Sunday, 16 September 2018 - 22:08
We often get asked what are the best places to visit in Austria, and we do like to be prepared with more than the obvious answers like Vienna, Salzburg, and the Salzkammergut lakes. What we do best is to put together itineraries that combine bucket-list attractions that everybody wants to see with off the beaten path, personalized locations to make you irrevocably fall in love with your destination. This is particularly enjoyable to do in the case of Austria and its neighbors, as there are so many places worth visiting that discovering them will keep us busy for years to come.
For this particular itinerary, our collaborator Irina wanted to combine in a tour of the Bavarian Alps, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg - laid-back city walks, magnificent hiking landscapes, spa relaxation options, and Liechtenstein. Designed as a couple’s road trip, this driving circuit starts/ends in Munich, but it could as well be done from Salzburg. You find below Irina’s account of the fantastic week she spent in the Alps, be inspired and contact us if you have any questions! We are happy to send you the map below (or a personalized one) by e-mail so you can directly use it with your Google Maps App.
Day 1 Munich to FüssenWe departed in the morning from Munich and drove towards Schwangau; on the way, we stopped in Murnau am Staffelsee at the edge of the Bavarian Alps. This charming historic market town with a view over the lake is lively, inviting, and colorful so we ended up having a drink at Café Orangerie and then a great lunch at Il Duetto, followed by a walk in the beautifully restored pedestrian area.
In the afternoon we got to the Luitpoldpark Hotel in Füssen, 1 kilometer away from the Austrian border, and the southernmost point of the famous German Romantic Road. The 700-year-old medieval town center, the Marienbrücke offering a stunning view upon the Neuschwanstein Castle, and the exquisite lake Alpsee are well worth a stop in this town, primarily known for its violinmaking industry. We also visited Hohenschwangau, the “original castle” in the area before king Ludwig II of Bavaria built the dreamy Neuschwanstein in the 1880s in honor of Richard Wagner.
Day 2 Füssen to BregenzWe left early heading west, enjoying spectacular mountain views. On the way, we spontaneously decided to stop at Alpsee Bergwelt (photo) where we went up on foot (1100m up) on a steep, but dazzlingly beautiful road inhabited by many cute alpacas. We went down with the Alpine Coaster, which was definitely worth it, as it was very long:) Later we stopped in Oberstaufen, where we had a cheese platter and great smoothie at Kaas Fee. From there, we went for a hike through the woods to Buchenegger Wasserfälle.
In the afternoon we crossed the border to Austria and stopped at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Dornbirn, which is covered in glass, so you can see the mountains surrounding it. We had a relaxing time enjoying the spa with its pool with massage water jets, as well as saunas (in the Finnish sauna we took part at the “Aufguss” ritual at over 90 degrees). In the evening we went to Bregenz, where we had dinner at Poseidon.
Day 3 Bregenz to Imst via VaduzBregenz, on the eastern shore of lake Constance (Bodensee) is the meeting point of four countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein), the Rhine valley, the Austrian and the Swiss Alps. After a stroll through the city, we crossed the border to Switzerland and then to Liechtenstein, where we stopped in Vaduz. I particularly wanted to include this point in our itinerary as it allowed me to pin yet another country I have seen on my map back home. And it was well worth the detour. The graceful capital of Liechtenstein is one of those picture-perfect locations, where you cannot stop taking photos of the magnificent views. We went for a walk through the forest up to the castle (photo) and then had an ice cream down in the center. Back in Austria, we stopped in Feldkirchen, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Vorarlberg. We continued on our way to Imst, which is impressively modern, and we had a very good dinner at Asia Mix. In the evening we got to Villa Ambach, an exclusive location in the Oetztal/Tyrol and one of the best places in Austria that offers easy access to ski slopes, hiking and mountain biking trails, and rafting locations.
Day 4 Hiking on the way from Imst to Hall in Tyrol
We were pleasantly surprised by the great breakfast at the Villa Ambach that included avocado and fresh fruit and could be enjoyed on the terrace.
We drove to Hoch Imst and parked at the base of the mountains. Then the fun began! We climbed through the forest up to Untermarkter Alm (~1400 m height), where we stopped for a drink, then continued on a mesmerizing stone path all the way up to Muttekopfhütte (~1950 m height), where we had some great pasta. Empowered, we went further up to the viewing point that had seemed untouchable from down. The view was simply breathtaking! We were surrounded by peaks of over 3500m. We went down to the Mittelstation with the cable chair. The feeling – priceless!!! Then we went down with the Alpine Coaster, which is the longest one in the world (3.5 km). Back at the parking, we went a bit on the Rosenschlucht to the Blaue Grotte and back.
Back in Imst, we had a coffee at Cafie and then continued our way towards Hall in Tyrol. After checking in at Gasthof Badl, overlooking the river, we went for a walk in the old city center and then had dinner at Bar Centrale. Hall in Tyrol has the largest historic town in the state of Tyrol and in 2004 it became a university town, which added extra vitality to its charming, vibrant atmosphere.
Day 5 From Hall in Tyrol to Ried im Zillertal via InnsbruckNo visit to the area is complete without a stopover in Innsbruck. The city hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976 and it is also known as the capital of the Alps. One of the best places to visit in Austria, it features an iconic old city center (photo), enchanting vistas, and great food options.
Unfortunately it was raining, so we didn’t see as much of the city as we would have wanted to, but still enjoyed walking on Museumstraße, admiring the Goldenes Dachl, the numerous arcades, and the Dome. If we had stayed longer, we would have definitely gone for lunch to Woosabi and for coffee at Haepinest. We will have to leave those for next time.
In the early afternoon, we arrived at the Pop Down Hotel in Ried im Zillertal, where we loved the design of the ground floor, the pool and the sauna, as well as the extraordinarily delicious dinner – the best of this trip. I was actually thankful for the rainy weather, as I could enjoy everything the hotel had to offer.
Day 6 A day in Ried im ZillertalAlthough it was raining, we decided to go for a hike from Fügen up to Spieljoch. The road would have probably been very beautiful, as it was through the woods, but now we had no view at all because of the fog and it was slippery and cold, so when we got to the Mittelstation almost 2 hours later, we tried to warm ourselves up with a soup and then descended with the gondola. We spend the rest of the day at the hotel and played games in the evening:)
Day 7 From Ried im Zillertal back to Munich
We left Ried im Zillertal and Austria and headed back to Munich, where we arrived around noon. We had an amazing light lunch at Wagners Juicery, then went for a walk to Marienplatz, Viktualienmarkt, Odeonsplatz, and Karlsplatz. In the evening we had a Thai dinner at Lotus Lounge.
In retrospective, I am confident we covered some of the best places in Austria, Germany, and Liechtenstein in our one-week itinerary. Whether you are looking for a summer getaway or you are a skiing enthusiast, if you would like to personalize this itinerary, the contact form is to your right-hand side. Or just drop us a short comment below and we will contact you!