In Eastern Styria, landscapes are transformed into fertile gardens. Traditions are valued side by side with a practised openness to new things. Trails are blazed in harmony with nature. Quality counts, and that takes time. What is gently refined pleases the palate.
When you immerse yourself in Eastern Styria, you realise the magic lies in a carefully maintained balance. Landscapes where nature is the yardstick: Ancient fruit varieties, meadows with a rich diversity of species, fields rich in humus and lush, green pastures are a feast for the eyes. In their diversity, the landscapes of Eastern Styria form a magnificent whole. Welcome to Austria’s garden.
Stories of the country and its people come alive. In the ApfelLand, the Abakus men celebrate a mystic apple cult. The heritage “Hirschbirne” pear variety puts down roots in the valley of pears, the best grape varieties ripen on the sunny slopes of the Ringkogel in the Hartbergerland and the woolly pig is happy. Finding such experiences is part of Eastern Styria’s charm. The people who live here love what has been entrusted to them. They appreciate the beauty of the landscape and value the diversity. Preserving it is dear to their heart.
Diversity in virtually all respects in a region as small as Eastern Styria is unique: It ranges from alpine cattle and mountain lamb to honey, cheese, pears and apples. From alpine pastures and peaks to valleys, lakes and downtown areas.
Explore Eastern Styria and its landscaped gardens by taking a hike along a burbling brook, enjoying a swimming lake or relaxing over a cup of coffee in a romantic old town atmosphere.
What could be more beautiful than a garden bursting with fruit. The ApfelLand is a single vast orchard. When everything blooms in the spring, the apple and cherry blossoms display their most beautiful side.
Directly behind the Rabenwald, just one valley over, is the Pöllauer Tal Nature Park with its meadow orchards of ancient fruit trees. The “Hirschbirne” pear, which has become rare, has been growing here for generations. Thanks to its special aroma, it was accepted into the Slow Food ark of flavour. “Pöllauer Hirschbirne” has been a protected indication of origin since 2015.
Alpine pastures are cultivated landscapes, used and shaped by animals and humans through agriculture, often over many centuries. Two alpine regions in Eastern Styria present special types of gentle alpine landscaped gardens: From the Tyrnauer Alm to the Teichalm, from the Sommeralm to the Brandlucken, 125 alpine pastures form the “Almenland Nature Park”, Europe’s largest contiguous and farmed alpine region. Around 3000 cows, calves, oxen, sheep and horses graze the alpine pastures between June and September, making a valuable contribution to their maintenance.
The Joglland-Waldheimat region is located between the Wechsel mountain range, Rabenwaldkogel and Masenberg. This is where Peter Rosegger, known for his distinctive literary descriptions of this country, was born. The legend of how the Joglland got its name shows that it is not just a precious piece of nature in the form of a vast alpine garden with a unique wealth of plants and animals, but also an ancient cultivated landscape.
The Hochwechsel towers above the country with its height of 1,743 metres. It is home to alpine pastures, locally known as “Schwaigen”, lush herbal meadows, dark green forest with mossy floors, resinous fir trees, mushrooms and berries. Hiking is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the features of this landscape.
The Joglland Waldheimat, the Nature Park Almenland and the Wechselland herbal region have a lot to offer aside from their ancient Schwaigen. If you are looking for the best local herbs, you will find them here, produced by herb growers. On the way, you will pass what are probably the most beautiful floral villages in Eastern Styria. Communities compete in the annual Styrian floral arrangement contest to select the winning floral village. Many villages have won the “Entente Florale” in the European floral arrangement contest.
Grapes thrive here as well, since two millennia on the sunny side between the southeastern foothills of the Alps and the Pannonian lowlands, with a wide range of varieties produced today thanks to many different soil types.
They range from the typical Welschriesling to expressive Sauvignon blancs to the intensive Zweigelt. Be sure to try the “Urbanus”, the flagship wine of Eastern Styria’s Wine Road, on your visit to the region. It’s archaeological trail extends 70 km across the ApfelLand, the Nature Park Pöllauer Tal and Hartbergerland, passing vineyards in delightful settings and cosy wine bars.
If “Eastern Styria’s Vegetable Road” existed, it would lead through the region of Weiz and St. Ruprecht an der Raab. A rich variety of vegetables thrives here in the fields, from corn to potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and pumpkins, from which the famous green gold of Styria, the genuine Styrian pumpkin seed oil, is pressed.
The runner bean also grew famous here. With its unmistakable colour and shape, it features a soft, creamy consistency, delicate, nutty aroma and slightly peppery finish. Not only has the runner bean always been an unmistakable constant in the local cuisine, it is also a popular export to the world of culinary art.
What would a city be without its gardens, parks and boulevards? Even in a city, there are places you can enjoy shady trees, fragrant shrubs, colourful flowers and high meadows. Suspend the city’s noise by pausing: Walk barefoot in the grass of a park, taking time to enjoy the tranquillity, before continuing to the palace garden or pavement café, the next boutique or the pub around the corner. Gardens are taking over cities: Balconies and terraces are increasingly being transformed into kitchen gardens while roofs, walls and façades are turned into green spaces.
Eastern Styria’s small towns of Friedberg, Weiz, Gleisdorf and Hartberg have a special atmosphere: Here the clarity and coolness of the mountains, hills and forests blends with the warmth and lightness of the Mediterranean. This fascinating tension can be experienced at every step, between historic and modern architecture, in narrow alleys, before stone portals, on picturesque squares, in lively markets, all of this bordered by the refreshing green of their gardens.