Hidden away between steep mountain slopes, Scharnitz lies on a narrow valley floor to the south of the Scharnitzpass connecting Tirol to Bavaria. From here, visitors can easily access the Karwendel Mountains.
This settlement on the banks of the Isar, today home to a population of 1,300, was an important stopping point on the Venice-Augsburg trading route as early as the Middle Ages. Even the Romans built a fort here. Proof of Scharnitz’s longstanding status as an important gateway to Tirol is the Porta Claudia, a 17th century fortress. Today Scharnitz is a tourist hub at the point where the Karwendeltal, Isartal, Hinterautal and Gleirschtal Valleys meet. As such, it is a popular base for walkers, hikers, rock climbers and mountain bikers keen to explore the slopes and peaks of the Karwendel Mountains and Wetterstein Mountains. Among the most popular walks is the trail through to the Karwendeltal Valley up to the Karwendelhaus hut as well as the trail leading through the wild Gleirschklamm gorge. Experienced hikers can take on the Große Arnspitze (2,196 m) offering fabulous panoramic views as far as Bavaria and the Ötztal Alps.
Scharnitz forms part of the Seefeld Olympia Region and is therefore particularly known for its network of cross-country skiing trails. Alpine skiers will find a ski resort in neighbouring Seefeld.