At the beginning of August, I left home with my sister to discover some places we have never been in Austria.
We spent the first days in Salzburg to visit the city and then we headed southwest and spent a week at the MoaAlm Mountain Retreat, situated at 1800m in the Austrian Alps.
The location is amazing because the house is right on the edge of the Hohe Tauern National Park, the larger National Park in Europe and very near to the Großglockner, which is the highest mountain of Austria. Furthermore, Osttirol is the least developed mountain area in Austria, which makes it an authentic environment, untouched by tourism, where to enjoy the breathtaking views of the mountains, the encounters with wild animals and the untouched traditions of the local families, 90% of whom have their own farm.
MoaAlm is a unique retreat where relaxing and being active come together to create a holiday where to enjoy mountain outdoor activities, the beauty and peace of nature, yoga, hot tub baths with a view and delicious freshly cooked vegan food.
‘RelaxinglyActive’ is the core concept and the mission of the founders of MoaAlm Mountain Retreat, Xania and Craig:
they believe that movement, fresh air, good food and relaxing by taking care of our inner world, are keys to live well, and I couldn’t agree more.
Since the weather changes dramatically throughout the year, the holidays offered change as well, with yoga remaining a constant. In winter the main outdoor activities are snow shoe hiking and nordic skiing, with the possibility to have an introduction to ski touring, while in summer it’s hiking.
During our holiday, we did five hikes with local guides, who with their stories, let us discover more about Osttirol and its environment, including wild animals, beautiful plants and flowers.
At the beginning of the week the team asked us what kind of hikes and excursions are we interested in and what is our fitness level, in order to adapt and personalize the activities so that they can be enjoyable for all the participants.
The hikes we did took from two to seven hours and we have started the week with easier one to warm-up and then build from there.
The nature in the area of MoaAlm is really stunning, and despite the weather which was not really on our side, we could still enjoy the view of breathtaking landscapes, beautiful valleys, rivers, waterfalls and lakes. We even hiked half way the Mountain of the Großglockner.
Xania and Craig have also a location in Croatia on the island of Vis, where the activities range from kayaking, mountain biking, sup, slackline, yoga and hiking, everything fueled with vegan food.
Sustainability is another big focus at the MoaAlm Mountain Retreat, so it’s the perfect fit for those like me who are looking for a holiday with as little impact on the environment as possible.
The activities are mostly human-powered, the food mainly local and organic, the water comes directly from the mountain and also for the energy is provided in a way that takes the environment in consideration.
The heating system relies on a boiler that as fuel uses only wooden pellets sourced from one of the farmers in the local village and it produces very little waste. To avoid radiators to stay warm during the winter months, thermal insulation is very important and therefore, the house has thickly insulated walls, a newly installed loft and triple-glazed windows.
The water is heated primarily by the solar panels installed close to the house and the hot tub is log-fired. To keep the water of the hot tub clean while avoiding chlorine and other chemicals, they use a natural cleaning system based on Epsom Salts and Dead Sea salt.
If you are vegan and still want to enjoy the beauty of Austrian Alps – which at times can be tricky because the traditional dishes aren’t vegan at all – search no longer!
At MoaAlm the food is vegan, as local and organic as possible.
The breakfast is buffet-style and it’s the only meal that includes few vegetarian options such as eggs, milk and yogurt, sourced by the farmers of the neighbouring village. The buffet inclued a wide range of foods: from fresh fruit, plant based milks and yogurts, all the toppings you could possibly imagine (homemade muesli and granola, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and cereals), bread with sweet and savoury spreads like hummus and homemade vegan nutella, veggies, and of course juices, coffe and tea.
For lunch, depending on the hiking day, with the group we stop to eat at a mountain hut, but there is always the possibily to pack some snacks and sandwiches at breakfast.
In the middle of the afternoon, my favourite time of the day: cake o’clock. Every day, there is a freshly baked vegan cake or dessert, that makes the perfect treat to support the active lifestlye in the mountains. I usually also had a cappuccino with almond milk, just ‘cause I love cappuccino!
For dinner there is a three course evening meal, completely plant based, that was surprising my taste buds every single day… so delicious! Becca, the chef, is also a nutrition counselor, that’s why her aim is creating dishes that are tasty but at the same time nourishing, balanced and healthy as well. If you are curious to discover some new vegan tasty recipes, you can head to the website of the chef Becca: Plant-based-basics.
Here are some photos of the food we enjoyed during the week:
A typical day at MoaAlm starts with yoga, to balance the hiking and compliment the benefits of the fresh air of the mountains.
The yoga studio has a beautiful view and when the weather allowed it, we practiced yoga outside, which was a real blast!
After yoga, we usually had breakfast and then went for a hike starting from MoaAlm’s back door into the famous Hohe Tauren Dorfer valley. Returning to MoaAlm, there was always waiting for us a freshly baked vegan cake, which was a perfect reward after a day of walking. Before dinner, we enjoyed an outdoor hot tub bath, with the view of the mountains making it even more relaxing.
Of course, here and there, I also had time to read my book, connect and have beautiful conversations with the other guests, who were mostly solo travelers.
After the hot tub, which we sometimes did even at night, enjoying a schnapps and looking at the shooting stars (I saw three of them!), we usually had dinner, a tasty and nourishing meal, which we shared all together, while talking about our adventures and planning the next day.
Here is the link to the website of MoaAlm, where you can find more information: https://www.wearactive.com/austria-about
If you would like to book a holiday at MoaAlm Mountain retreat, you can use a discount code they kindly gave for my followers, just write in the booking email ALESSIA and you will have 100€ off.