Get Active This Summer in the Austrian Tirol

STORY BY Emmanuelle 30th May 2018

You know you want to get active, but this usually means either heading to the back of beyond or finding a hiking route or biking track that’s hidden away on the edge of suburbia somewhere.

The answer to your conundrum is to head to the Austrian Tirol, a wonderful region of lakes, mountains, rolling hills and lush valleys where you can truly relax. You’ll have magnificent views at every turn, and there’s a new hiking route (an incredible 24,000 km of marked hiking trails in fact) or mountain biking route (5,600 km of designated mountain bike tracks to ride) around every corner.

If you want, you can just spend your holiday hiking or biking from place to place, but where to go first?

St Anton am Arlberg

St Anton already boasts a fantastic network of 300km of well-marked trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty for everything from a relaxing afternoon stroll to the most hardcore of hikes up to (or down from) the region’s highest peak, the Valluga (2,811m). A network of fast, comfortable lifts whisks you up the slopes if you prefer the downhill option.

This summer the Galzig Panorama Trail can be easily reached, too, via a new cable car. Here the whole family can learn about the Arlberg’s fascinating history at the lovingly designed “Erlebniswelt – Adventure World”.

One end of the Tirolean “Eagle Walk”, an iconic 413km long-distance hiking trail, is located at St Christoph, St Anton’s neighbour. The route traverses the entire province in 24 stages and it’s possible to do as many or as few sections as you like, and take a more challenging or easier route, keeping everyone happy.

Mountain bikers will find 350km of marked routes to enjoy, either using their own pedal power or the e-bike option. Both kinds of bike, and all the assistance you might need, are available from numerous rental shops. Trails are classified blue (easy), red (moderate) or black (tough) with routes leading over mountains, meadows and romantic alpine pastures.


If you’d like to mix it up a little and stay in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, with its wonderful Old Town lined with cafes and boutiques, but still be surrounded by mountains and wild nature, Innsbruck is your answer, as it combines Alpine and urban experiences easily.

You can, for example, jump on the Hungerburgbahn hybrid funicular railway, designed by late architect Zaha Hadid, that starts in the city centre and 20 minutes later you are on top of the Nordkette mountain (2,000m) in high-alpine terrain where you might tackle the Götheweg hiking route along the summits of the mountains.

If you’d like a little guidance on your route, Innsbruck offers a free mountain-hiking programme Monday to Friday from June until October with different three- to four-hour hikes offered completely for free to hotel guests.

For cyclists and mountain bikers, the Innsbruck region with its picturesque villages is a true mecca, offering a wide spectrum of routes suitable for all. These range from gentle cycle paths along the river Inn to challenging tracks through steep Alpine terrain. The “Genuss Radweg” culinary cycle tour is a particular favourite for those who prefer a more leisurely route, as is renting e-bikes, which are widely available.

From 22–30 September the Road World Championships will be in town featuring the 1,000 best male, female and junior road cyclists who will come together for a showdown in Innsbruck. Around 400,000 spectators are expected in the city and along the race routes.

St Johann in Tirol

St Johann is located at the other end of the famous long-distance Eagle’s Trail to St Christoph, but it’s just one of many hiking trails in the region – there is over 200km of trails altogether.

The 79km Koasa long-distance trail, divided into five stages and covering 3,750m of altitude difference, takes you in a big circle around the region.

But there are many other well-signed hiking paths and forest trails and themed walks, where nature lovers can hike over Alpine pastures, conquer high mountain peaks, explore wildly romantic mountain lakes and waterfalls or climb through gorges and canyons.

Natural spectacles here include the Grießbach Gorge in Erpfendorf and the Kaiserbachtal Valley nature conservation area.

In addition, several hundred kilometres of cycle and mountain bike paths run through the region’s Kitzbühel Alps. Again, there are tracks and trails for all tastes and ability levels from beginner to expert, and there are also plenty of e-bikes to hire, along with many strategically spaced battery-charging points.


Kitzbühel has a proven track record as a true hiking, cycling and mountain biking paradise and now has more than 1,000km of well-signposted hiking trails of all levels of difficulty.

There are all types of walks to enjoy around Kitzbühel, whether along the banks of the streams in the village or high up in the Alpine meadows at over 2,000m, with the majestic mountain backdrop of the craggy peaks of Wilder Kaiser mountains.

Special themed hikes, unique to the village, include the self-explanatory Horngipfel breakfast sunrise walk to the Kitzbüheler Horn. You can also enjoy culinary treats at the high-altitude Hornköpfl.

For a summer experience of Kitzbühel’s famous winter-sports racing heritage, there’s a Streif biking or hiking route to see the course where the world-famous Hahnenkamm is run each January, or to the Seidlalm where the Alpine Skiing World Cup was first run in 1966.


The new Three Day Alpine Pasture Tour in Alpbachtal Valley takes trekkers to the most beautiful spots between Reith, Alpbach and Inneralpbach. It’s part of 900km of marked hiking trails in the region. The three-day tour is perfect for families or those new to the sport, while more ambitious hikers can try the Four Day Tour across the Brandenberg Alps and Rofan mountain range.

For those on two wheels there are more than 20 well-marked mountain bike routes. Along with challenging runs for experts there are gentle meadow paths, mountain trails and rambling cycling routes ideal for e-biking. For road cyclists there are 22 tours to choose from that start centrally from Rattenberg, one of the stages on the 2018 Road World Championships. The use of summer cable cars and of the regional bus service is included in the Alpbachtal Seenland Card.

Tiroler Zugspitz Arena

Located on the Austrian Tirol side of the border from Germany’s highest peak, the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena is an area that’s home to more than 150 hiking trails of various levels of difficulty. There’s a wide range of guided hikes too, with everything from sunrise to sunset tours all the way to the orchid or herbal hikes – the trails lead to green hillsides, impressive waterfalls and mysterious mountain lakes.

Mountain bikers can select their personal favourites from more than 100 signposted trails on the online trail portal. Those looking for a gentler ride might opt to ride to the Heiterwanger See lake, while those seeking a greater challenge might choose the free-ride trail on Grubigstein in Lermoos with its jumps and obstacles.


Wildschönau is a haven for hikers, with 300km of walking trails. Guided walks are offered from Monday to Friday showing guests the most picturesque spots on partially easy and partially challenging routes, but all in the safe hands of a local guide who imparts fascinating facts about local history and the fauna and flora.

The gentle walk to the Filzmoos Moor is ideal for families, taking you through some thriving wildlife habitats. Keep an eye out for frogs, dragonflies, butterflies and songbirds as you traverse the soft grasses of the Alpine meadows. Weather permitting, you can even take off your shoes and walk barefoot. The Niederau Open Air Band Concert is another favourite for all during your stay in the region.

Hikers can use the free Wildschönau Card and take the cable car to the peak of Markbachjoch at the heart of the Tirolean Alps en route to the beautiful Rosskopf peak. Here a four-hour hike around the mountain is a great introduction to the area, with awe-inspiring views over the valley and an opportunity to stop off at the Holzalm mountain hut where you can enjoy homemade cheeses produced by the local master cheesemakers.

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