greifenburg area - the drautal
greifenburg area - drautal, kAerten
The small village of Greifenburg lies at 620m asl at the easterly end of the World Famous Drautal in the state of Kaernten, Austria.
Greifenburg derives it's name from 'Greifvogel', meaning bird of prey & those who enjoy sharing the sky with the real masters won't be disappointed here.
The main launch is at Embergeralm, 1750m, it finds itself facing south and surrounded by numerous 'house' thermals, giving pilots plenty of options and chances to climb out. The surrounding peaks along the ridge reach around 2600m and some a touch higher.
The valley is known as the Southern Alps Highway, allowing many long XC flights. All of the flying here is along these unbroken mountain chains, this has the advantage of rarely getting low after making long glides. So faster average speeds and longer distances overall.
Behind the Drautal is the Moelltal, north of this valley is the main ridge of the Alps. Here you'll struggle to find granite peaks below 3000m. This is the 100km plus FAI triangle route regularly featured from Greifenburg.
The flying here is most definitely Alpine in feel and look. Due to local topography the valley wind are usually light and from, as you might expect, the East. This helps reduce the chances of rough conditions when low in the valley breeze.
There are many ridges going off in all directions. The potential for long-haul XC flights is some of the biggest in the Alps. Distances are limited only by imagination and a pilot's stamina. Routine XC pilots regularly beat their PB here with us.
Our accommodation here is on the mountain, next to launch at around 1700m. As well as us pilots staying at the Ficthenheim, hobby astronomers also like it there. The village is small with only a few places to eat and sleep so for us this is the best option. Plus we'll be eating up there too, half-board is possible.
There is a great swimming lake at the LZ with a restaurant and full facilities. Though the village is a very quiet place with nothing really going on in the Greifenburg itself.
It is very special to spend the night at 1700m & it's great being so near to the launch, around 2 minutes in the van. So no rush in the morning. The Fictenheim is a nice family run hotel, with honest Austrian hospitality, a different feel to the main 'generic' ski resorts.
Not only good food but it's very flyer friendly and the owner has flown hangliders since the early days & knows the area intimately.
Thermals can be moderate to strong, depending on the day but mainly manageable. The area is protected somewhat to the North.
A real plus point here.
The valley floor is wide making available large volumes of warm air, enabling thermals to last longer and diffuses the 'valley wind'. Expect South side reliability with North side panorama.
This area is already very famous amongst pilots all over Europe. More kilometers are flown from Embergeralm, Greifenburg than anywhere else in Austria, often even Europe. Check the 'xc planner' picture in the right-hand bar.
It's easily reached by flying to Salzburg, 2hrs train to Greifenburg.