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One of Europe’s hidden gems is the breathtaking Austria! Prepare yourself to be immersed in an abundance of culture and stunning views that awaits you in Austria’s West. During your stay you will be exposed Innsbruck’s captivating imperial history as well as contemporary architecture. Unwind in the city of Arlberg while experiencing the quality of Austria’s outstanding hospitality.
If you have an interest or passion for hiking, tthis is the perfect opportunity as these hikes are suitable for both beginners and more experienced hikers. The total driving time is approximately 10 hours (depending on traffic, road conditions, weather, personal travel pace and detours).
Duration: 345km – 5 days (depending on route taken)
Start off your day in Innsbruck, commonly known as the Capital of the Alps. You will be captivated by this medieval town with its snow-capped mountain ranges and the eight centuries of history it holds. Visit Innsbruck’s crowning glory, the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) which is known for its roof covered with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles. Also visit the Stadtturm City Tower and climb its 148 steps to score yourself a spectacular view of Innsbruck.
Once you’ve finished exploring the town centre, either make your way up to Nordekette via car or the Hungerburg Funicular. This particular funicular (mountainside railway) was design by Zaha Hadid, a renowned architect. If travelling by funicular it will get you to your destination within 20 minutes – so make the most of the breathtaking views on your way! Have a traditional Austrian lunch at the Seegrube restaurant and you will not be disappointed!
After your lunch, hop onto the Nordkette cable car all the way up to Hafelekar station where you will then need to hike approximately 10 minutes to reach the Hafelekar summit which is at an elevation of approximately 7,500 feet (2.29Km). But no need to worry – you don’t need to be a professional hiker! The trail is suitable for beginners however, appropriate shoes and clothing is highly recommended. Once you’ve finish the hike, take in nature’s true beauty as well as the view of Innsbruck that you won’t be able to experience from anywhere else. It will become very clear to you as to why Innsbruck is referred to as the Capital of the Alps!
Head back to the Old Town to dine on a traditional Tirolean meal in Ottoburg. This culinary hot spot is located inside of a former medieval deference tower which also happens to be Innsbruck’s oldest building. If visiting during July, you do not want to miss out on the Promenade Concerts which take place daily, free in the courtyard of Hofburg Imperial Palace. You will be exposed to Innsbruck’s regional and brass musical traditions which will stay with you for a lifetime!
Discover more of Innsbruck for your second day. Head over to Bergisel hill, situated in the southern part of the city. During the 19th Century, military battles occurred in the area between the Tiroleans and the Kingdom of Bavaria. Visit the Tirol Panorama Museum which houses The Giant Panoramic Painting, covering 1,000m² of canvas in the museum. This painting portrays the Tyrolean fight for freedom, which will keep you fascinated.
Another must visit place is considered to be one of the most stunning architectural wonders and pilgrimage site for winter-sports enthusiasts – the Bersigel Olympic Ski Jump Tower – also designed by Zaha Hadid. You have the option to climb 455 steps or catch the funicular to get to the café and restaurant which are located in the panoramic viewing platform – dining while viewing Tirol’s mountain scenes – it can’t get better than that!
Located approximately 20 minutes away from Innsbruck is the world of Swarovski Crystals which was originally founded here. The Swarovski Crystal Worlds is a contemporary museum of art, theme park and art installation in one, perfect for the whole family to enjoy! While you’re in Swarovski world, dine at Daniels Kristallwelten where you will be able to enjoy feasting and stunning views.
From Innsbruck, head over towards Arlberg in preparation for some skiing. The five top villages known for skiing are Lech, Zürs, Stuben, St. Christoph and St. Anton – whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed! If you’re travelling during the summer, you will be surprised as these towns offer some of the best summer holiday locations.
If stopping in St. Anton make sure to store your energy in preparation to hike up to Sennhutte which is a perfect location to enjoy some truly authentic and traditional meals, or to soak up some of the sun outside of wooden alpine huts – perfect for both summer or winter! After your lunch hike some further more to Formarinsee Lake, which is a 15.9 hectare lake that was dubbed as Austria’s most beautiful place in 2015!
Once you’ve enjoyed the views and are ready for some gourmet food head back over to Arlberg. Arlberg is known for its high density of gourmet restaurants in Austria – enjoy a delicious meal in one of the towns award winning restaurants.
Once you’re ready to start your next day, prepare yourself to go on one of the most stunning hikes yet – the Green Ring. The Green Ring winds over Lech Zürs and several peaks and houses impressive ski circuits, so make sure you have your ski gear packed with you! The Green Ring offers you different stages of hikes ranging from 2.5 – 5.5 hour hikes which can be attempted individually or hike the whole ring; however this would only be recommended for experienced hikers. Artistic installations have been implemented along the way by artists and story tellers, to educate visitors about Arlberg’s legends and myths.
After an eventful day hiking and skiing, head over to the ARLBERG-well to unwind and relax. Situated in the heart of St. Anton, it is the centre for wellness, featuring indoor and outdoor pools as well as spa and sauna treatments.
For your final day in Austria, another hidden gem awaits you, the Verwalltal Valley. Unfortunately no cars are permitted into the valley however shuttle buses transport visitors from St. Anton into Verwalltal valley. Here you will be able to escape into nature whether you’re hiking some more or if you’re simply relaxing around lake Verwall with the family. If you’re a biker of any level, consider visiting the EldoRADo biking area where there are specially designed obstacle courses. Finish off your day with an authentic and energising Tirolean meal at the Konstanzer Hutt.
*The content and images in this top drive has been provided by the Austrian National Tourist Office.
If you would like to book car hire or motorhome rental in Austria, simply use our online booking engine above or contact our friendly reservations staff.