The capercaillie is the heraldic animal of the Nock mountains biosphere park which was acknowledged in 2012 by UNESCO. While hiking, cycling and along the Nockalmstraße you get to find out about the plants and animals in this ancient cultural and natural landscape. Numerous excursion destinations provide insights into the life and the traditions in this part of the Alps.
So what actually is a biosphere park? The solution to this puzzle actually lies in the name itself. Translated ‘biosphere’ means ‘habitat’. And it is precisely this unique habitat in the midst of the Nock mountains that is something quite special. The gentle mountains are, in terms of geology, among the oldest low mountain formations in Europe. The alpine pastures, summits and valleys are populated by an unbelievable variety of plants and animals - marmots and Alpine salamanders are as much at home here as the Swiss pine and the Speik, which is only found here. People have for centuries characterised this region with their work – the result is a unique natural and cultural landscape which is preserved and which can be admired.
The recognition that the Nock mountains region is a biosphere park required a selection procedure which was long and costly. In the 485 square kilometre protected area sustainable further development in line with the environment was to the fore. The communities in the nature park region were ultimately able to put forward a convincing argument – recognition by UNESCO is confirmation for this concept, which has the aim of maintaining a superb habitat in the Austrian Alps. Discover one of the five biosphere parks in Austria. Hotel Almrausch is located in the midst of a hiking and cycling area in the Nock mountains biosphere park which is well worth exploring.
Nowhere else is the landscape as variety-packed as it is in the nature park in Carinthia. Heathland, altitude moors, streams and lakes as well as alpine pastures and alpine plateaus provide a wide variety of plants and animals an extensive habitat. However the star of the local flora is one of the most unprepossessing plants, the Speik. This fragrant healing herb and its flowers covers the mountain slopes and is the basis for remedies and care products which are appreciated throughout the world. It’s now time to discover the Nock mountains biosphere park in interesting fashion!
What initially sounds like a contradiction, is soon dispelled, for the 35 kilometre long Nockalmstraße has been designed with special consideration for the natural surroundings. With a total of 52 bends this alpine road proceeds from Ebene Reichenau to Krems in Carinthia, up to 2042 metres. Along this panoramic road children and adults get to find out a great deal about the region and its inhabitants. Refreshment stations, stop-off areas, themed routes and children’s play areas invite you to stay a while and enjoy the aromatic mountain air. Find out about times past and valuable information about the plants and animals.
This and even more natural wonders await you during your holiday in the Nock mountains biosphere park. Reserve your room in the 4-star pleasure hotel today!
The road is open from the start of May until the end of October to private transport. Day tickets, month tickets and season tickets are available for car, motorbike and lorry drivers. Tip: use of the Nockalmstraße is free to guests of the Hotel Almrausch who have the Kärnten Card!
Out and about with a biosphere park ranger. Observe rare animals, hike to the loveliest viewing points and listen to exciting stories and legends about the traditions and customs in the Nock mountains! The variety-packed array of activities ranges from sunrise hikes on the Falkert to hikes to find out about the Speik and fairy-tale family excursions and exciting nature detective puzzles. Registration the day before is required for most of the adventures, others can be booked the same day. The staff at the Almrausch reception desk will be happy to make your reservation for you! Please note that some of the hikes are free of charge while there is a fee for others.
That is really only found in the Nock mountains biosphere park. A few alpine lodges provide foot baths to refresh tired hikers’ feet, prepared using the healing herb, the Speik. This plant from the valerian family is harmonising and stimulating at the same time and gets you in shape for many more kilometres of hiking! Apropos the Speik – don’t miss out on the chance to head out on a guided Speik hike. The Brunnach National Park cable car line takes guests staying in the Hotel Almrausch and who have a Kärnten Card up the mountain free of charge, after which they get to head out on a Speik ‘hunt’ with a biosphere ranger. After a refreshing footbath, enjoy some fresh caught trout!