Tyrol evokes images of majestic mountains and deep valleys dotted by picture-postcard villages. To many, this is also the dream image of Austria – rightly so.
The Alps entirely dominate Tyrol. The spectacular nature in Austria’s third largest state is perfect for outdoor activities – summer and winter. The alpine landscape dominates the state, with more than 500 peaks higher than 3000 meters above sea level. Despite that Tyrol has gained much of its fame as a prime tourist destination from ski-tourists, the state also has much to offer the rest of the year.
Nature and Culture
When you think about Tyrol, it often creates images of high mountains, alpine ski resorts, typical Tyrolean houses, pastures filled with flowers and grazing cows, and old wooden farm buildings. This is correct to a certain extent. Nonetheless, the Alpine State in western Austria has far more facets. The Tyroleans are concerned about their nature and cultural heritage and hold on to many old traditions. Throughout the year, countless folklore and traditional festivals are organized around the state. Check out the events calendars on the local tourist offices’ websites.
Unending hiking trails
As soon as the snow starts retreating under the spring sun, hiking boots come out of the wardrobes. An impressive 24.000 kilometres of hiking trails crisscross the state. The variety of hiking routes is equally extraordinary. No matter your shape or interests, there is always a path suited for you. Plenty of cable cars and ski lifts run during summer, allowing families with small children and even wheel-chair users to taste Tyrol from above. However, summer in Tyrol is not only about hiking.
< Click on the images to enlarge >
Tyrol has no large lakes like neighbouring states such as Salzburg or Carinthia. However, water is no shortcoming due to all the snow falling in the mountains every winter. You will find many small lakes and waterways scattered throughout the state, with possibilities for water sports. Kössen, for example, is known for white-water rafting on Großache, which flows north through the swamp Entenlochklamm on the border with Germany. The Achensee (lake) is popular for sailing and windsurfing.
The alpine skiing world cup has firmly put many Austrian ski resorts on the tourist destination maps. Places like Kitzbühel, Sölden, and St. Anton, to mention a few, have gained fame beyond the European alpine skiing community. Nonetheless, you should not overlook ski resorts such as Zillertal or Seefeld. Tyrol in the winter is not only about alpine skiing. There are fantastic opportunities for cross-country skiing, ice skating, tobogganing, winter hiking, or snow-shoe hiking. Ergo, Tyrol evokes images of winter wonderlands, steep slopes, and smashing after-ski parties. For many, the ultimate embodiment of alpine Austria, and rightly so. Winter sports are one of many reasons that make the alpine state a skier’s paradise in winter and a hiker’s paradise in summer.
East Tyrol (Osttirol)
A small part of Tyrol is separated from the rest of the state by a sliver of SalzburgerLand. This occurred when Austria was forced to seed the southern part of Tyrol to Italy as part of the peace agreement after World War I. East Tyrol is as mountainous as the rest of the state and offers a fantastic range of winter sports. There are beautiful, sparsely inhabited valleys to explore and stunningly scenic roads to be travelled, by car, motorbike, or bicycle. The eastern part is still firmly connected to its southern part in many ways, albeit separated by an international border in Italy.
South Tyrol (Alto Aldige / Südtirol)
Because even though South Tyrol is part of Italy, at heart, it’s still a part of Tyrol. As previously mentioned, the predominantly German-speaking Italian province of South Tyrol (Bozen – Alto Aldige) was separated from the rest of Tyrol in 1920. As a result, today, the culturally very similar Austrian state of Tyrol and the Italian autonomous province of South Tyrol enjoy extensive cross-border cooperation.
Innsbruck – the capital of the Alps
Innsbruck is the largest city by far in Tyrol, with 132.000 inhabitants. The second largest, Kufstein, only has 19.000 inhabitants. Many call Innsbruck the capital of the Alps, which it shouldn’t have any difficulties defending. Nonetheless, the city is small enough to see most places of interest on foot. It has a well-preserved historic city centre. If you want to see the Bergisel ski jump or Ambras Palace, you’re better off using public transport. Stunningly grand snow-capped mountains surround the city in the middle of the Inntal. Both to the south and north.
The first train stop on my winter tour through Austria was Zillertal, Tyrol. After a few days in fantastic Vienna, I was looking forward to hitting the slopes. Moreover, the winter had taken a firm hold on the Austrian Alps in late February, and there was abundant snow. Chilly but great fun The skiing conditions […]
Tratzberg Castle has overlooked the Inn Valley since the 13th century from its perfect hillside location, less than a kilometre from the river Inn. After Tyrol’s independency from the Duchy of Bavaria in the 12th century, the local noblemen needed strongholds to defend their newly acquired freedom. Thus, a fortress was constructed at a strategic […]
These are just a few of the suggestions we have for you. Tyrol is much, much more than ski resorts or hiking holidays. Moreover, if the weather isn’t the best, there are plenty of activities to keep most happy and busy for a day or three. We went to see what to do on a […]
Tirol’s largest lake has been a popular tourist destination since the late 1800s. With the arrival of the main train line in Inntal and a cogwheel train up to the lake corresponding with a steamboat, tourism has flourished ever since. Moreover, surrounded by two mountain chains, Rofan to the east and Karwendel to the west, […]
Arriving at the cable car valley station the first day to plan my runs was demanding. I could choose between a whopping 88 cable cars and lifts to take me to more than 300 km of prepared slopes and 200 km’s off-piste runs. For beginners or first-time visitors, it can be a bit overwhelming. Choosing […]
Hiking in the Alps is one of the most popular activities in Tyrol during the summer months. Enjoying stunning views and a day on the mountain does not necessarily, mean you need climbing gear and a marathon runner’s stamina. There are places perfect for family outings as well. Family fun There are several places where […]
Innsbruck, the capital of Tirol, Austria spreads out in the Inn Valley where the river Inn makes a bend north, before continuing east. Located in the middle of Austria’s most alpine state, the city’s 130.000 inhabitants enjoy a thriving city and all-year outdoor adventures. Innsbruck got its name from the first bridge across the river […]
t the recommendation of the local tourist office, we headed 10 km out of Seefeld to the village of Scharnitz. We were booked on an excursion into the stunning Karwendel mountains by a tractor. Yes, you read it right. No fancy 4×4 nor luxurious horse carriage, but on a trailer drawn by an agricultural tractor. […]
A little in the shadow of Innsbruck, which is only 10 kilometres further west, Hall does not receive visits from countless busloads of tourists. Something that we appreciated when we strolled around in picturesque Hall. We love these small historic cities in Austria. The hustle and bustle of daily life make Hall much more than […]
What a change from when my college Arnold was here in the summer of 2017 (see the article Family fun in Seefeld). One of the snowiest winters in Austria in a long time had laid a thick white blanket over Seefeld and the entire Tyrol. It did not take long to get off the train […]