Typically, the month of May doesn’t bless Tirol with the best weather. However, this makes it the perfect time to experience the region’s fascinating museums and indoor attractions, found throughout Innsbruck and beyond.
For example, just recently I visited the ‘Haus der Fasnacht’ (House of Carnival) in Imst. Located in a heritage-listed farmhouse, the museum’s interior has been renovated and features fantastic carnival masks, figures, huge posters and an intriguing film. I took a guided tour with a bona-fide carnival member of Imst Schemenlaufen – one of the Alps’ biggest and most colourful carnivals. I can now safely say that I’ve well and truly caught ‘Carnival fever’ and I’d definitely recommend a guide! Unfortunately, the museum only opens on Fridays from 4-7pm but occasionally opens on other days, by request.
Another great place to visit is the Zillertal Dairy in Mayrhofen. The audio guide tour here is full of interesting information and is suitable for children. It’s also well worth stopping for a snack at the restaurant or popping into the store, where you can try and buy produce from the dairy – be sure to taste the Premium Grey Cheese. Simply delicious!
Another attraction which exceeded my expectations was the HolzErlebnisWelt power station in Fügen – an unusual district power plant which pays homage to Tirol timber. During a 70 minute guided tour of this biomass heat and power plant, I gained fascinating insights about sustainable energy use and learnt heaps about the history of wood, green energy production and climate change. Perhaps a little too demanding for young children, this attraction is definitely worth a visit for young people and adults who have an interest in nature, technology and green initiatives.
A walking tour through the Old Town in Hall can be fantastic, even in bad weather. Enlist the help of a local guide and you’ll discover local secrets which can otherwise get overlooked, such as the town’s wedding hall. When the rain gets too much, escape to the Münzerturm mint to discover the history of coin minting. See historic minting machines and learn how the most common coin in the world – the Maria Theresa thaler – was once made here. The tower of the Münzerturm mint also gives beautiful views over the Old Town.
Tratzberg castle is definitely one of my favourite places to visit. This beautiful hunting lodge, perched above the Inn Valley, brings the history of Emperor Maximilian to life and features a huge wall painting which depicts the ancestry of the Habsburg Monarchy. The attraction’s audio guide is particularly good and there are special children’s tours too.
Other places to put on your rainy day list include: the Swarovski Crystal World in Wattens, the Riedel glass company in Kufstein, the silver mine in Schwaz, the Stams monastery and the Roman archaeological park in Lienz – East Tirol attractions which appeal to tourists and locals alike. Perhaps it should rain more often!
Details of most Tirol attractions can be found here.