In the Austrian village of Nassfeld, adrenalin junkies can get their fix. So can the average 5-year-old and those who manage just fine without bursts of adrenalin, like me. This summer, take the Millennium Gondola up on Madritsche mountain for heaps of family fun.
The Pendolino is a Rodelbahn – a luge on wheels. If you’re into roller coasters, this is the thing for you. I’m not. Yet, the Rodelbahn is the thing for me, too. You see on this particular roller coaster, you determine the speed yourself. If you want to whizz down the 2 km run at max speed 40 km/h, you can. And if you want to pull the brake during the sharp turns, you can. Perfect!
I must admit I used the brake now and then. I don’t think Matthias did. What’s more, he was cool enough to film the experience. Let’s join him for a thrilling ride.
Back at the finish line, a ten-minute walk up a steep hill takes you to the 480 metre long Flying Fox (zip line) for an even bigger thrill. Here are Sabrina, Marie, Agnieszka, Matthias, Leyla, Anna-Lena and Laurel, ready to take on the tree tops.
The Flying Fox course is part of a Rock Labyrinth with canyons, rock climbing and Klettersteig (via ferrata) in addition to the high ropes. For the youngest, there’s the Aqua Trail, a one-hour stroll on a pram-friendly path down to a gorgeous little mountain lake, with fun and games along the way. And a mountain top trampoline!
For lunch, I recommend you sample the cheese at Tressdorfer Alm Schaukäserei. It’s a bit difficult to translate Schaukäserei – in essence it’s a small cheese factory, a showcase dairy. Rudi, the owner, guides us quickly through the cheese making process, then serves up trays of yummy Alpine cheese.
Donkeys, hens and goats roam around outside the Schaukäserei, a veritable petting zoo up here on the mountain.
My 10-year-old is asking why I, wimpy mamma, visited Nassfeld without her. She would have tried out everything properly, she says, and no brakes! She’d do the full-on Flying Fox and the Klettersteig. And, as she points out, she’s not too old for goats and donkeys. Only one thing to do, I suppose…
Family fun accommodations – and border jumping
In Nassfeld, I stayed at Falkensteiner Carinzia, a fab spa hotel just a few metres from the Millennium Gondola. Further up the mountain is the even more family-friendly Hotel Sonnenalpe – with the added bonus of being just a few metres from the Italian border. Not that there’s a physical barrier up here in the mountains. Still, it’s fun to jump across: now I’m in Italy, now I’m in Austria, Italy, Austria, Italy, Austria…
For an even more international flair, the Slovenian border is a few miles further along.
If you go:
- The above is what we managed to fit into our short one-day excellent adventure. There’s heaps more, of course, including 1000 km of trails, mountain biking (extreme or easy), panorama view golfing and all sorts of water fun on offer: swimming, fishing, river tubing, rafting, canoeing…
- Nassfeld is located in Carinthia (Kärnten), Austria’s southernmost province, a half hour from Villach, a transport hub about halfway between Venice and Munich. (For a spot of shopping, I’m told Udine, just across the Italian border, is just the ticket.)
- Ask at your hotel about the +Card, giving you free and discounted activities in the Nassfeld-Hermagor-Lake Pressegger region.
- Costs: Rodelbahn: 7€ (5€ with the +Card), Flying fox/Rock Labyrinth: 22 € (19€ with the +Card) for three hours of fun
Disclosure: In Kärnten, I was a guest of Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences. As ever, opinions are mine, all mine.