Winter Activities beyond the Ski Slopes
Pertisau. © Tirol Werbung, Jens Schwarz
Winter walking and snowshoeing
Guided winter walks are a great way to explore spots in Tirol that you may be familiar with from previous summer holidays and can be accessed only on foot in winter. Far from the ski pistes and cable cars you will find peace and quiet, fresh mountain air and magnificent views. One of my personal favourites is the walk at Pfundser Tschey. At just two kilometres in length it is suitable for families with children. Fancy a few more ideas? Here are some of the best winter walks in Tirol.
Winter walking in the Kaisertal Valley. © Tirol Werbung / Frank Stolle
Spa & beauty
Holidays are a time to relax, right? What better way to unwind than with a little pampering at one of the local spas, for example at the Aqua Dome in Längenfeld or the Aigner Bad in East Tirol? Families, on the other hand, will love the Salzgrotte in St. Jakob im Haus (Pillerseetal Valley), where kids can enjoy trampolines, a bouncy castle and an indoor climbing area while adults relax in the spa. After a long day out on the trails or pistes, I recommend a trip to the sauna – a great way to relax tired muscles. In fact, if spa and beauty is one of your main priorities on holiday, why not stay at one of the region's top spa hotels for families?
Ice skating & traditional curling
Ice skating is great fun for all the family. Tirol's frozen lakes offer a unique setting in winter where skaters of all ages can swoop, carve and pirouette at the foot of mighty mountains over 3,000 metres high. Another top tip, maybe as an evening activity, is "Eisstockschießen". This traditional form of curling which has been practised in the Alps for hundreds of years is a fun and entertaining sport easy to learn for all ages. The outdoor rink in Ischgl and the facility in Landeck are just two of many places in Tirol where you can try it.
Ice skating on the frozen Piburger See lake. © Tirol Werbung / Ramon Haindl
Carriage rides & horseriding
Horse-drawn carriage rides are a magical experience and, depending on who joins you, either romantic (with the one you love), entertaining (with friends) or simply fascinating (with children). I recommend taking a ride up to the Sennhütte Falzthurn in Pertisau near Lake Achensee (see photo below). Equestrian enthusiasts can enjoy riding lessons in the Paznaun Valley. Ot how about a ride on a sled pulled by huskies? No problem in Kühtai!
Horse-drawn carriage ride near Lake Achensee. © Tirol Werbung, Jens Schwarz
A few ideas for days out in Tirol. Try one of the region's Alpine Coasters, long zipwires found in places like Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis and the Alpbachtal Valley. Popular museums include Ambras Castle near Innsbruck and the Alpinarium in Galtür. Animal lovers should check out the Alpine Zoo in Innsbruck, while those keen on splashing around in warm water will find plenty of indoor pools such as the Stubay in Telfes. Visitors with a head for heights should check out the "highline179" near Reutte, a spectacular hanging footbridge which is also open in winter. Ever been inside an ice cave? If not, try the Natural Ice Palace on the Hintertux Glacier. Check out even more tips on things to see, so and explore in the winter months here.
Shopping might not normally be a hot favourite with kids, but shopping at one of Tirol's Christmas markets is a magical experience that will have you coming back for more. Adults can browse the stands selling hand-crafted objects while the kids enjoy the puppet theatre and magic shows. Here is a list with some of the best Christmas markets in Tirol.
The Christmas market in Hall. © TVB Hall-Wattens/Gerhard Berger
During the winter months, Tirol plays host to numerous top-level sporting events such as the traditional New Year's ski jumping event in Innsbruck, the FIS World Cup women's ski races in St. Anton and Lienz, the famous Hahnenkammrennen downhill race in Kitzbühel and many more. Check out what will be going on during your stay in Tirol and get ready to cheer on the competitors!
The mountainous landscape of the Hohe Tauern National Park is ideal for observing alpine animals in their natural habitat. The national park rangers offer guided walks into the mountains where visitors can feed the animals or simply observe them from a distance using powerful binoculars. If you want to see all kinds of wild animals in one place, head to the Alpine Zoo in Innsbruck – a firm favourite with children of all ages.
Chamois roaming in the Rofan Mountains. © Tirol Werbung / Jannis Braun
Morning, afternoon or evening – tobogganing is a sport that is great fun for all the family whatever the time of day. Here are our top tips for the best family-friendly toboggan runs in Tirol. For the latest information on the snow conditions on each toboggan run, check out winderrodeln.org.
Tobogganing in Sölden, Hochgurgl. © Tirol Werbung / Moore Casey
Many region in Tirol offer weekly activity programmes in winter. Speak to a member of staff at the local tourist information office. In Wildschönau and the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, for example, you can learn how to build an igloo, while in the Pitztal Valley you can take a ride on one of the powerful Pistenbullyfahrt that prepare the ski slopes at night while we are asleep.
As you can see, there is much more to Tirol than just skiing. We hope you enjoy your stay in our region and have a chance to check out some of the alternative activities on offer here. Let us know if you have any other tips for "must-do" things in Tirol!