Life in the mountains: Reasons to escape to the Austrian Alps

What is it about mountains that draws us to them? Is it their soaring majesty? Is it the scent of forest pine or the splash of colour on wildflower meadows? Austria’s alps has all this and more…

Helen Moat
21 June 2022
Promoted by
Austria Travel

Main image credit: Österreich Werbung/Lukas Nagler)

What is it about mountains that draws us to them? Is it their soaring majesty or the pure air? Is it the scent of forest pine or the splash of colour on sloping wildflower meadows? Is it the sense of oneness with nature, being lost in the here and now? It’s all of those and more…

Meet Clara

Meet Clara (Österreich Werbung, Raphael Sturm)

Noone knows this better than Clara Tippelt. She left the stresses of city life behind for a simpler life in the mountains. Her alpine lodge, Boscheben, sits high on the Patscherkofel, Innsbruck’s local mountain. Below her little hut, surrounded by pasture, inky forest sweeps to the valley below. All around, craggy summits appear and disappear in the swirling mists, then the sky clears and it feels you could reach out and touch them.

“In the city you are always wondering what’s next. I used to think about the future too much rather than tell myself everything will be fine; everything happens for a reason. And I actually learned that again here.”

Here at the hut, Clara lives in the moment. The mountains ground her. Her day is focused on satisfying the needs of her customers.

“They are hungry, they are thirsty. You cater for them, and they are happy.”

Clara is not fazed by the hut’s isolation and the sense of space – mountains rippling out to Germany in one direction and Italy in the other. She thrives on it. The moments when the workday is done and she’s left alone are the ones she consciously enjoys. Gazing out across the valley, she feels the peace and permanence of the Austrian Alps.

The simple things become beautiful again. Like watching the sun rising gently over the peaks each morning. And cooking and serving wholesome mountain food – homemade cakes, cheese dumplings, lentil soup and Brettljause, a cold meat and cheese platter.

Lake Laserzee (Oesterreich Werbung /Lukas Nagler)

3 reasons to escape to Austria’s mountains

Hikers at Bergsee (Oesterreich Werbung /Lukas Nagler)

You too can escape to the healing world of Clara’s mountains. Watch the sun rise over the peaks, their tips glowing pink. Start the day with a leisurely breakfast – Bircher muesli, fresh orange juice, local cheeses and cured sausage; crusty bread, fruit and coffee. Strap up your boots and head out across the sky. Feel the crunch of stone underfoot. Breathe in the mountain air. Taste the fruits of the forest. Run your fingers through the icy-cold water of a mountain stream.

1. For the serenity

Austria’s mountains are surounded by nature (Oesterreich Werbung/ Lukas Nagler)

Walking in the mountains strengthens lungs and lowers the heartbeat. Forest bathing on mountain slopes eases stress and worries, engenders happiness and lowers blood pressure. Bathing in a glacier-fed mountain lake boosts your immune system, gives you a natural high and improves your circulation. Stop to eat lunch in a mountain hut like Clara’s. Nourish yourself with the food of the mountains. Savour the dish, savour the peaks that stretch out to the horizon. Draw in their strength. Feel the calmness and serenity of your surroundings. Pausing to drink in the mountains is a lesson in mindfulness. You lose yourself in their magnificence, you breathe deeper, more slowly. There’s only this time and space; only this scene of beauty and stillness. The mountains envelop you, cradle you in their splendour.

The Austrian Alps teach us to slow down, to stop and meditate on the present. There is no past, there is no future.

2. To live mindfully with nature

Clara enjoying the peace on the south side of the Patscherkofel (Österreich Werbung, Raphael Sturm)

The stresses of a heavy workload in busy towns and cities are not conducive to good mental health; the constant grind wearing. We need time out, time to recalibrate and find equilibrium. There is arguably nowhere better to practise mindfulness and reconnect with nature than in the Austrian Alps. We return to our roots. Surrounded by great walls of mountains – their jagged peaks, the ever-changing skies around them, the rain-lashed summits, the quiet after the storm, the daggers of light and sunshine spreading gold on the mountain tops – we see our place in the grand scheme of things. Life is reduced to its essence.

And within this wide canvas, there is the beauty of the mountain’s detail: a comical toothy marmot peering over a boulder on its hind legs, the sun backlighting the veins of a leaf, a rainbow over a waterfall, the purple stain of bilberry; the dazzling red of a toadstool. This is the restorative power of nature.

3. To go back to the basics

Pack away the phone and give yourself up to the mountains. Rediscover the peace and tranquillity of our ancestors. Replace the screen on your laptop with the real-time three-dimensional views of towering peaks and half-hidden valleys. Spend your day in simplicity: a walk up to the next mountain hut, lunch on a restaurant terrace, an afternoon foraging in the forest, evenings spent reading on the balcony; watching the sun set or a storm passing over. Each day can be as varied as it is simple.  Decisions to be made are uncomplicated. Should I walk up to the mountain-top restaurant or take the cable-car? Should I swim in a quiet mountain tarn or try white river rafting? Should I choose Hüttenkartoffeln (potatoes with curd, cheese, and bacon) for lunch or homemade dumplings? Should I stop to sketch that flower meadow or keep climbing upwards?

After your mountain break, your pace will have slowed and priorities adjusted.

All these experiences are best enjoyed in #realAustria. Lose yourself in the wilderness of the Wilder Kaiser in the Kaisergebirge Nature Reserve. Swim in the meltwaters of the Dachstein Glacier at Vorderer Gosausee. Train your binoculars on golden eagle, chamois and marmot in Austria’s biggest and oldest national park at Hohe Tauern National Park. It’s all waiting for you.

What are you waiting for? 

Discover more of Austria now by heading over to the official website. 

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