There are a number of mountain huts, bars and restaurants on Speiereck Großeck, which are open to the public throughout the winter season. This is one of the features that makes skiing in Austria so special, as all the huts are privately owned, with their own idiosyncrasies, menus and design. Most of the huts are built primarily from wood, usually with the rooms constructed around the kitchen and/or a large wood-burning stove, which is traditional in this part of Austria.
We have our favourites, which we’ll happily share with you, but these are the huts and restaurants you may want to visit. As you can see, even on this one mountain (one of five ski areas we ski), there’s enough to keep you going for a week!
This is the most convenient hut for us, as it’s right at the top of St Michael’s new gondola lift. We could go on all day about different dishes to try, but we’ll leave that for when you’re here. For now, suffice it to say that you MUST try one of Peterbaueralm‘s Gröstls – a family of dishes based on roasted potatoes and meat, usually served in a hot pan with a sizzling fried egg on top. Cracking Apfelstrudel too, or, if you have a sweet tooth, give Topfenstrudel a try – which uses sweet cream cheese instead of apple (MUCH better than it sounds!). Oh, just writing this makes me want to go there! But I can’t because I also need to tell you about the…
This is the highest of all the restaurants – so high that it often isn’t that busy, in case you’d like to escape the crowds (as much as Lungau ever has crowds!). This is the home of the Austrian climbing and mountain rescue club and, as well as serving good wholesome food, they can can also arrange an overnight stay.
This is the smallest of the mountain huts, but it can also be the most fun. We’ve had many an extended afternoon here, seduced by the charm of the place (and the generosity of the landlord/landlady). If you like your après-ski, this is a good place to try – they serve great food, including a cracking ‘Brettljause‘ (a delicious board of local cold meats, cheeses and trimmings), and might convince you to try a schnapps or ‘Obstler’.
Almost next door to the Trogalm is the Oberfeldalm – a more spacious restaurant with a really amazing interior. The entire structure is built from huge round logs, which really demonstrate the skills of the local craftsmen who built it. Always warm and comfortable, this is a good place for an extended lunch, especially if you’re part of a larger party and need to spread. Get there early though, as it’s popular! Try their Kaiserschmarrn.
For the sun worshippers among you, this is a good place to head for. Tucked away on the south-facing slope of Großeck mountain, it’s sheltered, secluded and a real sun trap. The Sonnalm is the area’s only self-service restaurant and it’s pretty reasonably priced (in fact, you’ll probably be surprised by how cheap ALL these places are – it’s one of Lungau’s biggest advantages!).
The Panoramaalm is the only restaurant that opens at night. Every Monday you can catch the gondola lift from Mauterndorf and enjoy an evening on the mountain, with suckling pig, a nice Wiener Schnitzel, Käsespätzle (delicious cheesy noodles topped with crispy onions) or any number of alternatives. It’s a nice way to start the week and an unusual feeling to catch a lift in the dark.
ShiAlm, Mauterndorf (above)
The SchiAlm is located adjacent to the base station of Mauterndorf’s gondola lift. It’s a bit of a sun trap and a good place to take a break when it’s a bit chilly at the top! It’s open daily from 9.00am to midnight, serving hot meals from 11am until 9.30pm. It also offers free Internet access.
If you have any questions, let us know.
[Images courtesy of each bar / restaurant]