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Schladming bietet eine großartige Struktur für Skiliebhaber, Bild: Dietmar Rauscher / shutterstock

Schladming – The heart of Upper Styria

Schladming is located in the upper Enns Valley and is the tourist centre of Upper Styria. The small town has become known above all as a winter sports resort, to which the Alpine Ski World Championships in 1982 and 2013 contributed as well as the Ski World Cup races that regularly take place here. The most famous ski area in Schladming is the local mountain, the Planai, which is easily accessible with a cable car starting in the centre. Other ski areas are a few kilometres away, such as the Hauser Kaibling or the Hochwurzen. Together, these mountains form a ski area with a total of 123 kilometres of slopes, 43 cable cars and lifts and 56 ski huts.

Former mining town

Skywalk Schladming
The Skywalk Dachstein, Image: pridalo / shutterstock

With around 3,500 inhabitants, Schladming is now a rather small village. In earlier times, however, things looked quite different: Schladming was in the Middle Ages and in the early modern period – especially in the 14. and 15th century – one of the largest cities in the region due to the flourishing mining industry in the area. One of the old mines, the Brom Giant Tunnel in the Obertal, has been converted into a show mine and offers an exciting journey into the past. A small museum has been set up in the ruins of the neighbouring former nickel smelting furnace.

Cozy main square

Schladming is a cosy village, but there are hardly any real sights here despite its historical significance. The center is grouped around the main square, which is more of an elongated wide street than a square. Not too much historical building fabric has been preserved here, but the center of Schladming with its numerous restaurants and many small shops is quite cozy. The Catholic parish church dates back to a medieval building, and it received its present baroque appearance in the 16th century.

Of the historic building fabric, the Salzburg Gate, the last remnant of the old city wall, is particularly interesting. To the south of it, in the suburb that used to be outside the walls, there is a quarter with more shopping and nightlife options. The small town museum, located in a historic farmhouse, gives an overview of the town’s history. A kind of second city centre is the modern building complex “Planet Planai”, located a few hundred metres from the main square, which contains numerous shops in addition to the valley station of the Planai cable car. West of the city centre is the Schladminger Brewery, whose products are often found in the gastronomy of the entire Enns Valley.

Numerous hiking opportunities

Schladming in summer
Schladming in summer, Image: josefkubes / shutterstock

The tourist focus here is on the winter season, but Schladming is also a popular and attractive holiday destination in summer due to the countless hiking opportunities in the area. The location of the village between the Niedere Tauern on the southern and the Dachstein massif on the northern side of the Enns Valley is unique, the three valleys in the Lower Tauern – Untertal, Obertal and Preuneggtal – are easily accessible from here by car or by hiking bus. The mighty Dachstein massif is also within a radius that can be reached from Schladming as part of a day tour. A hiking bus also runs to the Dachstein cable car near Raumsau from the centre of Schladming.

Schladming’s local mountain: the Planai

The Planai is one of the peaks of the Niedere Tauern above the village and the local mountain of Schladming. The most famous ski slopes in the area are located here. In summer, you can start a day tour on the Planai to the centre of the Niedere Tauern, take a leisurely lap on the short panoramic circular trail, which is even suitable for prams, or simply enjoy the view with a coffee in the restaurant at the mountain station. This is mainly determined here by the monumental south face of the Dachstein massif, which rises to an altitude of almost 3000 meters on the opposite side of the Enns. For children, there is a small adventure play park next to the mountain station, the Hopsiland. If you are looking for a little more adventure in summer, you can ride a mountain bike down one of the numerous downhill tracks that have been set up on the slopes of the Planai. The cable car, which also takes bicycles, takes care of the ascent.

Untertal and Riesach Falls

One of the most beautiful excursion options in the area is the Untertal, which stretches from Schladming for about 14 kilometres into the heart of the Niedere Tauern. The main attraction in Untertal is the Riesach Falls. If you add up the two levels of the waterfall, it is one of the highest waterfalls in Styria. The Riesach Falls are accessible via a rather steep hiking trail that leads past several viewpoints. Above the Riesach Falls, you can continue the hike to the picturesquely situated Riesachsee or to the Preintalerhütte.

Preuneggtal and Ursprungalm

In addition to Untertal and Obertal, the Preuneggtal forms the third of the Schladming Tauern valleys. The road leading into the valley ends after about 15 kilometres at the 1600-metre-high Ursprungalm, which is certainly the most beautiful head of the valley near Schladming: the rustic alpine huts are widely scattered on a green meadow, surrounded by steep rocky slopes. A half-day hike leads up to the Giglach lakes, which can be circumnavigated on an easy walking path