Walk, just breathing in and out… and very soon you’ll be breathing deeply and easily. There’s something to be said for walking in the wintertime. Nature plays with snow and ice – sometimes frosty and raw, sometimes thawing out and dripping, so as if playing a melody. I like winter, the fresh cold air, and I love strolling through the splendid winter landscape with my camera. Today I’m going to take you on some lovely walks through Flachau.
5 paths for indulging in Flachau‘s winter wonderland
Winter walk to Schloss Höch
From the car park next to the curling clubhouse in Reitdorf you head off shortly after the bathing lake up the Höchweg to the idyllically situated Schloss Höch. In the heart of the fabulous winter landscape, this 800 year old renaissance castle looks somehow dreamy, almost enchanted. The castle, which during the summer months offers a programme of cultural activities, is not open for visitors in winter, yet offers a fabulous photo backdrop with the snowy meadows all around. Therefore, you should definitely take your camera or mobile phone with you. Via the Gasteg farm and the cycle path you head back down to the starting point. You should plan a walking time of approx. 2 hours.
Walk to the Berggasthof Sattelbauer
Start in the resort centre of Flachau, walk towards the church and cross over the motorway, before folloing the Sattelweg path for around 1.5 hours until you reach the Berggasthof Sattelbauer. Along the walk and especially just before you reach your destination, you can enjoy some great views of Flachau and the surrounding mountains. Particularly photogenic is the wayside shrine right in front of the gasthof, as is the peaceful, somewhat hidden wooden chapel behind the gasthof. You can recharge your batteries at the Sattelbauer with traditional delicacies – cheese dumplings, a farmers‘ feast dish or the legendary Buchteln made by the owner Susi Oberreiter herself. You can either walk back down the same way or borrow a sledge and whizz back down to the valley on the Sattelbauer toboggan run.
Tour to the Pfeiffeialm
This walk leads from the resort centre of Flachau along the Hofgasse and the Oberhofweg in just an hour’s walking time up to the Pfeiffeialm. The lovely, rustically furnished ski hut is situated on the Hermann Maier FIS World Cup run and offers a cosy sun terrace. The Pfeiffeialm is an ideal meeting point if you wish to meet up for lunch with the skiers of your party. Afterwards head back down the same route.
From Reitdorf to the Berggasthof Winterbauer
From the Gemeindestrasse/Vogelmühle turn-off head up along the access road to the Berggasthof Winterbauer. The Winterbauer can without doubt be described as a real viewing point. From here you have a view overlooking the valleys of Flachau and Altenmarkt and on the other side the fabulous mountain backdrop of the Dachstein and Tauern ranges. You’ll enjoy the atmosphere around the Winterbauer, the lovingly decorated facade, the picturesque meadows, the flowers… and not to be forgotten the excellent cuisine. By the way, the Winterbauer also has its own toboggan run, which leads down to Altenmarkt. You can rent sledges and bobs at the Berggasthof Winterbauer.
Walking along the Enns
For a change walking along the Enns promenade involves no great uphill stretches. You can follow the course of the Enns river for around 10 km along the cleared winter path between Flachauwinkl and Altenmarkt. The Enns is Austria’s largest inland river, which by the way, originates at the end of the valley. Here too, I’d recommend you to whip out your mobile phone or camera, as on this walk you’ll constantly come across great photo subjects. The gurgling water under the covering of ice, the frost on river bank vegetation or various animal tracks leading into the nearby forest… if you just keep your eyes open, you’ll be able to take home a wealth of great countryside images with you.
Photo credits: Verena Buchsteiner & Elisabeth Hartl