The mountain pastures of Nature Park Almenland are not natural, but man-made. People have learned to use the power of nature to their advantage here. Basic duties such as conservation, relaxation, education and collective regional development make the Nature Park Almenland a model region of sustainable impact. It has become a best practice example as a tourist destination in which locals and guests can enjoy its recreational value, environmental standards and quality of life side by side. Nowadays, the Almenland is a popular destination for young and old with its hiking trails, sports facilities and a wide range of excursions including the Koglhof summer toboggan run, Teichalm Alpine Adventure Park or the many options in nearby Graz.
The Almenland region shines with what feels like infinite space. At the centre of the Nature Park lies Lake Teichalm with its impressive wooden ox that represents the region’s beef production. The moor by the lake is one of the last of its kind and home to protected flora and fauna. In addition to the pastures, you will find two gorges in the region that are known across Austria: the Bärenschütz Gorge and the Raab Gorge. Nature has created true works of art at both, painting the most spectacular picture with jagged rocks, juicy meadows, thundering waters and protected plant and animal worlds.
The Almenland knows how to throw a party, and throughout summer in particular there is one festival after the other! The alpine summer begins with "Letting the horses out" on the Sommeralm and things get even heartier at the Sterz Festival. The Almenland Parish Fair traditionally closes the successful alpine summer at the beginning of September. But summer is also a time for theatre performances, and some stages such as the Huab'n Theater on the Brandlucken are so well known that people travel from across Styria to see their shows.
The ALMO® hosts are at the heart of gastronomy in the Almenland, from the ALMO® beef used throughout the kitchens to the quality of produce and the ambience in the dining rooms! And then, of course, there are the landlords themselves and their staff, who give guests the warmest of welcomes.
ALMO® host criteria:
• Exclusive use of regional ALMO® beef for the beef dishes on their menu
• Use of regional products in the kitchen whenever possible
• A selection of quality Styrian wines and regional fruit juices
• Dining corresponding to the category and cordial service
The ALMO® hosts support local farmers with the ALMO® beef dishes on their menus. Our farmers in turn prevent the mountain pastures from overgrowing by sending their cattle up to graze – which also means that guests can enjoy the views as they hike across the pastures. That is solidarity in action in the Nature Park Almenland, which visitors can support by enjoying ALMO® dishes. The local beef from the Nature Park is of especially high quality and sold as far away as Germany under the ALMO® brand.
Multiple events are dedicated to the Almenland’s culinary variety:
• The Dandelion Festival (always at the beginning of May) with "fresh spring food" prepared with herbs from the meadows and garden
• The Sterz Festival (always on the Sunday before 15th August) at the Holdahütt’n on the Sommeralm: five "Sterz" varieties are served with traditional soups
• The "Have a snack" festival on the main square in Passail (always on the Friday before 15th August) with countless tasty bites from the producers of the Nature Park Almenland specialities
• The Culinary Almenland Autumn (October, November) with fish, game and goose delicacies
All types of bike route lead through the well signposted Nature Park region. A number of e-bike charging stations and boxes ensure you don’t run out of power along the way. There is plenty to see on an Almenland tour!
It’s hard to imagine a holiday in the Nature Park Almenland without stretching your legs, even if it’s only a walk around Lake Teichalm. Numerous trails and peaks between the Teich- and Sommeralm offer options for all ability levels. The hut to hut and pasture routes are particularly pleasing, hiking with a view and so many places to stop! Families are particularly well catered for here. They can opt for one of the many themed trails aimed at families or visit one of the family-friendly excursion destinations such as the Koglhof summer toboggan run and motor skills park, a former silver mine where cheese is now matured in Arzberg, the Alpine Adventure Park or Eco-Park Hochreiter on the Teichalm.
You can top up your energy levels throughout winter in the Almenland too. Sweep down the slopes or follow the cross-country trails into a winter wonderland. The family-friendly ski area and its ski schools are ideal for even the youngest visitors. Whizz down a hill by toboggan or climb the odd mountain by snowshoe.
In the Garden of Austria
The Nature Park Almenland is a great destination for flower and gardening enthusiasts. Whilst the remaining snow still lies on the pastures and the first green tips of the crocuses are coming through, a sea of blossoms sweeps across the valleys. The vibrant yellow dandelion meadows merge with the freshly green forests and blue skies into a spectacular spring symphony. Be sure to pay the floral village of St. Kathrein am Offenegg a visit. At 1,000 m above sea level, the village is beautifully decorated with flowers. In the centre you will find the "Duftweg" (trail of scents) that can be explored by nose as well as the Vogelbeer Panoramic Loop. The Sulamith Hanging Gardens by Sissy Sichart are a further highlight, stretching in terraces across 4,000 m² and divided into various themed areas.
Nature Park Almenland, 40 km north of Graz, is Europe’s largest contiguous low alpine pasture area, stretching from Rabenwald in the East across the Teich- and Sommeralm to Bärenschütz Gorge in the West. The region comprises of 125 alpine pastures, six municipalities, two districts and nearly 13,000 inhabitants across 428 km². It is a small mountain farming region that largely relies on agriculture, forestry and tourism. On the 12th August 2006, the Almenland was awarded the "Nature Park" title, making it the youngest of Styria’s seven nature reserves. Lovingly kept meadows and pastures in the valley and on the slopes, but also extensive forest landscapes with impressive rock faces, ravines and gorges characterise the region. One of the Nature Park’s goals is to preserve this variety, protect the endangered and bring back what may have been lost within reason.
Teichalm & Sommeralm
They really are the crѐme de la crѐme of the Nature Park, where one alpine pasture lies next to the other and together they form a pasture area that reaches from Lake Teichalm all the way to the Brandlucken. This low alpine pasture area is the largest in Europe with its 125 alpine pastures and home to 3,500 animals that graze here throughout summer. Family-friendly excursion destinations surround the Teichalm such as the Alpine Adventure Park with its climbing garden and motor skills park or the Eco-Park Hochreiter that is home to a selection of local animals and a water playground.
The Große Raabklamm
The Raab breaks through the up to 600 m high walls of the Styrian Prealps between Arzberg and Mitterdorf. Across a total length of 10 km it thus forms Austria’s longest gorge. The Raab Gorge has been a Natura 2000 reserve since 2006, making it an area highly worth protecting. It’s primarily known for its rare birds that include the kingfisher and black stork. In addition, this natural treasure is a popular hiking area with its bridges, walkways and information boards. A hike through the Raab Gorge can be splendidly combined with a visit of the Almenland Käsestollen (cheese gallery) including a tasting or the Arzberger Schaustollen, Eastern Styria’s only show mine.
Hochlantsch & Schüsserlbrunn
The view from the top of the Hochlantsch, at 1,720 m the Graz Highlands’ highest peak, is impressive. But right next to it you will find one of the Styrians’ favourite excursion destinations: the pilgrimage church of Schüsserlbrunn. The little wooden church sits right on the rocks and can only be reached on foot and down 198 steps from Gasthof Steirischer Jockl. The name "Schüsserlbrunn" is derived from the little "Schüsserln" (bowls) in the rocks behind the church. The spring water that flows out of the rock face is said to heal the eyes. Schüsserlbrunn is a particularly well visited place of pilgrimage around Assumption Day (15th August).
The "Tischlein Deck Dich" bike ride
This culinary bike tour leads around Passail, passed the Almenland speciality producers to shop and cosy inns to stop.