Climb a mountain, enjoy après-ski or enjoy winter scenery on a snowshoeing tour: Alpbach offers many other activities besides skiing.
Heading to Alpbach in Tirol, my boyfriend and I were exited to spend a week at one of the best ski resorts in Austria. With two valleys and 109 kilometers of slopes, this place embodies all that you would imagine skiing paradise to be. On those perfect slopes, under perfect weather conditions, Mathias made one tiny mistake: maybe he was going a little too fast, or perhaps it was a slight wrong turn. Whatever it was, in the blink of an eye I saw him falling down, and then rolling downhill. The verdict was clear: a dislocated shoulder. And no sport-related activities for the next six weeks.
Banned from skiing, we started to search for other activities that we could do in Alpbach and the surrounding areas. We have learned that this winter holiday resort isn’t just about skiing, and that there are many other activities to enjoy in this beautiful mountain getaway.
So, are you wondering what the best things to do in Alpbach for non-skiers are? Here are our ideas:
01 | WINTER WALK TO INNERALPBACH
Alpbach is amazing place for winter walks: the town is a tidy collection of dark wooden chalets all following the same architectural style since 1953. There are strict rules limiting the size and measurements of buildings (including windows, balconies and gables). We did a short walk every day and never got bored of wandering around and adoring these beautiful timber houses.
There are two places in the village that should not be missed: the historical cemetery and the modern conference centre build into the mountain. There are a couple longer walks one can do as well; our favorite hike is from Alpbach to Inneraplbach. It’s about four kilometers and you should be able to walk it in one hour.
Practical tips: there are several ways to go – it’s great to have a map with you, just to be sure (you can pick up a free map at the tourism office). It’s a good idea to wear warm clothes (the weather can change quickly in the mountains!) and a vacuum bottle with hot tea. On the way back, you can take the bus.
02 | CAFÉ GENUSS
Exploring Alpbach, you will definitely want to stop for some hot drinks and rest. We found Café Genuss and consider it one of the best places to go for a date in Alpbach. It is very pretty and the ambience is special, too. You can enjoy a cup of coffee and their homemade cakes.
The opening hours of Café Genuss are a bit limited: (Wed-Sun: 8:30 am-12:00 pm, Fri-Sat 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm). Perhaps the best idea is to go for their popular breakfast buffet (daily, except Mondays and Tuesdays). The café is situated in the lower part of the village—consider going there by car, as the walk is nothing special.
Apart from skiing, snowshoeing is definitely a must-do activity in Alpbach. It is perfect way to enjoy the winter scenery and explore places around Alpbach. The only things you need are snowshoes and poles. It is easy to get them at any ski rental office (there are at least two at the center of the town). The best is to go snowshoeing on fresh snow; after it snowed a lot, it felt like I was through a winter fairytale ☺
Smaller snowshoeing trips are okay to do independently, but for longer tours I would recommend joining a group. It’s handy to have a guide who knows all the routes and the best spots. Guided tours starting every Thursday at 10 am from the Alpbach tourism office. The trip takes 3-4 hours and the routes vary based on the snow situation. It’s free for Alpbachtal Seenland Card holders.
04 | ENJOY SWIMMING & A SPA
Alpbach doesn’t have a public swimming pool, so unless you are staying in a hotel with your own spa, the options are limited. Luckily, other facilities are not too far away, and if you get a car it is easy to take a trip to other cities and villages. Getting some rest and relaxing your muscles after skiing is great and worth the trip.
One popular option is the aquapark Wave (in Woergl, 25 kilometers from Alpbach) which features a great sauna area. You can also get free entrance for three hours with the Seeland tourism card. Since I am more into thermal springs, I decided to visit Erlebnistherme Zillertal (in Fuegen, 24 km from Alpbach) in the neighbouring valley. It is not so big, but they’ve got an outdoor pool with saltwater and a roof above it, so one can really enjoy it in any weather. Highly recommended!
05 | CLIMB THE WIEDERSBERGER HORN
Just because you are not skiing, it does not mean you should miss out on all the mountain panoramas. Wiedersberger Horn is a great peak to visit, and with its elevation of 2127 meters it offers amazing 360-degree panorama. It was definitely my favorite place on this trip.
You can take the Wiedersberger Horn gondola most of the way there. From the upper station, it is still a 45-minute steep walk. Having winter shoes, you will definitely have an advantage over the skiers, who normally just climb up in their not-so-comfortable ski boots. Before taking the gondola down, you might want to linger and have some hot drinks or meals at the mountain hut just below the peak.
06 | VISIT THE LOCAL BREWERY
If you want to taste something really good and get to know some locals at the same time, you should definitely pay a visit to this one-man brewery in InnerAlpbach. This is where Jos Moser makes his magic, producing award-winning beers.
We paid it a visit on one of our last evenings in Alpbach and it was a very authentic experience: Jos showed us around his workshop and his distinguished beer tasted so good that we bought more to take home. It only costs about two euros for a bottle!
Practical information: Address: Alpbach 431 Inneralpbach, Austria 6236. Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Fri 2-7pm, Sat 10am-12pm.
07 | TORCHLIT WALK
Visiting the forest with a torchlight is very special experience; it was my first time to do something like this, but I really enjoyed it. It was pretty magical! You first meet the guide, get a torch, and then join a walk in the surroundings of Alpbach. One could easily do it even after a day of skiing.
The easiest way is to do it on a guided tour; torchlight walks start at 8pm every Tuesday. It involves a small tour around Alpbach, taking around two hours. Waterproof shoes, warm clothes and gloves are essential. Also free with the Alpbachtal Seenland Card.
08| ENJOY APRÈS SKI
Most of my friends were making jokes about how with Mathias’s dislocated arm he couldn’t ski, so he should just move on to Après-Ski directly. And why not? Après-Ski refers to social activities (usually at a ski lodge) after a day’s skiing. Although Alpbach is quieter that some other Tyrolean resorts, you can definitely find some fun here as well.
Our favorite mountain hut is Wurmegg at Schatzberg Mountain within Ski Juwel. We liked it so much that we did not hesitate to go up with the gondola just to enjoy the awesome food and the views. Down at Alpbach town, head to lively Postalm to enjoy drinks & partying with skiers and snowboarders.
09 | GO DANCING
Going dancing sounds pretty old fashioned, huh? I was thinking so as well, until we did it here. The night we spent dancing by the fireplace was one of my favorites. Sometimes it’s totally worth trying something new, and to my surprise, I even discovered Mathias’s hidden talent for dancing.
The dancing events at Hotel Kirchenwirt in Reith take place weekly. But if you search around, there are other options for enjoying live music. Some are right in Alpbach, while others can be found in neighboring towns. Just ask at the tourism office in Alpbach or at your accommodation. Tyroleans are pretty keen about music themselves, so these are not only gatherings of tourists.
10 | DAY TRIP TO RATTENBERG
When travelling to/from Alpbach, the cute town of Rattenberg is worth making a short stop in. With 400 inhabitants and an area of just 0.11 km2, it qualifies as the smallest town in all of Austria.
Rattenberg is situated between a fortress on the hill and the river. The city was founded in the 14th century and features a medieval centre with many historical houses and a legendary glass workshop. In just an half an hour you can see pretty much everything, but you can also visit the Ausgustinian museum to extend your visit. I loved the town and its tiny cobblestone streets: it was the perfect place to see right before leaving Tyrol.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO IN ALPBACH?
I spent one week in Alpbach. Although I did return a few times to the slope alone, most of the time we tried to keep busy with all kinds of other activities. Let me know what your favorite thing to do in Alpbach was—did you just go skiing, or do other things too? I am curious to hear!
And for the record: now, a few weeks after our trip to Alpbach, Mathias’s right arm is nearly healed. He has spent quite some time in rehabilitation, but soon he should be ready for another trip–or at least to start doing some simple sports again ☺
Thanks for reading!