AUTUMN/INDIAN SUMMER IN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CAMPING DESTINATIONS OF AUSTRIA
PART 2: SALZBURG AND TYROL
Somehow autumn is a bit like the famous saying about the half empty and half full glass. While more pessimistic people mourn the summer season, optimists look forward to more pleasant temperatures, the colourful foliage and cosy evenings with a glass of wine.
Today we have a few special tips for all of you who are looking forward to the coming months with optimism and in a cheerful mood. Austria's Top Camping destinations have already put on their most beautiful "Indian summer dress" and are looking forward to an atmospheric autumn with you.
The most popular "stars" of the months of September and October are waiting for you: a gently warming autumn sun, a sea of different shades of yellow, red and gold, shimmering lakes, high mountains and limitless holiday experiences.
Do you want to meet these "stars"? If so, simply choose your favourite location and enjoy some carefree autumn days in the midst of magnificent Austrian landscapes! And to come back to the phrase already mentioned at the beginning: better half a full glass of wine on a cosy alpine pasture than half an empty glass between work stress and hectic lifestyle...
When autumn slowly takes over, "golden" times literally dawn in the Zell am See - Kaprun region. Countless activities between glacier, mountain and lake are an invitation to unforgettable holidays.
There is something to suit every taste: challenging tours in the impressive world of the glacier Kitzsteinhorn, leisurely family hikes on the Maiskogel ... or a combination of both, because the famous Alexander-Enzinger-Weg, a beautiful high-altitude trail, connects the Kitzsteinhorn with the Maiskogel.
Cyclists can choose to go either by mountain bike over hill and dale or by racing bike along the spectacular Grossglockner High Alpine Road to Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe. Those who prefer to put on their running shoes for endurance and stamina training can enjoy fantastic views on the Zeller Lake Circuit or on the high-altitude promenade in Thumersbach.
You prefer it to be more relaxed? Then immerse yourself in the "Farmer's Autumn" with its customs, culinary delights and traditions! Traditional dances, alpine music, regional delicacies and popular games invite you to watch, participate and linger.
The "Zeller Seezauber" (magic at the lake), a fantastic water, music, light and laser show takes place three times a week until the end of September. With its enchanting effects it is the absolute highlight of the region.
Autumn is harvest time: farmers in the region can look back on a successful summer and are - at the same time - looking forward to a more peaceful time ahead. Now it's time to celebrate!
The motto of this year's "Bauernherbst" (Farmer's Autumn) is: "Rediscover old craftsmanship". This motto will be reflected in numerous atmospheric events until the beginning of November. For example, there will be the traditional baking of bread in the old Kaprun wood-burning oven, the farmers' autumn market in Zell am See, the "Bergkräuter-Roas" on the Schmittenhöhe and, of course, the famous "Almabtrieb" (ceremonial driving the cattle down from the alpine pastures).
Of course, there is also live music. The cosy musical get-together, called "Musi-Hoagascht" brings traditional folk music to life, thus enhancing the whole experience. At the Beach Club Zell am See you can dance, sway and feast, when the Zeller Weisenbläser in their beautiful costumes play their folk songs.
There's plenty of fun at the "Alpencup Ranggel Tournament" (a competitive wrestling game) on the Schmittenhöhe: the coveted title of "Schmitten-Hogmoar" has been awarded since 1874 and is considered one of the most coveted awards in the Alpine region. An entertaining supporting programme around the best "Ranggler" from Salzburg, Bavaria, Tyrol and South Tyrol provides even more entertainment.
There is also the eagerly awaited first "Oktoberfest" (beer festival) at Kaprun Castle. The event will be opened with the traditional beer tapping by the mayor! There's no question about it: the region offers a cheerful and colourful autumn!
Would you like to get to know better the authentic Tyrolean customs and traditions? Then you should attend an "Almabtrieb" (ceremonial driving the cattle down from the alpine pastures)! When the cows return to the valley after a beautiful and successful alpine summer, the whole region is in the mood for celebration. The animals are colourfully decorated with flowers and ribbons, which the farmers have lovingly handcrafted beforehand.
However, according to the old tradition, the cattle are only decorated when the alpine summer has gone well and there have been no accidents, illnesses or deaths among humans or animals.
Another old tradition forbids decorating the cows when it rains: this is why the event is usually postponed without further ado in case of bad weather.
From mid-September, you can experience the traditional drive down from the mountain pastures in five places: Fieberbrunn, Hochfilzen, St. Ulrich am Pillersee, St. Jakob in Haus and Waidring. Of course there will be plenty of food and drink and the right background music will also be provided. After all, the Almabtrieb is one of the absolute highlights of the year!
But that's not all: This year in mid-September there will be a very special anniversary and alpine-pasture festival, because of the 40th birthday of the group "Fieberbrunner Holzschuhdirndl 'n" in Fieberbrunn. Of course, this event deserves a worthy setting, which means you can look forward to a memorable time!
Mountain enthusiasts should definitely make a note of the coming weeks: When the trees are dressed in the most colourful way and the magnificent summits are illuminated by the autumn sun, an ascent followed by a good time with friends in a traditional hut is an absolute must!
After an autumn hike, you should stop at a cosy hut to recharge your batteries before you continue your hike and enjoy homemade Tyrolean delicacies, fresh buttermilk or a fresh beer.
And on top, you can also enjoy sunny views of the surrounding mountains and the peaks of the Kaiserwinkl region from your place at the hut. Just as well that many hosts of alpine huts extend their stay so that hikers are welcome until mid-November!
A very special tip for mountain lovers is the "Burgeralm" at 1,326 metres. It is still managed according to ancient mountain traditions. In autumn guests get spoilt here with a very special speciality: the award-winning mountain cheese - which is freshly produced up here - is finally ready to be consumed. You should definitely taste it!
The Wildbichlalm is also beautifully located: from the terrace of the hut you have a direct view of the imposing north face of the Zahmer Kaiser mountain range! Of course, there are plenty of picturesque routes to the huts in the region. You might turn into an unstoppable mountaineer during the "Indian Summer"!
There is also time in the Alpbachtal autumn for proper celebrations and rustic social gatherings and events. In that region, people focus on traditional customs and old handicrafts.
A particularly beautiful example is the "Almfest'l" in the idyllic Kramsach region, with its "Almabtrieb" (drive down from the mountain pastures) and the "Handwerksmarkt" (handicraft market), which you can look forward to in mid-September.
Traditional old crafts are revived here, including basket weaving and spinning, flower binding and shingle making. Take a look over the shoulder of the craftsmen and let yourself be introduced to the secrets of ancient art!
In the afternoon the beautifully decorated cattle are expected back in the valley. Before the animals retreat into their winter quarters, they are greeted with a big hello on their return from the alpine pasture. The colourfully decorated cows look fantastic, so be sure to have your camera ready!
But what would an "Almfest'l" be without music and dance? You can enjoy the live music and if you feel perky, why not join the people on the dance floor?
And don't forget to chat with the locals while enjoying delicious Tyrolean delicacies and excellent beverages.
By the way: If, contrary to expectations, the weather is not as good as expected, the colourful event will take place in the marquee!
If you wish, you can already ski in autumn, because the Hintertuxer Glacier, is a year-round ski resort and offers perfect winter sport conditions in September. If you'd prefer to enjoy a few pleasantly warm days, then stay in the Ziller valley. After all, there is a lot to discover on the alpine pastures, in the wide and sunny valley but also in the mountains.
Our recommendation for hiking enthusiasts: a mountain hike from Mayrhofen up to Steinerkogel (1,267 metres). The overall distance of around seven kilometres is also suitable for families with older children.
Bikers can also look forward to incomparable panoramic views due to the crystal-clear mountain air. For a real highlight, go for a relaxed mountain bike tour to the Oberböden hut (1,533 metres). The 17 kilometres will take you about two and a half hours.
How about an autumn golf game? The Zillertal Golf Club in Uderns offers an excellent 18-hole championship course, which is nestled in a fantastic landscape surrounded by orchards, ponds and rolling hills.
Paragliding takes you high into the air: a breathtaking challenge for adventurers! Also exciting is a visit to the climbing hall, the high ropes course or a "climbing tour" on a via ferrata. You can recover from the sweat-inducing effort in the adventure pool in Mayrhofen or in the Zillertal adventure spa in Fügen.
Around Innsbruck you have the choice between comfortable walks and challenging hikes. But no matter which option you choose, autumn has already prepared the most magnificent paintings in the brightest colours for you.
For example, along the river Inn: colourful foliage lies on the paths, the Inn shines in a fascinating turquoise blue and the sun bathes everything in a warm light. And as you walk through the rustling leaves, you breathe the wonderful scents of autumn ...
Or you hike up to the wonderfully located Höttinger Alm, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city and the mountains. The peace and the indescribable beauty of this place is only interrupted by the occasional gentle puff of the highland cattle.
If you want to experience a natural spectacle on the sunny plateau of Mieming, you need either a bit of luck or good timing.
The burning larches, i.e. the unique bright colours of the trees, only show their full splendour for a short time. However, a hike to the sunny plateau is also worthwhile outside the "Indian Summer"!
For a relaxing walk after breakfast we recommend a tour to Kematen. A nice flat path follows the river Melach. The mighty silhouette of the Roskopf mountain, which seems to be getting closer and closer, is always in front of you.
It is a fascinating sight: the Zugspitze with its impressive 2,962 metres. In the autumn air it looks even more majestic than usual: because of the crystal-clear view, the silhouette of the mountain stands out razor sharp against the deep blue sky.
The modern cable car takes you up to the summit in no time. The view from there is spectacular and leaves a lasting impression: you can see the green Eibsee lake near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the wide Inn valley and even the Munich television tower, when visibility is particularly good.
Not to forget, of course, the many surrounding mountains and peaks!
If you don't want to just spend your precious holiday time looking around and being amazed, the Zugspitz region offers plenty of hiking opportunities: from the easy theme hike "Moosle's Forscherpfad" to the more challenging Seebensee mountain hike and the combined biking and hiking tour Ehrwald - Seebensee - Coburger Hütte, which is only aimed at experienced hikers. In this region everyone gets his money's worth.
Anyone who wishes a more relaxed tour can take an autumn excursion to Lake Heiterwang and Lake Plansee: until mid-October you can set sail on the motor ships "Margharete" and "Wilhelm" and, while on board, admire the colourful landscapes along the shore. Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the course "Zugspitz Golf Lermoos - Ehrwald" at an altitude of 1000 metres with a sensational mountain panorama!