Thursday, November 17, 2011

Witches' Water Park in Austria

 In the summer, we expect Austria to have a network of cable cars providing views of jagged spires, wildflower coated meadows, and slopes criss-crossed with hiking paths. But a Witches' Water Park? This had to be a joke. It turns out that Hexenwasser Hochsoll, which translates to Witches' Water, is set in Soll in the Tyrol province of Austria, under an hour from Innsbruck. You could think of it as an ultra soft adventure park where parents and kids can spend the afternoon or the day experiencing nature and the vitality of water. Clearly, this is unlike anything you might find in Orlando, Florida.



Hexenwasser is given this name because legend has it that witches, who were both revered and feared, had long lived in this land where the women practiced their healing arts. Now, in a bucolic mountain landscape, you can explore dozens of stations spaced along a 1,500-foot-long route where you'll have an intimate experience with the power and therapeutic properties of water. Kneipp treatments are pools where you either immerse your arms to stimulate your circulation, or tread water, which is said to benefit varicose veins.

You can give your feet a reflexology massage by walking across what's considered the longest -- a little over a mile long -- barefoot trail in Austria. Wander along shallow water channels and across various surfaces, including pebbles, grass, and pine bark, as a way to stimulate your feet and your body organs. There's plenty of barefoot walking at Hexenwasser, through pools, ponds and basins.

Try to schedule a visit on a warm, sunny day and remember to take towels and the kids may want bathing suits. Expect invigorating icy cold spring water.

But, aside from the water focus, the park also has an educational aspect, whether it's learning about bee behavior at the apiary, finding out how to bake bread in a stone oven, discover what a day in the life of a woodcutter would be like, and see if you can tell time using a sundial.
 
Unlike other waterparks, where you have to shell out a wad of cash, here if you decide not to take the cable car up, all the stations are free. The cable car also goes from mid-station to the summit of Hohe Salve peak that offers 360º views of the Tyrol's ragged peaks that pierce the sky.

17 comments:

Brette said...

This sounds like fun. I especially love the idea of the barefoot path.

Alexandra said...

I would love to visit Hexenwasser Hochsoll. Thanks for the recommendation.

JTravel said...

Hi Brette, I've always been big on going barefoot so this park was definitely my thing.

JTravel said...

Hi Alexandra, Glad you enjoyed my post.

Sheryl. said...

Sounds like a wonderful learning experience while enjoying the soothing aspects of water. Great combination. !

Susan Johnston said...

Sounds like a wonderfully relaxing place to visit!

Jane Boursaw said...

Very cool about the barefoot path! Sounds like the way a "water park" should be - not the manufactured waves in a big cement cavern.

And I love the whole witch history.

JTravel said...

Hi Sheryl, I always find being around water sooo relaxing. Yes, mountain scenery and water is a great combo.

JTravel said...

Hi Jane, Whenever I hear "water park" I usually head the other way. It's wonderful to find this unexpected and very much atypical water park.

JTravel said...

Hi Susan, Yes, you can't help but relax at this place, even as the kids are checking out the multitude of activities.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

Sounds amazing. Love the pix.

MyKidsEatSquid said...

I lived in Austria for a time in college, but it was in the fall and winter so I didn't have a chance to anything like this, now I wish I'd known.

JTravel said...

Hi Lora, Thanks so much. It's really a sweet place, for sure. Glad that feeling came through in the post.

JTravel said...

Hi Roxanne, Yes, it's an unusual place in a dreamy setting.

JTravel said...

Hi MyKidsEatSquid, Very cool that you lived in Austria. Yes, but if you weren't there in the summer, you wouldn't have had a chance to experience a place like this. A good reason to return.

Donna Hull said...

What a fun idea and a pleasant diversion on a warm afternoon in Austria.

JTravel said...

Hi Donna, Yes, it's just perfect when the weather's great. You could spend the whole day there.