A good old-fashioned Kamptal summer.

Dip your feet in the cool water, while still thinking about last night’s soirée in the castle gardens... Kamptal, its culture and cuisine, the deep green nature and the red-white-red bathing houses have inspired people since 1900.

Recommended by emperors and kings, and loved by the nobility, Kamptal and its enchanted corners, the cool forests and refreshing vineyards were among the most popular Sommerfrische destinations in around 1900. It is far enough away from everyday life, and yet close enough to drop in for a swim in the lido. But we must warn you: Just taking a peek at the kaleidoscopic cultural programme will make you want to stay here.

Kamptal villas, cultural gems and spas.

You will want to stay and discover the treasures of the region, where the culinary arts thrive, art flourishes and the lidos are surrounded by evergreen forests. This is exactly why the most beautiful villas in Kamptal are located in and around the Luftkurort Gars am Kamp spa resort. They are contemporary witnesses of a glamorous era, in which ‘fräuleins’ were introduced to young men. Together, they discovered nature and found that they had many things in common while walking along the banks of the River Kamp. Sometimes, their love resulted in marriage in the Benedictine Abbey in Altenburg, under the watchful eyes of the angels and saints designed by Paul Troger. They then celebrated their union in Rosenburg Castle, a jewel of the Renaissance. You can still get married in the castle today, or be impressed by a bird of prey show in its grounds. If you want a challenge, we recommend visiting the neighbouring climbing park. You can visit this, and a rainbow of other excursion destinations, for free with the Niederösterreich-CARD (Lower Austria Card).

If you head south from Gars, things get really refreshing – and gloriously retro. Because that's where the historic Kamptal baths await – especially the delightful, listed Plank am Kamp lido. It has been a refreshing experience for the mind and body for around 100 years. Tucking into an ice cream in the red-white-red painted bathing houses will make children beam like the sun! The setting, with its cabin houses, the glistening Kamp and the wide lawn, is unique. If you’re feeling peckish, head to the Bachmann family-owned Strand Heurige tavern. Lamb sausages "from next door", mixed sheep’s cheese, or farm specialities... what will it be?

Schönberg is a couple of villages away. The “Alte Schmiede”, a wonderful blend of galleries, museums and wineries, is the perfect place for planning that dream walking route. For example, why not set out on the Waldlehrpfad (Forest Nature Trail) or maybe you’d prefer, the Weinlehrpfad (Wine Trail)? The Kamptal-Schönberg Nature Park probably offers the best views. The Flusslehrpfad (Riverside Educational Trail) is refreshing, and the Trude Marzik Route is challenging. Almost all of the routes lead through Mollands. You are invited to visit the Weinbeisserei restaurant, where wines come directly from the cellar to the table. When you feel ready to move on, walk past vineyards and well-stocked wine cellars in Wine Trail until you reach the next port of call: the interactive Loisium Wine World in Langenlois.

Cuisine, culture and concerts.

Today, as in times gone by, a key part of Sommerfrische is indulging in the local culture. The Waldviertel is the place to be for this. The Grossauer Edelkonserven from Schönberg am Kamp, and preserves and pickles from Andrea Gillinger’s shop in Langenlois are fit for a king or queen. Visit the Hofkäserei Robert Paget dairy in Diendorf, where water buffalo roam in the meadow. Refrigerated shelves full of the finest products await you in Hadersdorf. Your time in the latter can be combined with a trip to the Daniel Spoerri Museum. Visit the weekly market in the heart of Langenlois (every Friday, from 6:45 to 11:00). Our top tip: Try Doris Wasserburger’s home-made pasta! For further enjoyment, visit the LOISIUM Wine & Spa Resort, where design and wine merge. Or would you rather relax in the Ursin Haus wine shop and taste Kamptal wines? You probably want to do both, don’t you? Book a hotel room, for example in the Vierzigerhof, or maybe even stay at one of the best wineries in the region, the Heurigenhof Bründlmayer (we recommend the rosé!), which also welcomes overnight guests. You could wind down after a long day in Langenlois in the Heurigen Steinschaden inn on the Sauberg, or in the Heurigen Nastl inn. Another cultural tip for children is just around the corner: Knight Rusty appears in the Kittenberger Erlebnisgärten botanical garden in Schiltern – which is an experience in itself! Adults can look forward to the Langenlois Castle Festival and the Lower Austria Summer Garden Festival in Langenlois and Schiltern.

Visitors to Langenlois should definitely make a detour to Krems an der Donau to stroll along the art mile or enjoy feeling a cool breeze in their hair on a boat tour. It is very easy to go from Krems to Senftenberg, where a musicians’ “Stammtisch” (social gathering) takes place in the Schlapf'n Wirt on the second Saturday of the month. Romantic summer visitors will undoubtedly enjoy a trip to Gneixendorf. The unbelievably romantic Wasserhof Castle, once owned by Ludwig van Beethoven's brother, is a sight to behold. The composer himself often stayed in the corner room (with three windows) on the first floor. In September, to mark Beethoven's 250th birthday, the Castle's granary will be the venue for an impressive series of concerts. Those planning to stay for longer can check into the Cobaneshof for a good night’s sleep.

With its Wolkenturm (“Pillar of Clouds”) tower, Grafenegg Castle is the crowning glory of Kamptal Sommerfrische. Historicism and futurism find the perfect blend in the present, and impress with the castle and park, the 19th century riding school, and indeed the breathtaking open air stage. Performers will tread the boards once more, when the Grafenegg Festivals opens.