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5 adventurous ways to explore Zillertal

From biking and hiking up and down the mountains to year-round skiing, if you love an outdoor adventure, then Zillertal in Austria is the region for you. Check out these five adventures...

Things to do in Zillertal, Austria (Zillertal Tourismus, Bernd Ritschel)

The Zillertal Valley may begin gently sloping from the small town of Strass to Mayrhofen, but keep climbing south, higher through the narrow Zemmtal and on to the Hintertux glacier, and you’ll quickly learn why this region is considered to be the cradle of alpine mountaineering. There are outdoor adventures aplenty to be enjoyed across Zillertal.

1. Guided walks in the wild

Walk in the wild in Zillertal  (Zillertal Tourismus, Andre Schoenherr)

Walk in the wild in Zillertal (Zillertal Tourismus, Andre Schoenherr)

If you’re after unspoiled nature head to Zillertal Alps Nature Park. Extending from the mountaineering village of Ginzling up to its highest peak of Hochfeiler (at 3,509m), the park’s pristine landscapes and range in altitude levels make it perfect for hiking. Part of the largest association of nature reserves in the Alps, it has extraordinarily high levels of biodiversity, so it’s worth trekking with one of the park’s guides to find the many animals and species of plants that call this park home. A special summer programme of these hikes take place all summer through to October, and with 30 diverse themes there’s bound to be a trek that can pique your interest. 

2. Long distance hikes

Enjoy long distance hikes in Zillertal (Zillertal Tourismus, Bernd Ritschel)

Enjoy long distance hikes in Zillertal (Zillertal Tourismus, Bernd Ritschel)

If long distance hikes are more your pace, than Zillertal has many multi-stage and challenging ascents to try. ‘Around the Reichenspitze’ is one that’s best attempted from mid-June to early September as a multi-day, four-stage hike with lakes, cosy huts, and rugged terrain stretching before you. Alternatively, why not ‘follow in the footsteps’ of accomplished Austrian mountaineer, Peter Habeler, and take on the route that was named in tribute to him. This 56km long circular hike circumnavigates the peaks of the western Zillertal Alps, via 6 mountain huts and with a hiking time of 2.5 - 8 hours between each, with and without summit ascents. 

3. Bike and hike

Scaling Wimbachkopf by bike (Zillertal Tourismus, Monepic)

Scaling Wimbachkopf by bike (Zillertal Tourismus, Monepic)

With Zillertal so large, e-bikes can help you get to those remote summits and huts that might otherwise be out of reach. Zillertal has 1,400km of cycling tracks to explore and the trend for ‘Bike & Hike’ can see you completing the first stages of a mountain ascent by bike, before dropping them off via specially signposted stations, and scaling to the summit by foot. After you drink in those far-reaching views from the top, pick up your bike again and you can whizz back down the mountain – all making for a far less strenuous day of adventure. 

4. Downhill runs

Take on the challenge of a downhill run (Zillertal Tourismus, HeikoMandl)

Take on the challenge of a downhill run (Zillertal Tourismus, HeikoMandl)

Speaking of speeding down the mountainside, Zillertal offers plenty of Single Trails for those who want their adventures to feature an added rush of mountain bike adrenaline. The Singletrail Isskogel is an easy run that winds its way along Barmbach Creek before curving into forest paths of the Krummbach descent, accessible from the top station of the Isskogel cable car. Alternatively, there’s the 5.2km long easy/moderate Singletrail Wiesenalm, which can be reached via the mid-station of the Rosenalmbahn lift.

5. Glacier gazing  

The Hintertux Glacier during summer (Zillertal Tourismus, SabineJahns)

The Hintertux Glacier during summer (Zillertal Tourismus, SabineJahns)

The Hintertux Glacier makes for an interesting spot. Not only is this somewhere where you can ski year-round, but there are plenty of other activities to try here too. You can find yourself traversing its craggy crevasses and rock faces on a guided glacier tour; exploring the passages and shafts on a Spannagel cave expedition; or scaling the mighty Olperer Mountain, which towers over the pistes at 3,476m (with even the option of abseiling back down – reserved for true daredevil climbers). 

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