Blossoming meadow orchards and the delicate fragrance of the Hirschbirne trees welcome visitors to the Nature Park Pöllau Valley in Eastern Styria throughout spring. The Hirschbirne is a chance seedling, created around 1800 and deeply rooted within the Pöllau Valley ever since. In summer you will find the fruit growing throughout the vast orchards and can sit down to enjoy your picnic under the magnificent Hirschbirne trees. Its name is believed to be derived from the local word for autumn, "Hiarscht", which is when the Hirschbirne is traditionally harvested with great effort and skill. The Pöllau Hirschbirne owes its characteristic aroma and memorable taste to the mild climate and special soil conditions across the valley. After harvesting, the region’s leading product is processed in a number of ways. From brandies to juices, cider, dried fruit and delicious spreads, there’s something new every year.
Tranquillity reigns across the Nature Park Pöllau Valley. You have time to gather new strength and the purest of air here. Natural ponds, gentle hills, far-reaching meadows and lovingly created orchards await. Qualified guides lead visitors to the most impressive spots, teaching them about the natural environment and whisking them away to the Nature Park’s "islands of relaxation". At the NaturKRAFTpark in Hinterbrühl, for example, families can try simple awareness exercises to awaken the senses.
In the heart of the historical market town of Pöllau, culture lovers can admire the "Styrian St. Peter’s Basilica" with its grand Baroque frescos and Pöllau Castle. Various events and exhibitions are held throughout the year here. A further cultural must is the Pöllauberg pilgrimage church where, alongside the impressive High Gothic structure with its Baroque interior, a delightful view of the Nature Park can be enjoyed.
It is with plenty of skill and traditional knowledge that the farmers and innkeepers process the healthy Hirschbirne pears into real delicacies. As the region’s leading product, the Hirschbirne plays a vital role in the local producers’ tastings. The variety of the region is also reflected in the Nature Park kitchen menu. Good food and drink is of upmost importance in the Pöllau Valley and the exceptional chefs use seasonal produce from the Nature Park to serve up an array of treats. All tastes are catered for here, with everything from taverns to independent locals and fine dining establishments. Those with a sweet tooth won’t make it passed a café or pastry shop, where a wealth of sugary delights awaits.
Cyclists can explore the Nature Park Pöllau Valley on leisurely rides. Enjoy the picturesque landscape and the region’s distinctively gentle hills on two wheels.
Walking through marvellous nature, enjoying the incredibly beautiful surroundings. Escape the daily grind on one of the Nature Park Pöllau Valley’s many hikes and themed trails or in a flowering garden. Let your spirits flow, relax and revive.
In the Garden of Austria
Ten different and freely accessible themed gardens have been created on the Pöllauberg. Here you receive an imaginative insight into the region’s culture, landscape and agriculture. From the schnapps garden to the blossoming rose garden, everyone finds their place here. "Hirschbirnallee" (Hirschbirn Avenue) lies above Family Laschet’s farm on the Hirschbirn Hiking Trail and Nature Park Circuit towards Rabenwald, where age-old Hirschbirne trees line the way. The castle park in the centre of Pöllau is the ideal starting point for your Nature Park explorations.
Multifaceted natural and cultural landscapes, framed by romantic spots, culinary delights and heartfelt hospitality. Nature Park Pöllau Valley has something to suit everyone, from cultural and natural spectacles to stunning architecture and garden design, melt-in-the-mouth cuisine and long-standing traditions. Nature is also present throughout the valley, where a range of experiences await that include Nature Park tours and picturesque gardens and parks, or when running, hiking, Nordic Walking or riding your bike.
The neighbouring tourism boards of Apple Land "Lake Stubenberg" and Nature Park Pöllau Valley have developed a project with LEADER-Region "Zeitkultur Oststeirisches Kernland", in which they promote their sacred cultural treasures and "organ hikes". The project introduces more than a dozen churches including Pöllau’s parish church, their organs and bells, which can be experienced acoustically via audio guide.
The Nature Park farm shop
LEBENSMITTELpunkt Pöllau, the Nature Park’s farm shop, offers a wide range of products. From the regional "Jause" (cold meat and cheese platter) to the Hirschbirne pear and local arts and crafts, browse the Nature Park’s full variety.
The blossoming, green castle park offers plenty of space to relax and is a popular starting point for hikes. Here you will also find the open-air classroom, Hirschbirn info station and a "root observatory" where you can learn all about the impressive world of plant roots on a tour.
Pöllauberg pilgrimage church
The Pöllauberg pilgrimage church remains one of the principle works of the Styrian High Gothic period. The approximately 37 m long Gothic pilgrimage church has three entrances, of which two lead into the entrance hall of the church with one offering barrier-free access. The organ dates back to the late 17th century and ranks as one of Austria’s most important monuments of sound. An ornate altar with countless angels gives the room its special atmosphere. The Pöllauberg pilgrimage church can also be explored by audio guide.