Last weeks report was about Stubai Valley, Hiking along the Innvalley and Lake Obernberg. This week is about two touring areas – with plentiful individual tours – the areas of Sellrain Valley and Isar Ursprung Valley. The Photography give you an impression, what kind of nature is waiting for you to get discovered.
Last weekends Hiking Special Tyrol – Part 1 gave a short introduction in possible tours and regions for supreme hiking, before the winter break and this is why Part 2 already follows this weekend. Innsbruck (Part 1 & Part 2) is a great basis to start your journeys. It is very likely that you will still be able to go some rounds in the late autumn, before the winter reaches the lower valleys. In the meanwhile you can enjoy snow covered summits, awesome weather and green meadows in contrast to those white tips everywhere.
Valley of Sellrain
The Sellrain offers several valleys which terminate into the main valley. If you go up there to the top, you automatically reach the skiing and summer resort Kühtai.
If you leave the valley earlier into one of the several side valleys you will reach a nearly untouched hiking ground, where you can park your car pretty close to the forest. And mostly you reach deep forests, which open up in higher altitudes, where you can find beautiful Almen and granite rocks in the highest altitudes, close to the summits.
The autumn colors have been stunning and a great contrast to the evergreen (or white) meadows of the Stubai Alps. Those are blueberry bushed and their leaves are all colored in red during fall season.
We had a great tour about four weeks ago in the side valley leaving Gries im Sellrain. My Tyrolean friends have a little hut in the mountains and up there, hidden in the forest, you are nearly alone, when you go out in the plains. And that’s the way I celebrated when we reached the summit.
It’s probably a very nice ski touring ground as well – for all recommended entries, have a look here. Make sure to check on the risks for avalanches and enjoy a secluded mountaineering paradise! More pictures can be found in the attached gallery.
Isar Ursprung Valley in Scharnitz
If you have time and it’s earlier in the season, you could surpass the whole first ring of Karwendel and go a tour from Scharnitzto the Achensee close to Jenbach. It is a three day tour, if you plan with about 10 – 20 km trails per day. You walk by Innsbruck, but it’s hidden on the other side of Karwendel, soutwards of you.
This is the view, when you access the valley, in the back the hiking trail spread out and you have several options for great tours. And the following picture is taken inside of the young Isar. It is a pretty cold river, let this be said.
The Isar springs are in the mountains of this region and this river goes all the way up to Munich and passes Bavaria’s capital, as one of Munich‘s sight, since the Isar Auen are a great place for recreation in summer time, for canoeing and all sorts of paddling sports with little boats. We chose a trail towards the Scharnitz Alm, where you can go all the way into the first high valleys of Karwendel, behind Nordkette and soon reached the first deep forest. A beautiful forest, dense and full colored under the influence of Autumn.
But you still find green spots, hidden in the forest. The ground is covered with moss in many parts, the nostrils are filled with an uncomparable smell of nature, when you make your way upwards.
If you make your way deep inside of this fairywonderland, you become hungry. This is our Jause, we enjoyed with an uncomparable view. We met in total maybe 6 people on our tour, which lasted for about 4 hours.
Here you can see the wonderful October colors in contrast to the reddish grey rocks of the big mountains. The water passing through those mountains, eating itself into the rock, has a light turquois color, it is really pure and cold. You find more images attached in the gallery. With the provided information you have something on hand to plan your trip, you should definitively reconsider this, while you are around between May and Mid of November, depending on the weather.
And when you are on the summits of Nordkette, like the Hafelekar, you have a wonderful look inside of this region as well! These are some views from the Hafelekar and the Hafelekarbahn up to the summit!
In this entry the hiking opportunites around Lake Obernberg, along the Innvalley and in the valley of Stubai are described and depicted. Since the winter already reached the high alpine regions and the winter season is on, you need to make sure, if you still want to hike, that you are well prepared and look out for tours that are not leading you into high alpine regions, at least not without proper equipment.
Today I want to give you some recommendations for your hiking in Tyrol – this is part one and I split it into two parts. You will find more detailed info on the tours – parts of them have already been mentioned in the guide for Innsbruck (Part 1 & Part 2) itself. Homebase for your endeavors is Innsbruck, which looks like that at the moment.
In walking distance from Innsbrucks Abbey, close to the street going up to Brenner, you find a nice beergarden called Bierstindl and the entrance to Sillschlucht. This is an impression from Sillschlucht in summer, a place where you will find the alternative people of Innsbruck to hang out and enjoy the ice-cold water of this little river.
The winter comes in fast now, so the season is over for the higher altitudes – or it starts, if you consider to do skitouring. But this winterbreak in October is mostly of short duration, followed by a warmer period until the snow manifests in the end of November. With good clothes you will still be able to go some rounds as long as you don’t attempt for the summits, which will remain covered in snow until late April to May from now on. And if you attempt that, make sure you have the proper equipment, without that it is very dangerous – and check on the risk of avalanches, the new snow is not compacted yet and you should not blindly hike into regions where you are in danger. And although you might not find the summit experience too easy anymore, hiking the valleys and some Almen can be very rewarding as well!
The region of Lake Obernberg offers plentiful opportunities. You get there in a 30 min. ride from Innsbruck via the autobahn towards Brenner.
When you are at Lake Obernberg you can do skiing tours and in summer hiking tours, which are quite challenging. You find the overview over the possible tours here.
The tour around the lake should still work for now – the time of late autumn with summits covered in snow – it is an easy round of one to two hours with stunning views on lake and surrounding mountains! If you plan something more challenging, please don’t desitate to contact the Alpenverein for questions, to buy maps or to rent your equipment, when you are here to explore the nature. Find more shots of Lake Obernberg in the attached gallery!
Valley of Stubai
The valley of Stubai is most diverse. What you can find in summer is depicted from my instagram feed. It has three skiing resorts, at the beginning of the valley in Fulpmes the Schlick 2000, 11er Lifte in Neustift and the Stubai Glacier in the end of the valley at Mutterbergalm.
All three are great, depending on what you are looking for. All three are high alpine, with the glacier longing on altitudes over 3000 m. This little river goes through the whole valley and is fed by several waterfalls all along the way.
Make sure you prepare properly for those altitudes, take sunscreen – and if you are looking for offpist adventures, at least be firm with equipment to look for buried persons – and have the knowledge to do so. We experience many casualties of avalanches every winter.
Here you can see the glacier, covered in snow during the whole year. It’s a majestic view all along the valley. If you stop behind the last village, where the valley narrows, 10 min. before you reach the glacier, you find a little canopy garden. This place is wonderful for a short break and a great starting point for hikes. Find all the possible tours here.
This is a view captured with a solarisation filter from my phone. The mirror effect is caused by a little pond which you will find at this spot. You can still go hiking there at this time of the year, as long as you don’t attempt for the higher altitudes, that are already covered in snow – starting usually from middle October, depending on the weather.
The forests along Innvalley
It does not matter at which time of the year you are looking for a hike. The forests along the Innvalley always work for you, in winter sometimes with snow boots but as long as you remain in the forest, without the high alpine dangers. The big advantage is the proximity to Innsbruck. You even find some great trails for hiking in combination with sleigh riding. And for the time between June and the beginning of October it is a great ground to look for mushrooms.
This is the view from Nordkette, when you are on the highest spot Hafelekar. You can easily go there by cablecar, when your time is limited.
This is the view from Nordkette on Innsbruck, when you are hiking the Hofwald up to Höttinger Alm. In general the hiking trails (Forstwege) on the northern side of the valley are steeper and the Höttinger Alm will close soon. But the forest is beautiful and with Höttinger Bild and Rauschbrunnen, you see here, you have still some options left with a great view on Innsbruck.
The southern side is a great mushroom ground. I won’t tell you exactly where to look, but as stated above, in between June and October you will find enough everywhere, no matter if you go up directly from the villages over Innsbruck or beyond the Glungezer. All the following pictures are from the southern side of the Innvalley forests.
You will find sceneries like that everywhere in the forests under world famous Zirbenweg and between the summits of Patscher Kofel and Glungezer.
This is the forest over Rinn in Tyrol. A beautiful, in parts widely open forest with some steep parts.
This is the forest over Volderberg in Tyrol, opposite to the majestic Glungezer. It’s a very secluded forest and you will not meet many people over there. And this is the view down into the Innvalley.
All the photography can be bought digital via eyeem.com and via twenty20.com as hardcopy print and digital – since I just have my instagram feed upped there, please contact me in case you are interested in buying. Another way to obtain the license for the use of the pictures in original format is available soon via fotolia.com. I will bring up the file in best quality for you, without the watermark if you wish. A feed to buy the original work is in the works at the moment. And the hiking recommendations continue here.
Innsbruck has plenty of great sites, summer as winter. It’s up to you to decide what you would like to experience. Outdoor is a great plus but the museums of the city draft in thousands of tourists as well. Have a look into this entry to find your personal and suitable experience.
I want to start this entry with a little story about the people living here in most beautiful Tyrol, Austrias highland. The Tyroleans are a very special kind of people. If you approach them too open minded and loud, before they can flee, you can be prepared for a reply which can be harsh sometimes, or at least sarcastic. Foreigners, especially the ones living permanently in Tyrol, like Germans, are not always welcome to them – Germans in particular are a matter of a longterm love hate relationship. The term for Germans in Austria is “Piefke” which goes back to a story of two officers on the Prussian miltitary squad of the old times, before the Nazis took over Europe. They were so in shape, that they defined this term as typical German (towards the Austrian mentality). It might be due to the success of Germany in football, olympics, industry etc. while speaking the same language, it might be due to the size of Germany and amount of Germans, or because of the lively, self-confident (overexaggerating sometimes) appearance much more Germans have compared to Austrians, who are almost ever much more relaxed and laid back – even if they are equally qualified for what they do. I started to love this kind of attitude, it’s “just being relaxed” vs. being permanently stressed out and hasty in your everyday life… So this is by any means critics on the Austrian mentality. If you befriend with those guys and they go to the mountain with you, be sure you have found friends which understand this meaning from the heart.
This is the Tyrolean “National Anthem” if it comes up to the Tyroleans in Tyrol, East Tyrol and South Tyrol (Alto Adige), it should be still a united country, without Alto Adige belonging to Italy.
Sights of Innsbruck
But this entry is to bring the sights of Innsbruck to you, who are probably not living here, who are planing to do an unforgettable vacation in the Alps. Innsbruck is a tremendous base for your endeavours because you have lots of great restaurants and entertainment on the one hand and top notch skiing resorts or hiking on the other within an hour in your car or by public transportation.
Rank 10: Plenty of Chinese and Japanese visitors rush in every day and it’s a main sight of the city, the Swarovski flagship store with its crystal exhibition in the center of the old-city. The company is actually a Tyrolean family owned company and does precision glassware for analytics and optics besides the jewelry. The main facility is in Wattens, just a 30 min. busride away the Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens. As I mentioned in my last entry about Innsbruck, this is nothing we would attend to, but I know there is big interest in these exhibitions, so it’s worth to mention them here.
Rank 9: The inner city of Innsbruck itself is a sight. You will have this panoramic view nowhere else while you go shopping. It includes the old-city itself, with the well known Goldenes Dachl, which I grant the Rank 5 in this listing. It includes the colorful houses along the Inn, the Dom (the main church), the Stadt-schloss, Landestheater, Hofgarten and everything related. The city shines in its beauty and this is based on the fact that it was not destroyed during WWII.
Rank 8: Schloß Ambras and the Ferdinandeum, the lovely Tyrolean museumfor history are going places when you are into history and old stuff, which is exhibited there. The castle is lovely and the garden beautiful. The Ferdinandeum is quite modern but the exhibition still has its charme.
Rank 7:Another main sight of the city is theBergisel Schanzewhere the olympic wintergames took place. It’s annually used as venue in the tournament of the Vierschanzentournee, as I reported in my last entry. Another curiosity is the Wok WM, which was hosted by the German host Stefan Raab during the last years. A crazy tournament for crazy people, who enjoy a race down the bob-trail on a heated wok (yes the cooking device).
Rank 6:The zoo of Innsbruck, better known as Alpenzoo, is a nice place for families and animal enthusiasts. The inhabitants are all living in the Alps, so get a good overview which kind of animals can be found here, when you wander off the beaten tracks. Capricorn and eagle are the most prominent inhabitants, but bears, wolves and bobcats can be found there as well, and of course the otters, which have been my personal favorite! Another great sight is the botanical garden of the University of Innsbruck – small but well organized and the entry fees just apply for the tropical houses, visiting the garden with the flora of the Alps is totally free of charge!
Rank 5: The main sight depicted on all the postcards from Innsbruck is the Goldenes Dachl (golden roof). There is not much to say about it, it’s simply beautiful and you should stop there and take your touristic photo souvenir, when you pass it. It gets a separate rank, because it is the symbol of the city.
Rank 4:Compared to Salzburg or Kärnten there are just few lakes where you can go to dip on hot summer days. But some of them are most beautiful and I want to mention them here as one “sight” because most of them are in close range and easy to reach. The most beautiful lake around the area is Lake Obernberg, it is not allowed to swim in there, but we were never punished when we took a fast dip after we hiked the surrounding mountains. Another great lake is the Achensee, which you reach by car going via Jenbach, turning northwards up into the mountains.
You can even sail on this lake and (kite)surf in summer, in winter you find a school for snow-kiting. The two most beautiful swimming lakes in the surrounding of Innsbruck are the Reintalersee in Kramsach and the Piburger See in the Ötztal. In the Ötztal you find the Area 47, a water themepark for your amusement and plenty of opportunity to do rafting and canyoning.
Rank 3: The endless amounts of skiing resorts in the region are a major sight for your activity and your exploration. I will just recommend the best of the best to you and not give you info on the smaller ones. Leave those to the locals and the guys who tend to be alone when they do their sports. If you are interested in touring skiing you can ask me for those via the comment section, albeit from that, stick to the ones, which offer your daily dose of convenience, apres ski and awesome. For the following list, I do not have a special ranking. Ischgl, Arlberg, Zillertal, and Serfaus are huge, the rest is smaller and some are closer to Innsbruck.
Obergurgl – the finest in regard to empty pists and high alpine loneliness
Axamer Lizum – small but close to Innsbruck for short trips, no high standard
Rank 2: The Höttinger Alm is an easy to hike hut, which you should visit when you are in good shape during the summer month. You can reach it in a two hour hike via easy routes and the food is fantastic! You have a great view on Innsbruck and it is my personal favorite, when it comes up to traditional huts and the mountain flair.
Rank 1: The Nordkettenbahnen are the main sight in my opinion and they bring you up to 2300 m of elevation to the Hafelekar right over the roofs of Innsbruck. This experience is so unique, no matter if it summer or winter, it has to receive rank 1. You can jump in there, like into a metro and right from the old-city of Innsbruck, go up to Hungerburg, from there by cable car to Seegrube, and from there up to Hafelekar with just another cable car. It opens a playground for adventurers, skiing experts (yes, experts!) in winter, and mountainbike freaks (yes freaks!) in summer. You find an awesome climbing trail and plenty of opportunity to live your personal experience of wanderlust. If you are not into those sports regulary and very experienced leave this place out and just go up to enjoy the view – you can do that every Friday in summer til 11:30 p.m. and in winter til 1:30 a.m.! It’s in your own interest to not overestimate yourself because otherwise you just hurt yourself and are brought down to the valley in a helicopter. I mean it like I write it, please don’t overestimate your skills here. I have to mention the Patscher Kofel as well here – just for completeness and without taking rank 1. It’s by far not as impressive as the Nordkette, but the views on Innsbruck, the Nordkette and the Innvalley are more than beautiful as well. If you have few time, do just the Nordkette, if you have plenty do Patscher Kofel as well and hike the Zirbenweg.
Part 1 of my introduction of my home Innsbruck is all about the lifestyle, what you can do and where you can go at night. I give you recommendation on what to obey and where to inform, when you plan to hit the mountains. In the upcoming second part I will give the more basic info like touristic sights and going-places.
Innsbruck is quite a small city, compared to my hometown Berlin, where I was born and raised, but is still well known for its divine nature and sports opportunities all over the world. It lies at the river Inn – where the name is derived from – and has a count of about 125,000 people when all the students are present – which is not so common, especially not over the summer month where the inhabitants count around 95,000. That’s an equal count of citizens like in Berlin Charlottenburg, the district where I originally come from. With that count the city is Austrias 5th largest city. From this point of view, I did not move into a smaller place, when I came here… 😉
Most people associate Innsbruck and Tyrol with wintersports or ridiculously green meadows on the mountains during the summer time, where you can give credit to your Wanderlust.
The term cultural capital is of course not comparable with the likes as the opera in Verona (Italy), Wagner in Bayreuth (Germany), sights in Vienna (Austria), and the tons of great entertainment Berlin (Germany) has to offer, it is a small city after all – but you should not make the mistake to compare those names with each other and the main “sight” is nature and the mountains of the Alps. I will give you more information on the touristic important sights of Innsbruck and the surrounding area in my next entry – part 2. For us, who live here, those sights are playing a minor role of course, but when you are here for the first time, you should definitively check them out, since they characterize this place and give it a special character.
Events & Artists in Innsbruck
Anyways, there have been several great artists coming to Innsbruck over the last years since I live here and for some reason Innsbruck seems to be an important place for those artists on their way up to a bigger career. I was able to see the Blood Red Shoes, The Cinematics, Portugal the Man, Steaming Satellites, Blumentopf, and just last year Milky Chance live, and there are always great gigs every now and then – impressive for a city of this size – as of last with more and more popular DJ Sets like one of my favorites Worakls. A huge advantage are the relatively small stages where you get in touch with artist and mood much closer than on those huge stages, like in New York (I saw Placebo there), Berlin (Fugees, 50 cent), Munich (Lana del Rey) and other big cities. Another advantage is the relatively low entry coverage, if the concerts aren’t for free completely. The boys and girls from BONANZA do a great job as well, since they brought an open air to Innsbruck, which has always a great line-up and during the summer month they entertain us at the Inn, playing decent electronic beats for free – the place to be on Wednesdays to enjoy your well deserved after work beer, having a BBQ and chillout to Electronic music!
Nightlife in Innsbruck
For a relatively small city there are plenty opportunities for nightlife! I will just give you a selected selection of great bars and clubs. My favorite bar is by any means the Café Moustache. You can already go there in the afternoon for a very good Falafel and at night chill-out to good music, meeting friends, with a beer that is absolutely fair priced and enjoyable in the surrounding – team is cool as well! The Club Aftershave is related to the Moustache and always worth a visit in season, when the students are present. We had fun nights down there!
For live music the Weekender is the address to be. Most of the concerts I attended have been there and they offer free concerts of upcoming artists on Mondays during the semester, a great service!
The nightlife takes part in different locations, on one hand the “Bögen”, where you find my favorite clubs the Project, the p.m.k. – if you are interested in culture, gigs, concerts and acts, the Bäckerei with a focus on cultural program and products from the region and the Tante Emma, a classy cool nightclub which is open until sunrise. A little further off the track is the Club Cubique, where the well known DJs attend for sets in town. And last but not least there is a relatively new “underground” location Kindergarten, quite cool and in the modern style of an abondoned place – they don’t have a website, it’s “underground” and nightlife takes place to special events. A special and unique location to celebrate, aprés ski and enjoy life is Cloud9, which is nothing more than an iglu on Seegrube in winter time, where you can celebrate Wednesdays and Fridays – I say, this is the coolest (in the true meaning) location you can find!
Activity & Outdoor in Innsbruck
Sportive events exist plentiful. The Air & Style took place every winter – but will be in Beijing in 2014, the Nordkettenquartett is a very cool event where teams of four people compete against each other and each team member has a different task: biking up the mountain, claiming the summit via touring ski, freeride it down again and come into the aim with the mountain bike downhilling the track from Seegrube – which is also called Gruabn’. The Vierschanzentournee is an annual visitor to the city, just to mention the most famous out of so many, not to start with the plentiful freeride events in Innsbrucks surrounding in winter. The sportive opportunities are endless here and Tyrol becomes more and more a paradise for alternatives from the classic wintersport. Skitours are very high on the list – but I recommend you an appropriate training in avalance awareness before you start into the freeride and skitouring adventure! Good sources to prepare your mountain experience are…
Bergfex for maps of skiing resorts and wander-routes and recommendations of the community
ZAMG to check on the weather which is inevitable before you start
Lawine to check the dangers and risk of avalances in certain regions – I recommend to train the awareness in the SAAC course (link above), when you have not done it before!
Almenrausch to plan your summer hiking tours and the stay at a hut
Alpenverein the official site of the community and society to worship the Alp of Austria – you can borrow equipment there
Alpenverein Aktivto plan your tour based on a map, very nice if you want to browse & discover based on your location
Powderguide to check on the new snow and to find your pristine powder experience
You can explore everything of course without the need to visit events, museums and sights.
The Alps are THE major sight itself and you will find such a proximity to the high mountains nowhere else…
At least not with a city of this size right to its feet. And when you are in good physical condition, have respect for the mountains and want to experience a fun thing in summer, you should go hiking and check out boulder running – the fastest way to get down the mounain after you hiked it up.
I will deliver a second report from my home and bring the main touristic sights to you and a little outlook, what you can and should do as daily tours, when you are here, stay tuned!