Here are our seven insider tips for attractions in Schladming-Dachstein that you can discover in both summer and winter! Tired of skiing? Do you want to experience something off the slopes? Then I have just the thing for you and you should definitely read on!
Together with my dear colleagues Alice and Niklas from the team of the TUI BLUE Schladming, we’ve tested a programme of the best cultural sights in and around Schladming for you. Ideal for explorers, ski bums, and those thirsting for knowledge. We explore old mining tunnels, magnificent palaces, abandoned castle ruins, and interesting museums. We quickly realise that the Enns Valley in its full splendour has more to offer than “only” mountaineering and skiing! On the way with our picnic backpack full of goodies, so that our physical well-being is also taken care of, we start from Schladming to Öblarn for our first insider tip.
1. Öblarner Kupferweg (Copper Path)
It’s 7:40 am and we’re on our way to discover the first attraction Schladming-Dachstein has to offer, and to quench our early morning thirst for knowledge. Accompanied by a fantastic panorama, the first Austrian cliché is already served – cows prevent us from continuing!
After a short delay, Vroni, Guido, and Ferdl genially greet us. The three men are members of the Öblarn Mining Association. This is where the adventurous 40-minute tractor ride that will take us to the tunnel entrance at 1,100 metres begins. This Styrian landmark extends over a length of 45 kilometres and eight storeys, and is also the deepest mine in the Liezen district. The genuine Öblarners Guido and Ferdl provide us with hair nets and protective helmets for our safety. “Every child has a cell phone, but nobody knows that the wires for it come from such a copper plant!” Guido starts our tour of the mine with these words.
After the first few metres, Alice unfortunately discovers that white shoes were not the right choice for today, because some of the groundwater is still in the copper tunnel, and the shoes are coloured brown in no time. On the footpath to the main section of the tunnel, we learn more about the history of the mine and the reconstruction work in the 90s. For safety reasons, only the first 200 metres are walkable because a show mine has the same requirements as an active mine. Along the way, we see exhibitions of original tools from long ago and explanations of their benefits, and there is also a small chapel in the mine. Arriving at the end of the walkable route, Guido and Ferdl tell us more about the history of the tunnel and its participation in the restoration and conversion of the mine to a popular attraction in Schladming.
On the way back into the valley we stop at other stations. One of them is the Röststadl, which was faithfully reproduced and dates from the 17th century, when sulfur for gunpowder was mined here. The Röststadl is followed by the silver-driving hut, from which copper and silver were extracted around the year 1858. It is particularly interesting that this was only discovered accidentally in the surrounding forests during archaeological research.
The last highlight of the copper trail is the Schrabach Chapel from 1799, which was of great importance to the miners. In the chapel there is a bronze bell, which visitors can ring. Legend has it that if you ring the bell and make a wish, the wish will come true. Of course, we don’t want to miss out on that, so we all three ring the bell with full force, and are amazed at how loud it is. Once back in the valley, we say goodbye to Vroni, Guido, and Ferdl and drive to the next attraction in Schladming-Dachstein.
2. Wolkenstein castle ruins
The second don’t-miss attraction in Schladming-Dachstein is the Wolkenstein castle ruins. From the castle car park we set off towards the ruins. Although the trek lasts just under 15 minutes, the climb is not to be underestimated. Once at the top, the strenuous path is immediately forgotten, because the wonderful view leaves us speechless.
The castle was first mentioned in the 8th century, and at that time it only consisted of a strategic tower of great importance for the Enns Valley. Between 1050 and 1100, the castle was enlarged and converted into the regional court of today’s Liezen district. After several years it was finally abandoned, and the Wörschach Castle Association is now trying to make the beautiful ruins accessible to the public. After we’ve explored the ruins, it’s immediately clear to us that we don’t want to leave here quite yet, and so we enjoy the regional delicacies from the TUI BLUE picnic backpack. After enjoying a leisurely snack, we’re ready to explore the next attraction in Schladming-Dachstein.
3. Trautenfels Palace
Another highlight of the Schladming-Dachstein region is Trautenfels Palace in the Enns Valley. When we enter the entrance hall, we are greeted directly by our guide Barbara and competently, personably, and humourously guided through the castle. Barbara begins by showing us the mezzanine, where the handicraft room is located, in which parishioners still meet today to revive the embroidery art from long ago. Barbara also tells us more about the history of the castle. Barbara’s personal highlight is the fresco room from the 15th and 16th centuries. century. We continue up to the first floor, where the prince’s ballroom and the countess’s bedchamber are. These two rooms are by far our favourites, and have literally left us speechless, as they are amazingly and sumptuously furnished with the aristocratic couple’s original furniture and their hunting trophies.
In addition, the landscape museum of the Liezen district is on the first floor, which brings us closer to the life of the past, the customs, the fauna of the Alps, and mining, as well as the farming culture of the Enns Valley. Although we all come from the area, we learn a lot from Barbara and are amazed at the everyday life of our ancestors. We eagerly listen to Barbara’s stories and follow her to the second floor. This is used exclusively for special exhibitions, which are changed every year. The climbers in the stairwell give us insights into what to expect there. This year’s exhibition focuses on Styrian expeditions to the roof of the world, and explains the hazards and obstacles of mountaineering.
At the end of our tour, we marvel at the absolute highlight of this attraction in Schladming-Dachstein – the castle tower with a breathtaking 360-degree panorama over the Enns Valley and the local mountain Grimming. The tower is accessible via a spiral staircase covered with piano strings that plays a wonderful melody and makes the ascent a lot more enjoyable. This view was a fitting end to the day for us. Also worth mentioning is the modern technological equipment, which can be found everywhere in the form of radio plays, videos, interactive monitors, and VR headsets, which are sure to impress even culture-shy teenagers.
With a refreshing and well-deserved Schladming beer, we reflect once again on our great experiences and fortify ourselves to plunge into the second day of our adventures around the sights in Schladming-Dachstein tomorrow… Well-strengthened by the rich breakfast buffet in the TUI BLUE Schladming, we set off on foot to our first destination on the second day – the Schladming Stadtmuseum (Schladming City Museum).
4. Schladming Stadtmuseum
After only a few minutes of walking we see the rustic former Bruderhaus, or shelter. The monument, built in 1661, originally housed sick miners, widows, and children. The Schladming City Museum has been located here since 1989 and offers exhibitions on mining, traditions, and local history. The stories of a woman from Schladming about life during the war were particularly impressive and touching for us.
The elaborately designed rooms, as well as the original furniture and the handmade exhibits, make the museum something very special and are definitely worth a visit. With new knowledge about the city, we walk to the Schladming-Lendplatz bus stop, where we take the bus to Ramsau, which is free with the summer card.
5. Austriahütte & Alpine Museum
Our hike to the Alpine Museum starts from the Gasthaus Edelbrunn. Accompanied by the fantastic mountain panorama, we go along the forest path to the Austriahütte, or Austrian lodge, which we reach after about 50 minutes. It’s not only the oldest existing refuge cabin in the Dachstein region, but also the highest museum in Styria with the Alpine Museum. Curiously, we enter the hut and are immediately taken on an exciting journey through the history of the Dachstein mountain range. Through the original tools and equipment, we get an insight into what mountaineering used to be like. We stroll through the museum until we are reminded of lunch by Niklas’ rumbling stomach. Fortunately, just a few metres away is the inviting terrace of the Brandalm. Ensuring that not only our hunger for knowledge is satisfied, we fortify ourselves with local specialties there before we make our way to the next attraction in Schladming-Dachstein, the Dachstein Kicherl.
6. Dachstein Kircherl
Ideally located just a stone’s throw from the Brandalm, we have no problems getting there even with full bellies. The chapel was built in memory of mountaineers who died in accidents and is a popular photo op due to its dreamlike and extraordinary panorama.
After a few leisurely hours on the Dachstein, and after snapping around 1,000 pictures, we hike back to the bus stop and drive back to Schladming. We enjoy a quick break with a delicious coffee on the hotel terrace and then we’re ready to visit our last insider tip in the Schladming-Dachstein region.
7. Admont Abbey
Past freshly mown meadows, large forests, and along the imposing mountain backdrop, we reach the tranquil town of Admont after about an hour. As soon as we enter the village, we’re overwhelmed by the mighty appearance of the abbey and impressed by the town. Before we take a look at what was once the 8th wonder of the world, we stop to take a look at the magnificent monastery, which is hard to miss due to its size. Through large, heavy wooden doors, our path leads us to the Benedictine monastery. We stroll through the large church and marvel agape at its beauty. Hard to believe but true, the abbey will celebrate its 945th birthday this year, which the monks celebrate with a “small” celebration.
Since we are already so excited about visiting the 8th wonder of the world, our path leads us directly to the largest monastery library in the world. (Tip: Don’t forget your summer card! Because with this you get a 100 percent discount) At the beginning, three different rooms with state-of-the-art video technology introduce us to the history of the monastery. The third room with the title “Path of the Rule” is unarguably the most fascinating. We’re sure it will also leave you speechless. But don’t take our word for it! 😉 But now finally at the door to the library, we start to feel curious and maybe a little too excited. With the first steps through the wooden door, we’re already amazed by the sight, but the attention of the other visitors is now unintentionally turned to us thanks to the loud noise made by the door. After a few awkward seconds in the spotlight and making eye contact with a smirking museum guard, everyone turns back to the essentials.
70 metres long, 14 metres wide, and about 12 metres high, it is the largest library in the world. Particularly impressive are not only the wonderful ceiling frescoes that show the levels of human knowledge, but also the 70,000 volumes that the Benedictine monks still read and use for research. Previously, we didn’t think a library could fascinate us so much, but with its elaborately designed and bright rooms, it radiates a special atmosphere and immediately captivates everyone. However, that was not all the abbey has to offer, because there are also four interesting museums to explore. For example, the Natural and Art History Museum, the Gothic Museum, and one dedicated to contemporary art. There are also various holiday programmes and a museum workshop for younger guests.
In the inner courtyard of the monastery, a park invites you to linger and the Restaurant Stiftskeller (Abbey Cellar Restaurant) in the park with regional delicacies satisfies the hunger of its guests. Packed with new insights and beautiful memories, we make our way back to the TUI BLUE Schladming, where we end the evening with a few drinks at the TUI Bar. All in all, the two days were a great experience, as there was a lot to discover even for us locals. At least it’s now clear to us that the attractions in Schladming-Dachstein are a viable alternative to the ski slopes! It’s best to try it yourself!