Adventure in Bavaria and Austria
Innsbruck is the capital of Tirol, whose name means "Land of the Mountains." This Austrian province is aptly named, as it includes over 700 peaks that rise above 3,000 metersa hiker's paradise!
Free Guided Hiking and Climbing
Take advantage of free guided hiking tours (June through September) with certified mountain guides from the Innsbruck Alpine School (ASI, firstname.lastname@example.org). As the ASI motto goes, "You've only really been there if you've walked there." The hikes last from three to five hours and take in quintessential Alpine scenery: wildflower meadows, high-country lakes, towering peaks, and mountain huts. A chartered bus gets you to and from one of 40 trailheads, and ASI will rent boots and backpacks as needed. All you need is your complimentary Club Innsbruck Card.
After three hikes, you're eligible for a free guided climbing tour. The 9,843-foot-long panoramic path goes from the Hafelekarhaus (7,444 feet) to the Frau Hitt saddle (legend has it that Frau Hitt was turned to stone for offering a starving stranger a rock instead of bread). In about four and a half hours, you'll hit seven summitsincluding the 8,136-foot Kaminspitzenon a secure route, with magnificent views of the Stubaital, Vtztal, and Zillertal Alps.
For a softer, after-dark activity, try the guided lantern hikes. These romantic walksyes, they're free tooare followed by an evening of singing and dancing (depending on how much schnapps you drink) at a mountain hut.
The Innsbruck area holds 62 miles of mountain-biking routes. Every Thursday from July to September, your Club Innsbruck Card scores you a two-to-three-hour guided mountain-biking tour (about $14 for bike rental and deposit, but the tour is free).
For a ride during the other six days of the week, take trail 505 into the Nordkette range north of Innsbruck. Crank up several steep and moderate climbs to the Hvttinger Alm mountain hut (4,850 feet). Most of the start is shaded, there are several flats to break up the work, and the route hits two mountain inns for rest and refueling (about ten miles, roundtrip). The final climb earns you wide-open views of the Stubaital and Zillertal Alps.
Pedal along the River Inn for a gentle road tour that lets you gaze at the landscape and see the sights. As you ride from Innsbruck's Altstadt to the village of Erl (64 miles one way, about eight hours), you'll cycle past fields, picturesque hamlets, and Alpine lakes. Head back with your wheels via train if you need to rest your quads.
To get a taste of the area's scenic Alpine valleys and villages by car, go south through the Stubai and Wipp valleys toward the Brenner Pass (4,500 feet) and the Italian border. While the Brenner Highway gets fairly trafficky, the old state highway that runs parallel should do nicely.
This two-lane road passes through many quaint villages, including Muttersa typical old hamlet with a church, market, guesthouses, and inns. The route is about 23 miles one-way (40 to 50 minutes) and offers great valley viewsespecially from the 623-feet-high Europa Bridge, built in 1963 for the Winter Olympics.
You can also drive east to Mayerhof through the Ziller Valleya nice day trip on easy roads. Or head along the Inn River to Rattenberg, which lies between Jenbach and Wvrgl. Highlights of this 30-minute drive include an old castle within walking distance of the road, and a beautiful Altstadt (old city).
Regular express trains run from Munich, reaching the fair city of Innsbruck in about two hours. If you fly into Vienna, hop a quick one-hour flight to Innsbruck via Tyrolean Airways.
For more information:
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Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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