Wildalpen – Wild Alps – speaks for itself
I love nature and being in the wilderness is one of the more exiting aspects of travel and while I was sipping on a coffee at home the urge to go camping bubbled to the surface and screamed for attention.
The problem with most camping location in Austria is that you are not allowed to camp anywhere (seriously it is not worth the arrest and the fine) but only in designated camping grounds. These are mostly so perfectly arranged with parking spaces, restaurants, ice cream parlor and everything you could possibly think of that most of the time you could just stay in the hotel.
After a lot of research I stumbled upon the location Wildalpen – a parish in Styria with the crystal clear !drinking water! river Salza running right through the middle of it. Around that area most of the camping grounds are still trying to keep the spirit of camping alive. No sectioned spaces, no restaurants, no designated grill spots or any other gimmick. Just a main house, wash-house, a place to plugin electronic equipment (for us it was just the cooler) and lots of nature around.
What a beautiful place! At night we put our portable grill as close to the river as possible, a couple of chairs and lots of delicious grub. Our tent was standing 30 meters away on a meadow and no sound was disturbing the blissful moment – just the babbling brook and the crackle of the fire. Serenity.
The morning called with sunrays clawing their way into the tent and after a quick camping cleanse (brush, scrub, done) we started up the grill again for some fried eggs and toasted bread. Fully charged it was time for some white water rafting. Yes you heard it right! The same peaceful river turns into adventureland further downstream where you can either join a team on a raft, jump into a kayak or strap on a riverbug (basically you get a floatie around your torso and fins on your legs and arms – weird).
Not only that but there are mountain bike trails, hiking trails and a bit outside there is one of the most exciting natural sites in Austria (in my humble opinion) – the Palfauer Gorge / Ravine (Palfauer Wasserloch Klamm – in German). The trail starts when you walk over the suspension bridge – 65 meters long and 21 meters off the ground. Following the path that takes you passed waterfalls and small ravines and through a forest. As you climb up the little mountain to 900 meters you are one with nature and at the end you can see the gorge below and look out onto the land around you. It is a 1-2 hour hike and worth every second.
As you return to the main road you have the perfect spot for a lunch right at the entrance of the trail with classic Austrian dishes.
For me this is was an unforgettable experience in the Wildalpen and I hope to encounter more of the amazing hidden gems in Austria.