When the scent of thousands of alpine flowers fills the air, the sound of cattle bells rings out over the meadows and the sun warms the swimming lakes high in the mountains, it is the perfect time to get out and explore Tirol. Walking, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, paragliding high up in the skies – there are so many activities and sports awaiting visitors. Ideal adventures for families with children include high-rope adventure parks, play areas and kayaking. Meanwhile, culture vultures will enjoy exploring Tirol’s many towns and villages rich in history as well as the region’s centuries-old customs and traditions. An example is the fires lit high in the mountains to mark the Summer Solstice, or the cattle drives held in autumn wherein cows decorated with flowers are brought down from the high pastures into the valley ready for winter. International events such as the Tirol Festival Erl attract visitors from around the world and showcases Tirol’s outstanding culture and arts scene.
A tour of the Imperial Cpuurt of Innsbruck is a fine introduction to the rich tradition of preserving art followed by the region’s rulers. Photo courtesy: Tourism Austria
The region’s many valleys are home to different dialects and mannerisms, culminating in a variety of traditions preserved and celebrated with much joy. These range from the exuberant carnival at the start of the year to the more contemplative Easter period, midsummer solstice celebrations, autumn harvest festival and peaceful Christmas time. As the longest day of the year draws to a close, bonfires are lit on mountaintops all over the region to celebrate the summer solstice; here in Tirol, day to day life is regularly punctuated by special celebrations and events.
The tradition of lighting bonfires in the mountains around 21st June dates all the way back to the Middle Ages. Numerous local clubs and associations climb into the mountains each year to build mighty fires high above the valley floor. Shortly after nightfall these fires are set ablaze and illuminate the mountains to create a mystical atmosphere. These spectacular fiery scenes depicting secular and Christian motifs and symbols can be seen in June.
The 16th century Ambras Castle is a treat for history buffs and offers magnificent views given its vantage point 587 metres above sea level. Photo courtesy: Tourism Austria
Sure, Tirol’s mighty mountains and alpine landscapes are without a doubt its most spectacular asset. But what would the region be without its history, culture and architecture? Visitors wishing to learn more about the 800-year-old history of Tirol should pay a visit for example to Kufstein Castle, the silver mines in Schwaz or the historic city of Reutte – be sure to visit the Highline 179 footbridge suspended more than a hundred metres in the air, connecting Ehrenberg Castle to the remains of the 17th-century Roman Fortress Claudia. Apart from being a crucial link to explore the town’s historical landmarks, the record-breaking bridge offers majestic views of the lush greenery in the valley below. For a more relaxed outing, families will love the sparking Chambers of Wonder at the Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens. Explore top excursion destinations in Tirol.
Thus, an odyssey in Tirol makes for a fine family getaway. The rugged charm of nature’s might as seen in the Alps thropws up multiple outdoor adventures to be had. On the other hand, this raw natural beauty serves as the perfect backdrop for a distinct cultural heritage celebrated with great pride in this beautiful Austrian region, affording visitors the best of both worlds on their Austrian exploration.
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