I have been to Austria a handful of times, but each time I visit I am awestruck by the stunning nature and natural wellness spots such as the lakes, forests, mountains, waterfalls and even city parks. Of course they have amazing spas, hotels, yoga studios, healthy restaurants as well but these too seem to all stem from Austria’s natural beauty, the heart of what makes this country one of the best wellness destinations out there. When I think of Austria, I think of fresh air, clean water and inspiring scenery – it truly is a place to be seen to be believed – its Alpine landscape offers a variety of options for nature-based activities, sports and wellness experiences. Read on for our H&H guide to Austria where we cover what to do, see and where to go if you manage to plan a wellness escape to the mountains… 

Natural Pursuits

Thermal Baths

Water can have a truly healing effect, and Austrian Biologist Johanna Freidl PhD has been researching just how water can contribute to our wellbeing “Certain water types have been shown to have different effects: sulphurous water strengthens our immune system, brine baths are calming and relaxing”. A thermal spa only qualifies as one if it has its own spring and its groundwater emerges at a temperature above 20° C, and Austria has around 40 beautiful thermal spas in Austria. Thermal waters contain minerals and trace elements such as brine, sulphur, calcium, magnesium, iodine, or selenium, imbuing the spring with health benefits.

Krimml Waterfalls

It is widely thought that a trip to the Krimml Waterfalls will boost your respiratory system, meaning that not only is this thunderous giant (all 1250ft of it) breathtakingly beautiful but it is also great for your health too. “The {water} particles are 200 times smaller than an asthma inhaler’s droplets and can penetrate the airways that much more deeply.” says Freidl. Microscopic droplets with a negative charge stay in the air for a longer period of time, whilst those with a positive charge are larger and drop to the ground more quickly. Inhaling particles with a negative charge stimulates our immune system, alleviates or eliminates symptoms of allergies and asthma, and cleanses our airways. “A clinical study has proven the beneficial effects for allergic respiratory conditions”, confirms Freidl. 

Mountain Walks and Yoga

In Austria, the beautiful Mountain walks are plentiful – just about wherever you are staying you’ll be able to dust off your walking boots and find a pretty route or trail to navigate. Even cities offer their fair share of verdant mountain walks such as Salzburg, home to the Mönchsberg, which many visitors insist on walking again and again. Yoga too is also practised atop mountains here – often with the backdrop of stunning vistas. St. Anton in Tirol hosts an annual Yoga Festival in September which has become super popular – book early to avoid disappointment.

Coldwater Swimming

Coldwater swimming has become very popular recently – and with good reason, from pain relief to strengthening immunity and even boosting mood being amongst just some of the benefits that have been cited to this outdoor pursuit. With Austria boasting some of the cleanest water in Europe, it’s easy to see why outdoor swimming has really taken off here. Choose from an array of beautiful lakes here. Our favourite is probably the Achensee Lake in Tirol, located between the Karwendel Mountains and the Brandenberg Alps, Lake Achensee is a popular destination for kitesurfers, windsurfers and sailors and is playfully known by locals as the “Sea of Tirol”.

Mindful Stargazing

The aim of mindful stargazing is to fully immerse yourself in the experience of looking up at the night sky and gain an amazing perspective – one that helps you to quash your own worries and concerns. Surrounding ourselves with the dark cloak of the night instead of the artificial blue light from our devices could also help reset our circadian rhythms and encourage deeper, more peaceful sleep. Just find a comfortable spot to lie down and take some time out of your busy life to relax and look up. Austria’s skyscape will amaze when the sun sets just as much as when it rises! Click here for the best places to stargaze.

A Few of our Favourite Austrian Spas + Health Resort

Vivamayr: Without doubt one of the best medical spas in the world, where you can choose from a variety of different programs that are then tailor-made to your health ambitions. It is, of course, surrounded by Austria’s beautiful landscape and we know guests that come time and time again.

Pernegg Abbey: Not so much a health spa but more a monastery, Pernegg Abbey is perfect for the busy city slicker looking to get some peace and quiet. Expertly guided fasting, silence and surrounding yourself in nature is the focus here – not for the faint-hearted!

Astoria Spa + Wellness Area: Set in the Tirolean Mountains, this 5-star hotel is just a short walk from the city centre, but step into their unique 4700m2 wellness area to discover a variety of pools, saunas and well-thought-through treatment rooms. 

Ayurveda Resort Mandira: For those who know their Vata Dosha from their Pitta, the Ayurveda Resort Mandira is the place for you. Not far from the village of Bad Waltersdorf, the unique Holistic Ayurveda concept brings the power of Ayurveda to Austria’s green heart, addressing your specific needs and requirements.

Lanserhof Lans: The Lanserhof Resorts are the leading health resorts worldwide. For over 35 years, they have stood for innovative medicine as well as prevention and health regeneration – our favourite type of combination. “Live better for longer” is the aim of the game when booking a stay here and we can assure you that you will start to feel real results almost instantly. 

For more information on where to stay and wellness spas take a look here:  www.austria.info/en/where-to-stay/austria-hotel-collection

For more information on visiting Austria’s incredible scenery visit: www.austria.info/en/wellbeing-nature