Top 10 summer locations in the Steyr region and the Kalkalpen National Park
Interesting castles and monasteries, spectacular landscapes and fascinating traditional handicrafts all make the Steyr region and the Kalkalpen National Park a great area for all ages to explore. There is also the 1000 year history of the town of Steyr itself, with its impressive industrial heritage and new arts and cultural initiatives. The result is an eclectic mix that really gets under your skin. And always creates lasting memories. Summer is the best time for enjoying the region. The top 10 summer locations in the Steyr region and the Kalkalpen National Park are waiting to be discovered.
Explore Steyr’s old town
As you stroll through Steyr, you can get lost in the pretty alleyways as you marvel at the different façades and styles of town houses from every period. The 13th century Gothic Bummerlhaus mansion is a must-see for every visitor. It is the town’s symbol. Impressive Lamberg Palace on one side and the Steyr-Tabor observation deck on the other are awesome places for fantastic views. And: Upper Austria’s third largest town was established at a very specific location – the confluence of the Enns and Steyr rivers. The riversides provide a refreshing atmosphere in summer with a touch of Mediterranean flair.
Nature and culture around every corner
You can discover ancient craft traditions at the heritage village of Trattenbach in the valley of the knife makers. Knives have been made there since medieval times and the people have earned their living from producing pocket knives for almost 500 years. Although they worked in an isolated narrow valley, they were always open to the world, and their knives became famous, being used as far afield as Hungary, Greece and even Morocco. In the heritage village you can find out all about this essential tool, you can watch the craftspeople at work and even try your hand at making a knife in one of the workshops. This gives you a first-hand experience of what it takes to produce these tools, and at the same time you get a unique souvenir to take home.
The Kalkalpen National Park itself is also one of the Top 10 summer locations around Steyr. This magnificent area is placed in the south of the region and offers extensive opportunities for hiking, cycling, climbing and other adventures. In 2022, the park is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Sections of it were given further recognition five years ago, as the 5,250 hectares of beech woodland was added to the list of UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites along with the Dürrenstein wilderness area.
Historic buildings and culinary highlights
The region contains plenty of impressive historic monuments that are shrouded in legends. The ruins of Losenstein Castle are one example. The castle was built in 1150, which makes it one of the oldest castles in Austria. Along with Klaus Castle in the Steyr Valley, it was intended to guard the route into the interior of Styria. That is why it was built high up on a cliff, where the holders of the castle had an incredible view over large stretches of the Enns. Today, it still sits proudly above the centre of Losenstein and, thanks to its child-friendly information signs, is ideal for a family excursion.
Meanwhile, Schlierbach Abbey includes venerable buildings and is a centre for production of cheese. This fascinating site was first mentioned in 927, when the abbey was originally built as a castle. Highlights include the abbey church with its frescoes and lavish stucco mouldings, the Baroque library, the magnificent Bernardisaal chamber and the Schlierbach Madonna, a Gothic wooden figure of the Virgin Mary. However, these days its not just architecture fans who enjoy a visit – cheese lovers will be in their element too. Since 1995, Schlierbach has been home to the 1st working cheese dairy open to visitors. You can get an insight into cheese making and sample some of the products.
Discover historic vehicles and transport routes
The Gruber Carriage Museum is another attraction on the list of the Top 10 summer locations in the Steyr region and the Kalkalpen National Park. Austria's largest carriage museum is dedicated to historic means of transport and the associated equipment. The gallery is the result of a private initiative by the passionate collector Franz Gruber and has been open to the general public since 1986. You will see not only carriages, but also sleighs as well as commercial and agricultural vehicles, some of which date back to the 17th century. The collection includes everything from old fire engines and mail vans to hearses and even some fine coupés and hunting carriages.
If you love trains, you should definitely take a ride on Austria's oldest narrow gauge railway. The Steyr Valley railway once ran from Garsten via Grünburg and Molln to Klaus, with a branch line via Sierning to Bad Hall, and was primarily used for forestry and the metalworking industry. It was used extensively for transporting timber. Since 1985, the heritage railway has been running as a visitor attraction on 17 kilometres of track. But the train is just as exciting as it ever was. The Steyr Valley heritage railway is an impressive technical achievement, wending its way through some romantic and wild scenery and evoking a feeling of times long past.
Return to long forgotten times
“Austrian scythe forging” is an old tradition that the UNESCO Commission designated as intangible cultural heritage in 2014. At the Schmiedleithen open air museum, you can learn all about this craft. It is located just 30 kilometres southwest of Steyr. The impressive historic houses and workshops are from a long forgotten time and are another point of our Top 10 summer locations in Steyr and the Kalkalpen National Park. You can discover the museum on your own account by tackling the 2.5 or 4 kilometre themed trail, or join a tour.
The region is also home to the last two families who still make the traditional Molln jew’s harp. They are the last people keeping alive the once widespread handicraft, which is also on the intangible cultural heritage list. At the Molln jew’s harp centre, you can find out all you need to know first hand from the Schwarz family – who have been making these musical instruments since 1679 – for example how the jew’s harp developed into the harmonica and later the accordion. The Wimmer-Bades jew’s harp workshop is also open to visitors. On a free tour you can discover the history of the jew's harp for yourself and learn about production and even how to play the instrument.
Do you prefer to head up into the sky? Then head for the Micheldorf gliding centre. It’s located 40 kilometres southwest of Steyr. A glider can take you up to lofty heights. Including some stunning views.