Cosmopolitan chic and sunny lakeside escapes make the compact city of Klagenfurt the perfect destination for sun-seekers and city breaks. With a buzzing retail scene, flourishing restaurant culture and bags of interesting history, Klagenfurt never comes up short on something to do.
The modern amphitheatre that is the Seepark Hotel (Universitätsstrasse 104) makes the biggest architectural statement in Klagenfurt and lives up to the promise of its exterior with a 900-sq-m spa, lakeside dining area and stylish rooms. If you prefer a more traditional welcome, Hotel Sandwirth (Pernhartgasse 9) in the Old Town offers luxurious rooms housed within a neo-classical building. Minimalist City Hotel zum Domplatz (Karfreitstrasse 20), with its sparkling rooms and neon-green colour theme, is an outstanding mid-budget option right in the city centre. If times are tight, the local YHA (Neckheimgasse 6) is just a five-minute bus ride from the city centre and makes a comfortable overnight base.
This compact little city has a buzzing retail scene, with many of the big-name stores and souvenir shops concentrated in the attractive City Arkaden (Heuplatz 5). Kramergasse, the oldest pedestrian zone in Austria, is a charming jumble of colourful shop fronts and coffee houses, where tables and grocery racks spill out onto the paved street. Kärntner Heimatwerk (Herrengasse 2) overflows with fabulously kitsch souvenirs, although for a true Austrian speciality you’d be better off wandering down to the Pfau Distillery (Schleppeplatz 1), one of the country’s premier schnapps producers. The Thursday and Saturday farmers’ markets on Benediktinerplatz sell everything from fresh bread and farm cheese to flowers and craft items.
Italian, Austrian and Eastern European influences come together in Klagenfurt to create a unique regional cuisine. Fresh, lake-caught fish is served at all the best restaurants – although Maria Loretto (Lorettoweg 54), an 18th-century house overlooking Lake Wörthersee, is arguably the best place to eat it. Superb Italian wines and creative pasta dishes make lively Osteria Dal Conte (Tabakgasse 4) a great place to have lunch, while romantic Gasthaus im Landhaushof (Landhaushof 1) in the provincial parliament building is a dream dinner-date venue. If you’re keen to sample traditional Austrian dishes in a cosy, cabin-style atmosphere, then wood-panelled pub Zum Augustin (Pfarrhofgasse 2) serves wholesome, well-priced stodge and stays open until late.
With a selection of stalls selling garden-fresh produce, as well as children’s activity workshops and egg-painting for all ages, this Easter celebration is great fun for the whole family. Join in with Easter egg hunts, shop for scrumptious chocolate bunnies, or simply enjoy coffee in the market garden and soak up the ambience.
One of the most challenging triathlon competitions in the world, Ironman Austria challenges participants to complete a 3.8km swim, a 180km cycle and a 42km run around Lake Wörthersee in Klagenfurt.
World Bodypainting Festival
This incredible festival is art as you’ve never seen it before. Competitors from over 40 nations come together to contest the world championships within different body painting categories, including brush/sponge, airbrush, special effects and face painting.
Beach Volleyball Grand Slam Tournament
The highlight of Klagenfurt’s summer calendar, this lakeside tournament attracts the crème de la crème from the world of volleyball. Thousands of spectators gather for the event, which takes place across a long weekend at the end of July.
Pink Lake Festival
This Klagenfurt pride festival puts on a packed programme of events and parties, including beach games, live music and all-night outdoor raves.