city in Carinthia, Austria

Villach is a town in the Carinthia province of Austria. It has about 60,000 inhabitants. Villach is the second-largest city of Carinthia and a railway gateway to most parts of Austria as well as the Italian border.

Understand edit

Its carnival is broadcast on public television throughout Austria.

It's quite old, with roots back in Roman times (when the city was called Santicum). The city was heavily bombed in World War II, destroying many parts of the city.

Villach from Villacher Alpenstrasse

Get in edit

By train edit

Villach is a railway hub for Austria, so trains converge from most other big cities including Vienna, Graz, Klagenfurt, Salzburg, Linz, Innsbruck and Bregenz. There are also direct connections to Munich, Zurich, Venice, Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade. Several sleeper trains stop en route to destinations such as Florence, Milan, Munich, Rome, Stuttgart, and Zurich. However, Villach is a mid-point for these journeys, so departure times are after midnight.

Optima Express runs a car-train between Villach and Edirne in western Turkey two or three times a week April-November, taking 33 hours. Departure days vary. This train enables motorists to take their own cars to Turkey while avoiding the tricky, tiring roads through the Balkans, and it's also open for passengers without cars. It's one of the cheaper ways to retrace the old Orient Express in the modern day.

  • 1 Villach Hauptbahnhof. This is the central station and motorail terminal. Local trains also stop at Villach Seebach and St Ruprech east, and Westbahnhof and Warmbad south.    

By car edit

If you are coming from north, take the A10 Tauernautobahn. If you are coming from east (Graz,Vienna) take the A2 Südautobahn. If you are planning to go from Slovenia, take the A11 Karawankenautobahn. If you are arriving from Italy also take the A2 Südautobahn. The motorway around Villach has two exits at Faakersee which takes you to the centre of the city and Ossiachersee which takes you to the north of the city.

By plane edit

If you are travelling by plane, 2 Klagenfurt Airport (KLU IATA) is the nearest airport, with regular flights from destinations including Alicante, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, London Stansted, Munich, and Rotterdam. The drive is approximately 40 km along the A2 Südautobahn. By train, the S-Bahn line S1 runs hourly between Villach's main station and Klagenfurt Annabichl station, a 5-10 minute walk to the airport terminal. The ride is just under one hour. The airport in Ljubljana is further away (about 100km) but serves a larger number of airlines and destinations.

Get around edit

It's a quite small town, so it is easy to get around on foot. Taxis can be found near the railway station and in the centre of the city near Hauptplatz. Federal buses go to the surrounding area from the local Busbahnhof (busterminal, a few minutes away from the railway station). Local busline no.10 (operated by a company called Kowatsch) goes around the historic city centre. Getting around by car can be tiring since parking space is rare during weekdays and traffic jams at business hours are very common. During weekdays parking fees are charged in most areas around the centre of the city.

See edit

  • 1 Museum der Stadt Villach (City Museum), Widmanngasse 38, +43 4242 205 3500, . May-Oct: Tu-Su 10:00-16:30. if you are interested in the history of the town go there. The museum has a nice expo on minerals, mining and all kinds of Villacher History. Nice to visit for some background info on the town of Villach. Time to visit approx. 1 hour. Adults €5, reduced €4, under 19 free.  
  • 2 Landskron Castle. the remains of the old fortress of Landskron are on the top of a hill, 676 m high. A great part of the castle was destroyed by a fire in the 19th century, but some parts are still there and a few halls can be visited. There is also a restaurant, and every Tuesday evening there is a special "medieval" dinner served by waiters dressed in period costumes. The view from the castle is wonderful. From here you can see Villach and the valley of the river Drau with its lakes, and the Slovenian Alps on the other side of the valley.    
  • 3 Falconry in Landskron Castle, Schlossbergweg 30, +43 4242 42888, . Open April 29 - October 3; hours vary by season. A section of the castle is now the home of several birds of prey. They can be seen in their cages, but even better is to see them fly, which is possible two or three times a day, according to the season and to the weather. The demonstrations last about 40 minutes and guests can enjoy watching eagles, hawks, kites, and owls fly just above their heads. Adults €16, children €8, €13 reduced, €40 families.
  • 4 Parish Church of Villach-St. Jacob, Kirchenplatz 8, +43 4242 24066, . The church of St. Jakob (the parish church of Villach) has an impressive bell tower, 94 metres high. It is the tallest in Carinthia and its present appearance and height dates back to 1847. Visitors can climb the 239 steps to the top and enjoy the wonderful view. The form of the church building today dates back to about the 14th century, when it was reconstructed following an earthquake, though some features were destroyed once again in 1944.
  • 5 Museum of Doll Art (Elli Riehl Puppenwelt), Buchholzer Straße 4, +43 4248 2395, . Open May - October. Collectors and doll lovers of dolls will be overwhelmed by this museum. They show porcelain, vinyl and wooden dolls made by famous artists. Some of these dolls are manufactured in the own studio. In the basement premises they exhibit all different kinds of craftswork like glass objects, pottery, flowers and certainly a great variety of special dolls.
  • 6 Villacher Alpenstraße. This almost 20 km alpine road takes you up to Dobratsch mountain and ends on 1.732 m. Who wants to visit the top still has a bit of climbing to do! The top of Mount Dobratsch is at 2.167 m high.
  • 7 Relief von Kärnten (Relief of Carinthia), Schillerpark, +43 4242 205 3500, . May-Oct: Tu-Su 10:00-16:30. Walk around a precisely detailed three-dimensional model of the entire state of Carinthia. Audio, light and video effects explain the geology and history of the region, such as the formation of the Alps, and development of Roman roads into the modern transportation system. Adults €4, reduced €3, children free.

Do edit

  • 1 Kremlhoftheater Villach. Claiming to be the smallest theatre in the world, it seats 8 people and has a stage measuring 1.30 m (4.3 ft) by 1.30 m (4.3 ft) Free, donations welcome.    
  • Cross Country Skiing. Cross-country skiing is possible on Dobratsch and all major ski resorts around Villach.
  • Ice-Skating. Ice-skating is possible on Faakersee, Ossiachersee and Vassacher See though this depends heavily on the weather in winter whether lakes are frozen or not.
  • Villacher Kirchtag. Every year (usually the first week in August) the city celebrates Villacher Kirchtag with a big amusement park. The city can get very crowded in this week with as many as 50,000 visitors, especially from Italy.
  • Jazz Over Villach. A jazz festival in the middle of July located on Gernottenhöhe in Judendorf.
  • 2 Kanzianiberg. One of the best natural climbing walls in Austria. There are hundreds of colour-coded climbing routes at all levels, and on sunny days the vista is stunning. The maximum height difference is approx. 60 m. Kanzianiberg can be accessed by bus or bicycle (30 min from Villach) or car (15 min).
  • 3 Golfclub Schloss Finkenstein, Schlossrainweg 8 (Finkenstein, 10 minute drive from Villach), +43 4257 29201, . One of the best 19-hole golf places in the area with stunning views from every hole.
  • 4 Faakersee. Said to be the lake featuring the cleanest water (drink water quality) in Europe. Tranquille area without those disturbing motorboats. There are some free beaches, but the better ones have to be paid for (usually no more than 4 euro). All beaches are nicely laid out with large grass fields. Getting to the Faakersee in the village of Faak is about 10 minutes away from Villach.    
  • 5 ThermenResort Warmbad-Villach, Kadischenallee 22-24 (Warmbad; S4 or S5 trains from Villach main station), +43 4242 3001 2750. A large spa resort, featuring the heated pools of Villach. Here, there are slides, vortex pools, and hot tubs for you to enjoy. Or, you can relax on the chairs outside of the pool. The resort complex includes hotels, restaurants, and wellness services. The Thermal Urquellbecken features an indoor thermal pool with natural bubbles and a pebble floor. The KärntenTherme offers indoor and outdoor thermal pools, and a separate sauna area with traditional infusions, rest areas, and a whirlpool with a view of the nearby mountains.
  • 6 Maibachl (Bus No.1 from main station to Warmbad). A hot spring, which only appears in springtime. The water is hot enough for bathing and is very popular with the locals. Entry is free. Buses and trains operate from the main station to Warmbad on a regular basis. The hot springs were already known to the ancient Romans.  

Buy edit

If you want to go shopping stick to the Hauptplatz and the centre area of the city. A bit outside of Villach (along Mariagailerstrasse) you will find an area with many shopping malls. These malls are far apart, so it's better to go by car or bus there. Buses to Mariagailerstrasse go from the local Busbahnhof (a bus terminal) which is located a few minutes away from the central railway station. In 2007 a huge shopping centre (atrio) was opened. It has about 80 shops!

Eat edit

Street food edit

  • 1 Bratwurstkönig, Draulände 5.

Budget edit

All these are in the city centre:

  • 2 Café Bar Paragraf, Peraustr.18, +43 664 99 226 786. M-F 08:00-22:00. Menu includes local dishes and weekly lunch specials. Also open for coffee in the morning, and drinks in the evening.
  • 3 INTERSPAR-Restaurant, Ringmauergasse 9, +43 4242 29202850. M-F 08:00-19:00, Sa 08:00-18:00. Cafeteria-style restaurant, part of the Interspar supermarket.
  • 4 Stauber's Stadtschenke, Nikolaigasse 14, +43 4242 22 767. M-F 10:00-23:00, Sa 17:00-23:00. Cozy tavern in a house dating back to 1879, serving regional dishes with local ingredients. Offers a weekly lunch special that includes a vegetarian option.
  • 5 Onkel Kebap, Italiener Str. 19, +43 699 11723245. 10:00-23:00.
  • 6 Pizzeria Arin, Tiroler Str. 2a, +43 4242 52770. M-F 10:00-22:00, Sa Su 11:00-22:00. Kebab, pizza and pide shop.
  • 7 Sakura, Völkendorfer Str. 6, +43 4242 52410. 11:00-14:30 and 17:00-22:00; closed Tu. Japanese restaurant,with sushi and a buffet option.

Mid-range edit

  • 8 Villacher Brauhof, Bahnhofsstraße 8 (near the Hauptbahnhof), +43 4242 24 222. Tu-Sa 10:30-23:00 (Kitchen until 21:00). The brewery serves traditional Carinthian food for lunch or dinner with locally sourced ingredients, paired with their own varieties of beer. Try the Kasnudln or the Bierführerbrot (dark bread piled with cold meats, cheese and radish). Several vegetarian dishes are also available.
  • 9 Gasthof "Genottenhöhe", . Genottehöhe Straße 40, Tel.379 18 - serves traditional Carinthia food and is located on a hill in Judendorf.
  • 10 Burger Boutique Villach, Widmanngasse 32a.
  • 11 Galeria Gastro OG, Postgasse 6.
  • 12 Koloini Konditorei, Ossiacher Zeile 72 (near the Hauptbahnhof), +43 4242 413 22. 24 hours daily. Once a coffee house, they now focus on cake production by special order. But you don't need to plan ahead to try a Villacher Torte or Carinthian Cheesecake; you can buy an entire small or large cake from their 24-hour Torten-Automat (cake machine).

Splurge edit

Drink edit

If you want to go out in the evening go for Hauptplatz and the numerous small avenues that start there. You'll find various small pubs and cafes such as

  • 1 Turmstüberl, Anton Tuder Straße 2, +43 4242 37875. A small, atmospheric pub where the locals go. If you are travelling in a group you should book a table in advance.
  • 2 Lücke, Freihausgasse 5, +43 670 2022640. Tu-Sa 18:00-04:00. An atmospheric pub.
  • 3 Stern, Kaiser Josef Platz 5, +43 4242 24 7 55. Tu-Th 10:00-22:00, F 10:00-2:00, Sa 18:00-2:00. Cocktail bar and restaurant.
  • 4 Flaschl, Seilergasse 1 (Hauptplatz). A lively pub.
  • 5 Parkcafe, Moritschstraße 2, +43 4242 27055, . M-F 08:00-18:00, Sa Su 8:30-13:30. Stylish cafe with Italian snacks, baked goods, and breakfast.

Stay safe edit

Villach, like most Austrian cities, is safe to wander around. There will be occasional drunk people during festivities, but police visibility is evident. It is advisable to take precautionary measures when traveling, similarly to traveling to other European cities.

Sleep edit

Villach has a large variety of both low and high-budget hotels. Some addresses are:

Budget edit

  • 1 Jugend- und Familiengästehaus Villach (Youth and Family Hostel), St. Martiner Straße 13A, +43 4242 56368, . Hostelling International hostel with 4- or 5-bed en suite dorm rooms. Amenities in the hostel include a sauna, climbing hall, and fitness room. Also offers packed meals to-go, and shuttle bus services for groups of skiers. Dorm B&B €29 for members.

Mid-range edit

Splurge edit

  • 5 Palais 26, Hauptplatz 26, +43 4242 26101, . Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 15:00. Scenic, old hotel (built in the 16th century) in the centre of the city with spacious, renovated rooms. Double from €115.
  • 6 Thermenhotel Karawankenhof, Kadischenallee 27 (Warmbad; S4 or S5 trains from Villach main station), +43 4242 3001 2099, . Modern family-friendly hotel. Part of the resort area at Warmbad; hotel guests have indoor access to the thermal spa and pools. Double B&B from €142.
  • 7 voco Villach, Europaplatz 1-2 (near the Hauptbahnhof), +43 4242 22522, . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Part of the IHG brand, a stylish hotel overlooking the river, featuring fitness, spa and business services. Direct access to the congress centre located next door. Double B&B from €128.

Connect edit

Local area code is 4242.

Cafeteria nikolai Nikolaigasse 16 (about 10min away from central square), Tel. 22511, an internet cafe which serves food and drinks.

Go next edit

  • If you want to get out, try 1 Faaker See  , a beautiful lake a few kilometres outside of Villach. Faaker See is one of the warmest lakes in Austria with water temperatures around 27 °C during summer. Faaker See can be reached by bus or train. Trains go to Faak am See (the ride takes about 20 min) from the main station (during weekdays there is a train every two hours), a lido is 10 min away from the local train station.
  • 2 Schütt located in the south of mountain Dobratsch, an area with huge stone rocks, which are parts of Dobratsch itself after an earthquake back in the 14th century caused half of the mountain to fall into the surrounding area.
  • 3 Gerlitzen is a mountain and small ski resort located half an hour from Villach. The skiing is nothing special but Gerlitzen offers some of the best vistas in Austria. On clear days almost the whole of Carinthia can be seen from this mountain top. You can either drive up (take care in winter) or take the cable car. From the parking space/cable car station it's an hour's walk to the summit. The cable car station at the mountain's base at 4 Annenheim can be reached by bus or train, including S-Bahn line S2 from the Villach main station.
  • 5 Burgruine Finkenstein   are the scenic remains of a castle built in the 12th century. Has great views. Today it is used as location for musical events.
  • The Soca/Isonzo valley in Slovenia is about an hour's drive from Villach over the Predil mountain pass via Italy. Its deep limestone gorges offer a spectacular scenery and its emerald-coloured rivers are famed for some of the best kayaking and white water rafting in Europe. Since the Soca valley is actually easier to reach from Villach and Klagenfurt than Ljubljana (Slovenia's capital) it's well worth a day trip if you're hanging around Carinthia for longer. Head for the town Bovec, the touristic centre of the Soca valley.
  • 6 Krimml Waterfalls  , on the border of Salzburg and Tyrol, is the largest of Austria. A magnificent roundtrip is to first take the Gross-Glockner Hochalpenstraße (pass) that brings you as well along the highest mountain of the country. From here towards the Zillertal and over the Gerloss-pass to the waterfall. Then back to Carinthia. As a daytrip only with your own transportation.

Routes through Villach
Udine  becomes ←    W   E  VeldenKlagenfurt
Becomes  Salzburg  N   S  END
END  N   S    becomes →  Radovljica

This city travel guide to Villach is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.