Ski season may be over, but the hills of Austria are still alive with so much more than just the sound of music. Surrounded by the might of the Alps and awash with the green of far-reaching countryside that’s about as sparsely populated as the queue for salad at McDonalds, Austria’s scenery is nothing short of spectacular. It serves as a natural playground for lovers of the great outdoors while the quaint villages scattered between the hills are a treat for those with a soft spot for all things picturesque. Twice the site of the Winter Olympics and a popular spot for cross-country skiing, Seefeld is the ultimate summertime destination for solo travellers and families alike. Here’s what puts it at the top of our list.
As a popular tourist destination, Seefeld is well serviced by both busses and trains, allowing for easy access to the region’s boundless beauty. Ticket machines can be operated in English and many of the bus drivers are bilingual.
PROXIMITY TO GERMANY
A day trip over the border is as easy as hopping on a train for 30 minutes before you find yourself in the heart of Mittenwald, a charming old German municipality. For the brave amongst you, Seefeld is a fantastic base when summiting Germany’s highest mountain, as the Ehrwalder Alp/Gatterl route to the Zugspitze can be accessed from the Austrian side. This is where you’ll also find Europe’s highest beer garden.
‘Summit of the Zugspitze’. Image Source: Backpacking with Bacon
As the remnants of winter melts away and the hiking trails re-open, an entire world of exploration is revealed beneath. Three jagged peaks dominate the landscape to the east of the village and are popular with walkers of all ages as cable cars service the area. Climbing them without the aid of a cable car should be top of your list of things to do when in town, as the ridge that runs to all three peaks can be navigated with relative ease and the views are some of the most rewarding in all of Austria. There are hundreds of walking trails that stretch over 650km to choose from ranging from the simplicity of the Gschwandtkopf to the dizzying heights of the Hohe Munde which looms over the village- a must-climb for serious hikers.
‘View from the Hohe Munde’ Image Source: Backpacking with Bacon
Located 1,200 above sea level, the area is well serviced by the summer sunshine and its plateaued location provides the perfect conditions for hiking, walking, cycling and even topping up the tan. It’s also just a short and scenic drive from Innsbruck Airport.
These charming streets are still steeped in alpine tradition and character, with the unique Austrian architecture taking centre stage. As the region’s oldest pedestrianised area, the streets are easy to navigate on foot as everything is in walking distance, including the train station which is just minutes from all pockets of the village. Head into the centre and you’ll find quaint delis, traditional restaurants, wooden-slat bars serving local tipples as well as boutique shops. Despite its laid-back vibe, Seefeld’s nightlife is surprisingly vibrant and activity continues on well into the early hours of the morning. Pull up a barstool and let a local guide you through the drinks menu or enjoy a night of dancing to the sounds of traditional Austrian music before retiring to the comfort of your room. Check into a hotel with a rooftop Jacuzzi for sweeping views of the mountains and the colourful village below.
THE NEVER-ENDING LIST OF THINGS TO DO
It’s hard to believe this small village once hosted the Winter Olympics, but left behind is a solid infrastructure and a whole heap of activities to enjoy, from roller-skiing to simply riding the cable cars for the panoramas. Here are just a few of Seefeld’s top to-dos.
Hop on a bus and just a short ride away is the awe of Leutasch Gorge, otherwise known as the Spirit Gorge. At 1,650 in length, this fast-flowing spectacle is the longest accessible gorge in the Eastern limestone Alps.
Although there is an abundance of lakes nearby, Seefeld’s one and only is a hotspot for walkers and cyclists alike, as its flat terrain is easy on the body after a week of hiking. When visiting, bring along a bag of hazelnuts to feed the squirrels and birds who will happily perch on your arm as they indulge.
Rafting is one of the most popular summertime activities for visitors to Seefeld. The rivers range from grade 3-5 making them perfect for both beginners and more experienced rafters. The start of summer is the best time to hit the water as the rivers are at their most active from recent glacial snow melt. Speeding through the valleys of Tyrol will allow you to soak up even more scenery in fun and frantic style.