Off the beaten track – Lesser-known places to visit in Austria
Austria’s known for its peaks, meadows and traditional villages, but delve a little deeper and there’s plenty more to explore. Read on to discover our favourite under-the-radar attractions, from historic fortresses to treetop trails.
Eifersbach waterfall – from St Johann in Tyrol
Lace-up your boots for a laid-back walk that takes in meadows, woods and a tumbling waterfall. The circular route starts in St Johann in Tyrol and passes through the little hamlet of Reitham, before following the Eifersbach stream up a steep-sided valley. When you reach the waterfall, there’s a series of wooden bridges and walkways where you can watch the clear water cascade over a 25m drop. On the way back, call in at the Hotel-Gasthof Pointenhof and treat yourself to some traditional mountain food like dumplings or kaiserschmarrn – a thick, shredded pancake served with fruit compote.
Alpine Golden Gate Bridge and treetop trail – from Saalbach
You might recognise the 200m-long suspension bridge stretched across the Saalbach-Hinterglemm valley as it’s modelled on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Just down the road from the resort of Saalbach, the bridge is the starting point for Europe’s highest treetop trail – a 600m loop of walkways and platforms suspended 30m above the ground. Wander among the topmost branches and explore the different activity stations to learn more about alpine woodlands. Then tackle the high-ropes course or whizz through the air on the Flying Fox zip line.
Gasteiner Höhenweg walking trail – from Bad Hofgastein
When it comes to scenic mountain walks, the Gasteiner Höhenweg trail between Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein is hard to beat. Start in either town and follow the path through mountain forests and flower-filled meadows dotted with farms. The route also passes through the Gadauner gorge, winding along narrow ledges and through tunnels carved into the cliff face. When you get to the end, follow the path along the Gasteiner Ache river back to where you started – or just hop on the local bus instead.
Kufstein – from Söll
Take a bus from Söll to discover the historical town of Kufstein, Tyrol’s second largest settlement. Start your day by riding the glass-walled funicular railway up to the medieval castle, and head out on the battlements to take in views over the town and the Inn valley beyond. The fortress is famous for housing the world’s biggest free-standing organ, which can sometimes be heard up to 10km away – to see it in action, time your visit for midday. Back down in the town, take a leisurely stroll along Römerhofgasse, a cobbled lane lined with bars, boutiques and traditional Austrian restaurants.
Stubnerkogel suspension bridge – from Bad Hofgastein
Slung between the twin summits of the Stubnerkogel mountain above Bad Gastein, this is the highest altitude suspension bridge in Europe. And you can hop on a bus from nearby Bad Hofgastein to see it for yourself. Stroll across the 140m-long bridge and follow a series of metal walkways to reach the Glocknerblick viewing platform, where you can enjoy impressive views of Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner. While you’re up there, swing by the mountain restaurant to soak up the scenery with a slice of cake.
Minimundus model park – from Bad Hofgastein
On the shore of Lake Wörthersee and just under 2 hours by train from Bad Hofgastein, the Minimundus park is home to over 150 model buildings – including replicas of the world’s most well-known landmarks, like the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower. There’s also a network of tiny trains and ships, and you can even watch a mini space shuttle launch. After exploring outside, head to the indoor adventure world to enjoy a film at the 4D cinema, get creative at the cartoon station or learn more about famous buildings around the world. You’ll be supporting children and young people in need across the local area too, as the park is owned and run by the charity Save the Children Carinthia.
Start planning your Lakes & Mountains holiday and discover more of Austria.