From warm comfort food to cozy clothing, there are plenty of things to love about autumn in Villach. Even though the days are shorter and the weather is cooler, there is still plenty to enjoy around the city.
One of the signs that autumn is here is the return of the chestnut stall in the Hauptplatz. Every year, the chestnut stall returns to sell “heißen Maroni” to anyone passing by. The smell of the chestnuts popping on the hot stove is sure to remind everyone that autumn is here. What can be better than enjoying the sweet, smoky flavor of chestnuts during an autumn walk?
Take a stroll in any of Villach’s parks during the autumn and you are sure to see a spectacle of color. In Carinthia, we are spoiled by the beauty of the surrounding countryside during autumn. The trees are alive with fiery shades of copper, red, gold, and orange. Stadtpark, Wasenboden, and Mitterling park are all wonderful places to go for an autumn walk.
So this one may not be specific to Villach - but there is something wonderful about “sweater weather.” Bye-bye summer clothes and hello comfy clothes. Sweater weather basically means you can wear clothes that feel like blankets and no one will say anything about it. The more I think about it, scarves are basically blankets for your neck. You’re welcome.
It's always sad to see the gelato shops close until spring, but don’t worry, there are still plenty of treats ready for your enjoyment. Even though the days of decadent ice cream sundaes are done, it means that Lebkuchen is now available. Lebkuchen is a spiced sweet biscuit that is similar to gingerbread and is eaten during Christmas. However, Austrians love Lebkuchen so much that it is possible to find it in shops as early as August. Enjoy it while you can, Lebkuchen is a seasonal treat and will be gone from the shops by the time gelato shops reopen in the spring.
Perhaps I am taking a controversial opinion with this one, but I think the Drau river is the prettiest in the autumn. With the backdrop of mountains covered in snow and the trees changing color, I think the turquoise color of the Drau river truly stands out. Feel free to disagree with me, but I stand by my opinion.
You know it’s autumn when pumpkin shows up on every restaurant's menu. There’s pumpkin soup, pumpkin schnitzel, pumpkin kasnudeln, and pumpkin seed oil in your salad - yes, it’s pumpkin season! In Villach, there is also the possibility to pick your own pumpkins thanks to Familien Schwarz’s pumpkin patches throughout the countryside. Pumpkins for everyone!
Enjoy the autumn harvest at the city’s farmers markets. Take your pick from one of the many varieties of apples grown in the region or bring a loaf of freshly baked bread home with you. Shop for wild mushrooms foraged fresh from the woods and have a glass of regionally grown wine as a reward for all of your hard work while shopping.
Austrian food was made for cold weather. Think of hot sausages served with savory sauerkraut or warm apple strudel with fresh cream and I’m sure you’ll feel comforted. There’s no shortage of comfort foods to choose from, whether it's gooey Kasespätzle or hot dumplings with soup. The cold weather is the perfect excuse to indulge a little.
Cold weather, rainy days, and the occasional snowfall means that skiing season is almost here. Even though it is possible to ski in Austria year-round, Villach’s slopes don’t open until early December. So as the autumn season reaches its final days, skiing enthusiasts are rejoicing since the slopes will be open soon.
Chelsea Navarro is an American expat from California, USA.
She has lived in Villach with her partner and dog since February, 2016. She enjoys exploring the Austrian wilderness, drinking Villacher beer and traveling around Europe.