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Hohe Tauern National Park

Hohe Tauern, 5730 Mittersill, Austria
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Hohe Tauern National Park Mittersill  Austria

Hohe Tauern National Park

At 12,461 feet, Grossglockner is Austria's tallest peak, but it's only one of 226 peaks with a height over 9,800 feet in Hohe Tauern National Park, the country's largest, covering some 695 square miles. It's a landscape of rugged mountains and pristine lakes, of pine forests and bucolic pastures. At the Sonnberghof, in Mittersill, you'll have views of the stunning peaks from your room while the intoxicating smell of alpine meadows fills the air. The Schloss Mittersill has operated as a hotel since 2011, though the castle itself dates from 1537—and there are records of an earlier castle sitting on the same site since the 12th century.

Even if you don't stay at the Schloss Mittersill, you may want to stop at its restaurant with its traditional décor for afternoon tea or a candlelit dinner. Haus Am Teich-which translates as the "house by the pond"-serves dishes that reflect a variety of influences from the Mediterranean to Asia, though of course Austrian dishes are represented too. The kitchen garden supplies many of the ingredients while others are purchased from local farms and other suppliers.

One of the world's most scenic drives, the High Alpine Road, is a must, as is a stop at the postcard-perfect Krimmler Achtenal valley where you can sample local homemade cheeses at one of the dairies in the area.

For six itineraries covering the best of the Alps, visit AFAR Journeys.