Mountain biking in Austria (Shutterstock)
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6 white-knuckle adventures in Austria's Alps

Reserved for brave souls and adrenaline junkies, these exhilarating journeys offer thrilling (sometimes terrifying) ways to explore the Austrian Alps

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1. Paraglide over Zell am See-Kaprun

If you thought views of Austria’s Alp were good from the ground, you should try seeing them from the air. Paragliding is an exciting, adventurous way to discover any destination from above, but Austria’s undulating scenery is an especially spectacular backdrop.

Paragliding in Zell am See (Shutterstock)
Paragliding in Zell am See (Shutterstock)

Zell am See-Kaprun is a popular spot in Austria for paragliding, as the area has many appropriate spots to launch from. Many companies offer tandem sessions with experienced guides and set off from the top of Schmitten, which can be reached by cable car. As you soar through the air, you’ll be able to gaze down on Lake Zell and countless beautiful peaks, most notably Kitzsteinhorn or Großglockner. Hold on tight!

2. Ski at sunrise with a Olympic gold medalist

Not keen on sharing the slopes? Head out at the crack of dawn with an experienced guide to glide down the fresh, untouched Bad Kleinkirchheim pistes without the crowds. This ‘Skiing before 9 with Franz’ event is organised by the Eschenhof Hotel, andFranz Klammer – an Olympic gold medallist – will be accompanying you.

Franz Klammer (eschenhof.at)
Franz Klammer (eschenhof.at)

Although you’ll have to meet your group at 6.45am – an ungodly hour to get up when you’re on holiday – you’ll be justly rewarded with two hours of undisturbed skiing. Afterwards, you’ll be treated to a slap-up breakfast, the perfect way to reinvigorate. This event is recommended for experienced skiers, but your guide is on-hand to offer help if needed. There are only a handful of these tours organised each year, so book early. 

3. Ride a Fatbike in the Kitzbüheler Alpen

Move over, skiing. Beat it, snowboarding. There’s a new way to speed down a mountain, and this time it’s on two wheels. Fatbiking is a trend that first originated in the USA and it’s come over to Europe ready and raring to go. These bikes have over-sized tires that can tackle almost any surface – making them perfect for all-year-round adventures.

Biking in Austria (Shutterstock)
Biking in Austria (Shutterstock)

Try this style of mountain biking out in the Kitzbüheler Alpen with Kurt Exenberger, an expert biker and technique trainer who will take you off-roading through the region. His tours range from beginner jaunts, filled with tips on using the bikes, to advanced rip-roaring rides along death-defying trails. Along the way, Kurt also shares his experience of Austria and stories about this beautiful part of the country.

4. Go horse riding through valleys

White-knuckle to a slightly lesser degree, horse riding in the Alps is a truly unique way to explore Austria’s jaw-dropping scenery. The Trattlerhof Hotel offers a number of ways to saddle up, from week-long horse riding breaks, to beginner, lunge, dressage, and advanced lessons. If you’re not up for getting on a horse, a horse-drawn carriage through Carinthia's Bad Kleinkirchheim valley from the hotel is the next best thing. Pony rides are also available for your little ones.

Horses at Trattlerhof (trattlerhof.at)
Horses at Trattlerhof (trattlerhof.at)

The Trattlerhof Hotel’s horse riding holidays present the full experience. In a week you’ll have six lessons or accompanied rides in the countryside, torch hikes with ponies and horses, full access to the hotel’s wellness centre, plus seven nights in one of their plush double rooms.

5. White water raft in Alpbachtal

Strap on your lifejacket for a wild white water rafting experience in Austria’s Alpbachtal region. Led by an expert team from Sport Ossi, a company that’s been working in the area since 1989, these exhilarating trips take you down the Imst Gorge. The area is known for being one of the best places for rafting in Tyrol, with savage waters aplenty.

Rafting in Austria (Shutterstock)
Rafting in Austria (Shutterstock)

Be prepared to get wet! This expedition takes you down around 17km of the gorge, through choppy waters prime for exploring with a raft. The company’s professional guides will be with you all the way, and you’ll also stop off for a spot of tubing in the Brandenberger Stream.

6. Try canyoning in Kitzbühel

Discover the cracks and crevices of Austria’s Kitzbühel region with a day out canyoning. This adventure takes you through all those hard-to-reach places – spots that can’t be accessed any other way – in this sublime, craggy landscape.

Canyoning in Kitzbühel
Canyoning in Kitzbühel

The region’s team of canyoning connoisseurs have years of experience leading groups through these unusual areas, a set-up that promises fun (and safety) as top priorities. You’ll clamber through gorges, uncover glistening waterfalls, and even try abseiling down giant chasms. These tours are appropriate for adults and children aged 10 and up, and all the equipment and transport you need is provided by the tour operator.


Main image: Mountain biking in Austria (Shutterstock)

Discover more of stunning Austria