Tyrol in Austria is known for its mountains, culture, and people.
Discover this region, the best things to do and most memorable experiences.
Table of Contents
🗺️ Where is Tyrol
Tyrol is a region located in Western Austria. The region is bordering Vorarlberg to the West and Salzburg to the East.
The German region of Bavaria is bordering Tyrol Austria to the north, and South Tyrol in Italy to the south.
Tyrol, better known as Tirol in Austria and German language, consists of North Tyrol, which is the main part, and East Tyrol located apart to the South East.
East Tyrol, known as Ost Tirol, is also bordering the Austrian region of Carinthia.
Originally, there used to be North Tyrol, East Tyrol and South Tyrol but Italy annexed South Tyrol after World War 1.
South Tyrol in Italy and North and East Tyrol (normally just called Tyrol) in Austria share one heritage and the same traditions, even after 100 years of separation.
🏘 Beautiful Cities and Towns to Visit
Innsbruck – The capital and regional center of Tyrol, Innsbruck city is a landmark in itself. The charming old town with its medieval buildings and typical Tyrolean architecture can not be missed when in Tirol!
Hall in Tirol – Hall is located just outside of Innsbruck. Known as the best preserved medieval core, the city of Hall in Tirol is full of history and was an important coin minting hall in Europe.
Rattenberg – Known as the smallest city in Austria, Rattenberg is an experience in itself. The art of glassmaking has a long tradition in Rattenberg and visitors can watch glassmakers in action. Don’t miss the breathtaking view from the fort ruin above the city!
Kitzbühel – Kitzbühel is known for glamour, glitz and the Streif, the most challenging downhill skiing slope in the world. Rich and the beautiful hangout among colorful buildings and perfect views to the Wilder Kaiser mountains.
Kufstein – The city of Kufstein next to the river Inn, invites visitors for a stroll. Colorful buildings and tight rocky passages make this city with its castle, a fabulous place to hang out with family.
Schwaz – Known as the former silver capital of Europe, Schwaz is known for its rich history and authentic architecture. The silver mine tells a piece of the city’s tale and the inner-city passages and church gardens complete a visit.
More cute towns:
🏰 Castles and Ruins
Ambras Castle – The Ambras castle with vast gardens is located above the capital Innsbruck and is one of the most beautiful castles in Austria. It houses the oldest museum in the world with the precious Kunstkammer. The large Spanish hall can not be missed!
Hofburg Palace – Located in the city center of Innsbruck, this palace was considered as one of the most important administrative palaces of the Habsburg family.
Ehrenberg Castle and Fort Claudia Ruins – This ensemble of castle ruins is located in Reutte, near the German city of Füssen and the fairy-tale castle Neuschwanstein. Visitors get to walk over the Highline179, a 400-meter-long Nepal style suspension bridge.
Thaur Ruin – Located near Innsbruck, above the village of Thaur, the Thaur castle ruin will give you a fantastic view of the inn valley and mountainous landscape. A small wonderfully decorated chapel is located nearby and worth the short 10-minute walk.
Tratzberg Castle – This castle located on a steep mountain can be seen from the Tyrol highway. You can visit this castle with its typical Tyrolean architecture and furniture. They have great interactive tours for kids.
Kufstein Castle – Just above the city of Kufstein lies the Kufstein castle. A relaxed funicular ride takes you up the rock to the castle. The local museum tells the story of this castle, and you can get a unique view from up there.
Aguntum Roman Ruins – Aguntum was a mining and trading city built by the Romans. The 2000-year-old ruins near Liens in Ost Tirol (East Tyrol) can be visited, and the adjoining museum tells the tale.
Schloss Bruck – The landmark of Lienz in Ost Tirol (East Tyrol) is fort Bruck. Visitors to the museum can learn everything about the unique region and its history. The exhibitions are great for adults and children alike.
Swarovski Kristallwelten – The famous crystal manufacture’s own fantastic museum. The exhibitions will take you through sparkling chambers and wonderful gardens.
Museum Tyrolean Farms – 37 historical and original farm houses were relocated and rebuilt in this outdoor museum. Visitors get to enter the buildings and learn about the intricate past and local customs.
Goldene Dachl Museum – The golden roof in Innsbruck is the cities pride. The museum tells the story of Tyrols favorite emperor Maximilian I and his prosperous rule. The golden roof was his gift to the people of Innsbruck.
Ferdinandeum – Tirolean state museum. Learn about the history of the state and discover the Biedermeier collection. The museum is also known for some exquisite Renaissance Dutch paintings from Brueghel and Rembrandt and modern painting from Egon Schiele and Albin Egger-Lienz.
Hofkirche – The court church houses the tomb of emperor Maximilian I. It’s empty, since he was buried in Wiener Neustadt, but the “black man” or “Schwarzen manda” as they are known, make this place a special sight. These 28 bigger than life-sized statues with intricate details represent the emperor’s ancestors and heroes.
Volkskunstmuseum – adjoining to the Hofkirche, which you can visit both with one ticket, is the museum of Tyrolean heritage. The exhibit includes daily objects and traditional historical attires.
Münze Hall – Hall in Tirol is a town located next to Innsbruck. This medieval city was an important silver coin minting hub and the exhibition takes visitors through the intricate history of the Thaler silver coin. The Dollar name is based on the Thaler.
Tirol Panorama – It houses a 360-degree painting, portraying the controversial freedom fighters and Tyrolean rebellion. This was a fight for freedom from the Bavarian-French invasion.
Schwaz Silberbergwerk – The silver mine in Schwaz is an adventure in itself. A short ride with a train takes you deep into the mountains. Exhibitions there tell the tale of the brave men over the centuries who mined these mountains and made the region prosperous. The silver mine is connected to the minting hall in Hall in Tirol and the Fuggerei Museum in Augsburg.
🏞 Natural Attractions
Tyrol is known for its mountains, lakes, waterfalls, gorges and national parks. Here are some of the best places.
Here is a list of the most beautiful natural lakes.
- Achensee Lake – Tyrols largest lake with boat tours.
- Hintersteinersee Lake – a turquoise protected mountain lake beneath the Wilder Kaiser mountain range.
- Pillersee Lake – a small lake with a rich biotope located in the Kitzbühel alps
- Lake Heiterwangersee and Lake Plansee – twin mountain lakes near Reutte and the German border
- Hechtsee – easily accessible lake near Kufstein with clear waters
- Schwarzsee – known for its black color and therapeutic mud near Kitzbühel.
- Walchsee – a popular summer hangout for locals.
- Wildsee at Seefeld – a cool lake located next to a wildlife reserve
Small artificial swimming lakes can be found scattered in various towns and villages in Tyrol.
- Schleier fall – a hike and climb will take you to the magical Schleier waterfall at the Wilder Kaiser mountain range.
- Lötzer waterfall – a place of legends with fantastic rock formations
- Hintertux waterfalls – 1500 meters above sea level with a stunning trail and waterfalls
- Grawa Waterfall in Stubaital – the widest of all waterfalls.
- Stuibenfall – Tyrols longest waterfall can be accessed by a trail from the Ötzi-village.
Gorges, Caves, and Canyons
- Tiefenbachklamm – adventurous gorge with great heights and tight passages.
- Grießbachklamm – broad gorge and popular family destination with easy walk.
- Kundlerklamm – relaxed gorge, easily accessible with wheelchairs and baby strollers.
- Kaiserklamm – narrow passages and a green river make this gorge special.
- Wolfsklamm – spectacular narrow gorge with waterfalls.
- Tuxbachklamm – this gorge is located near the devil’s bridge, a protected landmark in the Ziller valley.
- Rosengartenschlucht – unique gorge walk in a protected biotope located in the Western parts of Tyrol.
- Galitzenklamm – Located in East Tyrol, this adventurous gorge is known for wild falls.
- Teufelsgasse – Naturally formed rock maze filled with fables and stories.
- Stubai Glacier Ice Grotto – a walk through ice and glaciers in what might be perhaps one of the last glaciers in Europe.
- Natur Eis Palast – a natural ice cave discovered in the 90s by a local mountaineer. It’s a very popular destination.
- Hundalm Ice Cave – stalactite meets ice cycles in a 350.000-year-old cave.
- Spannagel Cave – a layer of marble makes this cave a special natural wonder in the Hintertux glacier.
- Tischof Cave – a 40-meter-long cave near Kufstein, which was used as a weapon hiding place during the Napoleonic wars.
- Karwendel Nature Park – Tirol’s largest national park and plenty of rugged peaks and terrain.
- Zillertal Alps Nature Park – with mountain pastures, mountain huts, alpine farms and high alpine trails
- Hohe Tauern National Park – national park shared with the region of Salzburg and Carinthia. The highest mountain in Austria can be accessed via the Großglockner road.
- Kaunergrat Nature Park – known for its rich biodiversity
🏕 Activities in the Region
If you love hiking than you will love the choice of hiking trails in Tyrol. You will be spoiled with choices, with grand panoramic views, hidden mountain lakes and stunning natural formations.
Choose from over 35000 mountain biking and cycling routes in Tyrol. There is something for every one, for beginners and advanced cycling lovers. E-bikes are also easy to hire in the region!
Tyrol is a key region for climbing enthusiasts. Sport climbing, multi pitches, via ferrata, bouldering, and ice climbing can be all done in the region.
When in Tyrol don’t miss a visit to a thermal bath with sauna village. Aquadom with its natural thermal waters, is the most exclusive thermal spa in the region. The Achensee Spa is great for an evening out and families will appreciate the Zillertal Therme. All German sauna rules and tips apply for this region too.
A unique hot air ballooning experience above the Tyrolean alps is an unforgettable experience. Special tours can be booked in the Kitzbühel area and the Karwendel mountain area.
Did you always want to do paragliding? Your options are great to make this happen in Tyrol. A paragliding tour can be organized in the Zillertal valley, Achensee, Kössen, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Wilder Kaiser, Stubai valley, Alpbach and Lienz.
Kids and adults alike will love the choice of summer toboggan runs, alpine coasters and slides. The best of all are located in Stubaital, Zell am Ziller, Wildschönau, Kaiserwinkel, Fiss, Alpbach, Lienz and Imst.
High Rope Obstacle Courses are plentiful in the region and a fun way for kids to enjoy their holidays. The small St.Ulrich’s amusement park is just a cherry on top of a cake.
⛷️ Ski Resorts
It doesn’tmatter if you have come for the black skiing slopes or the Après-ski bars, Tyrol has it all!
Here are some of the most well-known ski resorts in Tyrol.
Kitzbühel Ski Resort – Good mix of various skiing difficulty degree. Great ski instructors for kids and adults alike. I recommend St.Johann in Tirol as a base if you want a budget-friendly alternative.
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Ski Resort – One of the biggest connected ski resorts and with a unique view to the Wilder Kaiser mountain range. Moreover, great for family with kids.
Ski Arlberg – High altitude ski resort and the largest connected ski resort with over 300 km skiing slopes. Over 100 years of skiing tradition and one of the top ski resorts in Europe.
Zillertal Arena – 4 mountains, 2 regions, this skiing resort is tucked away in the Zillertal alps and leads over to Krimml in the Salzburg region. Here you can try skiing down the longest slope in Austria. The interactive map pictures all this really well.
Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis – A broad sun-filled family ski resort favorite. Yet, this ski resort is also known for free-ride, deep snow skiing opportunities and black, more challenging, runs. A skiers dream come true.
Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn – Another massive ski resort shared by Tyrol and Salzburg. This is a hyper popular skiing area for people from around the world.
Silvretta Arena Ischgl – Most well-known international ski resort in Europe. Tyrol and Switzerland share this ski resort high up in the mountains. Snow winter sport meets after ski party.
Gurgl – located at 3000 meters altitude, this world class ski resort can guarantee snow in winter. The slopes are open up to May. You can get unforgettable scenery to the Italian Dolomites and Ötztal alps.
🎭 Festivals and Customs
Carnival and Schemenlaufen – Carnival is known as Fasching. While every town and village celebrates carnival dressed up, there is a special UNESCO protected custom in the west of the country known as Schemenlauf during Fasnach. The Schemenlauf, a colorful parade of fools wearing wooden masks, furs and colorful traditional clothes, is held every 4 years in Imst.
Village Feasts – Every village and town holds a feast, resembling a small Oktoberfest, during the summer months in Tyrol. Plenty of local food specialties such as Germkirchel (fried stuffed yeast bun) and beer make these a fun experience for visitors. You will meet locals here and be able to take part in a very local traditional setting.
Almabtrieb – The cows in the valleys are taken to high altitude mountain pastures during the hot summer months. In fall, they come back walking down the mountains to the valley with colorful head decorations and large bells on their necks. This old tradition is about to die out, but you can still experience it on the last Saturday in September in Söll, Wildschönau, Alpbach and Hopfgarten.
Knödelfest – The Knödel, held every year in September in St.Johann in Tirol, is a dumpling, a local specialty. They come in round or flat shapes and the Knödelfest celebrated all types of local dumplings. With the longest Knödel table in the world, this quirky event is sure to leave an impression and good taste in your mouth.
Krampus Run – The Krampus run is an age-old tradition in the Tyrolean region. Hand carves gruesome-looking wooden masks, long hairy furs and large bells give birth to the Krampus. They come to get all naughty kids and St.Nikolaus joins him to reward the good kids with chocolate, oranges, and peanuts.
Christmas Markets – The Christkindlmarkt, as it is widely known in the German-speaking countries, is of course a tradition in the region. Innsbruck hosts the largest Christmas market in the city center. Rattenberg has a unique candlelight market and many smaller cities and towns organize modest but cute Christmas markets.