Revisit the Summer Retreat: Coolcation in Tirol

Last updated on 10.06.2024

When summer temperatures creep over the 30-degree mark and the beaches and sea in southern climes offer no respite from the heat, Tirol offers a refreshing alternative for your summer holiday. True to the motto ‘Coolcation’, guests can look forward to naturally moderate temperatures and relatively quiet resorts.

Revisit the Summer Retreat: Coolcation in Tirol
Revisit the Summer Retreat: Coolcation in Tirol © Tirol Werbung, Verena Sparer

Renaissance of the summer retreat

The old tradition of summer holidays, where city dwellers fled to Tirol to escape from the heat in the 19th century and savour the cooler climes of the Alps, is experiencing a modern renaissance as global temperatures continue to rise. Last summer was in fact one of the hottest since weather records began, but continued climate change means that temperatures well in excess of 30 degrees and new heat records are expected again this year.

‘Coolcation’, a play on the English words of cool and vacation, reflects the desire to cool down on hot summer days and lends a whole new spin to the innovative concept. While most people journeyed south for their summer holidays in the past, seeking the heat and lying on the beach in the sun, a trend reversal has become apparent in recent years: Increasing numbers of vacationers are booking ‘coolcations’ in destinations with more moderate temperatures. The holiday destination of Tirol really comes into its own here, thanks to its higher altitudes and naturally moderate climate – and offers those seeking rest and relaxation some truly memorable holiday experiences.

Coolcation in Tirol

Temperatures that drop with every metre gained in altitude, fresh mountain air, crystal-clear mountain lakes and a panorama that is, quite simply, unparalleled. There are many reasons for taking a ‘summer retreat’ in Tirol, not just because of the daytime activities available. Thanks to noticeably lower temperatures in the evening, restful and relaxing sleep can also be found in the Alps – without the need for any air conditioning. The peace and quiet that can be found here at night, far away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, is also worthy of note.

Not to be beaten: A dip in a cool mountain lake on a hot summer's day
Not to be beaten: A dip in a cool mountain lake on a hot summer’s day © Tirol Werbung, Verena Sparer

Sunshine & swimming fun

The Tirol 2022 climate review demonstrates that despite the province’s refreshing temperatures, no-one must forgo the soothing benefits of the sun: the heart of the Alps recorded an average of around 1,570 hours of sunshine in 2022. Swimming holiday enthusiasts are also well catered for, as Tirol is home to around 600 lakes, natural ponds and lagoons. The water quality of the bathing lakes is comparable to that of drinking water, while water temperatures range from refreshingly cool to extremely warm.

In addition to the many lakes, visitors can also cool off in the spectacular gorges, ravines and waterfalls that can be found throughout the province. Plunge into Lake Achensee, the ‘Sea of Tirol’, take a trip to the breathtaking Kaiserklamm gorge in the Alpbachtal region, or a refreshing dip at the foot of the mighty Grawa waterfall in the Stubaital – there are almost no limits to the variety of activities offered by the region’s magnificent bounty of water.

Recuperation – or adventure?

Shady forests offer both relaxation and refreshing temperatures, be it forest bathing or indulging in a variety of forest-based excursion destinations, such as the Forest Rope Park in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Kugelwald Adventure World on Glungezer Mountain in the Hall-Wattens region, or the Tree House Trail in Schlick in the Stubai Valley. Moreover, the 26 award-winning Tirolean Summer Cable Cars promise fabulous mountain experiences for the whole family.

Hikes are also a great fun on hot summer days, thanks to the high altitude and refreshing mountain air. Choose from impressive high-altitude hiking trails, such as one or more stages of the Eagle Walk Tirol, to Kalser Tauernhaus along the Glocknerkrone in Osttirol, the Karwendel High Trail, or a waterside hike along the banks of rugged streams, to idyllic lakes or impressive waterfalls. Other examples include the Wild Water Trail in the Stubai Valley or the Umbal Falls Water Trail in the Virgen Valley in Osttirol.

Natural shower at the Württembergerhaus in the Lechtal Alps
Natural shower at the Württembergerhaus in the Lechtal Alps © Tirol Werbung, Charly Schwarz

The caves and grottos of the region, on the other hand, are both mystical and spectacular. Fantastically shaped ice formations, glacial crevasses large enough to walk inside, weather-beaten marble and millennia-old stalactites not only amaze visitors, but also provide cooling refreshment. The 350,000-year-old stalactite and ice formations in the Hundalm cave near Angerberg in the Kitzbühel Alps or in Nature’s Ice Palace at over 3,000 metres above sea level on the Hintertux Glacier in the Zillertal are truly impressive. The latter surprises visitors with an underground wonderland of ice and light, where those that dare can even sample the adventurous delights of ice swimming. Rafting and canyoning in Tirol’s white-waters and deep gorges are also thrilling and action-packed activities, with the added guarantee of delivering some cool refreshment!

Even more cool vibes in the Tirolean summer

Summer feelings are reflected in culinary terms in Tirol too: you can enjoy a refreshing aperitif or a cool beer in a trendy rooftop bar or a shady restaurant garden. In addition to classic Tirolean cuisine, summery creations with fresh fish and innovative Alpine prawns provide memorable dining experiences with an extra Mediterranean twist.

A stop at the Aldranser Alm guarantees the necessary refreshment
A stop at the Aldranser Alm guarantees the necessary refreshment © Tirol Werbung, Elias Hassos

Culture lovers are also well catered for in the summer months. Not only do the many castles and palaces throughout the country provide a refreshing ambience thanks to their thick walls, but they also offer exciting insights and interesting exhibitions. A varied festival scene also offers the perfect programme for every taste – not only in the cities, but also at unique locations in the mountains.

Sustainable perspective & further information

Environmentally friendly services such as travelling by public transport free use of local public transport, free or discounted e-bike hire etc. make it easy to explore Tirol without increasing your carbon footprint, so your ‘Coolcation’ doesn’t have a negative impact on nature.

‘Coolcation’ for the climate: travelling by public transport
‘Coolcation’ for the climate: travelling by public transport © Tirol Werbung, Rene Zangerl

More information about summer holidays in Tirol can be found at


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