Introducing Carinthia in Austria: heaven on earth?

Introducing Carinthia in Austria: heaven on earth?

For British property hunters, Austria tends to mean relatively affordable ski properties in the region around Salzburg, or less affordable ones in the world-class resorts of Kitzbuhel or Zell am See.

But there is a lot more to Austria, and not just for winter sports fans.
The country also attracts individuals relocating - for good reasons, not least the high standards of living, based on facilities, crime, food, education and climate.

Mercer's has once again placed Vienna at the top of Europe in 2012 - the 4th year running - in their Quality of Living Index, quoting it as one of the best cities to live in the world (

One region we'd like to focus on here is the area of Carinthia. It is the southern-most province in Austria, whose regional capital is Klagenfurt, which has an international airport served by Ryanair from Stansted in the UK. There are also internal flights to Vienna, as well as flights to Cologne/Bonn.

Carinthia also enjoys the international spotlight, hosting many well-known events. By far the biggest is the International Bike Week in September on the Faaker See. This sees over 75,000 bikers from all over Europe converging on this beautiful lake. Then there is the European Sports Car Festival in Velden, The World Body Painting Festival in Pörtschach, and concerts on the Wörthersee Lake, which have featured Mick Hucknell, James Blunt, James Morrison and Lionel Richie.

Equally, few people realise Carinthia has a Mediterranean climate, which in summer can match its southern partners like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. This beautiful province with over 200 lakes is an Austrian winter as well as a summer holiday paradise. There are perfect slopes, great snow conditions for skiing trips as well as sparkling, refreshing lakes and exquisite spa and wellness hotels for summer holidays.

Velden on the Wörthersee remains Austria's premier holiday resort, with its world famous lakeside château, casino and restaurants.

Bad Kleinkirchheim offers summer and winter fun, with 103 km of ski pistes, 25 lifts, 50 alpine huts in the Nockberge National Park. Best of all are the two spa complexes of Römerbad and St Kathrein, which offer world class indoor and outdoor spa facilities.

"Whether you are energetic and sporty or prefer the quieter aspects of leisure, Carinthia is the place for you" suggests Mike Stevens, a British expat.

"Try swimming in the beautiful clear water of the lakes, riding around them on your bike, wandering in the hills or sampling the regional culinary delights; you will go home refreshed and want to return next year as there are an endless stream of experiences and places to see. Living in Carinthia is really easy. There are great shops, out of town retail parks, endless leisure opportunities.

"Should you decide to set up home here, then you have probably made one of the best decisions in your life. Medical care is exceptional and available, schooling free, and excellent opportunities for young family members to get a great start in life. Family and tradition still matter, you can walk home of an evening without fear, everywhere is clean, and property is affordable and available."

Mike moved to Austria with his family in 2004, on the back of family ties with Carinthia, where his mother was a doctor and her father a state historian.

He bought an old hotel, which was then refurbished and brought back to life. Property being in the blood, they then bought an old pub near Villach, which the family are converting to a family home with apartments.

Mike teaches at the University in Klagenfurt and his wife teaches English in schools. Their children attend the local fashion college and grammar school.

"They have a great future with university still state-funded and a wealth of apprenticeships, internships and industry sponsored youth employment schemes," adds Mike.

"As a family we have absolutely no regrets - the move to Austria was the best decision they ever made. The weather is great, people friendly and welcoming, a great quality of life with a good work/leisure balance. Healthcare and schooling are excellent and infrastructure works even when there is two metres of snow!"

Mike is keen to share the joys of living in Carinthia through his real estate and recruitment business, Smart Move Austria.

Together with his team, he can offer UK and English speaking people the real chance of a new life in Carinthia, providing specialist home and job search, and the other support services vital for your lifestyle change.

So what about the property market there?

"The property market continues to show solid growth year on year, and Carinthian property prices are some 50 per cent less than similar property in the Salzburgerland or Tirol," says Mike.

"However in past two years over 1,000 new buyers decided to make Carinthia and the Wörthersee their home. Many of these new residents are regarded as extremely wealthy. As a result prices are on the move upwards."

He reports that Velden has come out as the top performing resort in Austria, beating the Tirol and Salzburg, placing Velden and the Wörthersee at the top of investors preferred locations. €300,000 will buy you a well-proportioned 3-4 bedroom house near the lake, whereas if you want to run your own business €375,000 will buy you a pension/B&B with six rooms plus personal apartment.

For those looking to buy a small hotel the entry price is currently €680,000, which will give you a 48 bed country hotel with stunning views, 5kms from Velden. Lakeside apartments start at around €750,000 and boutique hotels from €1.4m, with virtually guaranteed seasonal business.

"Carinthia is a great place to invest and live. Heaven on earth? Certainly up there with the best!" concludes Mike.

Read more about buying property in Austria here >>>


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