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There’s so many fabulous destinations for families in Europe alone. Although we haven’t travelled to Tyrol as a family, I have fond memories from a solo trip many years back. These memories came back to me when Linda from www.traveltyrol.com shared this guest post with me. There’s so many great things for families to do in Tyrol. You can read about them in her post below.
The Alpine province of Tyrol in Austria is one of the top 20 tourist destinations in Europe. Families make up a big percentage of the visitor numbers. The reasons are obvious. Whether summer or winter, there is always something to do with kids in the mountains and valleys of Tyrol. Here are my top 10.
For some traditional sightseeing with a twist, a visit to Innsbruck is a must. With the majestic Nordkette towering over it, the city isn’t called the capital of the Alps for nothing.
Stroll down Maria Theresa Street with an ice-cream (there are many parlours in this pedestrian zone) until you get to the famous golden roof. If you are lucky, Innsbruck’s silver lady and her dog will be on their post in front of this most photographed balcony with its golden roof tiles. Kids love the dog and watching the street artist’s reaction when they throw money in her basket.
For the best views over Innsbruck’s rooftops and of the mountains, climb the city tower near the golden roof. For even better views, take the Nordkette cableway to the top of the mountain. Stop at the Alpenzoo, Europe’s highest lying zoo, on the way up or down.
It’s incredible how quickly children learn to ski. The many ski resorts dotted all over Tyrol are geared to guarantee a memorable experience for the whole family.
Most resorts have ski schools looking after the kids while mom and dad are free to explore the slopes on their own. Skiing together or taking lessons in a family group is just as much fun. You will still laugh about epic falls years later.
Some of the best ski resorts for families include Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Schlick 2000, Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser and Ski Juwel Alpbachtal.
You don’t have to ski to enjoy winter in Tyrol. A simple sled or toboggan is all you need for a fun-filled day out in the snow.
Children love being pulled on a sled. And if you don’t fancy an uphill walk, there are many ski resorts with lifts taking you to the start of the run. We always return to the 11er Lift in the Stubai Valley, where you have an option of two of the longest sled runs in Tyrol. Both are an exhilarating 8kms long!
What’s more is that you can stop at a traditional mountain hut for some hot chocolate and glühwein on the way.
When the snow has melted, many of Tyrol’s ski resorts turn into summer adventure playgrounds. From the world’s largest wooden ball run to a tree house trail to mountain carts – the possibilities are endless.
We love the Muttereralmpark near Innsbruck because it has something for all ages. There is a water canal system ending in a giant sandpit with a jungle gym, an adventure play area that tests and develops motor skills, a little lake in which the surround mountains reflect and with beautiful views of the Inn valley, a good mountain restaurant, and mountain carts to take you back down the mountain.
The Alpine coaster at the Serlesbahnen in Mieders in the Stubai Valley is also a very popular mountain attraction.
It can get hot in the Alps in summer! When the temperatures are soaring above 30°C, there is nothing more refreshing than diving into the cool water of an Alpine lake.
Lake Achen (the Achensee in German) is the largest Alpine lake in Tyrol and in a picture-perfect setting. The beaches in the villages of Pertisau, Achenkirch and Maurach all have different attractions for kids, including playgrounds.
More energetic families can set off on a picturesque lakeside hike to the Gaisalm, a restaurant that can only be reached on foot or by boat. Simply dive into the lake to cool off on the way.
Outdoor families will find a hike to a mountain hut to be one of the highlights of a holiday in Tyrol.
One of the most beautiful ones is along the wild water trail to the Sulzenau Hut in the Stubai Alps. It goes past two impressive waterfalls and a stunning valley basin. It also offers glacial views and encounters with Alpine cows, goats, and marmots.
Total walking time is about 3 hours, but you can stop to play in the water or for refreshments at the Sulzenau Alm along the way.
The starting point can easily be reached by car or bus. You can even arrange for your bags to be taken up to the hut with the small goods cable car.
The Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens near Innsbruck is a good option on unpredictable weather days or if you want to take a break from the mountains. Most kids also find the tour through the belly of the giant, with its glittering displays by different artists, really fascinating.
Afterward, while mom shops, there is still the vast garden with its crystal cloud, play tower and labyrinth to explore.
Not far from Swarovski Crystal Worlds is a unique upside-down house built by a Polish architect. Children love taking pictures with their “heads in a toilet” or “falling down a ladder”. Haus Steht Kopf, as it is called, is in a village called Terfens.
For an interesting day trip, take a regional train and get off at scenic villages along the way. The route over the mountain from Innsbruck to Seefeld in Tirol is very beautiful.
In Seefeld, you can stroll around the little lake and even take a dip on a hot day. Or travel down the Inn Valley in the direction of Kufstein.
Towns worth a stop are Hall in Tirol, Rattenberg (the smallest town in Austria), Kufstein and Kitzbühel. On this same line, you can get off at Jenbach from where the old steam cog railway to the Achensee departs. Or go down the Ziller Valley with the Zillertalbahn.
There are 5 glaciers in Tyrol, all with winter as well as summer attractions for families. They are the Stubai, the Kaunertal, the Hintertux, the Pitztal and the Sölden glaciers. Naturally, they are covered in fresh snow and buzzing with skiers during the cold months.
In summer, the actual glacial ice is visible. Some, such as the Stubai and the Hintertux glaciers, have snow caves with interesting features inside.
If you are visiting in summer and would like to try skiing, this is even possible at the Hintertux glacier during July and August. The fast retreating glaciers pose a good opportunity to show kids the effects of global warming.
Festivals abound in Tyrol. From welcoming the cows home from the mountains after the summer to harvest thanksgivings – there is always some kind of celebration going on.
During summer, many villages also host Tyrolean evenings on their town squares. The local marching band plays, the young people perform traditional dances, the beer flows and the sausages or schnitzel are served. While this is normally entertainment enough for kids, there is often also special children’s entertainment.
Your host or the local tourist information office will tell you where to find a festival happening close to you.
Tyrol is an Alpine province with around 740,000 inhabitants in western Austria (which is a far cry from Australia 😊. You won’t believe how many times Austrians get asked about kangaroos!)
The best times to visit for a summer vacation is between May and September. For skiing and other winter activities, plan your trip between December and April.
While not as cheap as some parts of Germany, a skiing holiday in Tyrol is still very good value for money compared to Switzerland and France. Families are encouraged to visit through attractive deals where kids stay for free or ski passes are included in the hotel package. In summer, almost every region offers a guest card including free activities such as guided hikes.
The Austrian cuisine is not very exciting, but you have to try the schnitzel, knödel (a dumpling) and kaiserschmarrn (pieces of torn pancake with a fruit sauce). Almdudler is a soft drink for kids to try, but the water coming from the taps is just as good.
One thing is for sure, a holiday in Tyrol is spent almost entirely outdoors. The good thing about this? Kids are torn away from tablet or phone screens while they are in the mountains.