An authentic Alpine experience awaits at the pretty mountain villages and ski resorts set amid western Austria’s beguiling landscapes.
Tirol is a postcard-perfect region of soaring mountain ranges, deep valleys, rambling wildflower meadows and placid lakes. It has 500 peaks of 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) or more plus over 600 glaciers. Visit Tirol for snow sports, cycling, hiking and mountain biking. Discover Habsburg-era monuments, relax at remote hilltop villages and dine on mouthwatering Tyrolean cuisine.
Innsbruck, the provincial capital, has architectural grandeur bequeathed by the Habsburg Empire. Tour opulent regal landmarks including Hofburg (Imperial Palace), Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) and Ambras Castle. Find churches, galleries and museums as you wander Innsbruck Old Town’s cobblestone streets. Marvel at the sparkling crystal art exhibits at Swarovski Crystal Worlds. Ride the Nordkette Cable Car for panoramic views of the city and Nordkette mountains.
The region’s 80 ski resorts collectively offer about 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) of trails and 470 miles (750 kilometers) of sledding runs. Popular ski areas include Sankt Anton am Arlberg, SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental, Ischgl Ski Resort and Hintertux Glacier Ski Resort. Hochzeiger and Silvapark Galtür are family-friendly resorts. Watch the downhill Hahnenkamm World Cup Race at Kitzbühel.
In summer, the snow disappears to reveal lush green scenery and a playground for biking and hiking. Access an incredible 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) of walking trails from mountain villages. Among these are Ischgl, Galtür, Kappl and See in the Paznaun Valley. Relax at Seefeld or at Pertisau on Lake Achensee. Alpbach and Ellmau are fairytale-like villages set against a backdrop of dramatic peaks. Don’t miss Mayrhofen in the Zillertal Valley.
Tirol’s cuisine promotes farm-to-table freshness. The region’s chefs are recipients of multiple Gault&Millau awards. Sample typical dishes, including kiachl (pastry with cranberry jam) and Tiroler gröstl (fried potato, onion and bacon). Celebrate local farming traditions at the carnival-like cow parades as cattle descend from the mountains during the Almabtreib festival in autumn.
Innsbruck Airport, the main gateway to Tirol, receives flights from major European cities. Get around via bus, rented car or scenic train journey such as the Arlberg route between Innsbruck and Bludenz.