir stalls of 1464. Note also the many finely carved gravestones belonging to members of old noble families (16th C.), including the Khevenhüllers. Opposite the church, to the southeast, stands the new town hall (Neues Rathaus, 1952).
Parish Church of St Martin
In the northwest of the town will be found the parish church of St Martin (present building 1962). Note the Baroque high altar with the Late Gothic Madonna, the vespertine group in the transept and the paintings.
Carinthia Relief Model
In the Schillerpark, in the south of Villach (Peraustrasse) a large relief model of Carinthia (Kärntner Relief) has been laid out, on scales of 1:5000 and 1:10,000.
Parish Church of St Kreuz
Standing a little way to the south of the Schillerpark in Villach, this church has an unusual three-story facade with twin towers. Architecturally it is very interesting; Late Gothic (1726-44), its ground plan is cruciform with an octagon in the center, surmounted by a dome. The altars and pulpit are richly decorated.
On the left bank of the Drau, to the south of Nikolaigasse in Villach, stands the Kongresshaus (1971; conference and lecture rooms, stage).
3km/2mi from the town of Villach in the southern outskirts lies the spa of Warmbad Villach (501m/1,644ft). The radioactive mineral springs (28-30 deg C/82-86 deg F) are recommended for the treatment of rheumatism, circulatory disorders and nervous diseases. In the park are a large thermal swimming pool with a treatment complex, an open air pool with a sauna, a fun pool with numerous leisure facilities, the "Zillerbad" thermal pool, as well as tennis and riding.
On the eastern bank of the Gail lies Maria Gail, with a fine old parish church. Note the beautiful Late Gothic winged altar of 1520, depicting the Crowning of the Madonna, surmounted by the Dove of the Holy Spirit and a choir of angels; various Biblical scenes can be seen on the side panels of the altar and there are frescos (14th C.) showing the "Flagellation of Christ".
Villach lies on both sides of the River Drau, connected by several bridges. The long Hauptplatz (main square), cutting across the middle of the old town, links the main bridge over the Drau at its northern end with the parish church at its southern end. A Trinity Column (1739) stands in the square, which also boasts a number of fine old burghers' houses, notably the Alte Post and the Paracelsushof (16th C.) - the latter recalls the residence in the town of the scientist and physician Theophrastus Paracelsus (1493-1541).
To the northwest of the Villach Rathaus, at Widmanngasse 38, is the interesting Municipal Museum (Stadtmuseum), with prehistoric, early historical, medieval and more modern collections and works of art, etc. In the courtyard will be found a section of the old walls with a reconstructed walk along the battlements.
The Finkenstein Ruins (16th century) are located at the foot of the Mittagskogel. The site is now used as a venue for a number of summer cultural events.
There is an interesting Car Museum in Villach.
Address: Draupromenade 12, A-9500 Villach, Austria
This annual festival takes place during first week of August.
Villach Spectrum - International Theater Week
This annual festival takes place in mid-June.
Faaker See Lake
Faaker See Lake WolfgangThe Faaker See (2.4 sq.km/1 sq. mi) lies about 7km/4.5miles southeast of Villach, at the foot of the Mittagskogel (2,143m/7,033ft), before reaching the Karawanken. Measuring 2.6km/1.5mi long and 1.7km/1mi wide, the lake drains into the Gail. It is a favorite spot for water sports and bathing; in the summer temperatures up to 27 deg C/81 deg F are reached (bathing beaches and camping sites). Motor boats are not allowed on the lake. The lake provides facilities for fishing, swimming, sailing and surfing; there are also opportunities for riding, playing tennis, climbing and walking in the area. Group cycling tours are arranged in the region around the lake.
Drobollach am Faaker See
The places surrounding the Faaker See are connected by a road which runs round it (some way from the bank). On a sun terrace on the northern bank lies Drobollach am Faaker See (490m/1,608ft). It has hotels with their own private beaches and guesthouses which are very suitable for a family holiday.
Faak am See
On the southwest bank of the Faaker See lies Faak am See (560m/1,838ft; pop. 300); on the island in the lake is a modern hotel and bathing beach. Faak has an interesting Gothic church with a massive tower and two pointed doorways. Faak is also the starting-point for some mountain climbs of varying difficulty.
Egg am Faaker See
Egg (580m/1,904ft; pop. 300) stretches along the northern bank of the lake with good bathing beaches. There are fine stained-glass windows in the church. From Egg you can drive up the Tabor (725m/2,379ft) for the view.
Near Neuegg is the holiday village of Seeleitn. It consists of 24 old farmhouses (15th-18th C.) which have been transported here and fitted with all modern conveniences and which can be rented as holiday cottages. Tenants have the use of a small golf course, a bowling alley, a sauna and an open-air swimming pool. Nearby lies the holiday village of Schönleitn.
Ossiach Alois StaudacherOn the southern bank of the Ossiacher See lies Ossiach, the largest village in the area (500m/1,641ft; pop. 670), with a Benedictine abbey founded in the 11th C., rebuilt in the 16th C. and dissolved in 1783. The former Abbey Church of the Assumption is now the local parish church. Originally a Romanesque pillared basilica it was remodelled on Baroque lines in the 18th C. The stucco decoration and wall and ceiling paintings by J. F. Fromiller (c. 1750) are very impressive; note also the Late Gothic winged altar in the northwest chapel, depicting a Madonna with Child between two saints. The former abbey buildings to the southwest of the church are attractively decorated with 18th C. frescos and stucco work.
During the months of July and August each year the music festival known as the "Carinthian Summer" is held in Ossiach (operatic performances, orchestral and chamber concerts, song recitals, etc.).This annual festival takes place in June and July, and includes almost daily afternoon and evening concerts. Events include various concerts by symphonies and choral orchestras, organ recitals, operas and numerous seminars. Events for children are also organized.The venues include the 11th-century Ossiach Abbey and the Villach Conference Center.
Address: Stift Ossiach, A-9570 Ossiach, Austria
Ossiacher See Sander HoogendoornThe Ossiacher See northeast of the town of Villach is 11km/ 7mi long, 1km/0.75mi wide and up to 47m/155ft deep, making it the third largest lake in Carinthia after the Wörther See and the Millstätter See. Surrounded by wooded hillsides and peaks, including the Ossiacher Tauern in the south, and with a water temperature in summer of up to 26 deg C/79 deg F, the lake has become a popular holiday area. The lakeside villages with their facilities for water sports and other attractions draw large numbers of summer visitors. The villages clustered around the Ossiacher See offer opportunities for rowing, waterskiing, sailing and surfing, as well as horseback riding and tennis. There are also boat trips on the lake.
Opposite Ossiach on the north side of the Ossiacher See is the resort of Bodensdorf, a family resort with parks and many sports facilities; traditional festivals and events for children and young people are an added attraction.
At the northeastern end of the Ossiacher See lies the pretty little resort of Steindorf, from where a main road runs eastwards to St Veit an der Glan.
Tiffen, to the north of Steindorf, has a parish church of St Jacob the Elder; lying on high ground, the former Romanesque church was heavily fortified at one time. Reliefs from Roman graves are built into its walls, and inside the visitor should note the 15th C. wall paintings, a fragment of a crucifix, a Crucifixion group, Fathers of the Church and a painting of the Resurrection above one door. The high altar, the Baroque side altars and the Roccoco pulpit all date from the 18th C.
To the southwest of Bodensdorf, towards the southwestern end of the Ossiacher See, the village of Annenheim straggles along its northern edge (open air swimming pool and tennis courts).
From Annenheim the Kanzelbahn (cableway) ascends the Kanzelhöhe (1,489m/4,885ft; viewing tower). From the top there is a splendid view of the Ossiacher See and the Klagenfurt basin as far as the Karawanken. To the north rises the Pöllinger Hütte (1,630m/5,348ft).
St Andrä (433m/1,421ft; pop. 2,100) was the seat of the Prince-Bishops of Lavant from 1225 to 1859, when the see was transferred to Marburg, now Maribor in Slovenia, and their palace became a Jesuit college. The parish church, which goes back to the ninth C., has remains of 15th C. wall-paintings and numerous gravestones bearing coats of arms. The twin-towered Baroque Jesuit church of Maria-Loreto (1697) originally belonged to a convent of Dominican nuns which was dissolved in 1792; note the Baroque furnishings (statues and paintings). A visit to the local museum and the workshop of Lavanttal craftwork is also to be recommended.At the extreme southern tip of the Ossiacher See, St Andrä provides an open air swimming pool and various sports. From here the motorway to Villach is quickly reached.
Above St Andrä, to the south (1.5km/1mi on a steep road with gradients up to 22%) are the imposing ruins of the Renaissance Schloss Landskron (677m/2,221ft), for a long time owned by the Kevenhüller family, from where are extensive views of the lake and the surrounding countryside.
Designed to tell the history of civil and military aviation in Austria, this museum displays a variety of engines, aircraft and documents.
Address: Flughafen Thalerhof, Posfach 15, A-8073 Feldkirchen, Austria
Elli Riehl's Doll Collection, Treffen
Elli Riehl's Doll Collection is located in Treffen, a small town mid-way between Klagenfurt and Spittal. The museum contains over 650 rag dolls, made by Elli Riehl in the course of 45 years. The dolls were meant to portray people she knew.
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