Home to Tirol's highest mountain, the largest glacier ski resort in the Eastern Alps, the tallest waterfall in Tirol and the highest inhabited church village in Tirol, the Ötztal Valley is Tirol's valley of the superlatives.
The highest mountain in Tirol, the largest glacier ski area in the Eastern Alps, the highest waterfall in the region, the second-highest church village in Austria – visitors in search of superlatives will feel at home in the Ötztal Valley, which branches off the Inntal Valley to the east of Imst and runs for 65 kilometres. This region dividing the Ötzal Alps from the Stubai Alps is well-known as being home to “Ötzi the Iceman”, a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived around 3,300 BC. Between the village of Oetz at the start of the valley and the famous ski resort of Sölden at its end lie numerous towns and villages offering many activities, including skiing, mountaineering, hiking and rafting.
Dry and mild climate
Visitors will notice the exceptionally dry and mild climate at the entrance to the valley in Haiming, a village known for its apple orchards. The Tschirgant Massif protects the Ötztal Valley from cold north winds, while the many peaks over 3000m in the valley shield it from incoming precipitation. This makes it one of the driest regions in the Alps, and in the villages of Sautens and Oetz there are even plantations of peaches, grapes and chestnuts.
As you travel south the landscape changes. Near Umhausen and Längenfeld the valley floor widens and lush green meadows appear. The road continues to climb as you head towards the ski resorts of Sölden and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl as well as the idyllic village of Vent at almost 2,000m. Here at the end of the valley lie the majority of the 86 glaciers and 250 peaks over 3000m, including Tirol’s highest mountain, the Wildspitze, at 3,768m.