After having posted several updates on this blog pertaining to the now myriad sites showcasing Alpine panoramas from around Europe and indeed the world, this post is an update on, in my opinion, the principal websites that best publicise the Alps’ finest panoramic vistas.
Hiking-trail.net – paraphrased as Hribi – is based in Croatia(hence the Hr prefix) and self-styles itself as having “everything you need to know about hiking, walking and climbing in (the) Slovenian, Italian, Austrian and Croatian mountains.” Impressively, this site very much runs with the big-hitters by providing useful information on Alpine flora and fauna, daily weather updates and a list of mountains to be found in the aforementioned countries, amongst many others. As a quirky but not unwelcome aside Hribi also carries a webcam of Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro. www.hiking-trail.net/
Skiweather.eu has over 20000 mountain and ski resort webcams, concentrating upon the usual suspects but also the likes of Spain and Scandinavia, so often overlooked not only as Alpine destinations in their own right but also on websites of this genre. An outstanding website that can be used all year round and not just during the ski season, despite its name suggesting to the contrary. Along with the latest weather-forecasts this site also publicises subjective reviews of resorts, in a not dissimilar style to TripAdvisor. Whilst always helpful, one must use great caution when forming an opinion from such appraisals, where inevitably the same resort/hotel will inevitably fall into the ‘one mans meat, another’s poison’ territory. skiweather.eu/
Panomax is a big favourite of mine, despite not having the breadth of choice of resorts that other sites enjoy. With their unique approach to this burgeoning field of interest, less definitely is more. The basis of Panomax’s ethos is to provide the viewer with high-resolution panoramas of approximately 40-50 different resorts/locations, a choice that seems to alter daily but retaining a few cameras that are probably the most viewed, for example of and above Seefeld and Schwarze Schneide in the Oetztal. It is also of some considerable benefit to the armchair enthusiast that the view you see can be controlled remotely, or, should you prefer the panorama continually rolls at a gentile pace that enables the splendour of the vista to be fully appreciated. Predominately, Austrian resorts are shown but the likes of Livigno, Garmisch Partenkirchen and the Zugspitze are far from overlooked. It is even possible to send your friends an e-card containing a webcam snapshot from your chosen resort. www.panomax.at/
Several years ago Panoramablick was always a ‘go to’ website for me, especially on my return from the Innsbruck region due to the many views it showed from in and around the capital of the Tirol. Having somewhat slipped from my consciousness since my awareness was piqued of several of its Alpine rivals showcased in this post, I am pleased to see its return to prominence, specifically due to it looking beyond Austria for the resort-cameras that it now hosts. For a longtime Panoramablick didn’t carry any webcams from Slovenia, a situation I found puzzling considering many other Alpine webcams from countries perhaps adjudged to be Austria’s closest rivals, both geographically and in a tourist sense were generously publicised. Slovenia is now included but perhaps pointedly or just by way of saving space it does not have its own heading on the homepage, meaning access to its cams can only be granted through clicking the Europa rubric. An excellent website that I am pleased has endured, albeit by moving with the times. www.panoramablick.com/
As far as I am aware Feratel were always the pioneers of Lakes and Mountains webcams, first coming to my attention many years ago. Then, their many views of mainly Austrian resorts and cities were shown early morning on the now defunct TV1 station, accompanied by the mandatory but entirely appropriate Oom-pah or Zither music, so synonymous with the mountains. Feratel’s cameras to this day are still shown in the early morning on several Austrian and German(mainly Bavarian) stations, enabling the bleary-eyed traveller to wake up to dozens of exquisite views without having to leave the confines of their room. I always find this to be a wonderful start to the day as an apposite precursor to hopefully an extensive fruestueck, followed by a challenging hike out in the field. Feratel continue to show all that is good about the great Austrian outdoors, with its cameras being helpfully listed by province. As now to be expected many other European countries get the expert Feratel-treatment but as of yet, it has remained immune to Slovenia’s charms. The website can also be used as a resource to locate and book hotel accommodation. www.feratel.com/en.html