What, yet another top ten list? Sure! After all, summer in Tirol has already begun – not just according to the calendar but also judging by the weather. There are so many things to see and do throughout the region in the warm summer months. Action or relaxation? Mountain or valley? Alone or with others? It’s up to you! Here is my top ten of things you simply have to do this in Tirol this summer!
1. Stay the night in a mountain hut and go for a sunrise hike
For me, staying the night in a traditional hut high up in the mountains is what summer in Tirol is all about. I pack my rucksack, disappear for a couple of days and leave the stress of daily life far behind. One of my favourite places in the mountains is the Kellerjochhütte hut high above the small town of Schwaz. Why? The hike up to the hut isn’t too long or hard, so it is also suitable for children. The hut itself sleeps 24 people and serves excellent food. And the best thing for me is its location: from the hut it takes just 30 minutes to walk to the Kellerjoch mountain and watch the sun rise early in the morning. There is nothing quite like the experience of seeing the Sun slowly appear on the horizon and then flood the valley below with light. An experience definitely worth getting up early for! And if you are wondering what you should pack in your rucksack … Eva will tell you right here!
2. Go swimming in a mountain lake
When things get hot down in the valley, there is no better way to cool off than with a refreshing dip in a mountain lake. Beware, though – the water can be pretty cold! Eva has written a blog about the best mountain lakes in Tirol. Choose your favourite, pack your swimming things and head out into the mountains.
3. Visit a mountain adventure park
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I think it must be about ten years ago that I visited the Komperdell outdoor adventure park in Serfaus with a friend and her children in search of a plane which had “crashed” in the mountains. Her kids are teenagers now, but they still remember that great day out we had together. Now I have children of my own and one of the things I definitely want to do with them this summer is go to Fiss-Serfaus-Ladis to see the spectacular replica of a crashed airplane as well as the many other great highlights on offer such as the Fisser Flieger zipwire. Click here for more outdoor activities in the mountains of Tirol.
4. Whizz downhill in a mountain kart
Downhill mountainbiking, summer tobogganing and some of the many cable cars in Tirol are all good ways to travel from the mountain back down into the valley. However, the most fun way to do so is in a mountain kart. These fun three-wheelers can be rented at the Mutterer Alm mountain hut near Innsbruck. After receiving a crash helmet and a few quick instructions on how to steer and brake, it is time to get going! The trail from the hut down into the valley is 5 kilometres in length and has been designed for mountain karts. On wet days you will arrive down at the bottom covered in mud, but it is definitely worth it! The resort on St. Johann on the Kitzbüheler Horn mountain also has mountain karts available for hire, but I haven’t yet had a chance to visit and try them out.
5. Learn how to play golf
Okay, I admit it: I used to be one of those people who think that golf is just a pseudo sport for pensioners and people with too much time and money. That was until I took part in a golf course, which opened my eyes completely. Even seemingly simple thing like holding the club the right way and staying balanced while hitting the ball are nowhere near as easy as they might look. And then there’s the question of getting the ball into the hole… I have definitely changed my opinion about this sport and can now understand why people get up at 6 o’clock in the morning to play a round of golf. The combination of spectacular landscape and total concentration is a fascinating challenge. The Golf- und Landclub Achensee enjoys a beautiful location and offers two-day beginners’ courses from €125.
6. Catch a film at an open-air cinema
I know, these days almost all large towns and cities have an open-air cinema in summer – not just in Tirol. But for me the most beautiful is in the Zeughaus in Innsbruck. For 22 years now this former arsenal belonging to Emperor Maximilian has been a meeting place throughout the month of August for film buffs, couples, girls’ nights out, groups of friends and families with children. Films are shown whatever the weather, and if temperatures get cold then even mulled wine is served! The month-long open-air experience traditionally concludes on 31 August with a screening of Zorba The Greek.
7. Try rock climbing
Rock climbing is one of the best ways to experience nature at first hand. One thing which makes it so fascinating is its simplicity: it’s just you and the mountain. The Ötztal Valley is one of the best places in Tirol for climbers of all abilities. Families will enjoy the climbing in Oberried where there are around 100 routes catering for all abilities. Beginners wishing to climb outdoors are advised to hire a guide from one of the many outdoor and alpine schools.
8. Sample local food at a traditional mountain hut
Sushi, souvlaki, steak – when it comes to food, I love trying new things. But every now and then I like to go back to basics by visiting a mountain hut and enjoying the hearty food on offer there, such as brown bread with a thick layer of butter accompanied by a glass of fresh spring water. It may be simple, but it’s always delicious. One of my favourite culinary destinations is the Filzalm hut in the Brixental Valley, which can be accessed either on foot or on a mountain bike (those who want a little battery boost can also hire an e-bike). The quickest and easiest way to get to the hut is using the cable car. From the top station it is just a short walk to the hut itself. Another traditional hut with excellent food and views is the Bodenalm in the Zillergrund.
9. Calculate the distance of an approaching storm
Thunderstorms are a regular feature of summers in Tirol. I love sitting on my balcony, watching the action and working out how long an approaching storm will take to reach me. I can’t remember all that much from my physics classes at school, but one thing I still know is that light travels faster than sound. That is why you generally see the lightning first and then hear the rumble of thunder a few seconds later. This can be used to work out how far away a storm is. All you need to do is count the seconds between the lightning and the thunder. If you multiply the number of seconds by 340 then you can work out how many metres away the storm is. For example, if there is a delay of 5 seconds between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder then you need to do the following calculation: 5 x 340 = 1700 metres. The thunderstorm is 1.7 kilometres away. And if you want to know whether the storm is moving towards you or away from you, then repeat the same calculation the next time you see a flash of lightning. If the time between lightning and thunder has increased, then it must be moving away. Easy, right?
10. Full steam ahead at Lake Achensee
I grew up near Lake Achensee, so surely I’m allowed to squeeze in a second top tip for Tirol’s largest lake to go with the golf lessons I recommended above! It might seem a bit touristy, but a ride on the Achenseebahn railway from Jenbach to Seespitz and then a trip across the lake on a steamboat is a great experience for visitors of all ages. I recommend stopping off at the Gaisalm, a picturesque hut on the shore of the lake with its own children’s play area. Visitors to Pertisau should check out the Steinöl-Vitalberg, a museum showcasing how natural oils can be extracted from rock.
Found something that takes your fancy? Whichever tip you decide to pursue, I hope you have a great summer in Tirol!
And for the culture vultures among you, there are plenty of concerts, festivals, dance and theatre in Tirol during the summer months.