"Villach: A Quiet but Lively City" Top 5 Page for this destination Villach by mydreamquest
Villach Travel Guide: 78 reviews and 244 photos
While on my way to Florence from Salzburg, I found myself at Villach Hauptbahnhof with 50 minutes between train rides so, since I would actually be staying here a few days later, decided to get a feel for this city.
It's calm with friendly people who smiled at me and seemed intimate and at peace. I stopped by for a quick Melange at a coffee shop nearby on Bahnhofstrasse which is a gently downhill winding street that connects to Stadtbruch (state bridge) which leads to Hauptplatz, the center and heart of Villach. The first impression I had was that I felt welcome here, as I headed off to Florence, I thought that Villach would be the perfect break point and rest stop before my later trips back to Salzburg and then on to Venice.
5 days later, I returned to Villach after a long train journey on routes from Florence to Bologna; Bologna to Venice Mestre; and from Venice Mestre to Villach. It was late afternoon. I found a place to eat and then walked from the Hauptplatz to Nikolaigasse to a bar/internet cafe to read the news.
From the walk I noticed a modern building called the Congress Center where they have concerts. Around the Stadtbruch were bars filled with late night goers people watching and enjoying the night over coffee or beers and dinner and dessert. I also went to a phone center/internet cafe over on Italiener Strasse to call home to see how things were.
There's a peaceful air about Villach, and although not perfect, in order and very much serene.
Villach is perhaps the perfect resting spot city to get away from typical foreign tourists and get your traveler's second wind back.
Basic information about Villach:
Population: 57,720 (as of Dec 31, 2001), 7th Most Populated City in Austria.
First reference as town: 1240 A.D.
First City Charter: 1392
First Mayor: 1588
Location: Southeastern Austria about 30 kms from the Slovenia and Italian Borders.
As you can see on this map, the main areas of Villach are divided into four sections with the Drau River snaking thru the middle of it. The green zone in the North is the Hauptbahnhof area where the central train station is, the purple area is the "Congress" area where the Congress Center is; the yellow area or southwest side is the Westbahnhoff area where the secondary train station is, and the orange area is the City Center or "Zentrum."
All of these areas or within 20 minutes walking proximity of each other. Most hotels are located either on Bahnhoff Strasse or Hauptplatz, essentially, the same street which crosses the center of the Drau River.
It is a fun walking town, especially at night where there are couples window shopping and teens either hanging out in the Hauptplatz, older men drinking in bars on Nikolaigasse, or students studying surfing on Italiener Strasse.
I think it would be a charming place to be during Christmas time, though, I imagine it would get fairly cold.
When I was there in late August, the weather was perfect, partly cloudy, not too warm, not too cold humidity at about 50%.
If you note the 3 marks on my map, the inked dot in the center is the Romantik Post Hotel, the ink spot across the Drau on Nikolaigasse is an internet Cafe that charges around 2 Euro for 30 minutes in a smoky bar; and the mark on Italiener Strasse is a place as also an internet cafe where you can make phone calls. It was open as late as 11pm and probably until midnight.
All the shopping is along Hauptplatz and in the orange section. Restaurants are scattered everywhere around the center of this map. Less friendly bars are on Nikolaigasse in the purple area, and for a nice morning walk there are beautiful trees, mountain views and interesting cathedrals and statues all in the orange and southern area.
I needed the calm night of Villach to walk in conversation with my friend to reflect on things. It's a very good city walk around with a friend at night. There are many beautiful night sights in Villach. My favorite was here as I cross the Drau River. As you look East from the Stadt Bruch (State Bridge) you will see the Heiligenkreuz-Kirche brightly lit to the right.
The picture here doesn't capture it is beautifully as how it felt to my eyes. As you continue to walk heading to towards the Hauptbahnhof you will pass St. Nikolai Church with an interesting mini design of the city as how it looked like in the 1600s.
- Pros:Calm, Friendly People, Fewer Tourists
- Cons:Things close early; quiet night life
- In a nutshell:The Perfect Resting Point City to Catch Your Traveler's 2nd Wind
The train ride from Salzburg to Villach is very beautiful and scenic. Here I am admiring one of the many beautiful... more travel advice
As Villach was bombed significantly in World War 2, there aren't many older buildings. St. Nikolai Church is one of four... more travel advice
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