About this Austria walking region
See the haunting beauty of towering peaks topped by glaciers, experience the purifying scent of meadows filled with wildflowers, walk the soft trails of larch-filled valleys, watch bearded vultures soar in the big sky. East Tyrol is the perfect place for those wanting to escape the pressures of modern-day life, for here the air is exhilarating and clear and only the sound of cold, fast-flowing mountain streams interrupts the calm in this diverse land of plenty.
Captivatingly beautiful as it is, East Tyrol remains relatively untouched by the “package holiday trade”. But no matter how small and provincial it may seem; owing to the close proximity of Italy and Slovenia, the area surprises with its international atmosphere. At 1,787 square kilometres (690 square miles), National Park Hohe Tauern is Europe’s largest and one of the last undisturbed significant Alpine regions in the heart of Europe. East Tyrol shares this magical landscape with the provinces of Tyrol, Salzburg and Carinthia (Hohe Tauern National Park accounts for over 25% of East Tyrol’s territory).
Thanks to its location to the south of the main Alpine chain, East Tyrol enjoys a milder climate than North Tyrol. Sun-drenched and warm summer months display an unbelievable vitality, with mountain pastures turning into fields bursting with colour, snow grouses meeting to mate, marmots sunning themselves on warm rocks, and various species of birds circling high in the sky.
East Tyrol is justly regarded as an outstanding outdoor pursuits destination. In winter, you can enjoy skiing and other winter sports at one of three fine resorts and in summer, it is cycling and hiking which take centre stage in this land which enjoys more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year.
The principal town in East Tyrol is Lienz, which can serve as a good base for exploring this area and it certainly warrants some exploration. Medieval architecture, a castle and Italian charm: all surrounded by the splendour of the Lienzer Dolomites range.
Walking in East Tyrol
East Tyrol is circled by mighty Alpine ranges, including the Lienzer Dolomiten (Lienzer Dolomites) and the Karnische Alpen (Carnic Alps). This factor, together with the loss of South Tyrol to Italy after WWI, has East Tyrol somewhat isolated from the rest of Austria. East Tyrol has long been known as an outstanding walking region, offering some of the most exciting walks in Austria; from gentle strolls through peaceful woods to superb high-level trails, invariably leading to rustic mountain huts with beautiful views and hearty local fare. Austria’s two highest mountains Großglockner (3,798m/12,461ft) and Groβvenediger (3,674m/12,053ft) are the jewels of this magnificent landscape. Mt. Groβglockner also boasts Austria’s longest glacier (Pasterze Glacier, 9 km/5.6 miles). East Tyrol is a walker’s paradise offering more than 1,300 kilometres (808 miles) of clearly marked walking trails at all altitudes.