"Come to us, we have nothing"
And that's exactly what we needed: nothing!
The Villgraten valley, a side valley of the Pustertal Valley in Osttirol, is one of the most pristine natural and cultural landscapes in the Alpine region. The landscape with the striking timber buildings on the steeply sloping mountain meadows testifies that this high valley is still characterized by alpine farming. The habitants are rightly proud of their centuries-old traditions; sustainable farming is a priority for them. So, the Villgrater hospitableness, combined with beautiful landscapes and groups of typical Alpine lodges, make our heart beat faster. The Villgraten valley has been inhabited for almost 900 years and now has nearly 2,000 inhabitants.
Tourism? Tourism in this valley tends to be eco-friendly, large concrete hotels and mass tourism are rare here... and not without a reason. One of the local marketing slogans they advertise here is "Come to us, we have nothing".
The focus here is more on close contact to visitors in manageable but homelike accommodations. This is also one of the reasons why the Villgraten Valley is one of 20 Austrian "Mountaineering Villages", which are committed to natural and sustainable tourism. Thanks to eco-friendly tourism, the originality and beauty of this unique high valley can still be experienced with all your senses. The village of Innervillgraten, which has been preserved in a particularly genuine way, relies on gentle tourism, which can be optimally combined with agriculture and customs. Because of its rather remote location, Innervillgraten with its distinctive parish church of St. Martin has before 1956 not even been accessible all year.
In the alpine village of Ausservillgraten, which is characterized by agriculture, and the adjoining Winkeltal, we enjoyed nature-oriented and relaxing days to the fullest. Many of the varied hiking trails lead across lush alpine meadows, passing by beautiful huts.
A particularly worthwhile destination is the Oberstaller Alm - a listed alpine village with 18 rustic alpine huts, which are rented as holiday homes.
We walked past it several times, on our way to another new discovery in the mountains! Especially young people who don't quite know what they want in their lives will find the peace and quiet here to find out. With almost no clothes on, they sat in the icy flowing stream, silently looking up to their waists. There is no water and little (solar panels) electricity in the huts.
There is 1 central path between the huts, where mainly cows determine the streetscape.
Another great hike we did started at the small village of "Kalkstein" - a tranquil hamlet of Innervillgraten. There the pilgrimage church Maria Schnee, built in 1660, characterizes the landscape in the midst of wild nature.
Try the typical Austrian soup at the Understalle Alm in Innervillgraten!
Gerstensuppe is a soup made of barley with a few vegetables and a bit of speck.
Absolutely tasty and simple to make!
It is even so good that I know make it at home as well! Check the recipe here!