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Steiermark - The Green Heart of Austria

I spent the last few weeks in the Styria (Steiermark) Provence of Austria. I had almost never been to Austria in summer. Austria is of course known for its skiing areas and a very popular skiing destination in winter. But there is also lots to do in summer. You can relax or be active, or a combination of it. That’s basically what I did. I spent about 10 days in the Styria Provence. Half of my time in the Schladming-Dachstein area, hiking and exploring the mountains. The other half I spent in the South of Steiermark (Sudsteiermark). A more relaxing place where you can enjoy wine tasting and the beautiful scenery of all the vineyards.

In this photo series I am giving you an impression of the Steiermark Provence in Austria. It’s a mixture of mountains and vineyards. There is just so much to see in this Provence and when you see the pictures it comes as no surprise that they call this Provence ‘The Green Heart of Austria’. Because yes, especially in summer everything looks so green! Even in the mountains.

Right on my arrival in Schladming-Dachstein I was greeted with a spectacular thunderstorm over the iconic Dachstein mountain range. The rest of the days were rather hot with a variety of weather conditions. Schladming-Dachstein is spectacular. If you want to hike or cycle (mountain-biking), this is the place. There are tons of hikes through the mountains and you can make it as easy or difficult as you want. I was doing some hiking everyday through areas like the Dachstein Glacier, Planai, Reiteralm and the most spectacular area was the Klafferkessel for me. This rather long hike upwards (35k steps that day) takes you to an area with over 30 lakes. Special thanks to Herbert Raffalt, a great local photographer for going with me up there. And that’s basically what I did in the Schladming-Dachstein area: hiking everyday!

After that I drove a small 3 hours to the south of the Provence: Sudsteiermark. This area is known for their vineyards. And they look beautiful in summer. Everything is just so green. While I had quite some (unusual) rain in the days I stayed there, everything looked even greener after the rain! It was really a joy to just drive around and seeing the beauty of the area. The famous Weinstrasse has beauty on every corner. Not really being a wine person, I still really enjoyed all the wine tastings I was invited to. In fact, I felt like a pro after a while and really enjoyed the wines there. A lot of high quality wines around the world come from this region. All the wineries on the roads were just so nice and you could really see and feel the passion of the owners everywhere. Sometimes I was just taking photos of the vineyards and the owner came out, had a little talk with me (in my very average to bad german) and offered me to taste some of his wines. The atmosphere was just so kind, with beautiful landscapes all around.

But not only the landscapes. It’s like they had a competition going on there for whoever makes their house the most pretty with flowers. All the houses were decorated with flowers, one more beautiful than the other. In these series you’ll see some of them, but I’ll make a separate series of the houses from Steiermark in the future.

I also visited the Schilcherland wine area, close to the Weinstrasse of the Sudsteiermark area. This area is a bit less known and famous, but also has a special atmosphere to it. It’s a bit more ‘cute’ I would say. Here you can find more vineyards and very classic little villages. It’s really a little gem. In this area I stayed at a castle overlooking the vineyards: Castle Deutschlandsberg. Staying here for the last 2 days of the trip was the perfect place to end. I decided to relax a bit more and just enjoy the scenery and atmosphere. I’d like to thank Karin for guiding me around to see the most beautiful spots in her home area.

I really enjoyed the Steiermark Provence in Austria and I am already looking forward to returning in a different season, preferably with my girlfriend as she is the real wine expert. Thank you for the regions, region managers, and the tourism department of Austria for inviting me.

Please enjoy these photo series of Steiermark Austria. For more info, visit

Gear used:

Klafferkessel is a laike plateau on 2,300 meters above sea level in the Schladminger Tauern mountain range. Getting here takes some effort, but is very rewarding with spectacular scenic views. This is a photo from the sky.

The vineyards on the Weinstrasse of the Sudsteiermark area are full of little details, like this small church on the top of a hill of a vineyard. It looks straight out of a fairytale.

As a Dutchman, I am fascinated by windmills. In the south of Steiermark they had their own version of windmills looking like this. I heard they were quite noisy when they were operating, but I didn’t see a single one working when I was there. I was told that they were mainly used for scenic purposes in the tourist areas. Also notice the roses? It’s an initiative from the province to make everything even more beautiful. The vineyards actually get some funding for this from the government :)

Seen enough green yet? You can find beautiful streams with so many greens around it in Steiermark. There are just plants everywhere.

I was welcomed by this spectacular thunderstorm basically absorbing the Dachstein mountains. Shortly after taking this photo I had to run, as there were flashes and strong thunders around me. Not to mention the hail.

Beauty is in the little things. After a rain shower I took some close up images of the flowers in the mountains. I saw these ones a lot and really liked them, especially with the water drops on them.

A zig zag of light hitting the edge of a mountain on the Klafferkessel area high up in the Dachstein mountains.

I stayed at this castle the last few days of my trip, overlooking the vineyards high up on the hill. This is the shot of a sunrise. You can see over the vineyards and see the sun rise right from the castle.

Low clouds and nice weather conditions in the Dachstein mountains. Notice the little hut on the left. I would really call this a signature of the area. You can find these interesting little huts everywhere.

The lines of the vineyards in the Sudsteiermark area are great to place with for abstract views.

The layers of the hills lit up by the sunset in the South of Steiermark, close to the Slovenian border. When the last light hits the hills everything just looks like a painting.

A calm scene down in the valley in Schladming-Dachstein about 20 minutes after sunset with the last glow in the sky. When the sun sets and most people go back to their hotel or are sitting at dinner, I loved the relaxing atmosphere of the area.

I was surprised about the beautiful houses and how they were located in Schladming-Dachstein. Houses, hotels, all having a great mountain view with so much green around them. This house really stood out to me, with the spectaculair Dachstein mountains as a backdrop and the huge trees basically in their garden.

When hiking I was often greeted by mountain goats. These goats followed me for a long time. Like I was one of their group. They eventually walked away from the hiking path, straight up to a mountain. They stood their for a while making noise at me, basically saying that I should come with them. I had to leave them right there as they were much better at climbing the mountain than me. That said, I did make some portraits of them.

A picturesque little chapel with the last sunset light on the Weinstrasse of Sudsteiermark.

On the vineyards in the south I got some interesting weather conditions. This was a little clearing in between the thunderstorms in the morning, casting some great light on the vineyards in combination with the dark cloud. It almost looks like a painting.

In Sudsteiermark the houses look out of a fairytale. Everyone decorates them with so many flowers. It’s like its a competition whoever has the most beautiful house.

Schilcherland, another wine area close to Sudsteiermark has a magic atmosphere to it. Photos from this place look like paintings.

An abstract image of clouds going through a forest in Schladming-Dachstein.

An Aerial image of the vineyards in the morning just after the rain. You can see the low rainclouds slowly drifting away. I really like how the lines of the vineyards look in the bottom of the image.

So many vineyards look so picturesque on the Weinstrasse of Sudsteiermark. Here there was one in combination with some sunflowers. These vineyards belong to herr Strauss, a very passionate winemaker that invited me to taste his wines. I walked away with some of them :)

You can take the cable car to the top of the Dachstein Glacier. It has really spectacular views. I enjoyed watching the crows sitting on top of the rocks there. Gives you a different perspective as they just fly around there while you just took the cable car to get there.

The typical landscape of the Sudsteiermark area, after a rainshower. You can see the rainclouds in the background and the wet scenery. Everything just looks glowing and so green after the rain.

Wooden houses and flowers. A combination you see a lot in the wine areas in the south. I took out my camera every time.

Another little scene of people taking effort in making their garden pretty.

Castle Deutschlandsberg where I stayed my last 2 nights, lit up in the evening. To get up there you take a winding road through the winefields.


Although I had heard that they operated at a considerable volume, I did not observe a single one in operation during my visit. I was informed that their primary function in tourist areas was for aesthetic purposes. Consider the roses as well. An endeavor undertaken by the province to enhance the aesthetic appeal of everything. phrazle

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