5 ways to spend the summer of your life in Tyrol
he perfect summer’s day in Tyrol starts on a farm under the dazzling sky, with a thick slice of bread spread generously with butter. Follow that up with a sailboat ride on a glistening lake tucked into a valley ringed by a huge mountain, then on towards hiking trails that climb up to 30,000 metres. Ascend over vertical rocks and descend on two wheels to end up snuggled among the Alps under the now starry, lightning-streaked sky. Discover five ways to enjoy a perfect summer’s day in Tyrol.
Twenty-four thousand kilometres of signed trails thousands of metres high challenge the adventurers who dare to explore Tyrol on foot. Of the six great long-distance routes (High Trail) recognised by mountaineering experts–Eagle Walk, Berlin, Inntal, Lechtal, Stubai and Carnic–Eagle Walk is a clear favourite. It’s an inspiring 413-kilometre journey through the heart of the Alps, with countless opportunities for hiking and trekking over the Arlberg and Nordkette mountains, the Inn Valley or between the Venediger and Großglockne peaks.
There are few better places to spend a warm summer’s day in Tyrol than one of the lakes dotted around the mountains. Adopted by the locals as their very own ocean, Lake Achensee is Tyrol’s largest natural lake, covering 6.8 square kilometres. Its emerald green waters are perfect for sailing, diving or paddle-surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Another major water attraction in the Tyrolean summer is Lake Kirchberg, in the Kitzbühel Alps. With a water temperature of 26 °C, two water slides 25 and 50 metres long, a kids’ pool, diving tower and beach volleyball court, it’s easy to live the beach life—Alpine style.
With more 3,000-metre mountains than anywhere else in Austria, rock climbing has become a must-do sport and leisure activity in Tyrol. More than 5,000 routes, some of the most demanding in Europe, draw climbers from around the globe. Le Miracle in the Ötztal Valley is among the most challenging and one of the few granite climbing areas in Tyrol; Number One Direct—over a large limestone face in the Wilder Kaiser mountains—has 200 routes and majestic views of the Kitzbühel Alps. Many climbing zones in Tyrol are ideal for beginners and families. The Pitztal Valley makes use of small rock formations up to four metres high for bouldering—a form of climbing without the need for ropes or harnesses.
You haven’t really been to Tyrol until you’ve had a full farmhouse breakfast. Whether just stopping by or staying in, Tyrolean farms are a unique experience and a chance to immerse yourself in nature. Guests can help milk the cows, collect their own fresh food and even venture into the kitchen for a classic cooking lesson. On the Bartlerhof, in Osttirol, you can join the owners turning fresh milk into yoghurt, butter and cheese. Some are isolated mountain retreats—like the Tiefhof, in Nauders—situated along an ancient smugglers’ trail. Others—like the Lindenhof, in Scheffau—are more luxurious affairs, with horses, ponies and chickens grazing in front of the Wilder Kaiser motains.
Biking is the star activity in the Tyrolean summer. In good weather, two skis are swapped for two wheels. From panoramic road trips and rides through valleys right out of The Sound of Music to giddy single-trail descents, Tyrol’s 20 biking regions teem with exciting possibilities. The Iseltal Valley is laced with easy, short trips, while the more daring can set out to conquer the 520 kilometres along the Inn River, one of Europe’s most famous long-distance cycling routes. No experience is no excuse. Bikeacademy, the oldest mountain biking school in Austria, holds training sessions for all levels.