TAKE TIME OUT AND RECONNECT WITH YOURSELF – ALONG 650 KM OF HIKING TRAILS THROUGH BREATHTAKING ALPINE SCENERY
Why not leave everyday stress behind you and devote some time entirely to yourself? Hiking – currently witnessing a real revival – combines relaxation, nature and exercise like virtually no other type of sport. The Olympiaregion Seefeld in Tyrol is home to 650 kilometres of hiking trails through breathtaking Alpine scenery, ensuring that anyone in search of rest and relaxation can enjoy this popular sport to the full. The south-facing Seefeld plateau provides extended hours of sunshine at the heart of the Alps. It is surrounded by the Karwendel Nature Park, which is the largest of its kind in the Eastern Alps, as well as the landscape conservation area of Wildmoos, the Wetterstein mountains and the Hohe Munde massif. Visitors not only reap the health benefits of a sports and leisure-oriented resort 1,200 metres above sea level, but also enjoy the location's outstanding natural beauty and breathtaking views.
The ski season gives way to the first springtime hikes, before moving seamlessly into summer at this year-round destination, a member of the prestigious Best of the Alps alliance of exclusive holiday resorts. The snow melts in spring to reveal 650 kilometres of hiking trails in Seefeld, Leutasch, Mösern/Buchen, Reith and Scharnitz – the five villages that make up the Olympiaregion Seefeld.
650 KILOMETRES OF HIKING HEAVEN
The extensive network of well-signposted hiking trails, which carries the coveted seal of quality awarded by the Tyrolean provincial government, is second to no other within the Alps. The extra-wide hiking trails enable both young and old to experience the full natural beauty of the surroundings. The prime location on an elevated plateau with gently undulating terrain provides visitors with easy access to the surrounding alpine countryside, without having to climb a mountain first. The wide footpaths are perfect for easy hikes or leisurely strolls for people of all ages, allowing families with pushchairs, as well as mountain-bikers and hikers, to explore the region and its unique features.
Hiking is not just trendy – it's also healthy and has a positive effect on the body and mind. Hiking is a moderate form of exercise that strengthens the cardiovascular, immune and respiratory systems, as well as joints and bones. It also brings blood pressure and blood sugar levels down while gently, yet effectively, toning muscles. The feel-good hormone serotonin, and the happiness hormone dopamine, also have tangible feel-good effects.
DISCOVER THE OLYMPIAREGION SEEFELD ON GUIDED HIKES
One highlight planned for the summer is the variety-packed programme of activities, Discover the Olympiaregion Seefeld – the GREAT OUTDOORS is waiting for YOU! Between end of May and beginning of October, visitors can enjoy a wide spectrum of activities revolving around different themes every day. The programme caters for all tastes. Herb-themed walks, a hike along the Karwendel railway line, mystical legend walks, and a range of historic, sport-oriented or meditative hikes are just some of the diverse activities that await visitors during the summer outdoor programme. Another amazing experience is the Nature Watch, which offers a fascinating guided tour through the Karwendel Gorge. All summer holidaymakers can take part in this enthralling excursion for free with the Olympiaregion Seefeld Card.
THE THREE THEMED TRAILS ON THE BRUNSCHKOPF MOUNTAIN
In addition to a large number of other themed trails, the themed trails on the Brunschkopf mountain offer a second-to-none highlight for hikers. Three creatively themed trails – the Mental Power, Ice Age and Seefeld Ski Trails – join up with one another to form a star pattern and take hikers on a journey of discovery to their inner selves, transport them back to a long-forgotten age, or give them the chance to experience the Olympic story first-hand. The paths begin in the villages of Seefeld, Leutasch and Mösern/Buchen, and finish up with a breathtaking 360° view over the Olympic region and the surrounding mountains.
Of these three trails, the Mental Power Trail is the path with the longest ascent up the Brunschkopf mountain. It cleverly combines light exercise, health and fitness with a journey of spiritual, mental and physical self-awareness. The trail is punctuated with 12 peaceful places to take a break and recharge the batteries, allowing time to contemplate, feel, listen and meditate. The different exercises and interactive stopping places focus walkers’ sensory perceptions on their inner being and revitalise their own inner strengths. The energetic power exuded by the surrounding landscape has a positive impact on participants during this 3 to 3½-hour walk, allowing them to consciously slow down. This holistic, health-promoting hike brings mind, body and soul into harmony, allowing participants to disconnect from everyday life.
Anyone interested in the region's Olympic history will enjoy the Seefeld Ski Trail (walking time approx. 2 to 2½ hours), which comprises a number of interactive information points, telling of important events and developments in the history of skiing, ski jumping and cross-country skiing. The Seefeld plateau has been one of the most renowned winter sport resorts in Austria since the 1930s. It hosted the Nordic disciplines of the Winter Olympic Games in 1964, and 1976, and the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012. In 2019, Seefeld will host the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships for the second time, having first hosted the competition in 1985.
The fascinating Ice Age is what walkers discover on the Ice Age Trail (walking time approx. 1½–2 hours) in Mösern/Buchen as they get transported into a long-forgotten era. This is a fascinating trail that teaches visitors about glacier water, waterfalls, ice streams, glacial transformation and glacial polish. On all three trails, the vantage point at the top of the Brunschkopf mountain affords a perfect view of the Olympic region and a landscape that has been carved by glaciers for almost one million years.
THEMED HIKING TRAILS IN THE REGION'S FIVE VILLAGES
Besides the new paths on the Brunschkopf mountain, the region's five villages are starting points for an extensive selection of hikes, themed around a wide variety of different topics.
Seefeld is the starting point for the Seefeld King's Trail, which takes hikers from one summit to the next – from the Seefelder Joch (2,064 metres) via the Seefelder Spitze (2,220 metres) to the Reither Spitze (2,373 metres) and Nördlinger Hütte (2,230 metres). The circular Kneipp Trail alongside the romantic Wildsee lake is the perfect 'feel-good' walk in the great outdoors. The Stations of the Cross on the Pfarrerbichl hill offer a unique place of interest for visitors of all ages, too. The 14 info points along the way culminate in a lithic circle whose dozen giant stones represent the 12 apostles.
The elevated Leutasch valley, home to 24 different hamlets, is nestled between the Karwendel, Wetterstein and Hohe Munde mountains. With the idyllic Gaistal valley and its alpine pastures and huts and the transnational Camino de Santiago or Way of St James, the valley is a haven for hikers wanting to enjoy Tyrol's unspoiled great outdoors. The Spirit Gorge is a favourite excursion for families and tells the mystical legend of the ghost of the gorge and its goblins. The Spirit Gorge Trail is the longest of three trails through the Spirit Gorge. Its path – not for the faint-hearted – follows an 800-metre-long elevated walkway to a panoramic bridge.
Mösern/Buchen is the smallest village in the Olympic region and occupies a stunning location on the south-facing side of the plateau. The largest free-hanging bell in Tyrol, the Peace Bell, can be accessed from here, affording walkers and hikers a breathtaking view over the Inn Valley. The bell is reached via the Peace Trail, which comprises a total of seven different info points that encourage inner reflection and contemplation. Paths also lead from Mösern/Buchen, affectionately known as the swallows' nest of Tyrol, to both the irregularly appearing Lottensee lake and the Möserer See, the warmest natural swimming lake in Tyro.
Towering high above the Inn valley, Reith is home to a unique protected dwarf pine moor and the Reither Spitze mountain at 2,373 metres. The village offers mountain hikes in Alpine terrain, as well as a diverse range of culture and culinary-related hikes for the whole family. Led pony rides are available for children. The Bee Nature Trail is truly unique and offers hikers and nature lovers the chance to gain a fascinating insight into the mysterious lives of bees and related insects. The bee hotel accommodates wild bees, solitary bees and bumblebees, and provides long-term lodgings for honey bees, whose activity in the beehive can be observed through a glass window.
The nature conservation area around Scharnitz, the western gateway to the 727 km2Karwendel Nature Park – the largest of its kind in the Eastern Alps – is the perfect place for walks, mountain biking and mountain hikes that cater for all levels of ability. The path over the Calvary and along the river Isar takes walkers to the cultural monument, the Porta Claudia – a former fortification dating back to the Thirty Years' War. Other top sites include the Gleirschklamm gorge, which carves its way through a dynamic rock landscape, alongside the crystal clear turquoise waters of the river Isar, and the water-themed nature trail, which begins at the very source of the Isar.
LIFTS TO THE SUMMIT
Hiking enthusiasts who prefer a less strenuous ascent can take advantage of different mountain railways and lifts: the Rosshütte mountain railway and the Gschwandtkopf. The two gondola lifts and funicular railway on the Rosshütte mountain live up to the promises of their ‘Sport & Relax’ tagline by saving passengers the climb up to 2,064 metres. After riding up the mountain with the Gschwandtkopf lift, tourists can enjoy a stunning view across the Inn valley while relaxing on sun loungers on the Alpine pastures.
EVENT HIGHLIGHTS DURING THE HIKING SEASON
The diversity of hiking options in the Olympiaregion Seefeld is also emphasised by the large number of events that will take place in spring and summer. The Leutasch Mountain Spring Days take place in June. During this period, several hikes – focussing on a diverse range of themes and accompanied by explanations and anecdotes – will allow visitors to gain a wonderful insight into the culture, tradition and natural features of the elevated Leutasch valley and its 24 hamlets.
The Karwendelmarsch mountain hike/run is a true summer highlight. This sporting event covers a distance of 52 kilometres with 2,281 metres of elevation gain as the trail winds its way through the Karwendel Nature Park. The focal point of this event is the idyllic countryside and personal self-awareness. This popular run-cum-hike is sold out every year and always attracts well-known athletes to the Olympiaregion Seefeld. Tickets are limited! A maximum of 2,500 runners will be allowed to take part in this individual, physical challenge.
The three-day IML Unicorn March in the Leutasch Valley, is a well-established highlight. This event attracts walkers from all four corners of the world, who join forces to complete up to 42 kilometres in one day. The unique team spirit and the communal nature of the event makes the Unicorn March an extraordinary walking experience.
The Mountainrun Seefeld kicks off the Nordic walking and running events for the season. At the end of the 6-kilometre run, with an elevation gain of 1,000 metres, participants will be rewarded with an unrivalled panorama from the Seefelder Spitze mountain summit. Another highlight of the running and Nordic walking events season is the Zugspitz Ultratrail, which attracts participants from far and wide. Some 2,200 participants will gather for the event at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain – the village of Leutasch included – where they will spend an extraordinary weekend running together, against the backdrop of the Wetterstein mountains. As part of the Ganghofer Trail, the region will be hosting the Leutasch half marathon, together with an 8-kilometre race that can be run or Nordic walked.
GOURMET INDULGENCE, HEALTH & BEAUTY
The region boasts around 60 traditional mountain huts serving local specialities, home-made produce and traditional Tyrolean platters, ensuring hunger pangs are kept at bay when walkers are under way, or at the end of a day's hiking. Tired feet can find soothing relief in one of the region's five Kneipp water therapy areas and the natural swimming lakes. Last but not least, the vast range of health and beauty services offering saunas, massages and individual signature treatments provide tourists with the perfect round-off to an action-packed day.