Grunau, Austria; a tiny but incredibly picturesque village hidden away in the Austrian alps, surrounded by lakes and mountains. It’s easy to make friends for life here in Grunau but you’ll have to stay a few days to find out why! With plenty of activities to get your blood pumping and plenty of space to spread out a blanket or lounge chair to relax in, trust me, this place will be right up your alley. Now this picture might not be enough to make you want to visit, but perhaps we can persuade you…
Probably one of the best reasons to visit is the wonderfully Austrian and uniquely Treehouse. Run by ex-chef Gerhard and his family, this ramshackle traditional old house really feels like a home. There’s been many people over the years that have experienced the comforts of the bedrooms, the glorious surroundings and the pure sincerity of the welcome they receive from Gerhard & Co. The dogs run freely through the garden down to the river and into the neighbouring fields without a worry, and you can too. Those that only stop for lunch often find themselves wandering a little far from the house as they follow the river, meander through the woods or curse themselves for not spending time here!
Gerhard, the owner, used to be a professional chef, so you can imagine the food he cooks up is special. He doesn’t bother with fancy flourishes of parsley or drizzles of balsamic vinegar. Here you will find good, hearty home cooked food. If you’re craving your mum’s cooking after weeks of traipsing around Europe, then scratch that itch at the Treehouse. Gerhard’s legendary lasagna is a must-try! Everything else on the menu is just as delicious but watch out… you’ll get scolded if you don’t finish it! Forget the diet, here at the Treehouse they don’t mess around when it comes to portion sizes. You’ll end up sitting around the dinner table together, laughing and joking like you’ve all known each other for years.
Yes, the mountains, lakes, are of course are a huge part of what makes Grunau so incredible. Every morning will have you collecting your jaw from the floor as you stare out the window at the awe inspiring Austrian Alps. It’s these behemoths that channel the snowmelt down into rapid rivers that are just so darn Instagrammable; you’ll be flicking through your photo albums for days. Follow the winding paths and you’ll get to the epic lakes that are dotted along the valleys. A personal favourite is the Almsee, a pretty bike ride along from the Treehouse. Before you ask, you can rent them there!
This lake spreads out across the valley floor and offers amazing opportunities to spot wildlife and take in the amazing views reflected off the lakes surface. If you’re the romantic type, feel free to take credit for the scenery to impress that special someone in your life. You may fancy a highly recommended dip, which will certainly leave you feeling fresh as the water is all glacier-melt (AKA ice!). Just take a towel and sunbake yourself dry again. If that doesn’t warm you up, there are numerous hikes, easy and challenging up the sides of the valleys. For the very adventurous, you can even head to the very peaks of some of the nearby mountains.
If all that wasn’t enough, there’s a few special activities offered by the guys at the Treehouse. After taking the bikes for a spin through the valleys, horse riding is the most popular choice. With treks designed for all abilities, from beginner up to fully competent riders, there’s something for all. Beginners will get a chance to enjoy the natural surroundings from horseback (no need to pedal) while more advanced riders can let loose and feel the wind in their hair as they follow the experienced guides. Finally, have a go at archery; head into a secluded section of the woods to ping some arrows into various targets and trees (no animals, please!).