What does the beginning of a perfect day on a family holiday look like to you? A long lie-in (as far as this is possible with children), followed by a lovely breakfast. Both are possible at the JUFA Hotel in Annaberg in Lower Austria.
JUFA Hotel Annaberg – Bergerlebnis Resort: a fantastic family-friendly hotel
The hotel room is lovely and quiet. Even though we have the window open, we are not awoken by the sound of traffic. Thankfully, the children also enjoy a long sleep. We are not in any hurry to leave our comfortable hotel room. The walls and the ceiling are clad with a lot of wood and stone which makes the room feel very cosy. The children have a bunk bed. There are two wooden deer heads hanging above the double bed. This bed can been pushed apart to make two single beds if needed. Our reading lights are hidden inside the deer heads.
The breakfast buffet is excellent. As well as sausages, cheese, bread, bread rolls, various yoghurts and fruits, there are also delicious Belgian waffles. They quickly become our favourite breakfast dish. Breakfast can be enjoyed on the terrace outside when the weather is fine. A small children’s playground with a slide, swing, sandpit and small climbing frame is located directly next to the terrace. I always appreciate it if there is a play area for the children near to the restaurant. Most of the time we adults like to sit for a little bit longer, while the kids want to jump around again. This is also the case with the restaurant inside the hotel. There is a play area for very small children with a doll’s kitchen and soft toys. Older children can clamber about on a cool climbing tower. They can clamber through a tunnel and a tower to the level below where there is a bouldering wall and other climbing apparatus.
On our first day, we have to wait until late in the morning for the weather to brighten up. This does not bother us too much. We borrow a ball from reception and have some fun in the hotel’s own sports hall. There are a few tyres lying around and it doesn’t take long for our two boys to start making up some fun games. Adults are also very well catered for at the hotel. There is a sauna area with a Finnish sauna, steam bath and infrared cabin. Whilst you relax and quietly sweat away, your children can have fun splashing about close by. Even though the hotel doesn’t have a swimming pool, there is a large children’s splash area where children can romp about in the water. There are various animals, fun toadstools and water jets that spray warm water. There are also plenty of toys lying around to ensure that there is no end to the fun and games.
Day trips in the local area: Ötschergräben
A visit to the Ötschergräben Gorge is an absolute must when you visit Annaberg. We drive approximately five kilometres in the direction of Wienerbruck to the Ötscherbasis Visitor Centre at the entrance to the nature park. We then travel uphill for about three quarters of an hour through the Lassing Gorge. We then reach a small reservoir and a power station. You can visit the power station and marvel at the huge generators.
We then continue on through the gorge. The way is now virtually flat and we start to follow a stream of crystal-clear water. The rocks tower above us on both sides. Some of them have been fashioned by nature into the most bizarre rock formations. A number of sand banks and gravel banks provide welcoming places to rest for a while at the edge of the water. The children obviously prefer to play in the water. Thankfully, the weather is warm and we continue walking to the Ötscher-Hias snack bar.
From here you can walk in the direction of Mitterberg and from there you can take the Mariazellerbahn narrow gauge railway back as far as Wienerbruck. We are even tempted to continue on the trail to the picturesque Vorderöscher cabin. However, we decide to turn round and walk back the way we came past beautiful rock pools and small waterfalls.
The Tiroler Kogel Mountain
The Tiroler Kogel is Annaberg’s local mountain. It is only a short walk from the JUFA Hotel up to Annaberg and then shortly afterwards you take a right-hand turn into the forest. We grab our bicycles as the road to Annaberg is not too steep and we are able to cycle along the forest track which shortens the journey a little. When we reach a fork in the track, we decide to leave our bikes because the way has become too steep. Super-fit mountain bikers are permitted to continue cycling right up to the top of the trail. About two thirds of the trail is through the forest and then we reach lush alpine meadows for the final stretch. We can’t wait to climb higher
where we are promised a magnificent view. We are certainly not disappointed. We are greeted by a fantastic 360 degree panoramic view. Here we sit for a long time and enjoy the view. The children climb around on a few small rocks. Directly next to the cross on the summit of the mountain stands Annaberger House which was built in 2016. The sun terrace looks like a great place to enjoy some refreshments. Unfortunately, it is closed on Mondays. We head back to the hotel and the 400 metre elevation looks (as usual) much, much shorter as we make our way downhill.
We highly recommend a visit to Lake Erlauf near the pilgrimage town of Mariazell. The lake is approximately 20 kilometres from the hotel, however, you need to ensure that you allow yourself enough time for the journey as the roads between Annaberg and Mariazell are very windy. You can drive directly to the lake, but we decided to take the historic tram which departs from the station in Mariazell. It only runs on weekends and public holidays
because all the employees work as volunteers and have their day jobs to attend to during the week. They all have a true passion for the tramway which was really evident on our trip! We climb aboard the carriages which are over 150 years old. One of the carriages even originates from the time when horse-drawn trams were the norm. Full steam ahead! We reach Lake Erlauf in approximately 20 minutes. Our seven year old son particularly enjoys the trip.
When we reach Lake Erlauf, we wander around its shores for about an hour. We are amazed by the crystal-clear water. Luckily, we have packed our bathing clothes, so we are able to enjoy a dip in the cool turquoise-coloured water. After a quick snack we take the tram back to the station. We end our trip with a visit to the playground at the Bürgeralpe.
Tips & Information
Mariazell Historic Tramway
The Mariazell historic tramway starts from the station in Mariazell and runs only on weekends and public holidays. It is operated by volunteers. For further information, please visit:
The Ötschergräben are impressive ravines that have been carved out by water. The terrain is a fantastic for hiking for people of all ages. For further information, please visit:
Stay at a JUFA Hotel
Would you like to explore the beautiful Ötschergräben Gorge with your children? Why not consider a hiking holiday in the Mostviertel (must wine quarter) in Lower Austria? The JUFA Hotel Annaberg – Bergerlebnis Resort is the perfect base from which to start your hiking adventures through beautiful natural surroundings.