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Top Tirol Tips

Neil Sowerby's guide to outdoor activities in the Austrian mountains

Written by . Published on September 11th 2011.


Top Tirol Tips

WHAT is the German for couch potato? Our travel editor Neil Sowerby looked it up. Stubenhocker’s common but he prefers Dauerglotter. Just right.

So on a recent visit to two of the Austrian Tirol’s most distinctive hotels (www.planetconfidential.co.uk/Abroad/Twin-Centre-Bliss-In-The-Austrian-Tirol) Planet’s resident Dauerglotter broke out of his settee-friendly vegetative state with some hiking, swimming, spa treatments and serious eating (Dauerglotters just snack).

He’s just not a golfer. Which is a pity since the Tirol has some great courses. Indeed there’s much more to its great outdoors than just ski-ing.

Here are Neil’s Top Tirol Tips:

Golf
GOLF is not something you associate with Alpine pursuits, but it is a perfect way to combine a lung-freshening mountain high altitude walk with some gentle exercise.

There are brilliant courses across the Tirol. Highly recommended is the nine-hole Tiroler Zugspitz (pictured above), offering nine holes, par 72, 5990m, a driving range, putting and chipping green and gold academy. Pretty standard you might say but what makes it so breathtakingly special is the setting – set on natural meadows at the foot of the Wetterstein mountain range with Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze.

The course has a special arrangement with the Singer Sporthotel & Spa. Stay there (and I  highly recommend it: http://www.hotelsinger.at/en/) and you get a 20 per cent green fee reduction, booking and priority allocation of tee-of times, complimentary transport and omplimentary golf taster sessions Sundays from 4 to 5pm

Berwang_Kleine-Bergkunde_518X245_01Berwang's alpine meadows, perfect for walking

There’s a choice of four golf courses in the Kitzbuhel region, where I also recently stayed (at the lovely 2 Michelin-starred Hotel Roasengarten in Kirchberg, http://www.rosengarten-taxacher.com/en/start.html) and a furthe 30 nearby. With ta Golf Alpin pass you can play at 28 Golf Alpin partner clubs in Tirol & the SalzburgerLand. Visit http://www.kitzalps.com/en/golf.html.

Img_0812All paths lead to here?Hiking
WHAT struck me was the fabulous organisation of the Austrian footpath network. Even at the higher altitudes, when were getting that “are we on the right track?” feeling around the next bend there was one of the distinctive yellow direction signs.

The beautiful Zugspitz Arena is highly regarded amongst alpine sport enthusiasts, and the views from the peaks at up to 3,000m are breathtaking. But I found there, as elsewhere, there were walking treats to be had at much lower levels. That’s my excuse anyway. There are numerous long meandering walks that lead to dramatic waterfalls and mysterious alpine lakes.

Along the way it’s often just you and the sound of the cowbells in the flower-filled meadows. In select alpine pastures you can experience how fresh milk is turned into cheese. The Singer Hotel (see above) offers free tours under professional guide Gerd.

From our Kirchberg base we took the high road (taking the ski-lift up the Gaisberg and walking in a huge circuit back down) and the lowish road up the Aschau river paths, returning among some quite idyllic countryside.

Tennis
KITZBUHEL, famed as a ski resort, has strong tennis provision, hosting important tournaments and offering impressive open air facilities next to the bathing lake. As the local tourist info puts it: “A spontaneous ‘Becker plunge’ in  the lake provides a welcome refreshment afterwards.”

Kitzbuhel Mountain BikesKitzbuhel Mountain Bikes

 

Biking
Kitzbuhel hosts Austria’s biggest mountain biking event each summer, the KitzAlpBike Festival. Across the Tirol for the leisure cyclists there are numerous forest tracks and mountain bike rental possibilities.
http://www.zugspitzarena.com/en/summer/active/mountainbike/bike-rental/
http://www.kitzbuehel.com/en/activities/summer/outdoor/mountain-edge.htm

Live action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_YlBsWJ2XM

Factfile

For details of outdoor activities in Kitzbuhel and Kirchberg visit www.kitzbuehel-alpen.com/en/
For details of outdoor activities in the Zugspitz Arena ,including Berwang, visit www.zugspitzarena.com/en/summer/welcome/.

Hotel Rosengarten, Aschauerstrasse 46. 6365 Kirchberg in Tirol. Austria (+43 5357 4201-50, www.rosengarten-taxacher.com).
Standard double from 220 euros winter, 190 euros summer. Deluxe suite from 560 euros winter, 520 euros summer, inc gourmet breakfast but not local tax. Dinner menu priced between 102 and 135 euros.

Singer Sporthotel & Spa 6622 Berwang, Tirol, Austria
(+43 5674 8181 www.hotelsinger.at/en/).
A variety of prices. The room we stayed in, the deluxe junior suite Thaneller, will cost between 149 euros and 160 euros a night in summer 2012, 179 euros this winter, with a premium price of 240 euros over Christmas/New Year.

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