About this Austria walking region
Set against a stunning mountainous backdrop, Innsbruck is equally well known as a centre for culture and sporting activity – and it makes an excellent destination for walkers. What better way to relax after an energetic day in the mountains, than by stopping off for a tasty pastry in one of the many pavement cafes in Innsbruck? The city is at once tranquil and exciting – and one place definitely worth a visit is the old town (Altstadt), with its stunning architecture.
The many sights and activities in and around Innsbruck mean you will never be bored. The nearby historic valley town of Hall in Tirol certainly merits a visit; back in the 15th century it was twice the size of Innsbruck, now it offers visitors tranquility and beauty. If you’re looking to do some skiing or snowboarding, then you can’t do much better than Seefeld, one of the most picturesque alpine resorts in Austria. A plateau high on the northern side of the valley provides a perfect spot for cross-country skiing in winter and easy hiking in summer.
Running south from Innsbruck to Brenner Pass is the wild beauty of the Wipptal Valley, a paradise for walkers and with tributary valleys which have remained largely untouched by tourism. There are some impressive summits here including Mt. Serles (2,718m/8,917ft) and Mt. Habicht (3,277m/10,751ft), which towers above the glorious Stubai Valley (30km/18.6mi long), around 40km/25mi from Innsbruck. The Stubai Valley (Stubaital in German) has a wonderfully wild and remote feel to it, which naturally attracts walkers. The most notable peaks in this area are Mt. Zuckerhütl (3,507m/11,506ft), Mt. Schrankogel (3,496m/11,470ft) and Mt. Ruderhofspitze (3,474m/11,398ft).
Walking in Central Tyrol & Innsbruck
Tyrol is the most alpine of all the Austrian regions, boasting an impressive number of well-maintained, clearly-marked walking trails. Central Tyrol and the area around Innsbruck are no exception, and provide ideal territory for hiking enthusiasts.
Many walkers will revel in the opportunity to tackle the classic Stubaier Höhenweg (Stubai high route, also known as the ‘rucksack route’), in the Stubai Alps, which for many is one of the finest hut-to-hut treks in the Alps.
The delights of the Tyrol have been summed up nicely over 70 years ago by the British mountaineer Frank Smythe (6 July 1900 – 27 June 1949): “For me, the Austrian Tirol will remain a country for the wanderer, and all who rejoice in the beauty and freedom of the hills.”