As well as being a fantastic location for a break from the city, the Alpine regions surrounding Innsbruck offer challenging and picturesque routes for hikers. There are around 50 well-established tracks in and around the city to choose from and offers both challenging climbs as well as more amiable ambles.
Those staying at a hotel in the cities of Innsbruck or in the nearby towns of Ingls or Patsch will likely be eligible for a free ‘Club Innsbruck Card‘ that offers a range of benefits included shuttle bus rides and guided mountain walks—available from June to September.
One of the best ways to discover the best opportunities that Innsbruck has to offer hikers is to take advantage of the free hiking programme that is offered in the western holiday villages area Mondays-Saturdays from 5 June to 22 October. The programme gives visitors the chance to embark on hikes under the supervision of experienced and qualified guides who know the best and more picturesque trails for every ability.
Those who want to appreciate the beautiful scenery without a perilous climb should consider the ‘Zirbenweg’ Trail that forms part of the ‘Eagle Trail’. Going 2,000m above sea level, it offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Inntal Valley. Take the Patscherkofel Cable Car and then wander along the pine-tree lined pathways to Tulfes. Find Europe’s highest botanical garden (open from June until September), graced with over 400 varieties of tree and plants and mountain flowers.
For a more ambitious route, check out the Sellrain Valley Route—a six- to seven-hour hike that goes from the Kühtai Road near the Zirmbachalm all the way to the Rosskogelhütte. Alternatively, the Goethetrail to Pfeishütte is a demanding trek with some intimidating ascents and stunning scenery of lush meadows and the jagged tips of the Nordkette mountain range.
Those visiting in the winter time or who want a more romantic experience, consider partaking in the atmospheric lantern walks that take place during December evenings. The hikes involve trekking through snowy terrain towards a warmly lit cabin that provides a steaming mug of Glühwein (mulled wine to English speakers).
Motivation to reach that next hurdle is always easier when there’s something (usually edible) to look forward to. Along many of the routes, there are restaurants and Alpine Inns to take a respite and refuel on some Austrian cuisine. For the longer hikes, book a room and stay overnight.