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  • July 23, 2024




In southern Austria, 145 mi/230 km southwest of Vienna and near the Slovenian border, Klagenfurt is the provincial capital of Carinthia. North Americans do not often visit this 12th-century city, which is a shame, because it warrants at least a day's visit, especially to see its many castles and mansions.

See the collections of Roman artifacts at the Landesmuseum Karnten and the famous Dragon Fountain in Neuer Platz. The Landhaus is "just" an arsenal-turned-government building, but the decorative ceiling is painted to look as if it's vaulted.

Stroll through the nearby old-world resort town of Portschach on the Worther See (or lake). This holiday resort was a favorite vacation spot of Brahms, who composed his Second Symphony in the 16th-century Schloss Leonstain (now a hotel). If you like amusement parks, stop by Europapark—the main feature is Minimundus (diminutive replicas of well-known international buildings).

From Klagenfurt, you can make half- or full-day side trips to surrounding scenic and historic sites, such as Gurk (with its famous Romanesque cathedral) and Magdalensberg (Celtic and Roman excavations). Burg Hochosterwitz, a large 16th-century fort and castle complex, lies 15 mi/25 km outside the city. The fort itself is built on a 535-ft-/165-m-high rock outcropping.

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