Velden & Schloss Rosegg Castle
Most places in Carinthia are known for scenic lakes and mountains that provide loads of hiking, swimming, windsurfing and similar opportunities during the summers and skiing during the winter. The province is over-all not so popular for sightseeing. At least for domestic tourism, Velden by Lake Wörthersee is a bit of an odd exception.
There is a local manor in Velden that was originally built in the late 16th century by a local count. It burnt down later on and was re-built in 1891 in a rather insensitive fashion: Little of the original building is left. The building, locally known as the "Schloss" ("castle") of Velden, was bought by the German jet-set icon, mathematician, photographer, ex-husband of Brigitte Bardot and astrology-guru Gunther Sachs in 1990. The manor, which is still in the possession of Sachs and not open to the public at all, would be widely ignored under normal circumstances.
How to make a manor famous
However, a German-Austrian TV series called "Ein Schloss am Wörthersee" ("A castle by Lake Wörthersee") was set in the building (featuring as a "hotel") and turned out to become a huge success. A weird mix of comedy and romantic anecdotes with aging B-movie stars, the feature still attracts large numbers of Austrian and German tourists. The feature made the entire region highly popular and what used to be a rather remote haven for rich people has become a crowded spot.
With the general tourism industry benefiting tremendously from the feature, a similar concept (with more romance and less comedy) was applied to Schloss Orth Castle in Gmunden. However, the real deal is in Velden. Another great innovation was opened shortly before the release of the feature: The casino of Velden, opened in 1989, is the most significant building of the town.
Alongside with the casinos of Baden and Salzburg, it is Austria′s most popular gambling venue. Gambling is legal in Austria, but monopolised. You have to pay a minimum fee to be admitted. The dress code in Austrian casinos is smart casual at least, most people dress smartly, though.
Surroundings and day-trips
Casino, general prettiness of the lakeside front and the pseudo-castle account for most of the many tourists streaming into Velden every summer weekend. For proper sightseeing, you might want to go to Schloss Rosegg Casle. The building is located just outside of Velden and was built in 1770 as a shag shed by Count Orsini-Rosenberg for his mistress Lucrezia. The castle is now owned by the Princes of Liechtenstein (alongside with many other properties, summing up to a significant chunk of Austria). Nearby, you will also find a safari park ("Wildpark Rosegg") of rather local interest.
A more commonly done day-trip leads to Maria Wörth, a former monastery located on a peninsula of Lake Wörthersee. It was covered in the article on monasteries of Carinthia. Note that Maria Wörth is a very touristy destination and due to its scenic location, it attracts thousands of visitors especially during the main season. Like most lakes in the area, the Lake Wörthersee provides excellent facilities for all sorts of water sports.