Vilach is a pleasant little town in itself, but a renowned restaurant and hotel make an overnight trip a real pleasure.
I'm don't like long train rides much, so Villach becomes, for me, a place to catch my breath between big, hectic cities. Besides, the smaller towns you find between major tourist stops tend to be cheaper to stay in and make for a pleasant interlude from the hectic "three museums and a castle a day" tourist regimen. Villach makes a pleasant stop on the rail line between Venice and Vienna, with incredible scenery en route. It's a major hub: you change trains here for connections to Salzburg.
Postillion Restaurant, the Place Where Wolfgang Puck Began His Ascendancy to Fame
Gourmets may want to make a pilgrimage to Villach to check out the Postillion, the restaurant where Wolfgang Puck--of Postrio, San Francisco and Spago, L.A. fame--started his cooking career at age 14.
Postillion restaurant is inside the "Romantik Hotel Post" in the Hauptplatz, Villach's main walking street. Most likely the best restaurant in Villach, we started our meal with a wonderful fish soup with sea bass dumplings, a mixed fish plate consisting of smoked swordfish, fresh prawns in remoulade, and a calamari salad that was the best I've ever had. For the main course we chose sea bass with chanterelles over tricolor fettuccine and a traditional boiled beef with garlicky creamed spinach and spectacular roast potatoes. With each course we ordered a wine recommended by our waiter, who was fluent in Italian and English as well as his native German. The Red wine was served in an enormous glass, as is becoming the norm among serious wine drinkers.
The local wine was quite good. Try the Grillo Chardonnay with a refreshing grapefruit nose. For red the Zweigelt Moser was quite good.
Total for this gourmet meal, including an after dinner schnapps and a hot tea, tax and tip came to 65 euros. This is about half you'd expect to pay for food of this quality in a city like San Francisco.
Lodging in Villach
The Hotel Post is your best bet, but the nearby Hotel Goldenes Lamm has some double rooms available with baths and showers down the hall for $48 for budget travelers. These rooms aren't mentioned in most online hotel purveyors, so ask when you get there. Both hotels are accessible by following the main road out of the train station toward the pedestrian zone, the Hauptplaz. The Goldenes Lamm is on the left as you enter the pedestrian zone, the Hotel Post is a little further up on the right.
Hotel Goldenes Lamm
Romantik Hotel Post
(43) (0) 42 42 261010
Stash Your Stuff for an Overnight Stay in Villach
Lockers at the train station start at €2 for a small (big enough for all our bags). Try the Nordsee near the Post Hotel for seafood sandwiches to take on the train the next day.