Great days exploring Alpbachtal, Tyrol
In life, sometimes it is definitely worth reminding ourselves, just how lucky we can be. Last year, during my summer holiday, I had the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and scenic surroundings within the fabulous region of Salzburgerland, Austria. Spending a memorable week touring around the beautiful valley's and mountains close to Saalbach Hinterglemm.
This year I found myself, lucky once more, spending another five wonderful days in the Tyrolean region of Alpbach. Simply enjoying life and loving the opportunity to experience the beautiful landscapes of Austria once again.
From my personal point of view, I love the outdoors and I enjoy experiencing and exploring new places. With that in mind, I cannot really express how wonderful it was to be back here once again, to be out in the fresh air, enjoying one of life's great moments.
This particular visit was a relatively quick excursion, just five days in total so, we filled those days by doing as much as possible. Seeing and doing plenty.
My new travel article helps to capture this experience and will form my latest travel post. As always I endeavour to write it from my point and will highlight some of the most memorable moments and places (I think) you should see and do when visiting this marvellous region. Hopefully, by sharing some of my thoughts through a meaningful and factual story, I can explain some of the many great adventures and experiences that we got up to.
So... If you're with me, then please read on.
Day one was pretty much our travel day. We flew from Amsterdam to Munich. Then onward from Munich, we travelled (the relatively short distance) down the autobahn, across the border of Germany and into our final destination of Austria.
The journey was really very simple and direct. Lufthansa runs an excellent service from Amsterdam to Munich, so we were there in just over one hour. The flight was superb, comfy and well priced. Thus Lufthansa, have now become my favourite airline, with great German efficiency, punctuality and quality of service perfectly administered.
When flying there, there are of course other options. Innsbruck is probably the closest airport, around 50km away and Salzburg is a little bit further away, around 1 1/2 hours, but it is still within easy access using the autobahn.
On our arrival we headed through the Five Star airport terminal, to find the car rental. We quickly got the car, grabbed food and headed off due south to the beautiful Tyrol area of Austria. I was expecting a Ferrari, but we had to opted for the Kia Rio instead... due financial constraints.
With that said, it turned out to be a great rental car, perfectly suitable and comfortable for all of our needs.
The drive here was easy and very straightforward. We skirted round the great city of Munich, with plenty to see and do here. Munich is a fabulous city, as it is only a short drive to the fabulous Alps of Bavaria and beyond.
Whilst on the journey it certainly got me thinking, that it must be so great to live here and given the opportunity to choose a German city to live in, I think I would opt for Munich. Having the opportunity to walk in the mountains during the summer months and then come back again, with snow capped peaks and ski, snowboard the hours away. Must be a great life to live and a the perfect location to do it from. Here, you must have the best mix of city life and country life all at your disposal.
Anyway, I have to stop dreaming. My life is good enough, as it is, so I shouldn't be really looking for more, but if there is an option from this life to be reincarnated, then I would love to be relocated here.
Once near to the border we were greeted with some incredible sights of the Alps and no matter how many times I have visited the Alps, its appeal always draws me and makes me just want to come back here time and time again. So, with my mouth continuing to water, due to the shear excitement and of course revelling in the views once more, we proceed onward, down the autobahn E45 and passed the back of one of my favourite mountain ranges the Wilder Kaiser. This is such an impressive place, so hostile and dramatic. It makes you feel so small and insignificant.
The Tyrol region is simply a great region. I have been lucky enough to come here several times before, over the years and it is always a great place to visit and explore. With stunning scenery, lakes and an abundance of picturesque villages to explore all around. We were heading to Alpbach, a small village that has (in the past) been voted the prettiest village in Austria. On arrival, I could certainly see why it was given that accolade.
It is situated in the most beautiful valley, with steep sides and lush green meadows. Cows are happily grazing, with the distant sound of bells ringing round their necks and thick forests clinging to the hillside, so typical of the Alps and of course this particular region. The air is pure, fresh and clear, with the feeling of peace and silence, so evident in the landscape all around.
Before visiting Alpbach, for the first time, I had undertaken a little bit of research and my research told me that it was indeed the prettiest village in the Austrian Alps. On arrival, I wasn't dissapointed. Alpbach is really that beautiful, with a mix of traditional timber houses, lined with stunning flora decoration, set within the most breathtaking lush, green valley.
Alpbach was our stay and we had chosen to stay in a chalet called the Enthofer It was a great place choice and had everything we needed, from incredible views of the village centre and the valley beyond.
Our accommodation was really perfect for us and it was equipped with all the latest amenities, making it a good place to stay. It provided us with an excellent self catering base, to which we could then explore the wider surroundings. From our accommodation we were only a short distance and walk from the centre of the village.
Within the village there is an excellent range of good restaurants, bars and cafes. There is also a supermarket, bakeries and several places to hire equipment, for all outdoor pursuits.
Like skiing in the winter, for those who like winter pursuits and mountain bikes during the summer months. With the area maintaining an impressive range of cycle routes, for any visitor to ride along. Some of which are pretty leisurely and some more challenging. There are many websites that provide good information regarding the routes.
For its overall size, Alpbach is a really well equipped village and is certainly geared up for all types of visitors. The centre also has an excellent Tourist Information Centre, that I thought was really informative, friendly staff and who were happy to help and confirm a wealth of great things to do in the region. So, if you are stuck with things to see and do, this central location will give any visitor all the inspiration they need.
One of the main focal points of the village is the beautiful church. The church is a typical Austrian church, with a high spire and unique colouring, It is beautiful building and it can be seen all around the village and around the surrounding valley. It obviously becomes a popular attraction for visitors, but also very meaningful for the local community, with many events taking place there.
So much, so during one delightful evening, a traditional local band marched round the main square, in order to announce their presence and then they settled in the church courtyard to offer all visitors a glorious evening concert. It was great to experience and I love things like this. You really can't beat seeing/hearing some of the local culture and listening to the sounds of some traditional Austria music, was fabulous. It was also a great showcase for the area, that offered a great sense of community for all to see. I personally really enjoyed this experience, as stumbling upon this event, was one of life's great spontaneous moments.
I'm a great lover of mountains and love everything to do with the wider mountain landscapes. The impressive Wiedersberger Horn is one of those mountains that I instantly fell in love with. It dominates and overlooks the village, but the actually top is not visible from the village centre. It is reached via the ski lift, which is situated just outside the village centre, on the road that links Alpbach to another local village called Reith. Which is situated further down the valley. The ski region is called Ski Juwel and all of the lifts service this area.
To reach the summit you need to obtain your lift pass, from the main building and then ride the cable car to the top. The ride is a great one, quick and at the Middle Station, you have the option to get on or off the facility. Which is perfect if you don't want to go to the top or if you simply want to start a walk half way down.
At the very top the lift stops and then its up to you to just leave and then wander. If you choose to wander, from the cable car station at the top there are many walking routes for you to discover (during the summer months) and the good signposting serves as a opportunity for any visitor to get out there and simply explore the beautiful natural surroundings.
There is also an option to enjoy a drink or something to eat in the guest houses at the top or children can enjoy many of the activities laid on for them by Lauserland. This is a great initiative that encourages families to take to the hills, experience their surroundings and usually play and wander over natural features, such water /streams, wooden type obstacles, but with a strong emphasis on play.
From here the walk up to the top of the Wiederberger Horn is a good one. It is steep in parts, but the views at the top are really wonderful, making it well worth the hike. There are a few routes to the top, with the most direst on being the one right in front of you. I also liked the Panorama route, which was simply great as it always you to see the landscape all around. You can take the hike that clings to the mountain side and traverse it for several kms. The walk guides you towards the horizon at the end of the trail and once you reach it, the views are quite magnificent.
Equally, the work down is just as memorable with plenty of winding trails that follow the winter ski runs through open areas, thick woodland areas and past fast flowing mountain streams, that eventually weave their course to the valley below.
On one particular day, during the visit, I decided to walk from the top of the mountain to the bottom. Well, I ran some of it because that is just what I love to do. It was an exhilarating experience and I loved each and every minute of it. I took me around 2 hours in total, without a stop. Well, I did take a few photographs and I did make a beeline towards the large guest house at the bottom of the mountain, where I proceeded to enjoy a large slice of Austrian Apfelstrudel and a well earned coffee.
In life, I try not to have any regrets, but the one thing I do perhaps regret is the option to go on the Sunrise Walk. Unfortunately, during the stay the weather was rather unpredictable and the option to hike early in the morning was there, but the chances somewhat limited. So much so that we didn't catch a glimpse of the sun. Nevertheless, it is something I would thoroughly recommend and something of a must see or thing to do.
Rattenberg is a must see. It is a small historical town, set at the bottom of the valley, on the banks of the river Inn. It is again one of my must see places and it is definitely already on the tourist trail, with other visitors having the same idea.
It is certainly a pretty little place with ruins of a castle, perched high above the small town and a scattering of traditional Austrian buildings, nestled among the narrow streets. On the day we visited, it was unfortunately cold, damp and raining, but it certainly didn't dampen our spirits, as there was most certainly plenty to see and do. We strolled along the riverbank and back through the narrow, cobbled streets.
The shops here sell a variety of items from authentic Austrian foods to general tourist items, that help remind you of your stay, in the local area.
There is plenty to do here, and I could add plenty, so I have condensed it and added just some of the highlights:
If you are looking for some fine chocolates and cakes, this is most certainly the place to be. With a wealth of interesting items on the menu. It is the perfect place to sit, eat and simply enjoy.
A fine museum celebrating religious art found in the Tyrol region. You can find treasures here dating back over 9 centuries. Pretty impressive place.
A fine historical site that offers great views of the historical town and the valley beyond. A perfect place to delve deeper into the history of the region.
Here you can admire and watch how the fine glass artwork is created. It is a really impressive show to watch and the shop has many great items to purchase.
The Tyrol Seenland region of Austria is really stunning, with many hidden places and whilst out wandering, we found a gem. The Berglsteiner See is a beautiful lake. It is a great discovery and if you enjoy discovering something different, something off the beaten track. When you eventually find it, you won't be disappointed.
We decided to visit here, after previously looking around the smaller bathing lakes, which are located a little further down in the valley. These lakes were really impressive and on visiting them, it is clearly apparent why locals and tourists, visiting the area, would come to such a great place.
With clear fresh water, that starts life from the mountains high above, together with thick woodlands and a most inspiring backdrop of the mountains that surround. It is certainly a special place.
Berglsteiner See is therefore located a little further up the road and in my opinion, it is certainly much more impressive. On our first outing, yes... we did visit it several times. We decided to take option number one and parked the car, at the large car park, by the side of the main road. As usual, we were up really early and of course this meant that we were first to arrive. We had hoped to take some photographs and capture the early light, but... it wasn't to be.
The car park is big and has ample room for cars and larger vehicles like campers. It is also a really good starting point for the walk. The walk starts from here and immediately then follows a narrow path, that winds its way up through the thick woodland. Its a great path with a thick forest lining both sides and among the dense green canopy are sporadic rocky outcrops, together with a maze of fast flowing streams, that continually carve their way through the natural landscape. These streams eventually become bigger, wider feeding the main river, called the River Inn. Which lies in the valley below, snaking its way through this area of Austria. From a high vantage point it certainly produces a memorable spectacle, that is hard to resist. With pure white water and waterfalls cascading, freely over rocks, almost around every corner.
The walk continues on in short winding bursts and when you think you are almost there, you suddenly realise that your not and at times the walk becomes rather steep, so with the altitude gain and sometimes loose underfoot, it is advisable to take your time.
Once at the end of the woodland trail, the shimmering lake soon comes into view and what a wonderful place it is. Its overall size is relatively small, but what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in natural beauty. At one end of the tree lined lake is the guesthouse Berglsteiner See.
This is an appealing and beautiful place, set in just the most awe inspiring setting. The lake is surrounded by trees all around its perimeter and beyond the treeline, is a spectacular mountain range. Jagged, rocky outcrops that not only reach high into the sky, but also become to dominate the immediate landscape.
Here the waters are clear and moving through these beautiful, fresh waters you can clearly see trout and large carp swimming happily, searching for food. With it seemingly, all too perfect. We continued to walk around the lake and immersed ourselves in an abundance of silence. Yes, total peace and tranquillity is hard to find at the best of times, but here, it is widespread and I certainly found it so great to be amongst it.
After a short walk we eventually reach the bottom of the lake, which is now more open than the other end, but equally as beautiful. Here there are wonderful views and a series of small wooden decks, positioned a few inches above the ground level. They are inter dispersed among the grass and seem to be used for sitting on, or as I saw, carrying out Yoga. A truly tranquil spot and a splendid place to just admire.
Eventually, we end up walking on the far side of the lake and then slowly making our way back to the guesthouse, where we opt to take a rest, eat some good food and simply take in more of the views.
The restaurant is great, decking out in traditional Tyrolean design, awash with natural timbers. It offers a mix of great food, ambience and good, friendly service. Terrace at the back overlooks the water and to sit here and enjoy the landscape is great, at anytime of the day.
Over a few days we visited this lake several times, mainly to capture it during a sunrise or a sunset, watch the light play with the surroundings and each time we came here, we were simply very happy to come back once again. Although experiences tells you, to always talk to a local.
During the first visit, we walked up to the lake. Although, having spoken to the waiter, at the restaurant. He informed us of an alternative route, at the opposite end from the guesthouse. There is a small car park and the option to drive the car up here. Which of course is a great option for you to choose, if you do not wish to walk all the way. It is very easy to do and certainly offers an alternative route.
Walk around the village
One of the highlights of this trip wasn't too far away from where we were staying. In fact, it started almost straight outside the front door, of our chalet. From the village of Alpbach there is a network of trails that link together to form a route of some 900km of hiking paths. Like me, if you love hiking, this is great news as it becomes a hikers paradise. Allowing you to undertake a series of scenic, graded walks, in simply wonderful surroundings.
The Alpbachtal Seenland website has a brilliant section that caters for all hikers needs. It is an interactive website that allows any would be explorer the option to get out there an explore and follow some classical routes. Before setting off on many of the hikes we did, I first made a look here. It is definitely worth a look as it not only provides a great deal of information on for the works, you can also download the maps and then follow. Interactive Map
The walk I really liked was called the Oberer Höhenweg - zum Wurmhof it was a great find an great walk to do and simply enjoy. In essence it is high level walk in the valley that takes in some of the most picturesque and panoramic views of the area. During the walk I did add in a few slight detours to make the most of what we could see. It was great as I attempted to incorporate some wooded areas and great viewing spots.
As you will see from the information guide it is a pretty short route that eventually finishes in the nearby village of Alpbachtal. Here you do have the option to take a rest in one of the many resting points and then maybe catch the bus back to the starting point. To make the route that little bit more challenging, I decided to plan the route to come back down the other side, so that it could cover some 12km or so. It was really worth it, as it also gave a great new perspective on things.
As highlighted, the region is undoubtedly a fabulous place for outdoor lovers to come an explore. I personally found it to be most appealing and would have loved to stay longer and explore more. I think before you come to the area, plan and study your routes. They are easy to follow, but with a huge range of options and lots to see and do, there is most certainly many choices to be made. Just get here and see for yourself!
Once again thank you for reading my latest travel article. I'm continually humbled and delighted by anyone that does and I'm also motivated by all the feedback given.
These elements serve to inspire me to create better content and develop my creative ideas into something new.
I would also like to thank the region of Alpbachtal Seenland for being hosts for this memorable trip. It was a wonderful opportunity to come here and explore some of the magnificent surroundings.
I certainly enjoyed my time here and it definitely wet the appetite to come back and explore some more of Austria, one day soon.