Why the Austrian region of Tyrol should be your next summer getaway

With its idyllic Alpine villages, towering mountains and age-old traditions, the Austrian region of Tyrol makes for an ideal summer getaway. Plus, we recommend five festival dates to add to your itinerary.

Located in in the east of North Tyrol, Kitzbühel is a year-round Austrian delight. Here, travellers can enjoy smart restaurants and ornate architecture surrounded by idyllic mountain scenery.

Photograph by Michael Werlberger
By Rudolf Abraham
Published 20 May 2022, 11:25 BST

Where is Tyrol?

Stretching along the western side of Austria, sandwiched between Bavaria and Italy, Tyrol is one of the country’s nine federal states. Bounded by Salzburgerland to the east and Voralberg to the west, the state covers much of the Eastern Alps and is divided into two parts: North Tyrol and East Tyrol.

What's the region known for?

Home to rugged peaks, picturesque valleys and rolling mountain pastures, Tyrol is renowned for its skiing, snowboarding and après ski in winter. However, the region offers plenty of scope for outdoor adventure and relaxation in the warmer months, too, when travellers can enjoy a variety of hiking trails, traditional festivals, gastronomic offerings and rich culture, all wrapped up in genuinely warm Austrian hospitality.

Who should go?

Anyone with a love of the outdoors — including hikers, cyclists, walkers and climbers — will fall under the spell of Tyrol’s intoxicating mountain scenery. Yet, there’s something for everyone here: for those who love to seek out culture, there are plenty of experiences to get involved with in the historic old town and summer festivals of Innsbruck, the Tyrolean capital, while gastronomes should head to Kitzbühel to enjoy a variety of classic and modern cuisine, served in an array of settings ranging from mountain huts to traditional inns and fine dining restaurants.

What are some of Tyrol’s main draws?

Granite giants, roaring waterfalls and gorges, meandering rivers and mountain lakes — the most fascinating sights in Tyrol are all Mother Nature’s creations. But it’s the region’s sublime mountain scenery — such as the Kitzbühel Alps, Wilder Kaiser, Ötztal Alps, Zillertal Alps, the high valley of the Wildschönau, and the High Tauern (which includes the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps) — that attracts families and adventurers alike. Visitors can enjoy fantastic hiking trails, from short, gentle day walks to extended mountain hikes, such as the 250-mile Eagle Trail, which traverses the whole of Tyrol. Cyclists can also enjoy more than 600 miles of marked road cycling trails, not to mention some 3,500 miles of mountain bike trails.

Innsbruck offers a city escape with a unique blend of urban fun and Alpine flair. From the charms of its historic old town to the opulence of the Imperial Palace, this is a destination not to be missed. Make sure you visit the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof), built around 500 years ago by the Emperor Maximilian I; the Hofkirche (Court Church) which houses Maximilian’s tomb; and the Hofgarten (Imperial Gardens). Beyond Innsbruck, you’ll want to explore some of the valleys, such as Zillertal, and quaint towns, including Kitzbühel, St Anton am Arlberg and St Johann. An excellent public transport network means Tyrol’s highlights and mountain areas are easily accessible by local bus.

When should you visit?

Tyrol is a region with year-round appeal. If it’s world-class hiking you’re after, come in the summer, which begins in early June and runs through to late August. Wildflowers are at their most colourful in June and mountain huts are generally open between the end of May and October.

Cerulean-blue mountain lakes, narrow canyons, numerous glaciers and mountains, make hiking in the Zillertal Alps Nature Park a truly unique experience.

Photograph by Thomas Pfister

Five of the best upcoming festivals in Tyrol


1. Mountain Yoga Festival, St Anton am Arlberg
In the first week of September, a four-day yoga festival takes place in the idyllic hills surrounding St Anton am Arlberg. Expect world-class international yoga and meditation instructors, breathtaking views and plenty of crisp mountain air. mountainyogafestivalstanton.at

2. Zillertal Steinbock Hike and Steinbock Trail Run, Zillertal
For over 50 years, sports enthusiasts have challenged themselves with this 19-mile route that runs from the village of Ginzling to the Breitlahner Alpine guesthouse. Participants set off at the crack of dawn, completing the trail in a single day, having crossed the 9,400ft Mörchnerscharte Ridge and clocked up almost 6,000ft of ascent. mayrhofen.at/zillertaler-steinbock

3. Pura Vida, Kitzbühel
Throughout July and August, Pura Vida is a celebration of music, food and culture in Kitzbühel. As well as the live music, there’s street theatre, outdoor yoga, guided museum tours and plenty of entertainment for all the family. kitzbuehel.com/pura-vida

4. Dumpling Festival, St Johann
Celebrations of traditional Tyrolean cuisine don’t get much better than the annual Dumpling Festival in St Johann in Tyrol. Every year, a small army of chefs cook up some 26,000 dumplings — in 26 delicious varieties — which are then served at the longest dumpling table in the world. Live music and plenty of good beer also help set the mood. kitzbueheler-alpen.com/dumpling-festival

5. Festival of Early Music, Innsbruck
In July and August, Innsbruck’s superb classical music festival takes place in halls, theatres and churches across the city, as well as at open-air concerts in the surrounding hills. Don’t miss the Innsbruck Promenade Concerts which are held in the inner courtyard of the Imperial Palace. altemusik.at promenadenkonzerte.at

For more information, visit austria.info

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