Gastein valley is not only picturesque, it’s a wonderful world offering lots of exciting adventures this summer, including; hiking, cycling or mountain climbing for active adventure seekers and modern spa resorts for wellness and good health for those who want something more relaxing. There’s also a variety of other events and activities for those looking for something different. Here’s our top picks:
Harvest Festival 2015 and Village Anniversary Festival
The biggest festival of all in the region: Harvest Festival. This year yet again, all three Gastein towns are officially participating “Harvest Festival Communities”. The rich cultural landscape and the living tradition of the farmers turn Harvest Festival into a memorable experience for locals and guests alike. And here that also means celebrating true to ages-old traditions: Whether at an “Einheiga” at various farms, or at colorful Almabtrieb homecoming parades and festivities, all create quite a stir throughout the region. Farmers’ markets, where specialties direct from the farms in the valley and hills are offered, along with entertaining folk music – guaranteed to captivate visitors year in and year out!
Healthy Gastein: Water & Rock: Energy encapsulated
True to the motto “Water & Rock” and in collaboration with an artist, stone sculptures were erected at seven centers of natural power along the banks of the Gasteiner Ache, which – comparable to the effects of acupuncture needles on people – concentrate energy and cause it to flow freely once more. These seven places of power are either special natural sites or important locales: the Nassfeld, Schleierfall waterfall, the Evian spring, Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein, Dorfgastein and the Gastein gorge. And so, a path takes you out through the entire Gastein Valley, one which you can follow in a variety of different ways. By bike, taking a leisurely stroll or, perhaps, Nordic walking. In the process, you are not only able to enjoy the alpine scenery, but also discover renewed energy with each step you take and do something wonderful for your health.
On the mountains of Gastein Valley, the 140 meters-long suspension footbridge on the Stubnerkogel, at an elevation of 2300m above sea level, is the highest suspension bridge in Europe and can be crossed year-round. Just a chain-link balustrade separates adventure-seeking summiteers from the 28 meters-deep abyss. And enthroned directly across from here is the attractive “Glocknerblick” lookout platform, a round platform just 7 meters in diameter. It is mainly made of steel and wood, secured on the sides by a wire-mesh fence that doesn’t obstruct the view in the slightest. To all visitors who venture up here, it offers fantastic views of Austria’s highest mountain, the Grossglockner (elev. 3798m).
The Felsenweg on the Stubnerkogel is a walking path which starts and finishes near the mountain station of the Stubnerkogel lift. This newly constructed path is around 100 meters long and is partially a steel-grated walkway suspended directly from the rock face. It begins around 400 meters south of the lift station at 2,217 meters above sea level. The path takes you through steeper, craggier terrain out to a striking lookout point at the same elevation. From there, the loop finally returns you back to the Stubnerkogel.
The fascinating Pine Path allows hikers to experience the uniqueness of the two- to three-hundred-year-old Swiss pines on the Graukogel. It is intended to give visitors a new way to appreciate nature, with pines to touch, sense, smell, taste and drink. The first step in this project was the opening of the Pine Path – a walking loop that begins and ends at the mountain station of the Graukogel lift. During the weekly guided tours along the Pine Path, visitors will be exposed to all kinds of interesting information.
Those in search of even more adventure find on the Schlossalm, since summer 2010, two via ferrata climbs with varying degrees of difficulty: the level B/C climbing trail up the Mauskarspitze (2,373 m) is 340 m in length with a gain of 140 vertical meters, and always excites mountaineers with an almost 30 m long steel bridge. Another via ferrata rated C/D leads climbers up to the Hirschkarspitze. The more difficult points can be bypassed, if preferred. Several hiking loops on the Schlossalm complete this exciting picture!
A place where you can truly discover renewed sources of energy is the Fulseck in Dorfgastein. There, a nature path takes you from the mountain station via several places of immense natural power, back to the valley below. The Barefoot Path is a special experience indeed. As you walk over a number of different surfaces, the reflexology zones of your feet also benefit from a massage. The path leads around the shores of Mirror Lake, where oases of quiet and special seating elements invite you to stop, relax and pause for thought.
For the parents looking for something with their children, fear not for there is GASTI CLUB
Gasti Kids Club (open to children age four to twelve) will again open its doors in summer 2015. Fun and games guaranteed and if you are a kid staying at a participating Gasti lodging establishment, you can enjoy it all for free! (They only charge is for lunch!)
Thomson Lakes & Mountains ( 020 8939 0740) offers a week’s stay at the four-star Hotel Osterreichischer Hof in Hofgastein, Austria, from £634 per person (based on two sharing; reduced from £803) including flights from Gatwick and transfers departing on 6 June 2015. Direct flights available from all major UK airports.