A calling card you should get to know
Rocky peaks, flowering mountains and seventy two streams –
Birnbaum, Liesing, St. Lorenzen, Maria Luggau
“We have draught beer and wheat beer to quench your thirst, home-made juice and mountain-herb teas, salad and fruit salad to eat, cheese, ham and sausage from the Lesachtal, but also other hearty products from the local butcher. We also offer wonderful apfelstrudel, herb-flavoured brandy, Zotter chocolate and an impressive selection of wines. Do you need any help in choosing your tour? We know all the hiking and peak paths, fixed-rope routes and climbing tours, and will be pleased to give you advice!“
This is how “thoroughbred landlady“ Ingeborg Guggenberger introduces herself in her Hochweißsteinhaus. A wealth of ideas and her commitment has caused her reputation to spread far beyond the confines of the Lesachtal. She demonstrates how you can successfully supply an alpine lodge with regional products, thus perfectly embodying the special economic philosophy of the Lesachtal.
The town of Birnbaum is the ideal starting point for tours to the Mooskofel mountain range surrounding the idyllic Lake Wolayer. As an alternative you could cross to the north side of the valley and visit the mountain pastures of the “Mussen“, which possess an unusual richness of rare southern alpine plants – including the famous paradise lily.
From Liesing the ambitious mountaineer could take the challenging tour through the imposing Steinwand north face.
From Sankt Lorenzen you pass through the Frohnbachtal to the Hochweißstein mountain range, which is not only of interest to the experienced mountain hiker, but also offers excellent climbing routes.
The place of pilgrimage of* Maria Luggau*, with its immaculate Baroque church – it was awarded the status of a “basilica minor“ by Pope John Paul in 1987 – is a religious centre that radiates far beyond the borders of the valley. On important Marian feast days, large groups of pilgrims come here from far away on pilgrimages on foot, from all points of the compass.
From time immemorial the valley has been left to get by on its own resources – until recent times it was too cut off and difficult to reach. Even today it takes a small expedition from the inside of Austria until you reach the four main centres of Birnbaum, Liesing, St. Lorenzen and Maria Luggau.
The winding road, high above the foaming river Gail, gives you an idea of the complicated topography of the terrain – numerous streams have to be crossed or spanned with impressive bridge structures. But once you are there, in a short distance you will find not only culinary and cultural-historical delicacies, but also a wealth of mountaineering highlights.
The remoteness of the valley is probably the reason that the regional architecture has been preserved in such an affectionate way. Carefully renovated farmhouses, cosy paintings decorating the windows and corners of buildings, lovingly looked after wayside shrines are testimony to the way in which a tradition is appreciated, something that has long since been lost in other areas.