Following prehistoric and Roman settlements in search of minerals, the Nockberg region was permanently settled around 1,000 A.D. The higher elevations were deforested between the 11th and 14th century creating the beautiful alpine pastures for dairy farming, shaping this amazingly beautiful, park-like landscape until today.
Many of the ancient farmsteads remain active maintaining the characteristic appearance of this region. The traditional farming families, proudly looking back over centuries of independence, continue taking their precious life stock high up the alm, the summer pasture, producing remarkably tasty butter and local cheeses.
Taking this to the extreme, one young farmer today produces delicious ice cream for the local restaurants at 1,600m, on the highest working farm of Carinthia.
Local produce include smoked ham and speck, venison sausages, smoked trout, a great variety of bread, honey, excellent alpine beef, lamb and venison – and of course many varieties of schnapps.
The well-known major ski resorts of Turracher Höhe, Bad Kleinkirchheim, St. Oswald and Hochrindl with extensive langlauf tracks are all within easy reach of 15 to 20 minutes. The well-known thermal springs of Bad Kleinkirchheim offer alpine wellness with two Spa centres, Römerbad and St. Kathrein. The 18-hole championship golf course by Don Harradine is beautifully set in alpine nature, a region renowned for deep-snow skiing, for hiking and biking tours - a refuge for all seasons.
Culinary treats are plentiful at Hochschober, Loystub’n, Ronacher, Eschenhof, Gasthaus Lax and Alpl, the local Pertl Wirt, as well as at a great variety of cosy traditional mountain huts on the ski runs and hiking trails.
The round summits of the Nock-Mountains (the name deriving from the German word for dumpling) offer an extraordinary variety of secure hiking paths on some 1,000 km of tracks over the lush meadows with dark blue mountain lakes - ideal for families. Today this is a UNESCO Biosphere National Park opened in 1987 and covering an area of 180 square-kilometres with a maximum elevation of 2441m. Widely spread mountain huts invite hikers offering local alpine produce - Carinthian hospitality at its best.
The 35-km toll road, the Nockalm Strasse (closed in winter), runs from Ebene Reichenau to Innerkrems travelling through the magnificent National Park in pristine landscape with the largest spruce, larch and arolla pine forests in the eastern Alps. This is also one of the most beautiful and challenging mountain bike roads in Austria.
A wide range of lush alpine flora abound in the meadows and highland moors, like the rare and highly protected Lady’s slipper, the common Daphne, the yellow genii, many diverse gentian species, the sticky primrose, or the orange lily. The famous dwarf shrub-belt of the Nockberg region with lovely alpine rose varieties is breathtakingly beautiful when in bloom in June/July.
The rich fauna includes roe & red deer, chamois, marmot, royal eagle, wood & black grouse, and the rock partridge; some 68 species of birds breed in this protected region. There is an abundance of trout in the untouched lakes and rivers offering excellent fly-fishing.
Carinthia’s very rich history is best demonstrated by the many fortresses, castles, palaces and churches from all periods - Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque - offering a great variety of summer festivals, concerts and open air performances.