Be it the path less taken or one well-worn by many, what matters is the journey itself - where scenery inspires, effort is rewarded and your own company is transforming.
Austria’s mountains, forests, riversides and valleys offer a glimpse into an impressive and untouched world to those who’ve made the trek on foot or two wheels. Here, nature is an all-ages playground where unexpected detours and impromptu surprises further enhance the experience. In fact, the pursuit of outdoor activity is a passion shared by Austrians themselves, and your hosts will be happy to guide you along the way. Which Austrian Trails would you follow?
Tiroler Zugspitz Arena
Stretching views and lofty peaks for the whole family
It’s a real high, gazing at the mountains of four countries from the panorama platform atop of the region’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze (2962m). Equally so when making a stop at the Seebensee mountain lake at 1675m, notable for its brilliant turquoise colour. Load your bike on to the gondola and start exploring the trails which include several free ride routes. Or make use of more than 150 walking paths that wind through the region, served by a free hiking bus. Tip: Families love the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena with its kids’ adventure programme and exclusive family accommodation.
Further information: www.zugspitzarena.com
Zell am See-Kaprun
A majestic trio of mountains, glacier and lake
The clear blue waters of Lake Zell reflect the surrounding mountains of Zell am See-Kaprun, reminding you to take a breather in this holiday region bursting with recreational delights. On foot, a 400km-long hiking network leaves plenty to explore including the chance to join a guided tour to the peak of the over 3000m Kitzsteinhorn glacier. Test your mettle on wheels along 240km of cycle routes, three high alpine free ride trails covering 1500m in altitude, and catch some fresh air at a 2000sqm bike park on the Maiskogel.
Further information: www.zellamsee-kaprun.com
St. Anton am Arlberg in Tirol
Outdoor adventure starts here
Hailed as the birthplace of Alpine skiing, St. Anton also brings summer to life, enthralling visitors with its recreation and relaxation options surrounded by the mighty Lechtal and Verwall ranges of the Tirolean Alps. With an event calendar that hosts several top cycling races, it’s not surprising that the region’s 200km of mountain bike trails are a real draw for outdoor enthusiasts, as is a 300km walking network which includes the final stages of Tirol’s famed long-distance Eagle Walk.
Further information: www.stantonamarlberg.com
In step with tradition
A healthy helping of tradition marks the cornerstone of life in Vorarlberg, Austria’s mountainous, western-most province, with a focus on outdoor recreation, culture, craftsmanship and cuisine. Brandnertal is a treat for families, with a weekly children’s programme and themed walks. A valley of culinary delights, Bregenzerwald also showcases an innovative architectural scene. And Lech Zürs is a 1450m peak paradise concealing stunning high-Alpine lakes, a hotbed for recreation ranging from adventure sports to activities of a more leisurely pace.
Further information: www.vorarlberg.travel
Alpbachtal in Tirol
For that storybook setting
Wooden chalet-style houses with colourful flower boxes characterise the Tirolean village of Alpbach, offering a real feast for the eyes in this holiday region where over 900km of marked hiking paths lead walkers through uninterrupted alpine scenery, amongst which three stunning gorge trails and five bathing lakes can be found. Two summer mountain lifts ensure that the ‘going up’ is always easy for hikers and bikers alike, whilst more than 30 mountain hits take care of the important ‘filling up’.
Further information: www.alpbachtal.at
Danube Cycle Path
Go with the flow
A thriving cultural scene ripe with contemporary media arts, technology and music festivals defines the Upper Austrian capital of Linz. Once an industrial hub, Linz’s ideal position on the banks of the Danube make it a popular starting point for cycle tours along the Danube Cycle Path, stretching some 330km from Passau to Vienna. Highlights include the forested banks of the Danube Valley where the river strikingly loops and the UNESCO World Heritage landscape of the Wachau region with its lush wine terraces and vineyards.
Wildschönau in Tirol
Unspoiled and breathtakingly beautiful
Blessed with an attractively diverse terrain, the Wildschönau region beckons with recreational possibility. A standout family-friendly destination with walking trails that start at village level, summer cable cars for a lift up the mountain and a free resort kids club. We can recommend a visit in early autumn for the traditional cattle drive (Almabtrieb) - a colourful spectacle not to be missed. For those looking to push the pedals, two stages of the 16-stage ‘Tirol Bike Safari’ lead through this high Alpine valley area known for its authentic hospitality.
Further information: www.wildschoenau.com
St. Johann in Tirol - Kitzbüheler Alpen
Mountains of fun
The Kitzbüheler Horn and Wilder Kaiser mountain range stand at scenic guard over the pretty market town of St. Johann in Tirol with its plentiful shops, cafes and restaurants. This popular holiday resort, part of the larger Kitzbühel Alps region, tempts with gorgeous alpine walking trails and viewpoints, as well as over 200km of road and mountain bike routes. Options for long-distance, multi-stage hikes are within easy reach. For thrills on three wheels try the 5km-long ‘mountain carting’ experience.
Further information: www.kitzbueheler-alpen.com
Kitzbühel in Tirol
White makes way for gorgeous green
Replace skis and winter wear with Kitzbühel’s most popular look this summer - hiking gear and your two-wheeler. Those looking to exert some pedal power have a range of 800km of mountain bike trails and 1200km of road bike tours to choose from. Kitzbühel is also one of the world’s largest e-bike regions. Then there are over 1000km of well-marked walking trails winding through Kitzbühel’s lush grass-covered mountains, reaching up to 2000m with views of some of Austria’s highest peaks. Tip: Walk the famous Streif downhill course!
Further information: www.kitzbuehel.com
Zillertal in Tirol
Up for a natural high?
It’s well known that changes in altitude can stimulate positive health effects, so a trip to the Zillertal might be the best prescription. Experience a 3000m altitudinal difference as you move from the valley to alpine pastures and the Tirolean high mountain terrain of the Tux/Zillertal Alps, enjoying a host of activities in unspoiled surroundings along the way. 1400km of walking trails, 1200km of bike trails, 150 mountain huts and ‘places of special energy’ will have you feeling on top of the world.
Further information: www.zillertal.at
Innsbruck in Tirol
City sights and mountain magic
Stay in the city but play in the mountains with Innsbruck’s perfect combination of urban pleasure and outdoor pursuits. The call of the mountains is strong, as 2017 marks an exciting new event to the biking scene: Top mountain bike festival Crankworx is adding Innsbruck as a stop on its international calendar this June. But Innsbruck and its 25 holiday villages are not just fine starting points for excursions on wheels. The region’s complimentary guest card offers free hiking programmes and hire equipment for exploration on foot.
Further information: www.innsbruck.info