Adventure of the Week: Across the Tyrolean Alps
Time to get Alpine once again. While we are breaking new ground, getting people out walking the Tour du Mont Blanc self-guided, it is not just this corner of the Alps that we are in love with. Our passion extends right along this rugged, jaw-droppingly beautiful range of mountains. The Alps transcend borders. Whether you hike in them, ski on them or cycle down them, you are sure to cross the border into different countries several times without really realising it. This is one of the simple joys of the Alps that they are their own entity, too powerful to conform to humanity's little rules. And so today, we are crossing borders once again, from Germany to Austria on the spectacular Across the Tyrolean Alps.
A typical path across the Tyrolean Alps
In a nutshell
Across the Tyrolean Alps is an authentic Alpine adventure. There is tough walking through some open, rugged terrain. You stay in Alpine huts, far removed from civilisation (apart from being in incredibly civilized accommodation) and you live, breathe and drink in everything Alpine for eight beautiful days.
Distance: The route is 76km in total, though you can bring this down to 63km if you take a shorter route on one of the days. This depends on how well you are coping with the walking every day and gives you the opportunity to take it a bit easier if you feel you need to.
Grade: It's a Strenuous trip. Our highest rating. Rather than being put off this, however, it should be something to aspire to. To cross the Alps is a remarkable thing and to do it on a genuinely beautiful adventure makes it all the more special. You should have good walking fitness, a head for heights and be used to significant ascents and descents to make this a comfortable experience.
Sometimes there is even a flat path!
The trip starts out in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Bavaria, Southern Germany. This mountain resort sits close to the Austrian border, and after exploring the area for a couple of days, you will cross over into Austria, following the Keonigsweg (Kings Path) This leads you past some unexpected manmade joys, which I will discuss in more detail below. Your path then takes you through the lush Leutash Valley, the Alpine reserve of the Karwendel Valley until you reach your final destination in Innsbruck.
Why Walk Here?
You get to cross the Alps! You get to wake up in the morning, pull back the curtain to witness untouched, perfect wilderness, open the window and breathe in the freshest, crispest air. This is a restorative tonic like no other! Escaping to nature like this is incredible. Staying in Alpine mountain huts, with like-minded adventurers, sharing your stories of the day over a local Weißbeir. Allowing the well-marked paths to lead you through an area with no roads, no distractions, just you and nature is worth the cost of the trip alone. However, there are a few more things that add to the joy of this trip.
Vast open expanses and dramatic peaks in the Tyrolean Alps
While most of it is nature-based, there are a couple of outstanding man-made features too. On your trip along the King's Path, you will encounter Castle Schachen, an unassuming looking castle, built in the middle of nowhere. However, entering this castle changes everything. The lushest interior awaits, over the top in its gilt opulence, it is a real wonder to behold and such a stark contrast to the natural beauty outside its windows. There is also a botanic garden adjacent to it which holds over 1000 species of Alpine and Himalayan plants. The flora is outstanding, particularly in Spring, when the pastures are carpeted in a dizzying array of wildflowers. The Leutasch and Karwendel Valleys are so rich in flora that you could spend days lost in their welcoming embrace. Of course, with an abundance of flora, comes the ubiquitous fauna and there are indeed some spectacular beasts to keep your eyes peeled for. Golden Eagles patrol the skies along with an accompanying array of buzzards and mountain jackdaws. On the ground, you might be lucky enough to see the surefooted Ibex or Chamois leaping around the hillside.
Innsbruck. A medieval town surrounded by natural wonder.
While nature dominates, the towns on the route are pretty special too. Innsbruck is an 800-year-old medieval town, with winding streets and rammed full of churches, museums and other buildings of interest, it is a great place to spend some time. The mountain resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen could not be any prettier. Its Hansel and Gretel fairytale buildings sit in a wide valley surrounded by dramatic peaks. It is almost surreal in its otherworldliness.
Planning and preparation
To get to the start of our Across the Tyrolean Alps trip in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you can fly into either Innsbruck or Munich and take the train which will take around 2 hours. The rail service is exemplary in this part of the world and travelling around is very straightforward. Our Alpine specialists are primed and ready to answer any questions, so don't hesitate to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org