living reading time: 8 min publication date: 14.02.2023


© Holly Thompson
Family at dinner

Now having lived in Villach for over five months, I have been lucky to host five visitors at different times in our city. Though the comfort of some of my favorite people is so amazing, and showing them around our new home is so fun, hosting can be a lot of pressure, and I have learnt a lot along the way. This blog post will provide some helpful tips on how to give your visitors the best impression of Villach, and also outline my personal experience with our visitors.



Because my boyfriend and I’s family and friends are all from Canada, it is a long trip for our visitors. For each visitor, they have flown from Montreal, Quebec to another big European airport, then taken a small flight to Ljubljana, Slovenia where we would meet them with our car and drive them back to Villach. Because there is a six hour time change, and it is a long travel day in general, our guests are usually very tired at this time. In most cases we have brought them to our apartment for a home cooked meal. 



In four out of five of the instances our guests have stayed at the VOCO hotel. Because my boyfriend plays for the local ice hockey club EC VSV, our visitors receive a discount on rooms which is very helpful. The hotel is beautiful, has a great restaurant for dinner and breakfast, a spa, and not to mention some of the most beautiful views of Villach. This hotel is about a seven minute walk from me, so I often meet my guests there for breakfast before we start our day of touring! Because Villach is quite the popular tourist destination, there are many more hotels and different types of accommodations available for all budgets and desires. By using the tourism bureau, you can find many different options.

© Voco | Michael Schultes
Restaurant and terrace of hotel Voco

We have also hosted some of our guests right at our house which is also fun, and a completely different experience! I managed to buy a small mattress (as we do not have a guest room) and it was also a fun time! Our guests are then able to have more home cooked meals, and also we get to spend more time together! Though a nice place to stay is important, let's just say we barely spent any time there haha!



Even though my partner and I have only been here for around six months, we have managed to see a lot of Villach and its surrounding areas. With the help of our new friends here, I feel like we are now able to really show our guests all that Villach has to offer.

One of the first things anyone notices about Villach is the stunning mountains that surround this city. Because we are from Ottawa, Ontario, our guests are all from the same area. And for anyone who knows Ottawa, they know it is extremely flat - so these mountains are often something our guests have never seen before. One of the first things we like to do with our guests is to go to Villach’s local mountain called Dobratsch. We love to hike to the top, enjoy a local Villacher beer at the mountain hut Dobratsch Gipfelhaus, then climb down and have some pizza at the mountain hut called Rosstratte

Another fun thing to do is just explore the streets of Villach. For our visitors, the shopping, the cobblestone streets, the big churches, the different color buildings, and the beautiful blue river, are all new to them. So sometimes taking a slower day to wander and do some shopping is one of the best ideas! I love to do this, then stop at a cafe for either a coffee or a spritz.

Green park area with mountains in the background
© Holly Thompson

One of my favorite parts about Villach is that it has an amazing train station called Villach Hauptbahnhof, and is also very central for traveling. For each of our visitors, we usually plan a small voyage to a nearby place and take the train to get there! For example, we have done a day trip to Udine, Italy. In just a short 1.45 hours, you can get a true Italian experience, without having to stay for long. For our visitors that have stayed from 10-14 days, we have taken the train to Vienna, Austria’s capital city. If you can, getting a Sparschiene ticket (a discount that the local train provider ÖBB offers) you can get a reduced price on your booking for your train, which makes these trips much less expensive. Vienna is a beautiful big city and helps to give our guests the other side of Austria. Villach is amazing for offering the scenic and authentic perspective of Austria and Vienna can show more history and architecture. As a result, we have learnt that planning a small trip can be fun for both our guests and us too! 🙂

Two women posing in front of the entry of Café Central
© Holly Thompson

Finally, we always plan to take our guests to a VSV game. Even though our guests are here to travel and tour around, they also often love to see what our everyday life here in Villach is like. For us - that includes a lot of hockey. It is fun to bring them to a game to watch my partner play and also meet our new friends! The games always have a great atmosphere and are a great way to show that side of our life to our guests!

Visitor at an ice hockey game
© Holly Thompson

Of course there is much more to do and to see in and around Villach throughout all seasons! Whether you love to go out with your guests for a delicious brunch, create some great memories together by going on a picture hunt at Villach’s best photo spots, or visit one of the many day trip attractions Villach has to offer for young and old - there is always a lot of fun stuff to do and see in this beautiful city. 

In the end, hosting our friends and family has been some of our favorite parts about living abroad. Having the opportunity to travel and explore with our family and friends creates memories that will last a lifetime! Though we are fairly new to Villach ourselves, we always find ourselves incredibly proud to show off our new life here in Villach. We have yet to have a visitor that doesn’t fall in love with this city, just like we did!