Maltatal is an alpine valley and popular nature sight for visitors from Austria and all over the world. It is also called “The valley of the falling waters” due to the many waterfalls and little streams coming down the steep granite. Also, the valley is a popular bouldering and rope climbing destination in the south of Austria and a must visit place for every climber.
Situated about 70 km North-West of Villach (Carinthia) the climbing area consists of different sectors in different altitudinal heights located in the picturesque alpine valley of the river Malta.
Bouldering in Malta 💪
Maltatal is a big area that offers more than 300 problems in difficulties between 6a and 8c+. There are only few very easy problems, so you will have maximum fun if you come a little experienced. It is one of the few places in Austria where you find solid granite. The climbing is powerful and pumpy. Slabs or roofs are rare, the overall style consists of overhangs with jugs, crimps and slopers. Many of the problems are very powerful, therefore it is recommended to come in best physical shape.
The bouldering areas are scattered around the valley. The first and main sector at “Schleierwasserfall” is easy to reach and only a 10-minute drive from the town of Malta. “Tal
der Könige” is high up the valley and an approximately 30 minutes drive from Malta. Maltatal is an alpine valley at the brink of Hohe Tauern national park. It is an alpine road
with lots of curves and tunnels. The tunnels are narrow and partly one-directional with traffic lights and a couple of minutes waiting time depending on the traffic. Don’t be discouraged if you reach a traffic light at 20 minutes, as soon as it senses a car the time will melt (also there are nice waterfalls to visit while waiting).
The toll payment for the High Alpine Road 💶
Reaching Kölnbreinsperre is a costly matter: A day ticket (from 7am to 6pm) for the toll road is 20 €, a three-week-ticket is 35 €. Before 7am and after 6pm the Malta High Alpine Road is open and free of charge. Depending on the conditions the road usually opens at the beginning of May and closes at the end of October. Please check online before you go. (https://www.verbund.com/en-at/about-verbund/visitors-centres/malta)
GPS and alpine connection 📍
Don’t always rely on the connection. The valley is mountainous and the connection can be quite bad at times. Download the map with the blocks before your trip and try to get a sense of where you have to go.
The bouldering areas are not family friendly. None of the crags is accessible with a baby stroller or a buggy.
Best season to go ☀️
There is no main season to visit Maltatal because of the altitudinal differences of the valley: Depending on the bouldering area, you can climb in Maltatal from March to November. The lower areas can be climbed in early spring, higher areas are suitable in summer when it gets too hot in the valley during the day. Accessibility to the upper areas depends on the toll road, which is closed until May and from October depending on snow conditions.
Weather report ☁️
The alpine valley might bring a little rain every other day, especially in summer there can be spontaneous showers. Judging from afar, it might seem a little discouraging to follow the forecast. This is because the weather in the mountains changes very quickly and local thunderstorms can occur within hours or even minutes. Luckily, the rock dries extremely fast, especially if there is a little wind. It is helpful to watch the clouds during the day and to trust your instincts regarding thunder and wind. Bring a rain jacket in any case.
There are several camping places in the valley very close to the bouldering spots. A very simple and low-budget campsite around 10 minutes drive from the closest bouldering area is situated in Fischertratten. An even closer but a little bit more luxurious and costly campsite is found directly in the town of Malta. Wild camping is strictly prohibited in the whole valley. Apart from the campsites there are several hotels in the lower valley towns as well as mountain huts and alpine hotels to book a room.
Other sights in the area
- Airwalk and museum at the Kölnbreinsperre (highest dam of Austria that holds a
meltwater lake for the electricity plant, museum inside)
- Donkey, dromedary and llama zoo in Fischertratten (5€ for a season ticket!!!)
- Fresh farmer’s eggs in Fischertratten
- The river Malta itself
- All the different waterfalls in the valley of the falling waters (as the locals call their
Shop locally 🛒
Maltatal is a valley of farmers. You will see cows grazing in the meadows around the sparkling river of Malta, you will see chicken picking seeds in the open spaces around the
farms of the valley. Try local food and fresh produce! The locals sell their products in unattended fridges with small boxes for the payment on their farms. Fair play, fair pay. Also, the gas station sells frozen “Kärntner Kasnudeln”, a Carinthian specialty of dumplings in noodle-dough. Served with melted butter they are a local delicacy.
Have fun and don’t be stupid.