Upland Escapes to Slovenia & Austria

Upland EscapesAward-winning Upland Escapes offers over 40 years of combined experience in seeking out the very best and most rewarding walking in a range of landscapes. Whichever Upland Escape you choose, you can rely on finding wild, untouched uplands, wild flowers and animals and rural, rustic landscapes, allowing you and your family to really get away from it all. All Upland Escapes walking holidays are single-centre based in delightful B&B’s, local village houses, and even cave houses, allowing you to become fully immersed into local life.

You are free to walk as much or as little as you wish and there are no set itineraries, which means that our holidays are truly unique and flexible, making them ideal for families. What’s more, each Upland destination receives full support from an English-speaking Upland Manager, available 24 hours a day, on hand to provide guided walks or advice and tips to allow you to discover the area for yourself. Combining fresh mountain air with an array of activities to seek and discover, presents the perfect holiday option to revitalise the body and mind.

Upland Escapes offer walking holidays in a number of stunning European upland destinations that include the Julian Alps in Slovenia, and the Carinthian Alps in Austria.

The Julian Alps, Slovenia
In the little known corner of the European Alps of Slovenia, sits the astonishingly picturesque Julian Alps. These alps are a stunning limestone mountain range, home to Slovenia’s only National Park. This area provides spectacular scenery with evocative evidence of the fierce struggles between Austrian and Italian troops in World War One. The Julian Alps is a protected region that is home to deer, boar, wolves, and even brown bears. Wooded slopes lead down to deep gorges and ravines, where turquoise rivers, such as the pristine Soca, have carved out beautiful waterfalls and caves.

Culture
For culture, the small market town of Kobarid is home to an award-winning museum focusing on the battles of the Isonzo/Soca front between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I. The Soca river is superb for organised activities such as white-water rafting, canoeing and canyoning. It is also possible to fish for marbled trout or spend a day exploring the area by mountain bike. With a hire car, take the car-train from Most na Soci to Bohinjska Bistrica, to visit the beautiful lakes of Bled and Bohinj for the day. A drive to the Soca valley takes your breath away. Venture over the border and you could spend the day in the lovely Italian town of Cividales, with its medieval centre, Celtic hypogeum and 15th Century cathedral.

Food
In the pretty town of Kobarid, next to the Soca River sits the town-based escape which takes the form of an attractive apartment in the centre of the town. The town itself has a quiet charm and several shops to buy locally-made produce such as honey, cheeses and excellent ice-cream. Some of the restaurants in and around Kobarid are rated among the best in Slovenia. For more rustic cuisine, there is great gnocchi to sample at Dreznica’s Inn, and in Kosec, your host can offer delicious home-grown dishes including lamb, local cheeses and seasonal vegetables – fresh from her garden. Regional cuisine includes Soca trout, venison, mountain curd cheese and cured hams. The beer is excellent and there are good red wines from the nearby Brda Hills.

When to go: July/August summer holiday
Average high: 26 degrees
Prices: Start from £290.00 pp for 3 nights including accommodation, hire car, self-guided walks and local Manager support. From £425 pp for 3 nights with additional organised walks and lavish packed lunches.
Discounts: Under 2s go free / Groups of 6 or more – one person in the party gets a free holiday (conditions apply).
No price hikes during school holiday time

The Carinthian Alps, Austria
This region is Austria’s most southernmost and sunniest spot as the river Gail carves its way down the Lesachtal, before joining the Danube. The valley is bounded by limestone summits which form the Italian borders and to the north sit the Lienz Dolomites where traditional ways of life, particularly farming, still survive to this day. In this area, the hay surrounding hillside villages are still cut by hand in August. You can explore the area by taking a walk through your village of St Jakob, with its traditional wooden barns and tall gothic church, before setting out to see working water-mills and the pilgrim church at Maria Luggau. The locals cherish their village and at it’s heart, you stay with the Ainetter family who have been looking after wearing travellers for generations. Less than 15 minutes from St Jakob, there are shops, restaurants and two swimming pools at the nearby town of Kotschach-Mauthen. Cycle-hire is available from here too, as are water sports including kayaking and rafting for the more adventurous.

Culture
Kotschach-Mauthen has two fine gothic churches and a museum dedicated to World War I fighting that took place nearby. Bicycles can be hired, which is an excellent way to explore the area and with a hire car, you can visit charming Lienz, with its town museum and 15th Century fresco cycle. Excavations are still taking place in Roman Lienz, presenting opportunity to explore and ‘step back in time’.

Food & Drink
At the Gasthof, Monika serves venison and boar as well as Carinthian kasnudeln; pasta parcels enclosing a variety of fillings. The Austrian approach to food tends to the hearty, but there are always varied salads available alongside mixed grills and sausages. Carinthia’s fruit trees provide fillings for all kinds of tarts and strudels. Pleasant wines are produced in the east of the region.

When to go: July/August summer holiday
Average high: 27 degrees
Prices: Start from £290.00 pp for 3 nights including B&B accommodation, hire car, self-guided walks and local Manager support. From £425 pp for 3 nights with additional organised walks and lavish packed lunches.
Discounts: Under 2s go free / Groups of 6 or more – one person in the party gets a free holiday (conditions apply).
No price hikes during school holiday time

For more information visit www.uplandescapes.com

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Naturidyll Hotels – Austria Doing Good

Respecting nature and working tirelessly to preserve harmony between man and its surroundings is the main aim of Naturidyll Hotels; not just aiming for, but committing to sustainable tourism development.

Naturidyll Eco Hotels Austria

The Austrian hotel network Naturidyll Hotels, a fusion of 27 independent family-run hotels, are at the forefront of ecologically-sound holidays in Austria. The name says it all, Naturidyll is devoted to sustainability. A promise of sincere care, as respect for natural resources is committed at every turn. All hotels have been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel since 2009, a guarantee for implemented environmental efforts, and are quality monitored every second year.

Since the repositioning of the brand last year, a significant increase in enquiries has been recorded. Quality characteristics such as authenticity, hospitality, comfort, beautiful landscapes and a healthy climate, play a key role. Guided nature walks or bike tours, culinary highlights of regional specialties and delicacies of their respective cultural destinations. “Practice makes perfect” is the motto, ensuring visitors have a unique experience of nature, which then lingers on in memories.

Naturidyll Eco Hotels AustriaNaturidyll Holidays – individual, authentic and pure
Whether spending a holiday quietly relaxing or busily adventuring, nature is your constant companion at the Naturidyll Hotels, and gives energy for your daily routing.

However, the hotels are also family friendly, offering spacious apartments, baby sitting with structured play for children, and specialist leisure activities parents from the hotel door.

A Naturidyll holiday is not just a place to refresh the mind, it is also a place to refresh the body. Almost all hotels boast in-house health spas, beauty treatments and massages. The culinary delicacies come from local producers and our breakfast buffets include a bunch of regional products. Have a lie-in and enjoy breakfast in bed, sample a glass of wine or dine outdoors beside a moonlit Austrian lake.

Most importantly a holiday at Naturidyll is the ultimate refuge for everyone who wants to escape the stresses and strains of daily life by getting out into fresh air. If a view alone is not enough, experience the meadows, woods and mountains first hand. All hotels provide comprehensive information and detailed maps covering walks, marked hiking routes and the best Nordic walking trails, as well as day-by-day weather reports.

This year the group announced the opening of Hotel St. Oswald in St. Oswald / Bad Kleinkirchheim in Carinthia. Nestled amidst the gentle landscapes of the Nockberge, a holiday paradise awaits. Be it spring, summer, autumn or winter, here at 1,400 metres above sea level, an oasis greets you that will far surpass every expectation. Open yourself to the enchantment of pristine countryside, healing thermal waters, the clean air and people who couldn’t be more endearing. St. Oswald is an 800-year-old village with wooden houses and traditional farmhouses featuring their own unique architecture, located above Bad Kleinkirchheim. The Nockberge, with their glorious high meadows and gardens of alpine flowers, encircle this idyllic town – one of the most beautiful areas in all of Austria. The sunny plateau provides year-round holiday paradise with virtually boundless opportunities for active holiday makers, such as mountain biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, golf, horseback riding, … and it’s also a great place simply to relax and unwind. The Hotel St. Oswald offers spa fans featuring a large indoor pool, sauna, steam bath, hot tub, plunge pool, tanning beds and a Kneipp spa.

www.naturidyll.com

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