Nature Watch in the Karwendel Alpine Park, © Tirol Werbung/Olaf Unverzart
Nature Watch in the Karwendel Alpine Park, © Tirol Werbung/Olaf Unverzart

Nature Watch – Guided nature hikes with Swarovski Optik binoculars

Hunt down your prey, zoom in and focus, then savour the moment as you take your shot. The best kind of hunting takes place on the Nature Watch.

Equipped with high quality Swarovski Optik, binoculars, a healthy dose of inquisitiveness and thirst for adventure, you can embark on a journey to where nature is at its most exciting with a trained guide: in the wild. Nature Watch Partner Hotels, Tirolean Natural Gems and Hohe Tauern National Park have got together with natopia to devise some great Nature Watch hikes and offer at least two guided tours every week. The nature guides, trained up by the nature education pros from natopia, introduce visitors to a professional nature experience during these hikes.

The possibilities for observing nature are as diverse as nature itself: animals, rare plants, stunning natural gems, glaciers, moorlands and an array of other biological and geological features are the focus of these Nature Watch hikes.  They are offered in varying degrees of difficulty: from easy excursions to challenging tours - including hire of Swarovski Optik binoculars.

1 · Alpenhotel Speckbacherhof: tours to the roe deer and wild orchids of Halltal Valley and Mount Usterberg

Nature Watch Hotel Speckbacherhof, © Region Hall-Wattens/Susanne Vianello

Halltal Valley is a never-ending source of wonder: this little tributary valley branches away from the Inn Valley, to the north of Hall in Tirol. It belongs to Karwendel Alpine Park and is one of the Natura 2000 sites. Many rare alpine plants can be found here, such as the Lady’s Slipper orchid, an archetypal Nature Watch plant: Admire it, yes – but no picking, as this species is rigorously protected! The animal world of the Halltal Valley and Mount Usterberg between Absam and Gnadenwald Forest is both diverse and exciting. Alpenhotel Speckbacherhof in Gnadenwald offers attractive packages with guided tours organised by Hall-Wattens tourist board.

Alpenhotel Speckbacherhof · St. Martin 2 • 6069 Gnadenwald · +43.5223.52511 · ·

2 · Hotel Falknerhof: tours to the fascinating water worlds at Mount Tauferberg and Niederthai

Nature Watch Hotel Falknerhof, © Hotel Falknerhof

There is a veritable plethora of natural treasures to discover in the Niederthai valley basin and Mount Tauferberg in Ötztal. The meadows of Niederthai will delight you with their immense biodiversity of aromatic herbs and flowering plants, as will the fascinating and raw landscapes that have been shaped by falling rock over time immemorial and the fairy-tale-like, moss-covered forests. You will be introduced to the lively aquatic life at Lake Mauslassee and discover that there are even backstroke swimmers in the world of insects. Hotel Falknerhof’s Nature Watch hike to the largest waterfall in Tirol, the Stuibenfall, is particularly impressive. The waters thunder down a 150-metre drop over two sections, throwing up a huge shimmering spray of rainbow colours when the sun is shining.

Hotel Falknerhof · Ennebach 76 · 6441 Niederthai · +43.5255.5588 · ·

3 · Hotel Neu-Hintertux: tours to the moorlands, flowering meadows and alpine farms of the Zillertal Alps Nature Park

Nature Watch Hotel Neu-Hintertux, © Hotel Neu-Hintertux

Was that a rare Apollo butterfly that just fluttered past? Should we run after it, or stop to take a closer look at the animal and plant life that has adapted to live in these high alpine moorlands? Whether discovering the power or water along the Wasserfallweg (Waterfall Trail), or finding out more about the economic system of alpine farming on a walk to the beautiful Lake Torsee – tours into the Zillertal Alps Nature Park starting from Hotel Neu-Hintertux have many highlights in store. There is always something special to see. If not the Apollo butterfly, then certainly one of the region’s other „Big Five“: golden eagle, ibex, wild goats, bearded vultures and marmots.

Hotel Neu-Hintertux · Hintertux 783 · 6293 Tux · +43.5287.8580 · ·

4 · Hotel Seppl: tours to the newts and moorlands on the sunny slopes of Mutters

Nature Watch Hotel Seppl, © Hotel Seppl

It is hard to know where to look at first: at the spectacular alpine scenery of the Karwendl Mountains, Stubai and Tux Alps, or the many natural wonders in the surroundings: newts, birds, orchids, amphibians, insects, swamp creatures. Fortunately, you have plenty of time to have a good look at it all during these Nature Watch hikes. Furthermore, you can join one of the twice weekly two-hour Nature Watch Instruction tours offered by Hotel Seppl and visit the newts at Hirschlacke Pond on Mutterer Alm, or the sunny slopes of Raitiser with its many beautiful parasitic plants. Special children’s walks are offered for Nature Watch kids.

Hotel Seppl · Natterer Straße 8 · 6162 Mutters · +43.512.548455 · ·

5 · Almis Berghotel: tours to larch forests, flower meadows and mountain lakes in Obernberg

Nature Watch to Lake Obernberger See, © Tirol Werbung/Bernhard Aichner

Nature Watch tours with Almis Berghotel in Wipptal’s Obernberg take you to two beautifully situated lakes: Lakes Obernberger and Lichtsee. The waters of these two natural gems are of premium quality. The lakes are a hive of diverse marine life and the area buzzes with pretty insects, dragonflies and butterflies. The rest of the landscapes are also well worth exploring: romantic larch forests, interesting ancient rockslides and rock formations, with boulders and flowering meadows and a huge variety of wild flowers and alpine plants, gentians in particular.

Almis Berghotel · Aussertal 30 · 6157 Obernberg im Wipptal · +43 664 4340471 · ·

6 · Hotel Kaiserhof: tours to the blooming wild flowers at Rotlechwiesen and Kögele near Berwang

Nature Watch Hotel Kaiserhof, © Hotel Kaiserhof

The guides from Hotel Kaiserhof in Berwang call the main attraction of their Nature Watch hikes „Spechteln“, in reference to the „Spechte” species, otherwise known as the woodpecker in the English language. Funnily enough „Spechteln“ means to spy in Tirolean dialect, so what will you spy on during these exciting tours to Rotlechwiesen and Kögele? The animal and plant life, of course, whereby the main focus is on the Lechtal Valley alpine meadows. The vegetation in the Lechtal Alps is unique, namely, and so incredibly diverse that you could spend all day examining just one square metre of the meadow. Orchids, hyacinths and many different herbs and medicinal plants are just some of the extraordinary, fragrant wild flowers that can be found here.

Hotel Kaiserhof · Hausnummer 78 · 6622 Berwang · +43.5674.8285 · ·

7 · Hotel Goldener Adler: tours to the romantic mountain and glacier lakes in the Paznauntal Valley

Nature Watch Hotel Goldener Adler, © Hotel Goldener Adler

From Hotel Goldener Adler, where you can savour high-flying amenities, to the green countryside, where golden eagles circle the skies and wild ibex scramble over the mountaintops. A qualified nature guide, who knows their way around the cultural and scenic highlights of the Tirolean Paznauntal Valley, accompanies guests on this tour. Participants are expertly guided to the Padatscher lakes in the romantic Fimabatal Valley near Ischgl, before heading to Sonnenkogel with its magnificent flowering mountain meadows near Galtür and the Zeinis glacial lakes. They may be too chilly for taking a dip, but nature lovers can immerse themselves nonetheless: in the fabulous views of these fascinating landscapes with their unique beauty, formed by snow and ice over time immemorial.

Hotel Goldener Adler · Kirchenweg 19 · 6561 Ischgl · +43.5444.5217 · ·

8 · Hotel Sonnenhof: tours to the most scenic mountains

Nature Watch Hotel Sonnenhof, © TVB Tannheimer Tal

There are many beautiful spots in Tirol’s Tannheimer Valley – hidden idyllic oases and natural gems that are simply too good to pass by. You can even make surprising discoveries in popular destinations such as the Neunerköpfl and Füssener Jöchl mountains. The nature guide from Hotel Sonnenhof in Grän knows exactly where to find these magical places and their special features: examples of shell limestone rock, grouse, Lady’s Slipper orchids, Dovetail gentians, or catch a glimpse of a buzzard, as it flies in search of prey.

Hotel Sonnenhof · Füssner-Jöchle-Straße 5 · 6673 Grän · +43.5675.6375 · ·

9 · Biohotel Leutacherhof: wild flower meadows and mystical moorlands

© Tirol Werbung

Everyone knows mouseholes – but catholes? That is the strange but true literal translation of Katzenloch, the area of Leutasch where the Biohotel Leutascherhof is located. This little piece of heaven on earth has large meadows with many wild flowers – indeed, there are up to 70 different herbs and flowers per square metre. The nearby moorland can be accessed on foot and is also famous for its huge range of plants and animals. Visitors wishing to find out more can take part in the Natopia Nature Watch Hikes starting at the Biohotel Leutascherhof and heading out into the mountains to observe local wildlife such as chamois, marmots and eagles.

Biohotel Leutascherhof · Weidach 305 · 6105 Leutasch · +43.5214.6208 · ·

10 · Kaunergrat Nature Park: tours to the wild ibex and thousands of butterflies at Kaunergrat Nature Park

Nature Watch in Kaunergrat Nature Park, © Tirol Werbung / Jannis Braun

Vegetarian animals and carnivorous plants – nature has many varieties and forms. Many of them can be explored with an expert guide on varied Nature Watch hikes in Kaunergrat Nature Park. These include the stamping grounds of wild goats and deer, marmots, butterflies and marsh toads, as well as grazing livestock belonging to farmers of the Upper Inn Valley. You will also discover impressive natural landscapes, such as glacial regions and moorlands whilst learning more about this highly interesting alpine region, which provides the natural habitat for a surprising number of species of animals and plants.

Naturpark Kaunergrat · Gachenblick 100 · 6521 Fließ · +43.5449.6304 · ·

11 · Ötztal Nature Park: tours to the wild herbs, Ötzi and Co

Nature Watch in Ötztal Nature Park, © Naturpark Ötztal

There is something good to see, smell and sometimes taste every Monday at Ötztal Nature Park, because the guided Nature Watch tours take you, amongst others, to the beautiful spots where herbs and magnificent wild flowers grow. Many other creatures, great and small, are also put under the microscope. The intermediate walks take around four hours and are organised by Ötztal Tourist Board. The meeting point is at Öztal Tourist Information Offices in Vent at 9.40 hrs on the respective tour days. Appropriate equipment: hiking boots, rain protection gear and packed lunch.

Naturpark Ötztal · Oberlängenfeld 142 · 6444 Längenfeld · +43 5253 20201 · ·

12 · Karwendel Alpine Park: tours to the alpine meadows and maple trees of Karwendel Alpine Park

Nature Karwendel, © Region Hall-Wattens

Nature Watch Hikes in the Karwendel Alpine Park take you through these protected landscapes, which teem with local wildlife. Measuring 727 square kilometres, it is the largest conservation area in Tirol, with untold biodiversity, providing the natural habitat for 1,300 species of plants and 3,000 types of animals. The centuries old maple trees at the “großen Ahornboden” (large maple grounds) are a popular attraction, although there are many natural places of interest the untrained eye. may find difficult to detect. Nature Park trainers, who more often than not join these tours, will show you where they are and lead your group to alpine farms that serve welcome refreshments.

Alpenpark Karwendel · Lendgasse 10a · 6060 Hall in Tirol · +43.5245.28914 · ·

13 · Zillertal Alps Nature Park: tours to the glaciers, peaks and mountain ibex of the Zillertal Alps Nature Park

Nature Watch at Zillertal Alps Nature Park, © Tirol Werbung/Esther Wilhelm

Joined by an expert guide, you can delve into the Zillertal Alps Nature Park and its world of snow and ice giants. Sample the work of a glaciologist, as you learn how to decipher the traces of geological history. Fascinating natural mysteries reveal themselves not only on the glacier trail to the listed Berliner Hut, but also on the route high above the Schlegeis Reservoir and the exciting trip to watch the wildlife with a local hunter in the Tux Valley. You can zoom in so close on the chamois, marmots and golden eagles, that they can be seen in fascinating detail.

Hochgebirgs-Naturpark Zillertaler Alpen · Ginzling 239 · 6295 Ginzling · +43.5286.52181 · ·

14 · Hohe Tauern National Park: tours to the golden eagles, chamois, ibex and deer of Hohe Tauern National Park

Ibex in the Hohe Tauern National Park, © Tirol Werbung/Bernd Ritschel

Spring awakening and the mating season, when the young are born and reared, a time of foraging – it is a busy time in the great outdoors in spring and summer. You just need to know the right places, in order to observe the natural habitat and rituals of the local wildlife in peace. Hohe Tauern National Rangers lead you to these places, explain the natural processes and tell some surprising anecdotes about the flora and fauna of the Alps. Autumn walks take visitors to the fiery red and golden yellow forests, to the mating season and battles for territory by rutting stags. Furthermore, participants are given lessons on which forest berries are edible or not (not edible bears, of course!) These Nature Watch tours are easy to negotiate and perfectly suitable for children and seniors.

Nationalpark Hohe Tauern · Kirchplatz 2 · 9971 Matrei in Osttirol · +43.4875.5161-10 · ·

Tirol's Nature Parks from West to East

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