With temperatures soaring above 30°C, many will be seeking out ways to escape the heat. Fortunately, no matter how hot it is, there’s always a couple of good ways to cool down in the Alps. Whether it’s heading to higher elevation or underground or splashing around in a crystal clear tarn, there are plenty of ways to loosen the sweltering sun’s grip on Tirol. Try these tips when the sun starts to scorch.
1. Leap Into Frigid Waters
Everyone knows that one of the best ways to chill out fast is to get acquainted with the nearest body of water. Thus, splashing around in one of Tirol’s crystal-clear Swimming Lakes is the best way to stay cool, and there are plenty of places to choose from. The refreshing water of Achensee Lake, for example, is perfect to cool off on a hot summer day. Tirol’s largest lake is situated at a lofty elevation of 929 meters above sea level and is encircled by rugged and lofty peaks and summits. The water sparkles in shades of turquoise and the lake is a magnet for summer fun with plenty of water sports activities, whether it’s swimming, windsurfing or boating.
2. Explore the World of Eternal Ice
Those who are missing the snow can get their ski fix at Hintertux Glacier, Austria’s one and only summer skiing experience—with great year-round skiing, 365 days a year, the resort also boasts the longest snow season in Austria. Beneath the slopes of the glacier ski resort lies the amazing Natural Ice Palace, an underground cave carved by Mother Nature out of snow and ice where the average temperature is 0° C all year round. Glowing blue walls of ice, giant, sparkling ice crystals, a walkable crevasse, frozen waterfalls and a glacial lake evoke feelings of awe and wonder.
3. Revel in the Chilly Mist Spraying from Grawa Waterfall
In big cities, the outdoor patios of restaurants are often cooled down with misting fans. In Tirol, you can revel in a completely natural water mist from a waterfall and experience cooler temperatures even on the hottest days. There’s a spectacular viewing platform on foot of cascading Grawa Waterfall in Stubaital Valley, where you can relax on a wooden deckchair and feel the cloud of chilly mist spraying on your face. On a hot summer day, the mist that drifts from the exhilarating gush of water over the cliffs is a sublime natural air conditioner—and highly beneficial for the respiratory tract.
4. Cool Down in Historic Buildings
A welcome respite for body and mind are the numerous Castles, Palaces and Churches of Tirol. With its imposing, thick walls, these historic buildings stand as monuments from times long past—and inside, it’s dark, cold and peaceful. For example, a guided tour of Innsbruck Court Church is not a bad way to kill the hottest hours of the afternoon.
5. Go Spelunking in Hundalm Cave
Caves are cool, literally. A tour inside the only Ice Cave that is open to the public in Western Austria is a perfect activity on a hot day: Hundalm Ice Cave stays about 0° C no matter the temperature outside. A series of steps above Mariastein lead to amazing underground rooms that are lined with otherworldly ice formations.
6. Enjoy Something Tall & Cold
Slow down, relax and enjoy something tall and cold among the trees. Tirol’s capital Innsbruck has a multitude of patios and shady beer gardens, where friendly staff is waiting to serve you numbingly-chilled beverages. Seriously, the patio cannot be beat for getting out of the sun and the food and treats are the icing on the cake. Local classics include ‘Fischerhäusl’ close to the Provincial Theater, ‘Stiftskeller’ in vicinity to the Golden Roof and ‘Bierstindl’ on foot of Bergisel.
7. Go Hiking into Wolfsklamm Gorge
For our next stay-cool idea, we’re going to go a little lower, like deep-into-a-canyon low. Surrounded by sheer walls of rock, canyons give visitors a much welcome break from the sun. A truly gorgeous natural spectacle is Wolfsklamm Gorge near Stans. Its chilly, emerald-green waters are guaranteed to ensure you forget all about the hot sun smoldering in the sky.
8. Embark on Wet, Wild and Oh-So-Fun Water Activities
Surfing in Tirol? Yes, landlocked surf addicts are heading for Tirol’s Inn River to catch a wave at Upstream Surfing. Each spring, gravity and sunshine draw winter snow down from the high country and into Tirol’s river-carved canyons. Ötztaler Ache, for example, leads into Area 47, a haven for wet, wild and oh-so-fun water activities all summer long. Take in the panoramic views while windsurfing in the refreshing water of Achensee Lake or try river tubing on Brandenberger Ache River. You definitely won’t be bored — or hot — as you explore Tirol’s rivers, streams and splash-worthy watering holes!
9. Head Underground at the Schwaz Silver Mine
Another way to cool off is to check out the Silver Mine, where you’ll find temps to be a brisk 12° C. Dubbed “The Mother of all Mines”, the Silver Mine in Schwaz was the largest and wealthiest silver mining hub of the world in the Middle Ages. On the tour, you’ll cruise downward on a miniature train and venture deep into the bowels of the mine for a trundle through its illustrious past. Visitors who suffer from hay fever will be pleased to know that the mine is a 100% pollen-free zone.
10. Head to the Mountains
The temperature drops the higher you go (by 1 ℃ every 100 meters up), so head for Tirol’s glorious mountains, where each vertical meter will bring you closer to blissfully mild temperature, unbelievable views and great memorable moments. Conveniently reached via gondola ride, the mountaintops offer chillaxing temps even in a heatwave. Up there, you can hit wonderful hiking trails or bring the kids and explore one of Tirol’s many On-Mountain Adventure Worlds.