Getting Oriented

Carinthia is protected in the northwest by the vast Hohe Tauern range and the impossibly high and mighty Grossglockner. Along its northern borders are the bulky Nockberge National Park and the massive crests of the Noric mountain range, and to the east are the grassy meadows on the slopes of the Saualpe and Koralpe. Completing the circle in the south and bordering Slovenia and Italy are the steep, craggy Karawanken mountains and Carnic Alps. Lying serenely in the valleys between these rocky mountains are the long, meandering Drau and Gail rivers and more than 100 lakes, including the best known and largest, the Wörther See, as well as the Ossiacher See and Faaker See.

Klagenfurt toward the Gurktal Region. On the eastern end of Wörther See, the region's biggest lake, the Carinthian capital Klagenfurt prides itself on its charming city center and mellow lifestyle. The unspoiled Gurktal region attracts both hikers and art lovers. Blessed with verdant forests and Romanesque architecture, the northeastern corner of Carinthia enchants visitors with its pristine landscape.

Graz. Austria's second-largest city headlines as one of Europe's best preserved Renaissance town centers, dating to an era when Graz, not Vienna, was the capital. Italian architects, in fact, came to Graz to gain design experience and shaped the city with their exquisite building skills. Located in the Grazer basin and crossed by the Mur River, Graz has now turned into a lively meeting point for art and culture. The surrounding countryside boasts vineyards, thermal spas, and mountains.

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