The peaks rise far above the Lesach Valley, which the Gail has cut into the mountains here. In the north there are the Gailtal Alps and the Lienz Dolomites. The Carnic Alps rise to the south. The border with Italy runs along the summit regions. The Lesachtal is a place where you can find peace while camping or on a farm holiday. You can also hike in the Lesachtal from the inns and hotels. These are usually on the north side of the valley where there are some flat spots.
The Lesachtal in Carinthia is particularly popular with mountaineers and hikers. For others it is still a real insider tip. No wonder! It's hidden on the border with Italy between the Gailtal in Carinthia and South Tyrol. A valley that could hardly be more beautiful. Villages nestle on the mountain slopes. With a population of almost 1300 locals throughout the valley, the villages are not large. These include Liesing, Maria Luggau, Birnbaum and St. Lorenzen. The eastern part of the valley belongs to Kötschach-Mauthen.
The Lesachtal has always been remote. This is also one of the reasons why Slavs only settled in the valley in the 7th century AD. They were followed 100 – 200 years later by settlers from Bavaria. They came from the Pustertal from the west into the narrow valley on the Gail. The costume and the court forms of the farms in the Lesach Valley go back to them. Linguistically, the Lesachtal also differs from Carinthia. The people here speak East Tyrolean, albeit with regional peculiarities.
Sights in the Lesachtal
In addition to the mountains, the sights in the Lesachtal are above all the churches and the monastery in Maria Luggau.
- Liesing Parish Church
- Pilgrimage Church of Maria Schnee
- Maria Luggau Monastery
- Luggauer mills (see below in the text)
- Church in Oberfrohn
- Branch church in Obergail
- Church in Rau
- Church of St. Radegund
- Church in Chelch
- Johann Lexer violin making museum
Hike and collect herbs in the Lesach Valley
One stop on our gourmet tour through the Slow Food Travel Region of Carinthia is the town of Klebas in the Lesach Valley. This valley is considered to be the most natural valley in Europe. It's no wonder that Sandra Egartner works with wild herbs, which she finds in abundance on the valley's mountain meadows. "Herb season is in May and June," she explains to us during our herbal tour of the meadows The small mountain hotel surrounded by her husband.
She greets us this summer with a refreshing drink and the words: "Now guess what I made this juice out of?" The glass smells intensely of flowers. The aroma seems familiar to me, but I cannot classify it. Finally she takes pity on me and explains: â € œThis is juice from lilac flower syrupâ €. A juice that I have to make myself in the next spring, I think to myself.
Then she takes her basket and off she goes to collect herbs. Sandra Egartner stops at plants that I never notice. â € œThis is the Gundel vine. The wild thyme grows there. I also need nettle. Chive flowers decorate our soup.â € Before each of these plants, it tells what it can be used for. For some, it warns. â € œThere are similar plants that are poisonous. When collecting, you should make sure that it is the right plant.â € One thing quickly becomes clear to me on our tour. I have a lot to learn before I can go looking for wild herbs myself.
Wild herb soup
Finally, we have collected enough herbs to cook in the kitchen of the hotel, a wild herb soup. This is fast and easy. Sandra washes the herbs, cuts an onion and purees the whole thing in the blender. Then add some water, season with vegetable salt and let it boil. Finally, add a sip of cream before decorating the wildflower leaves soup. Done is the wild herb soup! And delicious.
If you want to join a wild herb tour with a wild herb soup at the end, you can do that here:
The small mountain hotel in the Lesachtal
Overnight stay in Das kleine Berghotel * you can book here
Hike on the Mühlenweg in the Lesach Valley
We meet Brigitte Lugger at the farm shop in Maria Luggau. Even today, the mountain farmers in this mountaineering village in the Lesach Valley grind their grain in their own mills. Brigitte Lugger founded the Lesachtaler Mühlenverein with her husband and four other mountain farmers. The reason for founding the association was that they could only secure the water rights for their mills together. This is how the Mühlenweg in the Lesachtal was created.
The Five Mills
In the Lesachtal, where the Trattenbach flows down the mountainside into the valley, the five mills of the mountain farmers in the Lesachtal are lined up one behind the other. They bear the names of their owners. The Hanselermühle, The Vorbetermühle, The Großnmühle. The Richter-Freibergermühle. The matt lam mill. In the Hanselermühle Brigitte Lugger shows us a collection of farm implements, some of which were used to grind the grain. Others were used to process wool, hemp and flax.
Brigitte Lugger used to be a teacher in Maria Luggau in the Lesachtal. As such, she was interested in the history of her homeland. Once there were 24 mills on the mountain slopes around the village. Most of them have since disappeared or been converted into huts. This is where vacationers live today. The mills along the Mühlenweg are all the more impressive. These continue to do their original day's work to this day.
Guided tours: Fridays, 10am all summer until the end of September.
Meeting point: Maria Luggau farm shop
Good to know for connoisseurs in the Lesachtal
- Every year on the first weekend in September, the Lesachtal Bread Festival takes place in Liesing. You can watch the bread being baked. Carinthian specialties are also served at the farmer's buffet. Wines from Austria are served with it. The Handwerksgasse, where you can buy products from the Lesach Valley, is also definitely worth a visit.
- In the farm shop in Maria Luggau you can buy specialties from the Lesach Valley. Then you can still enjoy them at home.
- There is a herb garden at the Mühlenstüberl in Liesing (Obergail 31, A-9653 Liesing im Lesachtal). There, Simone Matouch offers a herb tour every Tuesday at 10 a.m. in summer, followed by a tasting of her products, which she prepares herself. Registration at: Tel. +43 650 8830657
- In Obergail you will find the Lesachtal bee educational trail. This is freely accessible and can be visited on your own. However, you can also take a guided tour. Then you can take a look inside a beehive. You can also try the honey afterwards and buy it from the beekeeper. These tours are offered in the summer months. Registration at: Tel. +43 664 113 60 98
You need that for a hike in the Lesachtal
- The most beautiful hiking trails in the Lesachtal and the surrounding area can be found on this map: Freytag Berndt hiking maps, WK 223, natural arena Carinthia - Gailtal - Gitschtal - Lesachtal - Weissensee - Oberes Drautal*
- We recommend comfortable walking shoes for the hike. Many hiking trails are alpine and require equipment for mountain tours.
- Practically for traveling is one backpackin which you drink, snack, a Jacket and store odds and ends. One lunch box and other practical utensils for hikers can be found here.
- Do you have everything? With our hiking checklist you can easily check that.
Make a farm holiday in the Lesachtal
The Lesachtal is also ideal for a farm holiday. These are spread all over the valley. The towns are small. Many of the farms are off the beaten track. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy nature on your doorstep - whether hiking or everyday life on the farm.
You can also go on farm holidays in the Lesachtal by visiting the factories and producers in the valley. It doesn't matter whether you watch the bread being baked or take part in a herbal tour. You get to know the local people. Find out more about their work in the valley. Try their juices, jellies, vinegars and oils, pestos. Depending on the season, the offer in their manufactories varies. It's fun to try their produce. Perhaps you will also get suggestions for your home during your visit.
Lesachtal Camping is possible
Despite its steep slopes, camping is also possible in the Lesachtal. Panorama Camping Lesachtal, Klebas 30, 9653 Klebas, Austria offers 50 pitches and is open from mid-May to mid-October. Panorama Camping Lesachtal is located above the outdoor pool. There is a via ferrata and a forest adventure site nearby.
Lesachtal Camping is also available in Maria Luggau. The Gasthof Luggau campsite is located on two terraces on the south side of the Gail valley, Maria Luggau 34, 9655 Maria Luggau, Austria. It is in the middle of nature and is therefore a good starting point for hikes. Kayaking and rafting are available on the Gail whitewater river. The pool on the campsite is certainly more child-friendly. There is also a playground and a barbecue area.
Do you like to travel by motorhome?
- Do you want to rent a motorhome? Then you will find information here as well as booking options. Or would you prefer to stay overnight in a roof tent on the car? Also the overnight stay in a camping tent is possible.
- Check our packing list for campersto see whether you have packed everything for your motorhome tour.
- Practical camper accessories you can also find here.
- Austria has a comprehensive network of campsites, there are parking spaces in all parts of the country, you can stay overnight for a maximum of one night outside of campsites and parking spaces. But be careful: there are regional bans (Tyrol, Vienna). Camping Guide for Austria * you can buy it here.
- Here you can find tips for Cooking in the camper
- Why is a folding e-bike useful when camping?
Arriving by plane and / or car
Book yours here Arrival by plane, bus or train*. The nearest airport is Salzburg. From there you can travel by rental car or your own car. Travel time from Salzburg to the Lesachtal is about 3 hours via the A10. Of Munich one drives 4 hours, from Vienna approx. 5 hours as well as from Graz 3 hours 30 minutes.
Book yours here Accommodation in the Lesachtal*
Do you already know:
- Holidays in Austria with hiking for slow travelers
- Grossglockner High Alpine Road
- Farms in Kleinwalsertal - Walser culture
- Flour from the mill by the rushing brook
- Enjoy monastery beer and gardens in Schlägl monastery in the Bohemian Forest
- Holidays on the farm at the Chiemsee
We thank you very much Slow Food Travel Carinthia for the invitation. And we would like to thank the producers in the Lesachtal for the insights into the culinary art of Carinthia.
Source for holidays in the Lesachtal: on-site research.
Text Lesachtal Farm holidays for hiking and camping: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline