Hanging in a small town of less than 26,000 people, 45 minutes away from a decent-sized city… boring, you might say. Who would come and stay here? Well, for those of you who don’t mind a bit of a rural retreat, I’ve put together a list of ten things you can do in Wolfsberg in summer, all of which could be done without access to a car (though a bike might come in handy for a couple of them. Seriously, this town is a gem!
1. Take a stroll
Regardless if you’re happier simply meandering around, taking in the scents and the sights, or if you want to make a full day mountain hike, Wolfsberg and its surrounds are ideal. The cute city centre with its old buildings and narrow laneways is full of places to eat cake and drink coffee; a short stroll will take you up to the castle with beautiful views over the town, or travel further afield to the mausoleum and wind your way back past beehives and vineyards.
2. Go foraging
Enjoy picking your own fruit? Our local orchard features apricots, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, red & blackcurrants and brambleberries. Or there’s Strawberry Land! Pricing is generally cheaper than in the supermarket, even taking into account the fact that you have to pick your own! And if you’re a mushroom fan, people in these parts go gaga for Eierschwammerl, which are a special kind of yellow mushroom that grows in the dense forests just out of town. Just make sure you know what you’re looking for… there are plenty of nasty, poisonous species as well. And when you’re out walking or foraging, don’t forget there’s also plenty of wild fruit to be found from berries to apples, easy and free to pick!
3. Pick-your-own flowers
The local flower garden operates on an honesty policy, pick the flowers you want, and pop your money in the box – it’s as easy as that. The gladiola colours are vibrant and fresh, or if you’d prefer, happy, beaming sunflowers are also available.
4. Taste ice-cream at Café Eberhadt
In my opinion this is the best place within walking distance for ice cream. It’s homemade, comes in a variety of flavours and the ice cream sundaes are to die for! The ice cream menu is a novel in its own right! You can also get a variety of delicious cakes, drinks and plenty of other yummy food items.
5. Eat at a Buschenschank
You might need your bike for this one, but it will be well worth it. These special, traditional Austrian inns are only allowed to open for a certain amount of time each year, and they basically only sell what they produce. This is where you get what I call a ‘Farmer’s Snack’ which is basically homemade dark bread with meat, cheese and various other toppings. You always eat too much, and end up with a take-home pack of left over meats. Down it with traditional Apfelmost or juice made from Elderflower. Delicious and refreshing!
6. Ride your bike along the Lavant
The Lavant River runs through town and the bike path runs directly alongside. It’s a pretty cruisy (slightly uphill on the way back) way to get to St Paul where you can enjoy an ice cream, or visit the impressive monastery. And if you get tired, you can always catch the train home.
7. Jump in the swimming pool
Wolfsberg boasts one of the best public outdoor pools in the region. It’s a huge property with lush grass for sunbaking, a 50m pool, a separate diving pool complete with 10m tower, a giant, shallow kiddies pool and a 70m waterslide. There’s also a café onsite, as well as a mini golf course, jumping castle and plenty of other fun stuff to keep the kids occupied. Warning: if you want to avoid kids, don’t there on hot days – the place is a veritable kid magnet!
8. Watch a game of soccer
For sporting fans, the soccer stadium is where you want to be. This normally quiet town lures buses of soccer fans and throngs of locals dressed in their team colours towards the stadium on weekends. I’ve never been to a game, but I’m sure it’s exciting if you’re into that sort of thing, judging by the roars of excitement I occasionally hear.
9. Visit the museum
Again, I’ve never actually been there but from reports I hear it’s very interesting and well worth a visit – if you’re into that sort of thing. Located near the centre of town, it’s full of local history, geographical discoveries and plenty of old Austrian things!
10. Experience a sommerfest
Most weekends in summer there’ll be a beer or sommerfest on in one of the surrounding towns. Mostly the towns just open up, with stalls selling food, drinks, local craft and knick-knacks… there’ll definitely be music and grilling in the air and these can go on all day and night – for days on end! A definite must-see for all locals and visitors to the area.