‘Do not disturb’: we’re in Tirol
very day, 80,000 litres of water flow into the pools of the Aqua Dome thermal resort in Längenfeld. The spring water is thermally heated to 34-36 degrees, the temperature of the two pools in the Ursprung Spa Dome area. Of all the relaxing places to choose from in Tirol, this is one of the most surprising. The 360-degree view of the Ötztal Valley mountains from the relaxation room is no doubt stunning, but the hands-down winner is the Talfische outdoor thermal area with its three futuristic pools that appear to hang in mid-air, connected by a glass cone.
There’s little room for stress in these surroundings and with this design, which features pine wood and granite as well as glass. The spa uses local herbs, woods and minerals; the most popular treatments are massages with stones from the valley or herbs from the mountains. The complex—covering 50,000 metres—also includes saunas, gymnasium, children’s play areas and a hotel.
Even on a relaxing holiday there’s time for a little action. The Tirol mountains are laced with long walks, bike rides and climbing for the more experienced. The Alpine School of Innsbruck organises guided mountain and hiking excursions from June to October. They leave from Innsbruck and are free of charge.
Water is one of the most used natural resources in Tirol for wellness therapies. Many centres offer Kneipp therapy, a method created by Sebastian Kneipp in which water treatments are applied at different temperatures and pressures depending on the ailment. The therapy can be enjoyed outdoors, right next to Stillebach Lake in St Leonhard (Pitztal).
Open from mid-June to September, the facility has a cool-water swimming pool and several basins for immersing arms, hands or feet and a treading pool for legs. If you want to soak longer, bathing in the lake is allowed, although at 1,400 metres above sea level chance of warm water is slim.
In other lakes—like the mineral-rich Schwarzsee (Kitzbühel) with its healing properties—temperatures can reach 27 degrees in summer. Close to Innsbruck, the Natterer See is a little cooler, at around 22 to 25. This lake has boats for hire and springboards. One of the newest activities is blobbing, which is more about adrenaline than relaxation. Blobbing is jumping onto the end of a giant air bag from a platform, propelling your partner, who is sitting on the other end, several metres into the air before falling gracelessly into the water.
And out of water? Apart from immersing yourself in a thermal pool or lake, there are other ways to spend time in Tirol. Practising yoga at AlpenRetreat, for example. Overlooking the Zugspitz Arena ski resort and the surrounding valleys, the 500-year-old inn is an informal setting for yoga courses or longer retreats. The Mountain Yoga Festival is held from August 30 to September 2: four days of relaxation in St. Anton am Arlberg, 1,340 metres above sea level and the perfect place for nature-lovers to disconnect from the world.