One of the largest cities in Carinthia, Villach lies along the Drava River near Austria’s borders with Italy and Slovenia. A settlement has existed here since Roman times and the town became part of Austria in 1759. Villach lies nestled amidst spectacular mountain scenery and serves as a gateway to the Carinthian Lakes.
Things to do in Villach
In the heart of Villach is the Hauptplatz, which is watched over by beautifully preserved merchant houses with hidden courtyards. Admire the 16th-century Paracelsus Hof and photograph the Trinity Column or grab a bite to eat in one of the cafes overlooking the square. From the bell tower of St. Jakob’s Church, you can enjoy sweeping views across the city.
Nearby Schillerpark is home to the largest landscape relief model in Europe, which was built in 1913 to replicate the state of Carinthia. Known as the Relief von Kärnten, it is brought to life with an immersive sound and light show. During the experience, Carinthia’s valleys and rivers are highlighted, together with more than 100 of the state’s top tourist destinations.
Travelling with kids? Make a day trip to the Affenberg Zoo, which is home to a troupe of 164 free-roaming Japanese macaques. Join a guided tour to learn about the lifecycle and behaviour of these inquisitive primates and see them diving into the water and swimming during the summer months. Also nearby is the Rosegg Animal Park with its adventure playground and labyrinth.
Getting around Villach
Villach is around two hours’ drive from Graz and 30 minutes from Klagenfurt Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Ljubljana Airport in neighbouring Slovenia is an hour away. Trains connect from cities across Austria to the Villach railway station while the city centre is compact enough to explore on foot.