Hidden among rolling hills and piercing peaks, here are five places you need to visit when exploring Alpbachtal...
Top image: View from the valley over Alpbach (Alpbachtal Tourismus, A. Campanile)
Between the Kitzbühel Alps and the Rofan Range in Austria lies Alpbachtal, a Tirol region with quaint villages and towns just waiting to be discovered.
Here are some of the best that need to be on your checklist as you explore and each offering you something different to see and do:
Not only is Alpbach the largest village in Alpbachtal Valley but it has also been officially recognised as ‘the most beautiful in Austria’ and this is in no small part thanks to its traditional timber houses and the pretty flower boxes that adorn them. Hikes and bike trails around this tranquil village will often lead to hidden gems. The easy-going ‘Alpbach Nature and Heritage Trail’ traipses past historical sights and down the Mühlbach Path of Contemplation – a route that encourages you to pause and reflect by each one of its natural sculptures – or you can look to scale to the top of the Wiedersbergerhorn, accessible via the Wiedersbergerhornbahn found just outside the village.
Next to the River Inn sits the historic town of Rattenberg. With just 400 inhabitants, it’s Austria’s smallest but famous throughout the valley thanks to its medieval centre and artisanal glass craft. Must-visit sites of interest include the Augustinian Museum, which houses more than nine centuries of Tirolean art, and the Glass Factory Kisslinger to see the glass blowers at work. Whilst here, a small walk can have you standing among the old ruins of Rattenberg castle, marked by the stoney Bienerturm tower that still stands on the plateau to this day.
Keep heading west and you’ll soon come to the town of Brixlegg. Whereas this town was once known for its copper mining heritage, today it's a hub for shopping with specialist shops to find and inns and restaurants to enjoy as well confectionaries and cafes. Time your trip for the first Saturday of the month and you can also be a part of the bustling regional farmers market that takes place here. If you fancy a day’s jaunt the Jausenstation Hechahof makes for a nice spot, with the owner happy to take guests around the old farm and smokehouse and a chance to enjoy some speck meat and Schnapps.
If castles charm you, then make for the fairy-tale like Matzen Castle. From here are several paths that lead up to Reith im Alpbachtal, an attractive village that blossoms throughout the summer and a lake at its centre dubbed Reith’s ‘Emerald Eye’. Pop along to the Hildegard von Bingen Garden, a garden filled with wild mountain herbs and that aims to educate visitors on ancient herbal lore. From Reith im Alpbachtal you can also take the Reitherkogelbahn to ramble on Reither Kogel, complete with impressive vistas over the Ziller and Inn valleys.
Head north from the banks of the Inn to the municipality of Kramsach where you can find a village with a difference! The Museum of Tyrolean Farmhouses is Tirol’s largest open-air museum and encourages visitors to spend a leisurely afternoon walking among its well-preserved out-buildings and offers a fascinating insight into a past way of life. This region is also famous for its four swimming lakes, perfect for explorers to dive into and to cool down from the heat of the summer day.
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