Austria to Spain – Part 1: Austria

We were on holiday again and will travel from Austria to Spain in 2 weeks. A relaxed road trip with many stops and lot’s to see.

Neue Donau Wien

We stayed the last days in Vienna near the Donauinsel, an island in the river Danube, which is a vast recreational area. We found a nice spot at the Neue Donau near a Restaurant called Toni’s Inselgrill. (48.201598, 16.454635)

Toni’s Inselgrill – a stop for hikers, cyclers, skaters and everybody else

When we finally left Vienna, we took the road to Triest, the former port of the Habsburg Empire. This road is still called Triester Straße. When we reached Wiener Neustadt, once residence of the Habsburg monarchs, we stopped at the Lagerhaus, an agricultural institution in Austria, where we used the weighbridge to check our weight: we are at the limit with 5.370 kg.

Weighbridge tells us the truth

We drove on to Seebenstein, which has a castle on a hill, surrounded by forests. We thought about taking a walk around the castle, but decided against it, to make sure we would get in time to our next destination. The road took us now over the mountain range of the Wechsel – and into the next federal state of Styria. Our destination was Riegersburg, a little town which has lots to offer.

Veste Riegersburg

First there is the castle on a steep hill: Veste Riegersburg.
You can reach it with a lift, but then you will miss a lot. Better to walk up on the old path leading through 3 historical gates. At the bottom of the lift and the path are parkings suitable for campers (46.999575, 15.937727).
At the castle, you can visit the incredible representative rooms and a museum on witch persecution and weapons.

Walk up to the castle through 3 gates
Veste Riegersburg – one of the representative rooms

The wine which grows on this mountain in the castle grounds are from Weingut Bernhart and that was our next stop: they run a type of restaurant called Buschenschank which you should not miss. The wine and food is excellent, and beside of special ham and other meat products, they also offer nice dishes for vegetarians and vegans. It is a family run business and they offered us to stay over night at their parking, as they also love to travel with their camper. The parking is not very level, but we found a spot with perfect view (46.998647, 15.945975).

Overnight stop with view of Riegersburg next to Weingut Bernhart

Another option would be to stay at one of the parkings of the castle or next to the small lake between the castle and Weingut Bernhart.

The next morning, we drove to another place in Riegersburg you shouldn’t miss – the chocolate manufacturer Zotter (46.991677, 15.907705). You can go on a tour, where you first see an introductory video and then walk along the production line with a lot to learn, to see and to taste! You can even manufacture your own chocolate which will be ready and packed when you reach the exit.  Off course the tour ends at the shop with the impressive variety of chocolates they produce. All their chocolates are organic and fair trade and the production starts with the beans they buy in various countries.

Chocolate !
Chocolate in many different flavours and styles
Graveyard for the chocolate ideas which died

Afterwards a visit to the vinegar and spirit producer Gölles, also in Riegersburg, might make a nice contrast, but we drove on to another wine area in the south of Styria.

At Gamlitz, a nice litttle town which has a lake next to the centre, campers can stay for 20 Euros per day, quite expensive but a good location to explore the area (46.720573, 15.566487).
The tourist information has good information on hiking and cycling routes in the area. On your walk you will pass many little inns where you can try their wines. We drove on until Oberhaag where the Altenbachklamm would be a nice hike in summer. We aimed for a more sunny one, so we drove up until Panoramaschenke Tertinek (46.655664, 15.328517). We were happy to have a strong engine, as the road was very steep at the end. Unfortunately the inn was closed, but we could park there and go for a hike along the mountain crest, which forms the border between Austria and Slovenia.

Left: Slovenia – Right: Austria

Afterwards, we manage to drive down again without destroying our brakes and headed further west over the Soboth pass – 1.347m high, which is well known with bikers and has a lake on top of the mountains, which makes a nice point for a rest or night. The lake was rather empty, it is a dam, so we drove on down into the next federal state of Carinthia.

Snow at the Soboth Pass in April !

We finally reached Bleiburg, where we found a quiet parking to stay over night. It was close to the centre and we immediately reached the main square with the Pestsäule and found a traditional brewery and restaurant called Alter Brauhof.  (46.591047, 14.798432)

Wildensteiner waterfall – 54m free fall

After a quiet night we drove on, aiming for the  Wildensteiner Waterfall near Gallizien (46.538962, 14.508977). We saw vast areas of forest destroyed by a big storm last December on our way. Everywhere the fallen trees were being cut. The waterfall was impressive. The water falls free from 54m hight.

Wildensteiner waterfall

If you are very ambitious, you can walk up the mountain behind the waterfall called Obris, in 5 hours you should reach the peak.
We had breakfast instead and then drove on to Ferlach, where we used the facilities of an official caravan parking to empty our tanks and fill up with water. (46.524341, 14.297040)

Our next stop was a mountain called Pyramidenkogel south of the famous Wörthersee (46.609796, 14.145487). You can drive up and park near the top, where a newly built tower with 100m hight gives you a great view over the lake and the surrounding mountains.

View over lake Wörthersee from Pyramidenkogel

The lookout point on top is higher than the statue of liberty in NY. There is a lift to go up, but when we were there, it was out of order and we payed slightly less to walk up over 411 steps. The view was truly great. The mountains were still covered in snow.


To go down, you can take the slide through a tube. Nothing for us claustrophobics 😉
At the bottom we enjoyed a Leberkäse Semmel, a classic Austrian snack.

We are on the way to Italy now, but passing Villach we stopped at the big camping store Falle (46.603997, 13.874196). Beside a missing part for our gas connection a new rain jacket landed in our basket.

Italy comes next ->

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