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Tirolean tips?

We’re planning an auto trip that includes Tirolean Austria and we plan on staying in Hall. What should we see, esp. villages and scenic drives (no matter how many switchbacks!) We won’t be going as far east as Salzburg/Saltzkammergut.

Suggestions and tips welcome!

Posted by
216 posts

The Grossglockner highway is a worthwhile trek if the toll does not bother you. We had to wait for fresh snow to be cleared on the first weekend of September to enter, but the photos were all the more terrific. Plan on lunch or a picnic at the Franz Joseph Hohe. The fresh mountain air makes the Gulaschsuppe all the more tasty.

Posted by
7786 posts

The Grossglockner is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. It usually opens up about June 1st. Starts just south of Zell-am-See and ends up north of Lienz, Austria. The south side of the mountain is especially breathtaking. You can go east thru Cortina and catch the autobahn north (through the Brenner Pass) back into Innsbruck.

I like to get up on the mountains and drive from village to village in the region.

The entire region around Innsbruck has an incredible number of bed and breakfasts that cater to skiers in the winter. I prefer to stay in those type of accommodations, especially since you will have transportation.

Posted by
1269 posts

You don't say what time of year you are visiting.

I love the Stubital valley just south of Innsbruck. You go a few miles south on the road to Brenner pass, exit at Schonberg and go right.(30 minutes from Hall) There are nice villages, beautiful mountains, waterfalls and some lifts that will take you higher for better views and great restaurants. (My favorite Alpine Coaster (Rodelbahn) is at the top of the Serles lift. It is a 2.8 KM ride to the bottom.)The road dead ends at the Stubai Glacier which has a lift. We have stayed in Neustift im Stubaital twice. We spent 5 days there the end on our fall trip this year.

I also think the Tux/ Mayrhofen is beautiful. We have done some hiking there and it is very scenic. (Tux is a little over an hour from Hall) There are also some lifts in that area.

You could do a 4 hour (driving time according to Google maps) loop up to Garmisch-Partenkirchn to Lermoos and back to Hall. Mittenwald, Garmisch, and Grainau are all very nice stops. I've stayed in Grainau several times and loved it. It is on the road to the Zugspitze (which is a dead end) and just off the main loop.

Grossglockner is very beautiful but a lot of driving for a day trip. (7 plus hours without stops if you do the suggested loop) If you decide to spend a couple of days doing it, you could take the road to Mayrhofen and go over the beautiful Gerlos Pass (Toll) and visit Krimmi waterfall on the way. However, you do leave the Tirol area which is where you wanted to be.

You may have already read about the road to Walderalm in the Rick Steves book. It is very close to Hall. We visited in 2001 and again this last fall. It is very much a road with lots of Switchbacks. To get to Walderalm, it is a 20 minute walk on dirt roads. However, the views at Hinterhornalm are nice too. (although the restaurant there was not open both times we visited)

Austria is beautiful and it is not hard to find scenic drives! Have a great trip.

Posted by
1146 posts

Pinzgauer Höhe / Alte Gerlosstraße to Zell am Ziller.
Zillertaler Höhenstraße
You might consider driving to Mittersill, then thru the Felbertauerntunnel (toll) into Osttirol and drive the valleys in Virgental, Kalser Tal (to the Alpengasthof Lucknerhaus, toll, Großglockner southern side) and Defereggental.
Just driving along the Inn River on secondary roads is nice.
You could drive the Fernpass (be ready for traffic) north into Germany (as mentioned - Zugspitze Arena).

Posted by
2839 posts


What time of year is VERY important to know.

We LOVE Hall in Tirol. We have stayed 18 nights over 5 trips to the Tirol at the Gasthof Badl.

While the Grossglockner is amazing, I’d head into Italy to the Dolomites and drive the Gardena Pass. More impressive than the Grossglockner and closer. Add the loop of Gardena Pass to Corvara, Campolongo Pass, then the Pordoi Pass to the Sella Pass back to the Gardena Pass and back to Hall is a full day with 4 Dolomites passes. There is NOTHING like the Italian Dolomites.

The Zillertal and High Alpine Road / Zillertaler Höhenstraße is scpectacular also. Again, much closer than the Grossglockner.

The Hall/Innsbruck area is teeming with cute alpine villages and awesome scenic roads.

I’d head to Mittenwald also. Postcard perfect village with an alpine backdrop.

I could go on and on as this area is possibly my favorite.


Posted by
20 posts

Thanks to all for the comments.

To make my question a bit clearer, we'd be travelling in early May. We're particularly interested in small, scenic villages and scenic drives that might dead-end up a mountain. (We've had great fun doing that in the Saltzkammergut.)

Posted by
2839 posts

Well at that time of year I still stand with my suggestions.

Posted by
1146 posts

Me too... Osttirol and drive the valleys in Virgental, Kalser Tal (to the Alpengasthof Lucknerhaus, toll, Großglockner southern side) and Defereggental. Only the Defereggental might not be a dead end, and only if the snow allows the road over the Staller Sattel to be open. Even then it is one-way every half hour. If open, you come to Antholz Obertal where the Biathlons are held (Italy, Lago di Anterselva). You can then drive further to Bruneck, Italy and take the cable cars to the top of the Kronplatz (when open in May). You are practically in the Pustertal (Italy), but that's probably another trip. Probably need an overnight or two. Hopefully good weather.

Posted by
1269 posts

With the new information, I will clarify my suggestions. You don't say if you are open to riding lifts, but I added some infor on that just in case.

Stubai: There is not much elevation gain on this drive. You are driving through a valley. However, if you are open to lifts, there are several. The drive is still quite nice. There is a main road with several villages just off it. Some of them might require some walking to truly enjoy them. The road dead ends at the Glacier, but the lift there may be closed. (The summer season started July 1 in 2022. If the snow is heavy, they may still be skiing, but that lift takes you to a little different area on the glacier. They have along winter season which started this year on September 30) Some of the best scenery is between Neustift and the glacier. You will pass through tiny little villages and the most beautiful waterfall is right before the end. It was beautiful in late September, it will be stunning in May!

The tux area could still be wonderful. It is very scenic. After driving through Mayhorfen, watch for the road to Tux. It twists and climbs rapidly. I actually have not driven to the end. (We turned on it accidentally when we should have gone straight out to the end of the valley) It ends at a lift. Since they ski year round at Tux, I know it will be open. For more views, you could take the twisty road up and over Gerlos pass and back. There is a toll for the pass.

The drive to Garmisch over Fern Pass would meet your needs at well. It also climbs and twists up over the border with Germany. The town of Mittenwald is well known for being scenic and quaint. (which also means crowds) Traffic can be an issue (as mentioned in a previous post) We drove it the beginning of October this year and had no problems. May will not be high season. You don't have to do a loop. You could drive as long as you are enjoying it, and go back the way you came. This is a main arterial between Innsbruck and Munich, so it will not be a rural road like some of the other drives.

HInterhornalm (and Walderalm) are the closest to what you have described. The road dead ends at the end. Walderalm was amazing (Hinterhornalm was good but not the same), but it does require the walk.

None of these get you to the top of a mountain, but they all get you to beautiful mountain scenery. Grossglockner is just what you are looking for (particularly if you go out on the road that dead ends at Kaiser Franz Joseph.) This is in the Hohe Tauern National Park. However, it is too far for a day trip and is out of the Tirol. Your original post mentioned you didn't want to go as far as Salzburg. However, with new information I realize that may be because you've been there before. If the distance isn't a problem, a multi day trip with good weather would memorable. If you do go, I would go the recommended route I suggested in my first post (Through Mayhorfen and over Gerlos pass).