• Mia Jones

    Summer holidays to the lakes and mountains are made for exploring local cultures and admiring natural scenery. If you’re packing lots into your trip, a summer card can save you a good deal of money.

    What is a summer card?

    Summer cards are loaded with freebies and discounts on a variety of attractions and transport services in the surrounding area. They’re available in lots of resorts around Austria and many are even included in the price of your holiday. Other resorts sell their summer cards in local tourist offices and shops – and even though they come at a price, once you see what you can save, you won’t want to holiday without one.

    Ferry on St Wolfgang

    What kind of perks do they get you?

    Many summer cards help with getting out and about in the area by including free travel on local buses. Some also let you hop on a gondola or cable car up the mountains to a ton of walking routes and viewing platforms for no extra cost. These are often bundled together with complimentary or reduced entry to museums, galleries, theme parks and much more.

    Here are just a few examples of the types of things included on Austrian summer cards…

    Mountain lifts

    Get unlimited access to 36 cable cars in the Austrian Tyrol on the Kitzbüheler Alpen Summer Card. On one day, you can take the Gondola Waidring up the Steinplatte to visit the Triassic Park. The kids will love looking for dinosaur fossils and taking in magnificent views from the panoramic platforms. On another, you can hop on the Astergbahn chairlift from Going to relax around the peaceful Astbergsee Going – a crystal-clear lake also known as The Emperor’s Reflector.

    These mountain lifts also give you access to a range of mountaintop walking paths. The best time to stretch your legs is in May, as it’s not too hot and the landscape is bursting with colour.

    Gondola in Soll

    Castles and slides

    With 360° views of Carinthia’s striking lakes and mountains, the Pyramidenkogel, on the outskirts of Klagenfurt, is one of the highest wooden towers in the world. Head to the top to spot Lake Wörthersee or the tiny model buildings at Minimundus. You don’t have to take the stairs back to ground level either – shoot down Europe’s tallest indoor slide instead.

    Entry to the Pyramidenkogel, and other local attractions like the Klagenfurt Planetarium and monkey mountain at Landskron Castle, are included on the Kärnten Card. You can pick up a 7-day card in town when you arrive.

    Sigmund-Thun Gorge

    Around 14,000 years ago, a glacier completely covered the valley of Kaprun. When it melted, it left behind a gorge full of natural whirlpools and heavenly waterfalls. The gorge, named after Salzburg’s Sigmund von Thun, now welcomes visitors to navigate their way around narrow rock faces using wooden catwalks, staircases and bridges, to take in every nook and cranny of one of Mother Nature’s spectacles.

    Trips to the Sigmund-Thun Gorge are covered on the Zell am See-Kaprun Card. This free card is available to guests staying at selected hotels in either of the two resorts, and includes entry to the nearby Vorderkaser and Seisenberg gorges too.

    Sigmund-Thun Gorge

    Sigmund-Thun Gorge

    Tyrolean Farmhouse Open-air Museum

    Tyrol’s largest open-air museum is found near Innsbruck, in the middle of the Kramsach Lake Plateau. Wander around 37 farmhouses, chapels and blacksmith workshops, each presenting fragments of rural Tyrolean architecture. You’ll gain an insight into a bygone pastoral lifestyle through a selection of interactive installations, listening stations and demonstrations, from cheese-making and knife-grinding to stirring butter.

    This educational family day trip is free on the Albachtal Seenland Card, available to everyone staying in the resort of Alpbach.


    Celebrate your surroundings with a Lakes & Mountains holiday to Austria.