A Sunny Winter Holiday on the South Side of the Alps

The ski pistes are especially sunny on the southern side of the Austrian Alps. This is one more reason why Carinthia is becoming ever more popular as a winter sport destination, especially for families. The sunny pistes combined with a helping of southern hospitality, rounded off with Carinthian Alps-Adriatic cuisine, make for a perfect winter holiday. Of course, the plentiful sunshine can also be seen in the numbers. The ski areas of Carinthia register about 100 hours of more sun in the winter months than destinations north of the Alpine main ridge. This is measured with the Nassfeld winter sundial, which is located directly at the mountain station. In winter, Carinthia is the biggest sun terrace in the Alps - what a unique gift from Mother Nature!


Facing the sun, the whole day on skis - this is how visitors experience things like the Stella Ronda ski challenge on Gerlitzen Alpe Mountain in the heart of Carinthia. In another ski area, on the Turracher Höhe, guests are served drinks by a piste butler in a sunny little square. There is also suntan lotion with SPF available at no cost in many Carinthian chalets. 

Those who really want to get the most out of the sun’s rays on the piste definitely should not miss the early morning skiing. The skiing day begins at selected times as early as 6:30 am. It’s such a pleasure to make the first tracks in the snow with small groups. At ‘Ski before 9’ in Bad Kleinkirchheim, visitors are even accompanied by Olympic champion Franz Klammer.

Carinthia’s top ski areas offer ideal conditions for a restful winter holiday on and off the pistes, far from mass tourism. The lift operators focus on safety, comfort and guaranteed snow. Comfortable modern aerial cableways with heated seats, for example at Nassfeld or on the Gerlitzen, challenging downhill runs on the Turrach and at Katschberg, or the highest ski area in Carinthia, the Mölltal Valley glacier/the Ankogel, and the Grossglockner/Heiligenblut ski area amidst the three-thousanders guarantee snowy fun until well into spring. The smaller Carinthian ski areas in the Lavanttal Valley and the Nockberge Mountains present themselves as family-friendly with open pistes. 

‘One for all’ with the Top Ski-Pass in Carinthia!

It’s the universal key to all Carinthian and East Tyrolian ski areas. Along with this, there are also regional ski passes with many attractive included services. These ski passes give visitors of all ages the opportunity for a sunny winter adventure, for example with combined entry to the thermal spring in Bad Kleinkirchheim or family-friendly ‘Ski for Free’ weeks. Depending on the region different attractive offers are available. 

Sunny views of pristine nature - ski touring on the new Nockberge Trail

Nockberge Trail

A new lead product is the ski-tour trekking on the Nockberge Trail, which connects the five ski areas of Katschberg, Innerkrems, Turrach, Falkert and Bad Kleinkirchheim/St. Oswald with one another. It’s a good choice for casual ski tourers who have a good knowledge of ski touring and are in good physical condition, but who aren’t interested in exploring alpine passages. Plan for up to six hours of walking time for each stage. The available lifts and aerial cableways give skiers the opportunity to save some energy and gain a few metres of altitude at each stage. Another special feature: instead of overnighting on mattresses in dormitories, as you do on other multiple-day ski touring trips, on the Nockberge Trail you can stay in premium (wellness) hotels that serve first-class Alps-Adriatic cuisine.

Sun-kissed winter wellness

Badehaus Millstatt
Kärnten Badehaus am Millstätter See im Winter

Badehaus Millstatt

Badehaus Millstatt

Werzers Badehaus
Werzers Badehaus in Pörtschach am Wörther See

Badehaus Werzers

Badehaus Werzers

Winter wellness is a good complement to sun and winter sport. The warming winter sun is particularly intense from behind the window panes of the lake saunas and in the bath houses on Lake Millstätter See and Lake Wörthersee. Outdoors, only in swimwear, visitors can enjoy the winter sun with a visit to the thermal springs at Kärnten Therme in Warmbad Villach and in the St. Kathrein spa and Römerbad thermal springs at Bad Kleinkirchheim.

Speaking of the St. Kathrein thermal spring: it was reopened in September 2017 after a comprehensive renovation. It offers the largest water area and the longest fun slide of all of Carinthia’s thermal springs, a lavish sauna and a massage and beauty area. Another winter wellness attraction that can’t be missed are the heated, private hotel lakeside pools at Lake Millstätter See, Lake Wörthersee and Lake Turracher See.

Maibachl in Warmbad Villach

Maibachl Warmbad Villach

Even the loveliest winter has to end at some time. But in Carinthia, it doesn’t end before one special thing happens: while the snow melts, the Maibachl spring in Warmbad Villach begins to bubble. Two pools have formed near the main spring where visitors can bathe in the warm thermal water that reaches up to 28°C. The water has a healing effect on heart and circulatory diseases and osteoporosis. The Maibachl was declared a natural landmark in 2005.

Camping in Kärnten, Wintercamping Brunner

Normally, we associate sunshine, the beach and camping with summer. In Carinthia, these things are also available in winter. Sun-seeking campers can take advantage of the offering of 18 winter campsites.

A tip: Carinthia also offers an impressive backdrop for enjoyable snowshoe hikes, e.g. the snowshoe camp at Klippitztörl Pass and guided tours in the Dobratsch Nature Park or at the Dreiländereck (tri-border area).