Tirol – the joy of walking and hiking
Last updated on 14.04.2022
This summer will see a number of new long-distance trails open in Tirol, a region already home to a huge network of hiking paths. New highlights include the Ötzi Trek and the Arlberg Trail leading up into the high mountains. There are also plenty of easy trail down in the valley for those who prefer to take it easy. Or why not hop on one of the local cable cars and let yourself be transported up into the Alps in the blink of an eye? Here are some of the best walking and hiking experiences in Tirol.
Slowly but surely towards the summit. Step by step by step by step. A quick break – a chance to catch your breath and marvel at the landscape. What a view! As we scan the horizon, all we can see is one mountain chain after another stretching into the distance – each and every one waiting to be climbed. Up at the top awaits a panorama which more than makes up for all the sweat and toil. Time for a selfie? Maybe not – after all, today is a day which will live long in the memory, even without a summit snapshot. That feeling of total freedom, being on top of the world, remains with us long after we have left the mountain behind us and headed home.
Mountains made for hiking
After the restrictions and uncertainty of recent years, this summer more than ever is a time to finally get back out into the mountains and enjoy what nature has to offer. Tirol is home to a huge network of walking and hiking trails – over 24,000 kilometres in total – from family-friendly paths in the valley to steep and demanding trails above 3,000 metres. Sounds like hungry work? Then you will be pleased to know that Tirol has 170 mountain huts run by the Austrian Alpine Club offering not only a hearty meal but, if you are planning a multi-day hike, a warm bed for the night. There are also plenty more other huts serving food and, in some cases, also offering accommodation.
Long-distance hiking: Ötzi Trek
In 1991, two hikers discovered the remains of a perfectly preserved Copper Age mummy in the ice of the Ötztal Alps. This Neolithic man soon became known as Ötzi the Iceman – and was the inspiration for the new Ötzi Trek following the footsteps our ancient ancestors took over 5,000 years ago. The trek leads to the spot where the mummified remains of Ötzi the Iceman were found, passing mystical moors, thundering waterfalls and places of ritual sacrifice on the way. All in all the Ötzi Trek comprises 61.5 kilometres with 9,200 vertical metres.
Before setting off, hikers should download the Ötzi Trek App. This uses GPS data to show the way (even without an internet connection) and also includes an audioguide telling walkers all about both Ötzi the Iceman and the area in which he was discovered. This multi-stage hike takes walkers through the fascinating glacier landscape of the Ötztal Valley and can be adapted to suit different the fitness levels.
The adventure begins in the town of Landeck and leads through the Pitztal to the Italian border, where hikers cross over into South Tirol and continue all the way down to the regional capital Bozen/Bolzano. One of the many highlights en route is the Ötzi Village in Umhausen. Each stage ends at a hotel in the valley. A luggage transport service is available.
Adventures on foot from Tirol to Vorarlberg
The villages of Lech, Zürs, Stuben, St. Christoph and St. Anton are famous first and foremost as wintersports destinations, but now a new hiking trail has been created to link these villages in summer. The Arlberg Trail is a loop comprising three stages with 40 kilometres of hiking and 6,038 vertical metres of uphill and downhill. Around a fifth of the total distance is completed not on foot but using cable cars. There is a special Arlberg Trail Ticket which includes all these journeys and can be used throughout the summer, meaning that you can also hike individual stages on by one or choose alternative routes if you prefer. Accommodation is provided in the villages. There is the option of a luggage transport service. https://arlbergtrail.com
Further recommendations for long-distance hiking: Great Walks
Visitors wishing to immerse themselves in the mountains of Tirol should check out the Great Walks. These six long-distance trails showcase the best of the region while at the same time presenting a real challenge to even fit and experienced hikers.
For more information about the Great Walks please visit www.tyrol.com/greatwalks
The taste of Tirol: walks for foodies
Walking doesn’t always have to be hard work! Sometimes it’s nice to take things at a slower pace and have a little more time to appreciate the landscape – and, of course, the local food. Tirol has nine trails specifically aimed at foodies, each taking in at least one mountain hut with a reputation for serving excellent food. Pull on your hiking boots, head out onto the trails and get ready to enjoy the taste of Tirol – the mountain air is sure to help you work up an appetite!
Families will love the Mutterer Alm near Innsbruck, where kids and parents can paddle out on a raft onto the small lake just above the hut. Or how about a walk to the Angerer Alm in the Kitzbühel Alps with its wine cellar housing 6,000 bottles from around the world? However fit you are and whatever your taste, there is a walk or hike for you. Some of the recommended walks also lead to huts where dairy products such as butter, yoghurt and cheese are made. Sounds good? For more details please visit www.tyrol.com/taste-the-region-hikes-for-foodies-in-tirol
Cable cars – quick and easy access to the mountains
Many of Tirol’s lifts and cable cars are open during the summer months, providing quick and easy access to the mountains for visitors of all ages. At the top you will find adventure play areas with lots of activities for the young and the young-at-heart. Cable cars are also a good way to shorten the approach to some of Tirol’s highest mountains – ride the first section, hike the rest. All in all there are 19 members of the Summer Cable Cars Tirol – a group of mountain adventure parks which meet exacting standards when it comes to not only cable cars and lifts themselves but also the activities and attractions available on the mountain. For more information please visit www.tyrol.com/summer-cable-cars
Staying safe on holiday: For an overview of the current Covid-19 rules and recommendations in Tirol please visit www.welcome.tirol