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Sausal – Wine, hiking and beautiful scenery

© by by Leo Himsl - Österreich Werbung

Austria’s highest wine region, Sausal, is a little gem, especially for those who enjoy hiking or cycling in a beautiful cultural landscape tasting local delicacies and wines.

The contrast between the forest groves and the straight-lined vines in the hilly landscape that characterizes the view is fascinating. What’s more, the small villages you pass are nothing more than clusters of houses. However, in these picturesque clusters of homes, you’ll find what makes the region worth a visit: the restaurants and wine shops and the incredible cultural landscape.

Kitzeck im Sausal

This small area, 564 meters above sea level, is the highest wine region in Austria. At the top of the hill, you will find Steinriegel, which has 150 inhabitants. The church from 1640 stands tall and is a good guide. In traditional Austrian fashion, the village is richly decorated with beautiful colourful flowers. Although this is a popular excursion destination, it is a quiet place. There are a few restaurants, vineyards, and a small wine museum. In addition, the views of the rolling hills typical of southern Styria are phenomenal. On hot late summer days, the view can be slightly hampered by the haze, but on clear days, you can see Slovenia to the south, the Koralpe mountain range to the west and the rolling hills to the east.

<< Click on the images to enlarge >>

Varied hiking routes

You’ll find plenty of hiking opportunities in Kitzeck im Sausal, with routes ranging from around 4 km to 20 km long. The route takes you along minor roads, forest paths, and vineyards. Along the way, you can visit wine cellars, enjoy food and drink, and enjoy the views. The scenery is varied and not just vines. There is a surprising amount of forest in the area. I had expected the vines to dominate the hillsides. The vineyards are relatively small compared to those in, for example, the Weinviertel in Lower Austria. The steep landscape contributes to this. Afterwards, you can relax in the evening with an “Achterl” (1/8th glass) of wine and typical Austrian delicacies to end the day.

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Kitzeck Wine Museum

Styria’s first wine museum is located in an old farmhouse from 1629 that was extended in 1910. The listed wine museum opened in 1979. The museum is not large, but interesting. Here, you get a small insight into how people in the district lived a couple of hundred years ago and, not least, the development of wine production. It takes about half an hour to see the museum and costs only 3 EUR.

Vineyards from the Middle Ages

Sausal belonged to the Archbishopric of Salzburg from the beginning of the 12th century, administered from Seggau Castle at a time when wine production had already developed. Numerous vineyards were documented with names as early as 1322. The nutrient-rich soil, the mild climate, decades of knowledge about cultivation, harvesting and production, and the love and dedication to winemaking make Sausal wines truly special. In addition to popular varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc, the Riesling from Sausal has achieved true fame due to its unique taste.

Sausaler Weinstrasse

The Sausal wine route begins in Leibnitz and leads first through Sulmtal to Fresing. From there, the road climbs steeply up to Kitzeck, the highest winemaking village in Europe, and then continues through the Sausal hills down to Maierhof in Sulmtal. The approximately 30 km long tour can, of course, be extended with detours. You could, for example, take a selfie at the world’s largest Klapotetz, stop at the Theresienkapelle for a beautiful view, and visit Schloss Ottersbach.

Check out this website for more info about Sausaler Weinstrasse

Boutique-Hotel Zum Sausaler

One of the rooms in Boutique-Hotel Zum Sausaler, St. Nikolai im Sausal, Styria, Austria

We stayed at the small but recently renovated Boutique-Hotel Zum Sausaler just outside Sankt Nikolai im Sausal. The rooms were tastefully decorated and had a lovely terrace. In the evening, we sat and enjoyed a bottle of local wine from the hotel’s own Vinothek. The hotel only offers a delicious buffet breakfast, but there are plenty of places to eat nearby.

Book your accommodation at Boutique-Hotel Zum Sausaler on booking.com

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.