a girl riding on the back of a horse
(c) SalzburgerLand Tourismus, Achim Meurer, Mädchen mit Pferd

SalzburgerLand: A paradise for animal lovers

In this arena of unspoilt nature all number of creatures great and small are waiting to be discovered

SalzburgerLand really is a holiday paradise for animal lovers. Not only do people greatly respect animals and their unspoilt habitats, but there’s no end to the animal-related adventures that can be had here. Perhaps you enjoy riding out on horseback and would like to experience the wild beauty of the region from the back of your trusted stead. Maybe you’d like to spot rare birds, animals and wild plants with the help of an experienced guide in the Hohe Tauern National Park. It could be that you’d just like to watch the ‘almabtrieb’ custom when the cows are brought back from their summer grazing on the meadows every autumn. Whatever floats your boat, there’s every opportunity to encounter all creatures great and small in this region.

Horse Riding

Galloping through blooming Alpine flower meadows with the wind blowing through your hair, trotting through clear cool mountain streams, discovering new and hitherto untrodden paths… For riders there’s nothing more exhilarating and exciting that exploring the world by horseback. Why not, then, explore SalzburgerLand’s furthest corners in this way? You will encounter unrivalled hospitality from horse-friendly establishments and develop a very special relationship with your four-legged friend. Look no further than the following fantastic network of riding paths to kick off your summer riding adventure.

Jugendliche sitzen auf ihren stillstehenden Pferden auf einer grünen Wiese.

© SalzburgerLand Tourismus, Eva-Maria Repolusk – horse riding with friends

The Dachstein Tauern Ride

The Dachstein Tauern Ride refers to horse trekking along a network of bridle paths which cover more than 200km of the Salzburg Sportwelt region. There are direct connections to other bridle paths in the surrounding regions, making riding here particularly enjoyable. Hotels and guesthouses along the way specialise in horses and riders, thereby offering up a perfect equestrian vacation.

Via Aurea

The Via Aurea is a very special experience on horseback. The old gold trails, the packers’ paths, which connected the various mines, have all been brought back to life. You can take a guided ‘packer expedition’ and trek along this route. You’ll pass several riding stables which serve as popular rest stops. Visit historic mines and mining museums, gold-panning sites and much more along the way. Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein and Rauris are all ideal bases from which to set out and explore the Via Aurea.

Lungau Riding Paths

There’s no end to the delights awaiting riders in the Lungau region. You can order a special map for horse riders, which provides you with information on all the trails along with other important tips. The sign-posted network of bridle paths also connects into other regions, giving riders access to a practically endless number of trails. The Lungau, a region which lies entirely above the 1,000-metre mark in elevation, boasts particularly attractive and unique landscapes, leaving riders wanting for nothing.

Tour the Hohe Tauern National Park with a ranger

The rangers love to share their knowledge and experience about the unique high landscapes in the Hohe Tauern National Park.  There are over 30 guided tours available. Not only will you learn fascinating titbits about wild animals, plants and botanical features of the park, but the rangers’ local knowledge and interpersonal skills ensure you will have an inspiring and educational day. The national park rangers have a very varied job description, and they also give lectures and lead walks and educational programmes in primary and secondary schools. They must have three years of training behind them, which ensures that their natural science knowledge, know-how and training skills are second to none.

Almabtrieb in SalzburgerLand

The end of the Alpine Summer and the beginning of the Bauernherbst (“harvest festival”) heralds the ‘almabtrieb’, when the cattle are welcomed back from their summer grazing to the valley below. As long as the summer grazing season has passed by safely and without any fatalities for humans and animals alike, the herds are colourfully decorated and welcomed home with music and dance performances. Most of these festivals happen around the feast of Saint Rupert (24th September) or in early October and are enjoyable for locals and tourists alike. The herd leader, or “Wreath Cow”, plays a particularly important role and wears an ostentatious wreath carefully fashioned from twigs, flowers, grass and ribbon, all plaited up into the form of a crown whilst he leads the others from mountain pastures back down into the valley.  The wreath usually also incorporates a cross to ask for heavenly protection and a mirror and bell to ward off evil spirits. The rest of the cattle usually have headdresses made of Alpine rose or mountain pine as well as silver thistle and silk flowers.

Eine Schnalzergruppe sitzt auf stolzen Pferden und trabt an einigen Zusehern vorbei.

© SalzburgerLand Tourismus, Eva-Maria Repolusk – harvest festival

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