ADVERTORIAL • April 2018
A wonderland of pine-clad lakes, sugar-sweet strudels and snow-capped peaks, the Austrian state of Tirol is a fresh-air affair, best enjoyed with a serving of alpine sun and blue skies. Fasten your Lederhosen, as writer Hannah Ralph uncovers the magic within the mountains
Innsbruck, with its onion-domed churches and storybook charm, combines the urban and the alpine to create one mini, mountainside metropolis. Walk in the footsteps of Austria’s great Emperor Maximilian I through the Old Town's quiet streets to the Golden Roof, topped with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles. Then, take a summer stroll through the verdant Imperial Gardens before heading to one of the quarter's oldest eateries, Ottoburg, for chalet fun, traditional goulash soup and Schlutzkrapfen parcels served in a light, brown butter.
Tirol trivia: Around 20 minutes outside Innsbruck, you’ll find the home of Swarovski crystals, Tirol’s best-known export. Swarovski Crystal Worlds has several dazzling chambers, displaying crystal-art from some of the world’s most celebrated designers.
From Innsbruck's toy town streets, it takes about 20 minutes to get to the powder-white mountain tops above. With mountainside stations designed by the late Zaha Hadid, the Nordkette Cable Car takes visitors up into the alpine heart of the Karwendel Nature Park, home to Europe’s highest-lying zoo. Once you've paid the animals a visit, sate your appetite for warming Tyrolean classics at the the Seegrube Restaurant, which serves excellent schnitzel paired with Edelweiss beer at 1,905m.
Tirol trivia: At the highest station, Hafelekar, continue on foot for 15 minutes to the cross-marked, 7,400ft summit, where you can drink in views of Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
Adorned with portraits of Tirolean rulers, Ambras Castle’s Spanish Hall make it one of Europe's finest Renaissance relics. Tucked high in the hills, Ambras Castle was built by art collector and Archduke of Austria, Ferdinand II some 500 years ago. Today, the castle’s aptly titled Chamber of Art and Curiosities is Europe’s oldest museum, featuring the original portrait of Count Dracula.
Tirol trivia: Ambras Castle’s Spanish Hall becomes a much-loved concert venue during the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music (17 July – 27 August 2018).
The Zirbenweg hike, otherwise known as the stone pine trail, is one of the Tirol’s most glorious walking trails. Passing 800-year-old pines and fields of rhododendrons, the two and a half hour hike starts at Patscherkofel mountain station (a scenic cable car ride from the Igls Village) ending at Tulfeinalm, where a chair lift will transport you to the valley below.
Tirol trivia: Enjoy spectacular summits courtesy of the town's free hiking programme, run by expert guides from June to October every Monday to Saturday. For more information, click here
Discover experiences from Tirolean locals at love.tirol or share your own special moment on social media using @VisitTirol and #lovetirol
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