The Ötztal is the longest tributary of the Inn Valley in Tyrol, with a total length of 67 kilometres. Apart from the obvious natural beauty and outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing, other major attractions in the Ötztal Alps include Lake Piburg, the Area 47 adventure park, and the Stuibenfall. Here´s what we´ve discovered so far.
- The Ötztal Alps in a Nutshell
- Things to See and Do in Ötztal
- Get the Ötztal Summer Card
- Where to Stay in the Ötztal Alps
The Ötztal Alps in a Nutshell
An all-time favourite Austrian hiking destination, the valley became world-famous after German hikers Erika and Helmut Simon discovered a 5000-year-old mummy in the Ötztal Alps in 1991. Ötzi the iceman is also the inspiration for one of the big attractions in the valley – Ötzi-Dorf in Umhausen.
Around 510 km² of the Ötz Valley is protected and forms the Ötztal Nature Park.
Facts and Figures
|Glaciers||67 or 95 km²|
|Hiking trails||1600 km|
|Mountain bike trails||850 km|
|Mountain huts & pastures||48|
|Mountains above 3,000 m||152|
Things to See and Do in Ötztal
Lake Piburg (Piburger See)
The Piburger See is a small mountain lake in a picture-perfect setting above the village of Oetz, with the surrounding forests and towering Acherkogel mountain peak reflecting in the crystal-clear water.
From the car park in Weiler Oetz, the hike to and around the Piburger See takes only around 1,5 hours.
In summer, the water temperature reaches a pleasant 25 °C, making it more than possible to cool off in the designated swimming area on the southern shore. This is also where you´ll find the Restaurant am Piburger See (I can highly recommend the fish burger).
Area 47 is an adventure centre with a water park at the start of the Ötztal. If you´re into super fast and steep slides, diving, and being hurled into the air, this is the place for you in summer.
Other activities offered at Area 47 include river rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, and caving. You can read all about in my detailed Area 47 Austria post.
Day visitor tickets to the Area 47 water park start at €31.
An impressive drop of 159 metres makes the Stuibenfall the highest waterfall in Tyrol. It was created by a massive rockslide (the largest known landslide in the Alps) that blocked off the exit of the Horlach Valley about 9,800 years ago. This meant the Horlach Creek had to find a new path over the rocks.
We started our hike to the Stuibenfall at Ötzi-Dorf in Umhausen. The first part to the bottom of the falls takes about 30 minutes at a leisurely pace. The path is wide and the elevation gradual. From there, it gets a bit steeper and narrower. Try to at least make it to the next viewing platform directly opposite the waterfall to take in it’s true size and splendour. It’s only another 15-minute walk.
The spray from the waterfall is called Stuiben in the local dialect, hence the name. The water dust particles have been proven to improve your health, and is particularly beneficial to asthma sufferers.
You can get even closer to the healthy and refreshing waterfall spray by walking over the 80-metre long suspension bridge. It’s so sturdy that even I managed despite my fear of heights. From there, a few hundred steps take you to the top of the waterfall where the highest viewing platform gives you an entirely different impression of the thundering water.
Total walking time from Ötzi-Dorf to the top of the waterfall is about 1,5 hours. That is really taking it easy, and getting back is naturally a lot quicker.
Those with climbing experience, can climb to the top along the family-friendly via ferrata to the left of the waterfall. We watched some children with their dad start off over the creek at the bottom, and it looked pretty awesome.
Ötzi-Dorf is in Umhausen, not too far from where the mummy was originally found. The area is known as Urkraft Umhausen (my dictionary tells me Urkraft means elemental force).
Since his discovery, scientists have gained a wealth of knowledge by painstakingly dissecting Ötzi and the artefacts found with him.
At Ötzi-Dorf you will travel back in time to experience Ötzi’s world 5,000 years ago. The archaeological open air museum gives you an idea what everyday life was like in the Copper Age. It includes a hunting hut, granary, sacrifice site, as well as live mountain goats and ancient cattle breeds.
You will also see a recreation of the scene where Ötzi was found half buried in glacial ice, and what he probably looked like when he was murdered. Yes, the poor fellow was shot in his left shoulder with a deadly arrow. The latest findings on the murder case was presented at an International Mummy Congress in Bozen, Italy in 2016.
|Opening Season||Mid-May to mid-October|
|Opening Times||09:30 – 17:30|
|Ticket Prices||€11 per adult|
€5,50 per child (6 to 15 years)
€30 per family (2 adults, 2 children)
|Guided Tours||Included in entry price|
|Parking||Parking area Bischofsplatz at a fee|
Greifvogelpark (Ötz Valley Birds of Prey Park)
The birds of prey park is immediately adjacent to Ötzi-Dorf. It is home to around 15 species of Alpine birds of prey, including vultures, eagles, kites, hawks and owls. You can watch some of them in action during the daily flight shows presented by the park’s falconers. It is possible to walk around the park and admire the birds in their aviaries 30 minutes before and after a show.
|Opening Season||Mid-May to mid-October|
|Opening Times||11:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 16:00|
|Flight demonstrations||11:30 and 14:30|
|Prices||€13 per adult|
€6,50 per child (6 to 15 years)
€35 per family (2 adults, 2 children)
|Parking||Parking area Bischofsplatz|
Bischofsplatz Kneipp Treading Pools
The treading pools named after the Bavarian priest Sebastian Kneipp are the perfect place to end a day of hiking and adventure. Take off your shoes and socks and give your feet some Kneipp treatment in the ice-cold mountain water of the various pools.
This special kind of hydrotherapy is said to boost the immune system and stimulate the circulatory and nervous system. Alternate the Kneipp treatment with some barefoot walking on the adjacent trail covered with stones, pine cones, tree bark, sand and gravel.
Aqua Dome is a thermal spa and wellness centre in Längenfeld with varous indoor and outdoor thermal pools with temperatures ranging from 34 to 38 degrees Celsius. The pools are filled with the region’s natural thermal waters, which are believed to have healing properties due to their high mineral content.
Visitors can also enjoy a range of saunas, steam rooms, and relaxation areas, not to mention massage and beauty treatments. The unique architecture of the four-star resort makes it a destination worth visiting.
007 Elements James Bond Experience
A Bond experience on an Austrian mountain top? In Sölden, Ötztal yes. 007 Elements is a museum and visitor attraction dedicated to the James Bond film franchise at the top of the Gaislachkogl mountain.
Why here? Because the mountain was featured in action scenes (included the opening sequence) of the 2015 Bond film, Spectre.
The museum offers visitors an interactive experience through various exhibits and installations, including a 360-degree cinema showing exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, a gallery of gadgets and props used in the films, and an ice Q restaurant inspired by the location used in Spectre.
Visitors can also explore the actual film sets used in the movie, such as the clinic and the MI6 safe house.
Tickets for the museum start at €22 without the gondola ride. If you don´t have an Ötztal Summer Card (see below) a combined ticket including the gondola starts at €54. See the 007 Elements website for up-to-date prices and opening times.
Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road
The Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road, also known as the Passo del Rombo in Italian, is a scenic mountain pass road that connects the Ötztal in Austria with the Passeiertal in Italy. The road reaches an elevation of 2,509 meters (8,231 feet) above sea level and is open to vehicles from late May to early November, weather permitting.
One of the highlights of the road is the Timmelsjoch Pass Museum at the highest point of the pass. The museum features interactive exhibits that showcase the history and construction of the road, as well as the cultural and natural heritage of the area.
Motorcycle enthusiasts will love the adjacent Top Mountain Motorcycle Museum featuring about 230 classic motorcycles.
Get the Ötztal Summer Card
Everyone staying in official accommodation automatically receives a Ötztal Summer Card that includes, among others, free use of cable cars, public buses, and entry to attractions like Area 47 and Aqua Dome. Card holders can also join many events and tours for free.
Day visitors or people who aren´t staying with an Ötztal Summer Card partner can also buy it for a period of 3, 7 or 10 days. Prices start at €75.
Where to Stay in the Ötztal Alps
From luxury hotels to rustic campsites and self-catering apartments – the Ötztal offers something for everyone when it comes to a place to stay. My one tip when choosing your accommodation is to confirm that they are an Ötztal Summer Card partner.
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