5 ways to recharge in Austria’s Salzburg Mountains

5 ways to recharge in Austria’s Salzburg Mountains

Journeys with a motivation to heal and boost one’s health are not unique to 21st-century travel. Everyone from Bronze Age hunters to Victorian aristocrats have sought rejuvenation from mountainous regions such as the Austrian Alps, recognising the refreshingly crisp air, mineral-infused waters and alleged healing properties of the indigenous wildflowers found here.

Today, alongside its excellent ski scene and culinary opportunities, the Grossarltal region has seen a growth in the number of activities aimed at promoting mental and physical health. Whether it’s quieting the mind through mountain-top yoga or visiting spas that harness the calming effect of the Alpine scenery, here are five ways to boost your wellbeing in the Grossarl valley.

1. Connect with nature

Tucked into the folds of some of Austria’s highest mountains, Grossarl is intimately connected with the monumental landscape surrounding it. Only a smattering of hamlets lie further along the Grossarl valley, including Hüttschlag, a collection of ancient timber chalets at the gateway to the Hohe Tauern National Park. During the winter season, this peaceful spot offers cross-country skiing on the banks of the Grossarler Ache stream and, year-round, travellers can enjoy hikes of various levels, including the four-hour walk to Tappenkarsee, the largest lake in the Eastern Alps, which instils calm with its mirror-like waters. Keen-eyed hikers can refocus their busy minds with some wildlife spotting, too, glimpsing some of the national park’s ‘big five’: ibex, chamois, golden eagles, bearded vultures and marmots.

Tucked into the folds of some of Austria’s highest mountains, Grossarl is intimately connected with the monumental landscape surrounding it.

Photograph by Mila Mai, Getty Images

2. Explore the region’s healing hikes

Hiking, which is known to be beneficial for physical and mental health, is a simple activity that becomes even more powerful when combined with meditation. The Chapel Path is a 10.5-mile-long pilgrimage trail that starts from Grossarl’s baroque church and takes walkers to Pertill Chapel at the head of the valley. Known locally as the Path of Good Wishes, hikers are invited to meditate and practise gratitude at each of the 10 chapels that line the way.

Contemplation comes naturally, too, at the Trail of the Senses on the Gehwolfalm pasture in Grossarl’s ski area. Five points have been constructed here to represent wood, earth, water, fire and metal, encouraging visitors to consider the interaction between the elements, humankind and nature.

3. Take a mountain yoga class

Combining closeness to nature with purposeful movement, mountain-based yoga can be a transcendent experience. It forms a key part of BERG-GESUND, a programme of non-ski activities that encourage travellers to ‘decelerate’ and engage with the mountains on a deeper level. Book accommodation at select Grossarltal hotels to enjoy complimentary access to BERG-GESUND classes, including everything from yoga, snowshoeing and fitness hikes to paragliding flights, indoor climbing and ski touring sampler sessions.

4. Immerse yourself in mindful bread-making 

Alpine mindfulness isn’t just reached through physical or outdoor pursuits, it can also be found in a sensory experience as simple as bread-making — something that’s been practiced across this region for centuries. Accessed via a short gondola ride, the Gehwolfalm mountain hut (set 1,686m above sea level on the Kreuzkogel massif), is possibly among the highest, and most scenic, places in which you can take a bread-making workshop. Here, you can learn to prepare dough using an old family recipe, and once the bread has been baked, you can sample it with freshly churned alpine butter. For an alternative breadmaking workshop, try the Hotel Alte Post in the heart of Grossarl, where dirndl-clad Maria Knapp teaches guests how to ‘bake bread like Grandma’ — a reference to the inspirational Anna Knapp, who first bought the then Gasthof zur Alten Post with her husband in 1920.

Das Edelweiss Salzburg Mountain Resort has harnessed the local flora within a selection of handmade natural cosmetic products.

Photograph by Das Edelweiss Salzburg Mountain Resort

5. Book a spa experience

Recognising the purity and regenerative powers of the plants that flourish in Grossarltal, such as edelweiss, stone pine, arnica and lemon balm, Das Edelweiss Salzburg Mountain Resort has harnessed the power of local flora within a selection of handmade natural cosmetic products. These Edelweiss Natur products, created by pharmacist Monika Wirnsberger-Machner, draw on ingredients like mountain salt for its toxin-reducing properties, rosemary for boosting circulation and local edelweiss for its natural antioxidants. Spa experiences here can include infrared cabins and brine pools for weary limbs and saunas of varying temperatures, some of which afford panoramic views over the mesmerising Grossarl Mountains to help visitors restore a sense of calm.

This is paid content for Das Edelweiss. It does not necessarily reflect the views of National Geographic, National Geographic Traveller (UK) or their editorial staffs.

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