The Austrian Tirol has long been popular with its winter guests who come to ski the pistes of the beautiful Alps. But summer visitor numbers are in decline. That’s a shame, because it’s a breathtakingly beautiful place when its thick white blanket is stripped off, leaving window boxes brimming with geraniums and pavements full to bursting with coffee houses. Here’s how to discover the delights of the Austrian Tirol in summer.
Uncover Innsbruck’s Royal connections
Whether or not you choose to stay at the Grand Hotel Europa, the five star hotel that’s hosted the likes of the Rolling Stones and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, you’ll receive a warm welcome from Innsbruck’s hoteliers. The Altstadt is home to the Golden Roof, built by Emperor Maximilian about 1500AD, which has become a symbol of the city. Must-see sights also include the Hofkirche, the Hofburg Palace, Ambras Castle and of course the Bergisel Ski Jump designed in 2001 by the British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.
Visit a world of glittering crystals
Just twenty minutes from Innsbruck in the town of Wattens you’ll find the enchanting Swarovski Crystal Worlds. Inside, you’ll find many of the delightful figurines and stunning jewellery that form the collection. But though you’ll want to shop, this is so much more than a store. Part museum, part theme park and part art installation, you can’t fail to be impressed.
Admire the region’s waterfalls and glaciers
Hiking the Hintertux Glacier gets you up close to some of Europe’s most breathtaking views. Climb high above the tree line under blue skies to cascading waterfalls, with a backdrop of craggy peaks. You might even catch sight of a marmot or chamois. Don’t miss the spectacular 380m high Krimml Falls, the country’s highest waterfall. Another must is to drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. You’ll have to negotiate 36 hairpin bends before you arrive at the summit and the wonderful Pasterze Glacier.
Go wild in Aurach
In the heart of the Kitzbühel Alps, Aurach Wildlife Park is a family-friendly attraction that’s home to a wide range of native and non-native species. Wander among the goats, donkeys and herds of red deer. With little in the way of boundaries and fences, you can really feel close to nature. There’s a petting zoo for the kids and plenty of opportunities to snap a selfie with your furry friends.
Get your adrenaline pumping
Let the Alps be your playground as you try hang gliding or microlighting over the tree-covered slopes and green valleys beyond. This is the perfect place to try out a new hobby or pursue a longstanding passion in one of the most incredible landscapes in Europe. If you don’t have much of a head for heights, why not try instead whitewater rafting or kayaking? Try the Imster Schlucht canyon or the more challenging Ötztaler Ache River. Beginners should master this skill on the Drau or Tiroler Ache Rivers, which aren’t so daunting for novices.
If this has given you the urge to discover the delights of the Austrian Tirol in summer, Mundana are ready and waiting to fix you up with the package that’s right for you.