Stop, look, listen and breathe. If ever there was a mantra for Austria, surely this would be it. The moment you arrive in this dramatically beautiful country, it’s as if time slows down. Everywhere you go, you’re beckoned to see the beauty, invited to hear the silence and encouraged to fill your lungs with the purest of air. There’s something about this Alpine wonderland that really gets under your skin. Or perhaps it runs deeper than that – maybe it touches your very soul.
We all know it’s good to be active, and Austria boasts some incredible hiking terrain. And now doctors and scientists in its Saalfelden-Leogang region have discovered it’s possible to walk your way to wellbeing. They studied hikers doing different walks, to see what effect they had on their body and mind. The results were fascinating.
It seems that the human nervous system reacts positively to hiking in this unique environment – and that information has led to the creation of nine Vitality Trails, all here for you to experience and enjoy. Each Vitality Trail is designed to have either a regenerating, activating or balancing effect on the body. Even better, there’s something for all ages, fitness levels and abilities, with some walks lasting just 30 minutes and others stretching out over four hours.
If you need to relax and unwind, treat yourself to the regenerating one-hour trail through the Stoissengraben gorge. As you follow the route of the Buchweißbach river, the shady path ensures it’s a pleasant walk even your senses on a hot day. And if you do need to cool down, a quick paddle in the cold mountain water is sure to do the trick. The trail comes to a close at a wonderful waterfall, providing the perfect fairy-tale ending.
Want to get your blood pumping? Then choose an active route like the two-hour hike to Lettlkaser mountain cabin. As you meander through lush meadows and impressive forests, the scenery unfolds before your very eyes. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views over the Leogang Mountains and Saalfelden Basin and the chance to try a tasty snack.
Or if it’s harmony you’re after, choose the one-hour looping route, which starts at the foot of the Leogang mountains, before climbing 1228 metres to the Rieldlalm mountain hut. Stop here to catch your breath, enjoy a meal or just take in the jaw-dropping view. A walk like this is certain to restore the balance in your day.
“A walk like this is certain to restore the balance in your day.”
When you need to nourish your body and soothe your soul, pack your bags and head to the Ötztal valley. Nestled in the stunning Tirolean Alps, it’s a landscape that manages to be wild, tranquil, untamed and totally alluring all at once. In fact, it’s hard to think of anywhere better to cast off the stresses and strains of daily life and re-engage with your inner self.
Since you’ve come all this way, why not also pay a visit to Ötztal’s Aqua Dome, a beautifully designed mountain retreat that’s won the accolade of ‘World’s Best Mineral & Hot Springs Spa’ and is part of The Austria Hotel Collection, a curated group of premier hotels that offer a uniquely Austrian experience. Filled with a seemingly endless selection of pools, spas and treatment areas, this futuristic hotel and spa takes Alpine wellness to another level. Where else can you fill your lungs with mountain air in the morning and then wallow in the healing powers of a thermal pool in the afternoon?
A stay at Aqua Dome comes complete with the finest local cuisine, the backdrop of an awe-inspiring landscape and extra helpings of Tirolean charm. It’s a wonderful place to recharge your batteries and feel at one with the world.