Five activities for all the family in St Johann, Austria

If you’re planning to visit the rolling Tyrolean hills of St Johann this summer, these family-friendly activities should be top of your list.

Situated at the foot of the mighty Kitzbüheler Horn, St. Johann in Tyrol provides plenty of action-packed, family-friendly activities — from cross-country skiing to mountain biking trails suited to families and beginners.

Photograph by Mirja Geh
By Rudolf Abraham
Published 31 May 2022, 15:00 BST

Set amid the spectacular scenery of the Kitzbühel Alps in the Central Eastern Alps, St Johann in Tyrol is an idyllic market town packed with baroque churches, quaint market squares and cosy eateries. But stray beyond that and the region’s bucolic charms unfurl. Bordered by the Kitzbüheler Horn and Wilder Kaiser Mountain range, St Johann also offers a plethora of unique outdoor adventures, from miles of gentle hiking and biking trails — including riverside and valley walks — to adrenaline-inducing mountain carts and tree top adventure parks. Here are five to suit the whole family.

The Moor and More Adventure World features hands-on activities and play stations — combined with puzzles and information about the natural surroundings — for a fun-filled family nature outing.

Photograph by Mirja Geh

1. Visit the Moor & More Adventure World

Located on the south-eastern side of the Kaiser mountains, The Moor & More Adventure World consists of two picturesque hiking trails that wind their way across a stretch of verdant moorland. Both paths are circular and suitable for families, with one of them (the Törfchen path) even suitable for pushchairs. The varied habitat and flora and fauna of this moorland are highlighted on information boards throughout, which also feature interactive puzzles to provide an additional layer of interest for children. Keep watch for dragonflies, amphibians and tiny carnivorous plants, such as the sundew, on route. Recharge at the family-run Rummlerhof farm with traditional Tyrolean specialties such as kaspressknödel (fried cheese dumplings).

The Schnackler Adventure Trail is a great nature reserve for younger visitors, based around a local story of a young shepherd, the Schnackler, who decided to make music by clicking his tongue and snapping his fingers. 

Photograph by Sportalpen

2. Follow the Schnackler Adventure Trail

Located in the Kaiserbach Valley, the Schnackler Adventure Trail tells the popular, local folktale of the Schnackler and the Koasabacha via a series of interactive play stations, such as climbing frames, ropes, nets and balancing challenges. The Schnackler, so the story goes, was a young shepherd in the Kaiserbach Valley, whose solitary life led him to click his tongue and snap his fingers (schnackeln, in German) to provide some music to keep him company. This legendary figure is even said to welcome little visitors at the entrance. The Alpine Outdoor Gallery, located next door, is also well worth a visit to learn about the history of mountaineering through the inspirational lives and achievements of seven mountaineers, including Peter Habeler and Barbara Zangerl.

The Hornpark Tree Top Adventure Park is the largest adventure park in the Kitzbühel Alps. Expect a variety of challenging activities that wind their way through the treetops, ending with a flying fox ride over the lake to bring you swiftly back down to earth.

Photograph by Mirja Geh

3. Opt for a high-flying adventure at the Hornpark Adventure Park

Covering 25,000sq metres of forest, the Hornpark Tree Top Adventure Park is the largest high rope course in the Kitzbühel Alps. Located by the middle station of Harschbichlbahn, the park features eight adrenaline-inducing routes, 14 zip lines and 88 stations ranging from seven to 69ft. There’s also the added thrill of a ‘flying fox’ course,­ which sends you whizzing out on a 525ft traverse above Lake Angereralm. If that’s not enough, there’s also stand-up paddleboarding, Segway tours and more. The park can easily be accessed via gondola from St Johann in Tyrol.

Based around the Tauwiesenlift in Oberndorf, the OD Trails (Oberndorf Trails) are ideal for new trailriders or those looking to improve their bike-handling skills. Expect rolling meadows, verdant forests, rock gardens and rugged mountain views.  

Photograph by Mirja Geh

4. Mountain bike around Oberndorf

Featuring four different trail runs, a jump line and the first T-bar lift for bikes in Tyrol – the ObernDorf (OD) Trails are loved by mountain bike enthusiasts. Beginners should opt for the 0.5mile Green Line, which features an 8.9% downhill gradient and some gentle bends, while seasoned professionals and daredevils should tackle the more challenging blue, red and black routes to test their limits, negotiating switchbacks, large rocks, steps and obstacles of wood. There’s an Intersport bike rental and shop if you need to get suited and booted, plus a handy bike-wash point at the lower end of the T-bar lift.

Equipped with a dual circuit breaking system, the three-wheeled mountain carts in St Johann provide a family-friendly way to experience the valley.

Photograph by Mirja Geh

5. Hurtle down the Harschbichl on a mountain cart

Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Wilder Kaiser and Kitzbüheler Horn, the 2.4 mile Mountain Cart route starts from the middle station of the Harschbichlbahn and ends at the valley station in St Johann. Expect plenty of sharp, hairpin turns and a variety of breathtakingly steep sections, as you weave through verdant forests and mountain pastures on a broad, well-maintained gravel track. The three-wheeled carts come with robust safety features, including a dual-circuit braking system, and there are plenty of safety barriers in place, so you can choose to drive at a speed you’re comfortable with.

Plan your trip

There are direct flights from the UK to Salzburg, Innsbruck and Munich. From Salzburg take a direct train to St Johann, with a journey time of around two hours 20 minutes. Innsbruck to St Johann by rail takes 90 minutes or less; from Munich it’s around two hours by train, with a change at Wörgl. London to Munich by rail takes as little as nine hours via Brussels and Frankfurt. A Guest Card gives free use of local buses, trains and other discounts. It’s free, valid for the duration of your stay, and is issued by your accommodation provider when you arrive.

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