About this Austria walking region
Walking was hugely popular in North-Eastern Tyrol before skiing even took off, and once the snow has melted, there are numerous opportunities for walking holidays in this beautiful region, with plenty of well signposted routes guiding walkers of all abilities through varied terrain.
The scenery is classically Austrian: quaint wooden chalets dotted amid jagged peaks, pretty Tyrolean villages with onion-domed church spires, fairytale forests, stunningly blue lakes, wildflower-strewn farming pastures, romantic mountain huts and rugged valleys.
The Tyroleans have their own unique regional identity, which is characterised by their food, their way of life and their distinctive accents. And in the mountain valleys, many ancient Tyrolean traditions live on.
Here, man and land are inextricably tied to each other; the wildly beautiful countryside has shaped the people – friendliness, openness and zest for life are reflected in ancient traditional customs and the many lively festivals of the Tyrolean people.
There are many pretty towns dotted across the North-Tyrolean Alps, including historic Kufstein, located close to the German border. Throughout the middle Ages, Kufstein was a battleground for vicious fighting between Tyroleans and Bavarians, until Emperor Maximilian I finally sealed its fate as Austrian. And while it remains Austrian territory today, the town still has a distinctly ‘Bavarian’ feel to it.
The gorgeous Zillertal Valley, which is particularly popular with British skiers, ranges from 550m to 3,509m in elevation and separates the Kitzbüheler and Tuxer Alps. At the head of the Ziller Valley, close to the Hintertux glacier, lies the picturesque chalet village of Mayrhofen. The Kitzbühel and Zillertal Valleys offer visitors a taste of all the elements that give this region its character, from Alpine wonderland to fashionable ski resorts to folklore to wild beauty.
Walking in the North-Eastern Tyrol
North-Eastern Tyrol offers hikers an extensive network of well signposted trails, ranging from easy valley walks to more strenuous ascents into the high peaks. This impressive collection of trails combined with an excellent infrastructure make this region the perfect walking holiday destination.
Many of the larger tourist offices offer regular guided walks (which are often free of charge). And if you’d rather put your feet up for a while, but still enjoy the scenery, there is a funicular railway (Austria’s longest) – the Hartkaiserbahn near Elmau, or Austria’s largest cable car network. Both of these attractions are located in the Wild Emperor Mountains.