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Dear guests of the car meetings around our lakes!
In order to give everyone a wonderful time, we would like to point out the following:
Show respect!  Protect the environment!  Avoid noise! 
Pay attention to the rules!  Act exemplary!

We are looking forward to your coming!
tree in landscape

Dobratsch nature park

Dobratsch nature park in Carinthia

Varied nature experiences along the Villach Alpine Road and around the mountain

On the one hand, the Dobratsch is Villach’s landmark mountain beloved and treasured as a local recreational area by the city’s inhabitants. Where else can you get from the city to the high mountains within 20 minutes? On the other, the Dobratsch is an element that dominates the landscape – not just because it serves as the region’s drinking water and thermal water storage, but also because it has bound many emotions as an ancient mountain pasture and pilgrimage destination for generations. Culture and nature go hand in hand on and around the Dobratsch, also called Villacher Alpe. That was one of the reasons for establishing the Dobratsch nature park. But what actually is a nature park and what role does the Villach Alpine Road play in experiencing it in its many facets?
nationalpark ranger

What’s a nature park? Culture, nature and technology in harmony

The concept of a nature park rests on four pillars: education, recreation, regional development and protection of the ecoregion. Nature can be experienced in a demonstrative manner, for example through hikes with a nature park ranger and with themed trails and exhibitions. Hiking trails, bike trails and bridle paths as well as rest spots and playgrounds take care of the recreational aspect; particular attention is paid to ensuring access for families and persons with disabilities. A nature park also acts as a trigger for regional development, actively stimulating value creation in the region. Last but certainly not least, protecting the unique ecoregion is part of the nature park’s agenda in order to ensure that culture, nature and technology are kept in balance and to preserve the nature park’s premium landscape.

Development of Dobratsch nature park: from mining to a protective area

After mining on the Dobratsch ceased to be profitable, the idea of creating a new concept of use for the Dobratsch arose in the 1980s. This thought gained new momentum in 1997 when Villach was given the distinction “1. Alpenstadt des Jahres” (Eng. “Premier Alpine City of the Year”). The topics “protection areas in city proximity” and “sustainable use” took centre stage. During the 1990s, there still was a ski region on the Villacher Alpe. Artificial snowing was impossible due to drinking water protection. Alternative ideas were necessary. The nature park project was reconsidered and confirmed as Carinthia’s first nature park by the local government on 24 September 2002.

Adventure nature park at the Villach Alpine Road: unique fauna and flora

Discover a millennia-old cultural and natural scenery on the Dobratsch: forests, mountain pastures, rivers and the high mountains create a habitat beyond compare for a vast number of plants and animals. 120 types of birds brood at Dobratsch nature park and more than 1,400 butterfly species have been counted. Lizards rummage around on the southern slopes and the karst caves are inhabited by countless bats and bugs. Even bears live in the rockslide area. The Dobratsch is also home to plants that can only be found here, such as the Illyrian gladiolus; find rare orchids on the dry grassland of the Weinitzen. Our tip: visit the Alpengarten, which is only a few steps from the car park P6.

Touring on the Dobratsch with a nature park ranger: adventure programmes

Get interesting insights into the habitat that is the mountain with the tours and daily programmes offered during the summer at Dobratsch nature park. Observe chamois in the wild, hear interesting and scary stories about very special mountain inhabitants during a mythical hike or observe birds of prey migrating to the south across the Villacher Alpe in flocks during the second half of August. See the current programme on the website of the nature park (in German).

Nature park attractions by the Villach Alpine Road

You can enjoy intense nature experiences at several sites along the panoramic road with lots of great views:

•    Visiting the Alpengarten at an altitude of 1,483 m
•    Lookout platform “Rote Wand”: views of the rockslide area and bird observation
•    “Exhibition “Die Vogelwelt des Naturparks Dobratsch” (Eng. “Bird life of Dobratsch nature park”) at the Aichingerhütte
•    Geological path on the Rosstratte for reading, observing and touching
•    Relax loungers on the Rosstratte with unique panoramic view of the alpine summits
•    Chamois and summit view from the lookout platform (walking time from the Rosstratte car park 20 min, perfectly suited for young children and elderly visitors)
view on the aichingerhütte

Huts and mountain inns on the Dobratsch: stop by and enjoy

Five very different and recommendable rest stop options are waiting for you on the Dobratsch:

By the Villach Alpine Road

•    Aichingerhütte at car park P8, 1,650 m
Popular rest stop with both hikers and visitors to the Villach Alpine Road in summer and winter with sun terrace, delicious Carinthian specialities and accommodation. Tip: you will find the exhibition “Die Vogelwelt im Naturpark Dobratsch” here.

Opening hours: 10 am to 9 pm, closed on Thursdays
Phone: +43 4242 20693 or +43 664 5243810

•    Rosstrattenstüberl by car park P11, 1,732 m
The popular destination at the end of the Villach Alpine Road is particularly recommended before or after a hike to the Dobratsch summit as a spot for sun lovers or families whose children want to let off lots of steam at the adventure playground. Walking time to the summit around one and a half to two hours.

Opening hours: summer daily from 10 am to 6 pm (kitchen closes at 5 pm). In bad weather, please enquire as to opening hours by phone.
Phone: +43 676 54 150 03

•    Dobratsch summit house, 2,143 m
The refuge house, which was newly opened in 2010, is a meeting point for mountain hikers, sun aficionados and lovers of Carinthian treats. Sun terrace with breathtaking panoramic view, accommodation.

Phone: +43 720 350340
Internet: to the website of the Dobratsch summit house

When will you visit Dobratsch nature park? Find all information on the ticket prices and opening hours of the Villach Alpine Road here!