When Matthias Rauter steps in front of his centuries-old ancestral farmhouse early in the morning, he first gazes up into the sky: “What’s the weather going to be like?” As a farmer, this is a question that matters a lot to him, but it also interests him personally as well as his guests. As the chairman of the tourist board of Mariapfarr, he supervises the weather station that was installed here over 20 years ago and whose data is sent to the ZAMG meteorology centre. Visitors have been coming to Mariapfarr and its summer retreat since the beginning of the 20th century, especially because of the excellent cool air and because of all the sun. Indeed, Mariapfarr is known to be one of the sunniest locations in Austria. “A weather station was needed for us to be able to use the title ‘climate health destination’. We have been the sunniest place in Austria for a long time anyway,” explains Matthias Rauter. “Meanwhile, however, there are many more weather stations all over Austria which also record a high number of sunny days in other towns and cities. But we are still ahead of everyone else.”
More than 300 sunny days per year in Mariapfarr — guaranteed
The weather experts of the ZAMG gladly confirm it. “The SalzburgerLand region of Lungau creates a kind of basin within the Alps with tall mountains all around. Rain and moisture remain with the mountains of the northern and southern Alps, which results in very few clouds and plenty of sunshine. This is why the Lungau region is considered such a sunny area.” Several communities have come together in Mariapfarr and even provide sun warranties. “If the sun doesn’t shine for at least a single minute during one of your holidays, you either get a voucher for a free overnight stay in the coming summer holiday or a voucher for an immediate day pass to the SAMSUNN spa facility,” Matthias Rauter explains.
Stimulating climate to excite the airways and the lungs
An additional feature of the SalzburgerLand region of Lungau is its altitude — except for the town of Ramingstein, located at 970 metres, all other 14 municipalities are located at an altitude of higher than 1,000 metres. The altitude makes for excellent, clear air and is thus particularly soothing for those with allergies. That the climate in the SalzburgerLand region of Lungau is particularly healthy was proven by an expert hired by the provincial government of Salzburg. The Lungau basin is protected from wind north, west and south. The low air pressure and strong ultra violet light result in deeper breaths which in turn leads to a multiplication of red blood cells during longer stays. The air pressure at an altitude of 1,000 metres also has beneficial effects on many people. Due to the altitude, dust mites and pollen don’t stand a chance, which is why extended stays in Lungau are especially healing for those with allergies.
Similarly positive results have been documented by the AMAS altitude study: It proved that an extend stay at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,500 metres above sea level has demonstrable positive effects on the human body and stabilises blood pressure, alleviates allergies and increases sleep quality. An altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level can be quickly achieved in the UNESCO Bisophere Park Salzburger Lungau. The Prebersee lake alone, suitable for swimming during the summer, is located at 1,527 metres. In general, the title “UNESCO Biosphere Park” can be regarded similarly to a Michelin Star in gastronomy — it promises and guarantees a first-class nature and relaxation experience.
Crystal-clear nights and heavenly calm allow for truly relaxing sleep
At night, dark means dark in the SalzburgerLand region of Lungau. There is little stray light between the Niedere Tauern and the Nock Mountains in comparison to the rest of Austria, which allows for an incredibly clear look at the stars. The Lungau astronomer Dr Eric Thell can confirm this, “The low amount of stray light together with the elevation ensures that hobby astronomers can make great observations and take phenomenal pictures, whilst guests get to enjoy beautiful starry nights.”
Due to the low population density in SalzburgerLand’s Lungau region, light pollution is very low — constant lighting at night in the towns and at the roads is consciously avoided by the Lungau municipalities.
These factors contribute to truly relaxing sleep — complete darkness, calm and cooler climates have been proven to be the ideal conditions for excellent sleep. At around 40%, almost half of Austrians suffer from sleep deprivation — in the Lungau region, on the other hand, folks are sleeping tight. This is also partly due to the cool nights as the meteorologists of the ZAMG confirm. “Due to the altitude and Lungau’s location within a basin, we record some of the coldest temperatures in the country here at night. This very soothing during the hot summer months, particularly for those who cannot cope with the heat very well.” Ramingstein and Tamsweg are among the coldest towns in Austria.
Sunrise hikes in SalzburgerLand’s Lungau region
The climate in SalzburgerLand’s Lungau region also leads to a number of botanical peculiarities — this includes the largest biodiversity of flowers in the Alpine area. The high proportion of coniferous trees, which benefit from the climate here, contributes to the richness in berries, mushrooms and other fungi.
If you can’t stay in bed for long in the morning, despite the ideal sleeping conditions, you may head for a sunrise hike in SalzburgerLand’s Lungau region, which is provided by the holiday region of Salzburg’s Lungau, the Biosphere Park guides or by the hosts of the BE.REAL partner businesses.
Guests at the spa hotel Alm.Gut in St. Margarethen already start at 03:40am. “Just after four, we go from the Karneralm mountain pasture, located at an altitude of 1,900 metres, to the Kleiner Königstuhl mountain,” Irmi Lüftenegger from Alm.Gut tells me. “After an hour-long climb, we then wait for the sun at the summit cross, which rises at 05:02am at the earliest.”
Bettina van der Vaart from the Dreiländerwirt pension is a Biosphere Park pro and likes to take her guests on a summit journey onto the Lachriegl summit or the Gumma summit. As part of the BE.REAL programme, she provides 2-day hiking tours including overnight stays at a hut, sunrise gazing and breakfast at a “wonderful nature location”.
Those who prefer their sunrises more comfortable can take the Sonnenbahn mountain railway up to the Speiereck mountain at enjoy the sunrise at Peterbauerkreuz spot followed by a sunrise breakfast on the Peterbaueralm mountain pasture.
“Sonnenaufgangsfahrt” (sunrise ascent), every Wednesday from 2 July 2017; register via the TVB St. Michael (until 3pm the day before).
Holiday package “Recharge your batteries on the most beautiful stage in the world”
3-star hotel pension “Häuserl im Wald” in Mariapfarr
- 7 nights at the hotel pension Häuserl im Wald in Mariapfarr,
Austria’s sunniest spot
- Cosy double room with plenty of bright spruce wood, sun and light, balcony with view of Lungau’s mountain world
- Breakfast buffet and 4-course menu with salad buffet in the evening
- Crystal-clear mountain water energised by the “Grander Technology”
- Wellness area with Finnish sauna, steam bath, infrared cabin, panorama relaxation room and garden
- Digital detox: safekeeping of mobile phone and laptop in the hotel safe (on request)
- Guided wilderness and forest exploration tour with the hosts
- Lungau picnic at the Longa river with regional products
- 1 energising 30-minute massage
- 2 guided outdoor yoga experiences by the calmly running water of the Longa river
- Tips from the hosts for day trips with the in-house electric bicycle around one of the pristine valleys
- Organisation of a fishing license for the Longa river — the catch will be prepared in the evening (on request)
- Lungau card for the use of mountain railways, trip destinations, sights, etc.
From €510 per person/DR
Book between 01.06. – 08.10.2017