Macaque monkeys are closer than you think. If you are based in Europe, you don’t need to travel to Japan to face eye to eye with the famous macaque monkeys, which originate from Japan. Yes, macaque monkeys are the ones, having red faces and like to bath in thermal pools during the winter. We know that seeing them in Japan is hard to beat, but what if you cannot really travel there?
Macaque monkeys in Villach – the monkeys mountain
Well, we have found a solution for everyone interested in macaque monkeys. If you are traveling around Europe and Austria is on your agenda as well, make sure to go to Villach in Carinthia region – even more if you are visiting Austria with kids.
Near Villach is a small village Landskorn with a stunning castle, standing on top of the hill. Just beneath the castle lies a park with macaque monkeys. The park is not an ordinary one, as here the macaque monkeys are not behind bars and are not in cages, but they walk freely among you.
Walking around the park and seeing macaque monkeys just a meter or two far from you, sitting on a fence or just hanging from the tree is a fantastic experience!
The macaque monkeys are truly amazing animals and if it happens you don’t see them, they will definitely make sure not to stay unnoticed – some are clapping hands, others are tapping their head and some are just screaming to get your attention.
The macaque monkeys are based in Affenberg Park, in a small town Landskorn, near Villach. The park was established in 1996, when 39 macaque monkeys were brought from Japan. The park’s area is 4 hectares and all macaque monkeys can walk around freely. Out of 39 macaque monkeys, the park has already more than 150 macaque monkeys today.
Once macaque monkeys were considered to be sacred animals, but nowadays wild hunters caught or shoot more than 5000 macaque monkeys per year. Due to wild hunting macaque monkeys are now declared as endangered species. The macaque monkey’s park is privately run and is financed only through admission fees. The park wants to educate people about these beautiful animals.
The most known feature of macaque monkeys is a red face, but rarely people know, that they don’t have red faces all the time. Red faces with macaque monkeys mean they are ready for mating.
Macaque monkeys mate during winter months and whelped babies from March to August. The park gets more than 10 baby monkeys per year.
We visited the macaque monkey’s park with our niece and nephew and they were totally overwhelmed. Because we have done a private guided tour they could even feed the monkeys themselves, what sure made an unforgettable experience.
Macaque monkeys are pretty smart and know very well, what the bags around the guide’s waist are – yes, it is food. Some monkeys behave well and wait for the food, but some are so inpatient that they try to take the food out of the bags themselves.
The park has also a small pool, which is one of the favorite places to macaque monkeys during the summer. It is always fun to watch them when fulling around.
Interesting facts about macaque monkeys
- A red face is a sign of increase level of sex hormone, which they have in their breeding season.
- Macaque monkeys’ fur enables monkeys to handle harsh winters up to -20°C.
- Macaque monkeys originate from Japan.
- Their life expectancy is around 30 years.
- Males are bigger and heavier than females.
- Macaque monkeys live in large groups, taking care for each other, but knowing exactly who the boss is.
- Females breed with several males to hide who the father of the baby is. This is how they make protection for the baby – when the males don’t know who their baby is, they take good care of everyone.
- Macaque monkeys are the only primates that like water.
- Macaque monkeys enjoy fruit, but they never eat the peel. They also eat vegetables, flower and even leaves – they are vegetarians.
- The females gestate for five months and can bear one baby once a year.
How to visit macaque monkeys in Villach?
The Affenberg Park is opened from 1st April to 1st November. The guided tours are every hour, starting 9:30 and ending 17:30, but during the summer the guided tours are held on every 30 minutes. The guided tour is about 45 minutes long and so far is available in German and English. Due to large groups, feeding of macaque monkeys is only allowed to the guide. The guides have a large knowledge of macaque monkeys and are happy to answer your questions as well.
There are also private guided tours available, but you need to book them in advance. Due to a small group (max 6 persons), you can feed macaque monkeys yourself as well.
Entrance fees for Macaque Monkeys Mountain in Villach
- Adults: 12€/pp
- Children (4-14 y.o.): 6€/pp
- Students / retirees: 9,50€/pp
- Family ticket (2x adult, 2 x child): 32€
Individual / private guided tour costs 120€/group and is about 60 to 90 minutes long. Feeding is allowed and the guide will also take you to off-limit places. The group is limited to 6 people.
Location of macaque monkeys park in Villach
Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 013.53.52.6
Address: Affenberg Landskorn, Schlossbergweg 18, 9523 Landskorn
Rules to obey when visiting macaque monkeys in Villach
- It is not allowed to touch or stroke macaque monkeys.
- Do not hold direct eye contact with a monkey for too long. They will think you dare them.
- It is recommended to have one meter distance between the monkey and yourself. When the monkey approaches too closely, make way and guarantee a safe distance.
- Do not touch the enclosure railings as the macaque monkeys use them as a toilet.
A visit to a so called monkey mountain is one of a kind experience, even more if you want to see the famous macaque monkeys without traveling to Japan. At the beginning Simon and I though this guided tour will be more for children, but at the end we both agreed, we were also impressed. This is a wonderful thing to do if you are traveling around Austria and planning to visit its region Carinthia.