Although thousands of people flock to the Austrian Tirol in winter to sample its snowy delights, there’s still plenty of fun to be had during the summer. Think hiking instead of snow shoeing, biking instead of skiing or snowboarding and climbing up, instead of sliding down. Guests can explore the fantastic trails, take in the spectacular views or relax by tranquil lakes.
This summer, the region has introduced more walking routes, new terrain for mountain bikers and a wider selection of hotels, apartments, chalets and hostels for all visitors. Plus, the “007 Elements” cinematic experience will open in July 2018, in advance of the 25thJames Bond movie, due to be released in 2019.
Keen to find out more? Here’s what’s new this summer in the Austrian Tirol…
Due to demand, British Airways will increase its direct flights from two, to three times a week this summer; BA will fly every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from London Heathrow to Innsbruck. easyJet will also add one more flight to Innsbruck this summer; the carrier now offers direct flights every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from London Gatwick.
Put on your hiking shoes
More than 24,000 kilometres of marked hiking and mountain trails wind through the Austrian Tirol. Visitors can roam through gentle hills, master long-distance paths or scale one of the many peaks. The Eagle Walk is the region’s most famous route, spanning 413 km across the heart of the Alps it is a must-do with passionate hut-to-hut hikers.
New for summer 2018, fit and eager explorers should sample the new Karwendel High Trail (60 km) and new Starkenberg Panorama Trail (52 km). The Karwendel High Trail, which takes six days to master, is ideal for discovering the pristine natural beauty of Austria’s largest Nature Park. Get ready to conquer 7,000 metres of elevation and spend the night in five different mountain huts. Alternatively, families should tackle the Starkenberg Panorama Trail that links Fernpass with Landeck Castle. Follow the meandering route, which ranges from 800-1,200 metres above sea level and takes five days to complete. Look out for majestic castles, reflective lakes and flowing rivers, and discover more about Austrian Tirol’s history and culture.
Plus, hikers who know the Tannheimer Tal Valley 350 km trail system well, will like the 1,600 new signs, designed to connect walkers of all ages and ability to nature. Soon to be awarded the internationally recognised Tirol Hiking Trail Seal of Approved Quality, the markers improve safety by providing information on distances and difficulty, and by directing users to huts and gondolas if needed.
Finally, the new Three Day Alpine Pasture Tour in Alpbachtal Valley takes trekkers to the most beautiful spots between Reith, Alpbach and Inneralpbach. The three-day tour is perfect for families or those new to the sport, whereas more ambitious hikers can try the Four Day Tour across the Brandenberg Alps and Rofan Mountain Range.
For more information, visit: www.tyrol.com/things-to-do/sports/hiking
Jump on your bike
The Austrian Tirol has more than 920 km of cycle paths and roads weaving down winding valleys, along creek-side tracks and through gentle meadows. During the summer, many restaurants and inns will open their doors, ready to treat cyclists to locally-sourced culinary delights. Visitors after a more leisurely experience can hire electric mountain bikes, which have been gaining popularity throughout the area in last few years.
This summer, a new purpose-built mountain bike trail from Schmirn up to the top of Tuxer Joch Col will link Hintertux in Zillertal Valley with Schmirntal Valley. And in Ischgl a new intermediate-rated trail, called Flimjoch, will open at the top of Flimjochbahn chair lift at 2,757 metres above sea level. Expert downhillers can also sample a new, alternative route, that will connect with the Flimjoch Trail lower down.
Mountain bikers looking to gain confidence should try the two new lines at Sölden Bike Republic. The Ollweite Line provides a seven-kilometre-long rolling and technical route around the reservoir, whereas the Lettn Line is a fun, flowing and muddy trail designed for beginners. More advanced bikers can try the new singletrack trails, Scheid and Zirben in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, plus the new Bergkasteltrail in Nauders am Reschen Pass is idea for those looking for an exciting Enduro.
Often overlooked, East Tirol has an abundance of mountain biking trails too; those after more singletrack experience should explore the new Lakata Trail at Hochstein Mountain near Lienz and the four new Glockner Trails in Kals am Großglockner.
Finally, from late August 2018, road cyclists can tackle the newly-paved Gurgltal Cycle Path, which twists and turns through the scenic Gurgltal Valley between Tarrenz and Nassereith.
For more information, visit: www.tyrol.com/things-to-do/sports/mountainbiking
New attractions: Bond and beyond…
With Daniel Craig returning to the big screen in 2019 for the 25thJames Bond film, enthusiasts can immerse themselves in 007’s lair atop Gaislachkogl Peak, in Sölden, at 3,000 metres altitude. The new 007 Elements Cinematic Installation will open in July 2018 and will place visitors inside the world of James Bond. Sölden featured in Spectre, the 24thJames Bond film, with the ice Q mountaintop restaurant appearing as the Hoffler Clinic and the surrounding area forming part of the riveting ski-chase sequence.
Elsewhere, the new Atoll multipurpose recreation centre, on the shores of Achensee Lake, will provide an opportunity for guests to become completely immersed in nature while enjoying an array of activities. Nestled in Buchau, on the south-eastern shores of Tirol’s largest lake, the water playground comprises a 25-metre lap pool, fun outdoor pools with a waterslide and a health and sauna suite with a rooftop infinity pool. Those staying can also use the fitness and cardio zones, a well-equipped gym and check out the bouldering terrain. Children will be entertained at Strandbad Buchau adventure playground, which houses a 31-metre-long ship.
Water-lovers can try Europe’s highest-lying float trip at Rifflsee Lake in Pitztal Valley. Board a brand-new 140-square-metre raft and experience the grandeur of the beautiful lake, mountain and glacier scenery at an elevation of 2,232 metres.
And those after an adrenalin rush should head to the Wiedersbergerhorn Mountain in Alpachtal Valley, which now features the Alpachtaler Lauser Sauser alpine coaster. Opening on 19 May 2018, the raised track ride, with multiple ups and downs, runs along the natural curvature of the mountain and guarantees a thrilling journey down the valley.
Where to stay?
With all these new activities and experiences on offer, it’s no wonder the Austrian Tirol is opening more accommodation to meet demand. Ranging from basic to luxury, the new hotels, guesthouses, lodges, apartments, chalets and hostels are perfectly placed for guests to experience the region.
From its panoramic sauna and private spa, to its delicious food and outdoor biotope, the new five-star superior Astoria hotel will open in the Seefeld Olympia Region this summer. Relax in the wellness area, swim through the interlinked pools and make the most of a free Heart Rate Variability test, which evaluates the balancing act between the sympathetic nervous system (fight and flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Leave the Astoria feeling rejuvenated and equipped with some top tips for a continued healthy lifestyle.
Other new openings in Seefeld include A-Vita Living luxury chalet accommodation, Panorama Chalet Seefeld and Löwen Chalets Seefeld, plus, the small but beautiful Alpennest Hotel Leutasch in the neighbouring resort of Leutasch.
Located in the Kitzbühel Alps, the characterful market town of Fieberbrunn will see the new Vaya fine living resort open its doors to guests this summer, with 83 apartments and 17 chalets. The new deluxe complex will include a spa house and an à la carterestaurant.
Swapping flamboyance and glamour with fun and chilled vibes, intrepid adventurers and nature enthusiasts will be able to stay at the new Basecamp in Gramais in Lechtal Valley, Austria’s smallest village. Opening later this summer and operated by Hinterstein Mountain School, this no-frills hotel-hostel hybrid will improve access to the great outdoors at an affordable price.
Lastly, the new WNDRLX (Wanderlux) resort, in Mittelberg, Pitztal Valley, will be ready for visitors in late June 2018. The luxury base camp is ideally situated for nature and adventure activities. As well as featuring high-end chalets and apartments with private spas, the new accommodation has a welcoming restaurant with an outdoor patio and pond too. WNDRLX also offers a variety of curated Alpine experiences and guided outdoor activities.