With its snow-covered peaks in the winter and its lush green valleys in the summer, the Tyrol is able to offer a plethora of outdoor activities all year round. The purity of the landscape is always a hit with hikers, as well as those who just like outdoor activities, and, with a little patience and a bit of luck, you might even get to see the local capra goats, chamois, marmots, golden eagles and Griffin vultures circling overhead in the summer. In the winter, this snowy paradise attracts skiers of all ages and abilities, with the Paznaun Valley being home to the winter sports resorts of Ischgl, Kappl, See, Galtür and Wirl in the Silvretta mountain range. Ischgl is the valley's trendy flagship resort, popular among sports enthusiasts and young people, whilst the vast slopes of Silvretta Arena, which stretch right across to the Swiss tax-free area of Samnaun, attract many skiers wanting to stock up on duty-free goods. The aspect which characterises the Ischgl resort is what happens after the skiing, i.e: the lively nightlife in the resort's trendy bars and discos, seen by many as the Tyrol's answer to Ibiza, particularly as it is home to the famous Le Pacha nightclub, housed in the basement of the Madlein hotel. Ischgl is also home to a variety of luxury hotels, complete with stylish architecture and a spa, as well as an adorable baroque church with a charming little cemetery, not to mention its end-of-season concert, Top of the Mountain, which takes place every year during the first week of May, right on the slopes! Galtür, however, is a more family-oriented resort, known for its Silvapark skiing slopes in Wirl which are perfectly adapted to younger visitors, with various fun activities organised across its 25 mi of slopes. When it comes to activities 'after skiing though, Galtür has an altogether more cultural ambience than that of its neighbour Ischgl, with its many trendy bars. So why not leave the bars behind and come and enjoy a cultural visit to the Alpinarium, an amazing multimedia museum dedicated to the alpine region, founded following the fatal avalanche of 23rd February 1999 which claimed the lives of 31 people. There is nothing to worry about here though, as the museum is surrounded by an avalanche-proof protective wall (1,132 ft-long and 62 ft-high).
Try out one of Europe's longest toboggan runs at 4 mi long, hurtle down the illuminated slopes at the Wirl Silvapark in Galtür from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm, visit the Alpinarium, the multimedia museum dedicated to the alpine region, sample the delights of 'after-skiing activities' in a trendy bar, party in the best-known discos, pick up some bargains in the Swiss duty-free area, go along to the Top of the Mountain concert on the slopes of Ischgl at the beginning of May and, of course, if you're visiting in the summer months, the breath-taking walks in the area are a must.
The Alpinarium in Galtür, which is an amazing multimedia museum dedicated to the alpine region, founded following the fatal avalanche of 23rd February 1999, which claimed the lives of 31 people. It is surrounded by an avalanche-proof protective wall (1,132 ft-long and 62 ft-high). On arrival at the museum, you will find an amazing circle of stones representing the beauty of the mountain and also the dangers it entails in the entrance hall, which then leads through to a room where tribute is paid to the victims of the disaster, with a beautiful relief model of the Tyrol and the option of watching an impressive video of an avalanche hurtling down a mountain at 186 mph! A seemingly endless optical illusion tunnel leads off to the six different exhibition rooms where visitors will discover a range of photos, model bridges and futuristic underground TGV plans dotted around randomly, as well as an adorable snow-woman! You can always finish your visit off with a drink in the Gefrorene Wasser ('frozen water') café, where you'll even find a climbing wall for those who are so inclined, before stepping out on to the panoramic terrace which offers beautiful views of Galtür and the surrounding area over the top of the protective wall.
There are no direct flights from London to the Austrian Tyrol, so you will need to fly to Vienna, Munich or Friedrichshafen and take a bus or a taxi from there, unless, of course, you would prefer to come by car. Ischgl is not really suitable for families due to its lively nightlife, so those looking for traditional village surroundings are advised to look elsewhere as this trendy resort is very touristy, probably a little too much so for those looking for peace and quiet. The resorts of Kappl, See and Galtür, however, are more family-oriented and are particularly suitable for children.
Ischgl is not the best place to come if you are travelling with children. Head, instead, for the more family-oriented resorts of See, Kappl and Galtür, which are all still in the same Paznaun Valley. Be careful when skiing off-piste - the Alpinarium in Galtür commemorates the victims of the avalanche which occurred here in the winter of '99 and is a stark reminder that the mountain can be a cruel and dangerous place.
The various soups, local cold meats, such as speck (smoked ham), the many types of wurst (sausage), spreads, the crispy Wiener schnitzel (escalope coated in breadcrumbs), paprika goulash, all sorts of spätzle (pasta), game dishes (deer, saddle of venison with blueberries, etc.), mountain trout, käsekrainerwurst (sausage stuffed with cheese), rollmops, käsenudeln (cheesy pasta), brathendel (roast chicken), and, of course, the inevitable and delicious Apfelstrudel (local apple tart) for dessert! Why not stop off for a quick schnapps or mulled wine break in one of the many mountain bars, too, before heading back down the slopes? Of course, those who prefer to keep it non-alcoholic until after they kick off their skis could always enjoy a hot chocolate instead!
The Heimatwerk, a sort of local emporium found in every town, is the official showcase of Austrian handicrafts and it sells everything from coarse woollen rugs, deer hides, dried flowers, sculpted crystal, toys, painted eggs, ceramics, embroidery, porcelain ornaments and a wide variety of chocolates, depending on the region. With regards to clothing, this is a great place to look if you're a fan of loden coats.
The Ad Laca hotel is a small, friendly, family hotel located ...